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    REVIEW: WizKids Marvel HeroClix The Uncanny X-Men Expansion Set

    Marvel’s Children Of The Atom, Their Enemies And Allies...



    X-Men fans, if you play miniatures games and/or like to collect small-scale figures of your favorite characters then you’re in luck with the latest HeroClix expansion set from WizKids Games. In stores now is the Marvel HeroClix The Uncanny X-Men, a booster set packed to the brim with comics’ Children of the Atom and covering both good and bad guys, characters appearing in current issues as well as classic heroes and villains, and so much more. You may have gotten an early look at the set with our brick unboxing (see that HERE) or our review of the set’s accompanying All-New X-Men Fast Forces pack (HERE). Well, now we’re back to continue our series of complete examinations of HeroClix expansion sets including photography of every figure, group and comparison shots, etc. Keep reading and find out what goodies are in store for you when you pick up a booster of Uncanny X-Men featuring (of course) the X-Men, Marauders, All-New X-Men, Brotherhood of Mutants, Freedom Force, and more. The set includes 17 commons, 17 uncommons, 17 rares, 13 super rares, and 6 hard-to-find chases.




    When opening your Uncanny X-Men boosters you’ll find plenty of figures with white tabs, the commons. As usual this rarity level sets the stage for the entire set and gives you a sense of the types/categories of characters in it. And as you’d expect, it starts off chock full of X-Men like the mighty metal-skinned Colossus, agile Nightcrawler, Storm in her classic caped costume, the beloved but short-lived Thunderbird, blue and yellow-suited Wolverine, and two versions of Emma Frost: a regular incarnation wearing her modern black costume and the Prime version in diamond form. At the other end of the heroic spectrum are the Marauders, a team of villains serving the wicked Mister Sinister. Among the commons are the silver-garbed Arclight, massive Blockbuster, Harpoon with his titular weapon, pistol-wielding Lady Mastermind, translucent Prism, Riptide featuring a tornado-like body, and Scrambler. There are only a few members of Freedom Force in the set but they start here as well with the towering Stonewall, and the commons round out with generic Morlocks and the mutant-hunting Genoshan Magistrates.




    Up next are the uncommons, and here we see even more of the set’s sub-themes in a wider array of fun characters. There are more X-Men in the forms of classic costume versions of Warpath, Wolverine (in brown), and Cyclops. The All-New X-Men join the party here with time-displaced young versions of Beast, Cyclops, and Jean Grey along with their mentor Kitty Pryde in a regular version and her Prime translucent incarnation. Want more Marauders? Check out the cybernetic John Greycrow, teleporting Vanisher famous for later joining X-Force, and the vicious Sabretooth. The speedy Super Sabre joins Freedom Force and the Brotherhood of Mutants makes its debut in the set with the black-costume Magneto and classic Juggernaut. Caliban is a unique addition here as an X-Factor member, and among the uncommons are more generics in the forms of the Genoshan Chief Magistrate and Brood.




    Silver tabs mean rares, oftentimes the most valuable figures you’ll find in your boosters. At this level the Uncanny X-Men set piles on the mutant heroes with no fewer than 11 figures with the keyword. Here we’ve got the current red and black-suited Cyclops, classic Professor X in wheelchair, Sabretooth in his brown and yellow duds, the rampaging Juggernaut in gray, Magneto in white, two versions of the blazing Sunfire (including the Prime), swashbuckling Nightcrawler with sword, and Storm in silver. There’s an overlap of “X-Men” with All-New X-Men in the high-flying Angel, and the latter team also gets rare members Iceman and X-23. The Marauders get only the trippy Vertigo at this level, but Freedom Force adds both the blue skinned Mystique and Crimson Commando ready to draw blood. Fan-favorite Omega Red with his carbonadium tentacles and the hideous Brood Queen round out the rares.




    Finally we come to the super rares, the upper limit most of us mortals will find when opening boosters (though if you’re really lucky you might see figures from the next section). The batch of X-Men at this level includes the modern Beast, an amazing translucent Iceman, the soaring Rogue, two versions of the Phoenix (one erupting from the waves and the Prime version comprised of living flame), X-Men/Avengers siblings Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, and the fey Pixie. Bad guys stake a big claim here with the creator of the Marauders himself, Mister Sinister, and Malice possessing Lorna Dane plus the monstrous cyborg Cameron Hodge and energized Proteus. Lastly there’s a character I was really excited to see, the hero-becoming-heir-to-Apocalypse Dark Angel!




