Greetings HeroClix fans!

Welcome back as we continue our look at the upcoming Marvel HeroClix: Avengers/Defenders War set!  To help you prep for Pre-Release Events, today we are diving into a feature that has proven rather popular in recent set releases: the Shifting Focus traits.  These traits have created an interesting design space where certain characters, who have a wide array of at times incongruent powers and abilities, can be represented as strategically useful pieces at a more sensible point cost than if they had everything all at once.  Rather than containing just one or two characters with this feature, the Avengers/Defenders War set has six!  In this article, we’ll look at three of these characters: Vision, Wasp, and Dr. Strange.

Marvel HeroClix: Avengers/Defenders War - Shifting Focus - Vision 006

The artificial intelligence turned android, Vision, has among his many powers the ability to change the density of his physical form. The Avengers’ resident robot can match the density and hardness of a diamond, or he can become practically sub atomic, allowing him to pass through the spaces between atoms.  The extreme edges of his powers are represented by his Shifting Focus trait, Density Shift, which is shared by the two versions of Vision in this set. Like other Shifting Focus figures, you can give Vision a free action if he began the turn on your force and replace him with another character with the same trait on the same click number.

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So, for 5 clicks of life at 50 points, you have options bouncing between a hardnosed close combat brick or a hard to pin down range combat sniper.  If you need durability or a close combat fighter, you have Sidestep, Invincible, and Exploit Weakness that turn into Impervious and Close Combat Expert.  If you need ephemeral evasiveness or if you want to attack at a distance, the translucent sculpt Vision has the Flight symbol, Phasing/Teleport, Penetrating/Psychic Blast with a range of 6, and Super Senses with a daunting 19 defense value with Sidestep and Range Combat Expert on the back end.  Both versions of Vision have Indomitable to get the most out of your actions, Shifting Density options, and the Avengers team ability, which lets him take move actions without counting against your normal number of actions per turn.  Keeping our attention on the Avengers for the moment, they have another team member that can switch between forms, the Wasp.

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This Celebrity Avenger has a trait, Time For A Costume Change!, that works exactly like Shifting Focus.  For 40 points and 4 clicks of life, the Tiny Sized pair of Wasps bring versions that specialize in lockdown/harassment and team leadership roles.  The common Wasp has Running Shot with the Flight symbol and Incapacitate with a range value of 5 and two targets to keep the opposition busy clearing action tokens. With a 19 defense value through Super Senses, she is especially hard to hit.  She also finishes with a taste of Sidestep to get in a better sniping position for when she changes costumes.

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The uncommon Wasp starts out with Sidestep and transitions to Running Shot, but she has a full dial of both Penetrating/Psychic Blast and Energy Shield/Deflection.  While she keeps the Flight symbol and 5 range, she can only focus on one target at a time. Since Wasp is also A Natural Leader, she can use Leadership. When she rolls successfully, she can add 2 actions to your action total instead of 1.

Both Vision and Wasp have only two versions of pieces to shift between.  The next character we are looking at today has three, Dr. Strange.

Marvel HeroClix: Avengers/Defenders War - Dr. Strange 001

With all his magical skills and enough ancient mystical relics to turn his mansion into a museum, Dr. Strange could easily cost 150 points or more to field if he included some representation of all his powers; although, there is no guarantee they would be where you want or need them on his dial.  Shifting Focus solves this.  For 50 points, the Mystical Defender can have very specific and dedicated roles at different times during the game, at your discretion.  Despite having a 0 range and combat values of an ordinary person, the common Dr. Strange could serve a specialized purpose for your team. Dr. Strange makes for an excellent taxi, he’s got Flight, Indomitable, and a special power called Teleportation Spell. This power will allow him to use Phasing/Teleport and carry 2 friendly characters (4 if they’re all Defenders)!  Synergizing well with his fellow Defenders in more ways than one, Dr. Strange also has the trait, Defenders Together.  If everyone with the same trait uses the Defenders team ability to replace their defense value with Dr. Strange’s defense value, you may reroll one of the attack dice once per turn.

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After you use Dr. Strange to taxi your team to and fro, you can shift your focus to team defense.  Losing Flight and Indomitable, the uncommon Dr. Strange is more grounded, but he stays somewhat mobile by picking up Sidestep.  He can protect your team in two ways by either using his trait, Defenders Together, or his special defense power, Stay Behind My Mystical Shield.  His trait works just like the other Defenders Together traits. However, if a friendly character replaces their defense value with his 18 defense value, they may reduce any damage dealt by 1 (on top of any other reducers) if they have the Defenders keyword.  Additionally, his special power gives him Defend so he can lend out his defense value to non-Defenders.  Furthermore, if an adjacent friendly character takes damage from an attack, you may immediately heal the hit character of one damage and roll a D6 after actions resolve. This deals Dr. Strange one unavoidable damage on a 1 through 3 result.  Now, we have the strategic positioning and team defender Dr. Strange. Yet, where is the Sorcerer Supreme who unleashes mind-bending, dimension-twisting magic on demons and fiends alike?

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Well seek no further because the rare Dr. Strange fits the bill nicely for the same 50 points.  With 6 range, Improved Targeting:  Ignores Characters, Sidestep, Penetrating/Psychic Blast, Energy Shield/Deflection, and Mystical Guidance on damage letting him boost his team’s damage output with Empower and Enhancement while also increasing attack values by 1 as a Unique Modifier.  Finishing up with Combat Reflexes and Exploit Weakness, Dr. Strange is given the ability to deal penetrating damage on every click.  He also has the Defenders Together trait that increases the defense value of friendly characters who use his defense value by +1 if they share the Defenders keyword; though with a 16 defense value, he will most likely be borrowing theirs.  Team him up with Man-Thing to get Dr. Strange up to a 19 defense value and pump up Man-Thing’s numbers with Mystical Guidance!

That’s a lot to digest today. Thanks for reading!  Join us next time as we dive into more exciting characters and highlight strategies and team builds (and the other 3 Shifting Focus characters) from the Marvel HeroClix: Avengers/Defenders War set and visit the WizKids Info Network to find Pre-Release Events near you, beginning today!

Until next time, shift your focus onto the game!