Pros: More X-Men figures; Taskmaster and Savage Hulk are great pieces
Cons: Completing the collection can be expensive; some disappointing pieces
WizKids really caught both the gaming and comic book worlds attention when it introduced its HeroClix series. Fans could now enjoy playing as their favourite character in a gaming situation that is quite easy to follow and loads of fun. Infinity Challenge was the very first set to come out by WizKids utilizing Marvel Comics characters. Since then fans have been asking for more. Marvel HeroClix: Xplosion is the second expansion set from this company that features more heroes and villains that are compatible with the previous two sets. As indicated by the X in Xplosion, this series is definitely going to be focusing on the X-Men world.
X-Men fans will be happy to see a lot of mutants to help expand both the X-Men and Brotherhood of Mutant teams. Fan-favourites such as Shadowcat, Colossus, Psylocke, Iceman, Beast, Gambit and Storm really make their presence known. Psylocke, in particular, is a monster piece to have with her devastating Psychic Blast ability that can penetrate through any defense. Beast has a great mix of powers especially with the addition of Perplex and Support on his dial that makes him extremely valuable for the number of points he is worth. The experienced versions of both Beast and Iceman have the Defenders team ability. Combine them with Experienced Hulk and Doctor Strange from Infinity Challenge and this becomes a well-rounded team. The Defenders team ability is shared defense when these characters are adjacent to each other.
One of my favourite characters and game pieces to play is the Taskmaster. While I wish he were dressed in his original outfit complete with cape and shield, his game playability is deadly, just like the character itself. He has a myriad of abilities that can destroy an opponent if he isnt quickly taken out. A combination of Blades/Claws/Fangs with Energy Shield/Deflection is a killer for close combat. He later switches to Willpower and Incapacitate that helps him gain the advantage with an extra attack. Energy Explosion and Flurry lets him finish off his opponent near the end of his dial. Add Stealth and Outwit along with the Doom team ability (mimics any other team ability on the board) and this guy is just hard to put away.
Of course this set isnt loaded with only mutants. One character everyone has been clamoring for is Iron Man and ol Shellhead is included in this series. Unfortunately, his playability isnt the greatest at all for the amount of points that he is worth. He has an array of powers and abilities but seems quite ineffective in battle other than transporting people into battle. Thats an expensive game piece to have on your team acting as a taxi.
The addition of generic players such as the Con Artist and Paramedic has really changed the way the game is played; the former is a cheap piece for its Perplex ability while the latter is great for its Support ability. The use of the Con Artist forced WizKids to make addendums as to how the character could be used in game play.
While each character receives three versionsRookie (yellow ring), Experienced (blue ring) and Veteran (red ring), its the Unique figures (silver ring) that fans always want the most, depending on power level. From its name, Uniques only get one version of that character. It seems every set has a version of Spider-Man, Hulk, Wolverine and Elektra, and they are all Unique characters in Xplosion.
A surprising addition to the whole series is seeing Ultimate Spider-Man and Ultimate Green Goblin in the mix, The Ultimate universe is designated as being different from the mainstream Marvel Universe so seeing these characters come to life prove that different versions of these characters are not deemed off limits when it comes to creating them for the game. Both of these characters are great pieces for their low point values.
My favourite, however, is the Savage Hulk. At 201 points, he is the most expensive piece on the set so you have to be really confident in using him on your team. Unlike previous versions of the Hulk, he doesnt start off with a useless first click that has no powers. Right out of the starting gate, this version of the Hulk is ready to smash until he is taken out of the game. His sculpt is also, dare I say it, incredible.
Each booster pack contains four randomly inserted figures. That means collecting the entire set can take a longer time than expected. While its fun to see new characters pop up with each new series, Xplosion doesnt have that wow factor to totally entrance me. There are a few characters that I love just from the sculpting aspect, a few that I like for playability, and a few that incorporate both traits together, but the rest of the set is just mediocre. This entire set is now retired from tournament play, though these characters can still be used for fun. Considering the evolution of the game, its a safe to say that retirement is the best course for this set.
List of Characters
#001-#003 Con Artist
#004-#006 Hand Ninja (sword)
#007-#009 Hand Ninja (nunchakus)
#010-#012 SWAT Officer
#013-#015 SWAT Specialist
#019-#021 Typhoid Mary
#040-#042 Madame Masque
#043-#045 Doc Samson
#052-#054 Crimson Dynamo
#067-#069 Silver Samurai
#076-#078 Iron Man
#085 Shadowcat (w/Lockheed)
#086 Elektra (w/sword and gun)
#089 Ultimate Green Goblin
#090 The Leader
#092 Lady Deathstrike
#093 Ultimate Spider-Man
#094 Savage Hulk
#096 Weapon X
Hypertime Starter Set
Infinity Challenge Starter Set