First off, I’d like to let everyone know who hasn’t seen it already that the complete list for the Ultimates expansion is up on WizKids site including all the dial stats. So right now, rush over and look at all the stats, then come right back here to read the rest of my article on the Serpent Society (especially now that I can discuss the figures who have it and how they’ll likely use it).
Serpent Society: Give a member of this team a power action. Move it any number of squares up to its speed value, ignoring the effects of all characters and terrain, including elevated terrain, on movement. This team member may not end its move in blocking terrain.
Basically, it gives every member of the Serpent Society the Phasing ability. The spirit behind this is two-fold. First, it represents their leader Sidewinder (whose face is the symbol for the TA) teleporting around his friends (so that’s how they always stayed out of jail…). Second, it represents how hard these guys are to hold down and how they’ll slither away even when they’re in your grasp.
Phasing is a great ability. Couple that with the fact that since it is a TA, they can have other speed abilities along with phasing, and it’s just all the better. Think about how great Batman and pals are having the Stealth TA and a dial full of Leap/Climb. With a fixed ability as good as phasing, a second speed power would just be all the better. I’m actually not going to comment much further on the TA itself, since it’s really nothing new or unusual since it is exactly the same as phasing. However, I will look at the guys who have this awesome TA and how they put it to use: Princess Python, Anaconda, and the main man himself, Sidewinder. (these will not be reviews of the characters as a whole however)
First, Princess Python. Well, she lacks any speed powers to combo with phasing, so it’s already a little disappointing. Her Veteran version’s highest speed is 7, so she’ll take a little while longer to get where she’s going, dropping her effectiveness as a cheap tie-up piece. Her only real way to take advantage of the TA (other than the normal usage of the power) is with her range of 2. Most people take the range of 2 on any characters who have it for granted. With her and her TA, you can put her into position a space away from an enemy character (preferably a close combat figure without charge) and force them to move them or start having her big snake Incapacitate them or just pluck them for a few points of damage. After a while, they’ll probably try and base her to get rid of the advantage…just use the TA to slither away and live on to fight again.
Next, Anaconda. This big girl definitely put the TA to good use by combining it with another speed power, Plasticity. This makes her tie-up piece potential amazing. Her speed is a little low, again the highest being a 7, but that plasticity/phasing combo definitely makes up for it. Another nice power to combine phasing with is Super Strength for the sheer ability to hop into the next room to grab an object and be right back at the end of the move. Just based on this combination of powers makes her a great Stealth hunter. Have her phase in, grab the object they’re standing on (since she doesn’t have to stop when she becomes adjacent thanks to the phasing power) and then remain base them so it’s almost impossible for them to run into stealth again. Watch out for Anaconda becoming the new tie-up piece of choice on many teams.
Last, Sidewinder. This guy is part of the reason for the TA, and his speed values definitely reflect that. His veteran version starts out with a whopping 14 movement. That’s Nightcrawler speed right there. Even his rookie starts out with a 10 (all versions end up with an 8 movement on their last clix, just fyi). The main downside to him is he also lacks any speed powers to combo with the constant phasing. But 14 movement on a piece that only costs 35 points makes him a decently effective and cheap tie-up piece in his own right. While he won’t be as effective at holding an enemy down as Anaconda, he will be able to get to an opponent’s piece first and if they do manage to get away from him, basing them again is one long distance phase away. I mean, his movement does outreach even Telekinesis.
Well, I hope you all enjoyed that. Next time I’ll have my last of the new Team Ability reviews, but it is by no means the least. It is after all the name of the set. Yes, I’ll be reviewing the Ultimates, and if you haven’t seen the pieces with the TA yet, they are more powerful than you could probably imagine.