    For the chase figures in Uncanny X-Men, WizKids traveled back in time to the mid-1990s and drew from the source material of one the most famous crossover events in X-Men history: Age of Apocalypse. In this alternate timeline story Professor X dies and Magneto leads the X-Men in resisting Apocalypse, and the setting would be revisited in Marvel comics up to this very day. The six chase figures feature cool alternate versions of Magneto, Sabretooth and Wild Child, Sunfire, and Weapon X along with the horrid four-armed Sugar Man, a character unique to that world.




    Since the inception of the X-Men in 1963 the mutants of Marvel Comics have included some very unique and colorful characters... and that’s just describing how they look! Because of that any time we get a HeroClix set based on the children of the atom we know we’re in for some really dynamic figures and Uncanny X-Men doesn’t disappoint. In fact, there’s little in the way of conformity among these characters with the slight exception of the All-New X-Men whose uniforms are variations on a theme. There’s everything from the secretive Morlock/Caliban sculpt to mutants unleashing their full power like Sunfire and Phoenix. To name a few of my favorites (yours may vary) there are: the bizarre alien anatomy of the Brood, Magneto hovering with his cape flying behind him, the heavily muscled Juggernaut charging forward, Dark Angel creeping, the mechanical monstrosity known as Cameron Hodge, and of course the chase figures who always get top notch sculpts. There are also lots of iconic poses on these characters that you’ll recognize from comic book covers and the like, and some that jump out to me include Colossus about to smash an enemy, Nightcrawler dodging, Crimson Commando threatening with his knives, Professor X unleashing his mental powers, and Rogue flying headlong into danger. As usual I’m impressed with the sculpting work on subtle textures and you can see that on figures like Riptide and his tornado body, Angel’s intricately feathered wings, super rare Beast’s fur, and the energy effects on Scarlet Witch and Proteus. Finally, you can’t talk about sculpts in this set without mentioning two of the most impressive examples in recent HeroClix history: the All-New X-Men Cyclops spins in place with an awesome optic blast effect while super rare Iceman stands surrounded by a huge swirling ice storm!




    Just as with the sculpts, the paint and colors among the Uncanny X-Men figures vary greatly from the dark and stealthy to the bright and colorful. Skim through the photos in this review and you’ll see all sorts of patterns and color schemes including immediately recognizable classic costumes as well as current appearances ripped right from All-New All-Different books. As always there is a lot of work put into making these little guys look as good as possible, and paint apps are consistently good with some examples of true excellence. Your opinions of course will vary but for me some of the real highlights in this set include the common Wolverine in his classic blue, red, yellow, and black, All-New X-Men Jean Grey who just looks so clean in her streamlined uniform and with great eye application, Quicksilver, the fun Pixie with her pink hair contrasting with her somber X-Men uniform with gold accents, and Mister Sinister who looks every bit as evil as his best comic book appearances. There are a bunch of figures with cool metallic paint for armor, weapons, and the like including Colossus with his metal skin, Arclight’s costume, the cybernetic parts of John Greycrow, and rare Storm’s silvery costume. And as it turns out there are quite a few mutants who can turn invisible, teleport, or manifest energy as seen in all the figures with transparent parts like Prism, Riptide’s tornado, Vanisher’s teleportation halo, Prime Emma Frost’s diamond form, Prime Kitty Pryde phasing, Vertigo, and lots of energy effects as seen on both Sunfires, Phoenix, Scarlet Witch, Proteus, etc. Just as in the sculpting department, the Age of Apocalypse chases have some of the best details you’ll find in the set.




    There’s a bevy of fun game mechanics at play in Uncanny X-Men including some familiar faces, twists on what you know, and brand new elements. One of the biggest additions to HeroClix starting with this set is the advent of the ClixFX Bases. These additional physical components clearly show ongoing effects on the battlefield with dynamic and colored bases. In this set there are a number of figures that come with their own ClixFX Bases which tie into their traits for offensive, defensive, or simply game-changing effects: Professor X, Magneto, Nightcrawler, Storm, Iceman, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Sunfire, and Weapon X. And if you like additional game pieces you’ll love the figures with removable elements: Brood Queen with her horrific Brood Egg to create more of her kind, both Juggernaut figures with removable Helm of Cyttorak pieces, and the chase Sabretooth and Wild Child. New game wordings and mechanics can be seen in things like “Unique Modifiers,” the “STOP” wording replacing old-style “stop clicks,” and optional point increases on figures for longer dials/more options. Both Malice and Proteus can be equipped onto other figures, while John Greycrow and Sugar Man equip objects for various uses. Lastly, a number of figures utilize special tokens or markers like uncommon Wolverine’s “Heal” tokens, Mystique’s “Shapeshift” tokens giving her Improved Movement ignoring characters and limiting who can target her, and chase Magneto who can destroy blocking terrain to create Scrap Metal markers for extra powerful attacks!




