Well, continuing our look at the new team abilities, we have one that at first glance looks familiar (if you play with Indy Heroclix that is), but really plays quite differently.
Ultimate X-Men: At any time during the game, choose an opposing team or character for this team member; once this choice is made, it may not be changed. This team member gets +1 to its attack value against the chosen team or character.
As I said, it looks familiar. At first glance, it looks like a Marvel version of Indy’s 2000 AD team ability. But there is a humongous difference. Let’s see if you can spot it. Here is the description of the 2000 AD TA:
2000 AD: At any time during the game, you may declare an opposing team or character as your target. Once the character or team is chosen, it may not be changed. All 2000 AD team members increase their attack value by 1 when attacking the chosen team or character.
Did you notice the difference? Well for those of you who didn’t, I’ll lay it out plain. With the 2000 AD TA, you choose one target (be it a team or specific character) and all members of your team with the TA (including wildcards of course) get a +1 to their attack when they attack the target. With the Ultimate X-Men TA, you choose one target for each and every member of your team who has the ability individually, and whenever the team member attacks their specific target, they get +1 to their attack value.
So what does this mean in terms of gameplay differences? If you play a 2000 AD theme team (or even more than one team member on your force), then you had better think long and hard about who you want to be your permanent single target or hope your opponent is also playing a single TA theme team. If you’re playing with Ultimate X-Men, then each one can have their own target and go at it. I personally think this allows for a little more comic-like action to be able to take place. When you commonly see the X-Men fight a team of foes, each of them tend to square off one on one against a member of an opposing team, and their usually quite driven to defeat just that one enemy (which can often get them blindsided but another enemy). With the new TA, you can Ultimate Wolverine, Storm, and Colossus (all confirmed figures in Ultimates) each have their own target enemy instead of having to focus all your force on one character while the others start decimating your forces. The Ultimate X-Men are all playable in the same force while taking advantage of their ability…a feat which is difficult to do with the 2000 AD team members. The 2000 AD forces were commonly used individually; a team sometimes sporting Judge Dredd, Johnny Alpha, or Judge Anderson, but rarely all together on a force.
The difference also makes it worth it to have a wildcard copy this ability. Just imagine Taskmaster being able to bump his attack up even more just to knock out that hard to hit piece. Wildcards can now have their own specific target instead of having to focus on the same one that their teammate was focusing on, which is a key problem in using the 2000 AD team ability with wildcards. Ultimately what happens is that the 2000 AD TA is used to aid one member (presumably the one that needs it the most) of your force, while leaving the others stuck with a +1 attack against a figure they can’t reach or has already been taken care of.
The Ultimate X-Men have solved seemingly all the problems the Indy TA faced, and have created a team ability that is not only highly playable, but isn’t penalized by a theme team. This team ability still works just as good alone as it does in a group, so don’t be afraid to throw a random Ultimate X-Man on your team (a fact which isn’t necessarily true with the regular X-Men TA).
I personally think that this team ability will cause the Ultimate X-Men to be played very differently from the regular X-Men (hmmmm, I wonder how a fight between the two groups would end up...). The X-Men were commonly played where there were a few key attackers and a myriad of supporters. In the X-Men, Wolverine frankly was a supporter. He was best played staying back in stealth and having other members of the X-Men pass off damage to him so his regenerate could get rid of it. His blades and 10 were there mainly to scare off anyone from coming close. The Ultimate X-Men are more likely to be a full on attack force. In the Ultimate X-Men, Wolverine (if you haven’t seen his stats yet, check out WizKids site) is most definitely a frontline attacker. Here, his regeneration is only good to himself, so he might as well get in and dish out some damage if he’s going to take some anyway. Simply power-wise, he is clearly designed to battle, trading stealth and battle fury for a little flurry, higher damage, higher attack, and higher speed. Here, that +1 to attack will do wonders, giving him much more of a chance to sink his blades into the enemy. I think that this will be the case for most of the Ultimate X-Men, that they’ll all be able to use that +1 to a serious advantage as a serious attacker.
Okay, I think that’s enough on this one. We might have to wait and see if the ability gets changed to the same effect as the 2000 AD TA, or maybe the 2000 AD TA will be changed to the effect of the Ultimate X-Men. Who knows? Only time will tell. Anyhow, next time I’ll look at the Serpent Society team ability, and see just what those slippery snakes are up to.