    How about checking out some of the cool and unique traits and special powers found on the figures in this set? First off there are a number of thematic shared traits on teams: All-New, All-Different X-Men who buff when healing, the Marauders’ Mutant Massacre getting a boost from KO’ing enemies, free Force Blast for Freedom Force, the All-New X-Men Time Locked preventing Probability Control, and the Avengers Unity Division’s free action X-Men team ability use. Some of the other cool traits that jumped out to me include common Wolverine’s “Healing Factor” that lets you heal a click when clearing, the de-buffing of enemies hit with objects by Blockbuster’s “Brutal Display of Might,” rare Sabretooth’s “Inverted and Leashed” that gives you the option of NOT KO’ing an enemy in order to heal your figure 2 clicks and clear tokens, the “Phenomenal Repair Rate and Phasing Module” interpreting Cameron Hodge’s miraculous healing from the comics by giving him Super Senses when he has two action tokens AND free action Regeneration, chase Colossus’ “Ready, Comrade?” letting him attach Weapon X and throw him, and the epic twin “The Helmet Protects Me” and “Helm of Cyttorak” traits governing the powers, removal, and attaching of the Juggernaut figures’ helmets.

    As with the traits WizKids really delved deep into comic book history and lore for the special powers in this set, and they often reference specific and famous moments in their names and what they do. Just a few of the cool ones (and there are lots!) are the aptly named “*BAMF*” giving Nightcrawler teleportation and a potential attack, Thunderbird’s tragic “Punching a Fighter Jet” that lets him use Exploit Weakness but then KO’s him, the “Injured But Still Here” STOP click that all of the Primes have in different variations (granting Invulnerability, Willpower, Toughness, and Energy Shield/Deflection with potential Impervious respectively), Prism’s “Brittle Crystal” that limits damage taken from range to 1 but KO’s him instantly from knockback damage, the Phasing/Teleport with Carry ability for 3 of Vanisher’s “Into the Darkforce,” the Genoshan Chief Magistrate’s Pulse Wave plus action token application AND hit character placement via “I’m Holding a Black Hole Grenade,” All-New X-Men Cyclops’ “Sweeping Blast” blasting all enemies in a 90 degree arc out to 5 squares, “Death from Above” giving Dark Angel Hypersonic Speed and the ability to use Flurry during it, the random “Power Is Surging Through Me Uncontrollably” that potentially buffs or de-buffs Phoenix, and Pixie’s “Teleport Spell” to use Phasing/Teleport and carry all sorts of allies!




    Want yet more Uncanny X-Men? Well, you’ve got some options. Following the trend of the most recent releases this set brings with it some fun ancillary products starting with a Dice & Token pack featuring translucent yellow X-Men logo dice and poker chips/action tokens emblazoned with artwork of six of the most popular X-Men: Storm, Nightcrawler, Jean Grey, Wolverine, Cyclops, and Colossus. Fans of the All-New X-Men will want to get the Fast Forces pack by that name bringing you six members of that team (Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Jean Grey, and X-23) that utilize the same sculpts from the main set but with new, team building-friendly dials. That X-23 even comes with a special ClixFX base to represent her Slash attacks on her enemies. Check out our full review of that Fast Forces HERE. Finally, there’s a Release Day Organized Play Kit with exclusive content only available at brick and mortar game/comic book shops. Play at participating venues to get the Limited Edition translucent, astrally projecting Professor X, a low cost expert Mind Controller and support piece. Also in the kit is a double-sided map featuring an indoor/outdoor Jean Grey School for Higher Learning (featuring an entrance hall, lots of small rooms, and an outdoor patio that connects to the school’s “Grounds” map) and the Manhattan Bridge (with multiple elevations, destroyed vehicles, and more).




    If you’re an X-Men fan and a HeroClix player you’ve probably already bought heavily into this set, and even if you’re not an expert at the game you should check out the awesome character library here and the great game pieces because undoubtedly you’re going to want some of them on your shelf. HeroClix figures make great additions to work stations and your desk while they’re not slugging it out on the battlefield, and the Uncanny X-Men pieces in particular are vivid and eye-catching especially in this day and age of everyone knowing superheroes from the movies. But besides all that this set is full of really fun figures. You can find Uncanny X-Men along with the other products like the All-New X-Men Fast Forces in stores now.

    Visit HeroClix.com for even more info as well as downloads of rules and maps, and check Figures.com regularly as we continue our reviews of new HeroClix!




    Review and photos by Scott Rubin

    Review samples courtesy of WizKids Games
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