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Runeslayer vs. Firedrake

by Shocka

And so we reach the end of my monthly Xevoz review event - I hope you've enjoyed this adventure with me, reliving this action figure glory from nearly a decade ago - and we finish not with a whimper but with a bang! While Xevoz covered a lot of the classic boy's toys archetypes across its run, there was one significant omission not covered until this terrific finale: two beloved medieval fantasy icons, dragons and knights.

Breath mint, anyone? These hotheads are known throughout the world for creating the finest handheld weapons and armor - which they forge in the burning fires of their own breath. Respected as valiant warriors and great craftsman, and rumored to guard hidden hordes of "lost" dragon treasure.

As anyone who's read Tolkien or watched Game of Thrones or, y'know, done anything in the past few decades can attest, dragons are awesome. It absolutely makes sense that we'd get a dragon in Xevoz to slot in alongside other classic archetypal monsters, and having him paired up with a knight makes the deal even sweeter.

So let's start with the titular dragon, Firedrake. What a name that is, too - Firedrake! I haven't really talked about the cleverness of the Xevoz character names, but they too capture the creativity and imagination that went into the creation of each of these spectacular toys.

Firedrake is cast in a color scheme comprised entirely of reds and oranges, giving him the look of a fire-breathing dragon. Because he shares the same kind of super-articulation as the other Xevoz figures, he has a very human stature in his standard "standing" pose, but because he's so poseable he can quite easily resemble the more stereotypical on-all-fours dragon.

But that's the joy of Xevoz, the customizability - when you get your Firedrake, what he is is entirely up to you. To give him the alternative design of a dragon-man, he includes several pieces of armor to adorn his upright frame, making him look like some kind of dragon knight: a helmet with a jagged jawline, a silver and grey breastplate with spikes that rise up above the shoulders, a bit of waist armor, layered shoulder pads, forearm plates with serrated silver blades jabbing out of them, and two curved black... blades? Axe heads? Weapons racks? Something. He even includes a large sword, which he can wield with his very-nifty opposable thumbs, one of the stand-out design features across the Xevoz line.

But as a simple dragon, he's just as terrific. His wings extend from his lower arms, a very specific kind of dragon design I'm sure others could name, but I cannot. He has two heads, the most impressive of which features an articulated jaw, so you can have him breathing fire at his enemies! Yes, there's a piece of fire that plugs into the mouth; it doubles as his Drain Attack piece, the "Slow Cooker." The other head has its mouth permanently closed, but it also has a hole in the top where the helmet can be plugged in.

Because of the aforementioned customizability, if you have the Series 3 Tomb Wraith you can give him an additional set of very appropriate (and color-matching) wings plugging straight into his back, making him even more draconic! Alternatively, if you favour the Drago-Knight design, he features several weapons (and stickers) to go with his armor, including an awesome mallet (Mjolnir) and an absurdly awesome anvil, which he - or indeed any toy - can take to the ACME battlefield! Take that, Wile E. Coyote! And these weapons can also be shared with the other side of the two pack, the terrific Runeslayer.

Masters of runes, lore and incantations. Speakers of the Lost Tongue. Able to cast powerful spells and conjure weapons of magical might. Known to journey far in quest of ancient texts, tomes and artifacts. Few other mystical beings can match them in battle.

Finding the right balance between the standard knight and the magic-empowered wizard type medieval character, Runeslayer (original name: "Luminati") is a nice twist on the standard armored knight with the creativity we expect from Xevoz. His plain body looks like a ninja or monk or something, with a tight-fitting outfit that has just a little bit of armor over it. The only exposed skin is his face and his fingers, and he's overall very skinny. Sky Grinder had the excuse of baggy pants, but even Shadow Blade was thicker than this!

The Runeslayer has an unusual white, bronze and purple colorscheme, which looks a bit odd by itself but looks perfect up against the Firedrake, which he was clearly designed with in mind. His armor pieces are the greenish bronze, a nice departure from the expected blues, blacks and greys that have filled this line, and his "cloth" pieces are all in purple.

It's actually quite effective, complete with a set of weapons in this same color scheme, including the white "Shadow Lance" staff with purple energy crackling off it. There's a translucent purple shield, a "Cypher Slash" sword that's just a bronze hilt with a purple energy blade, some kind of swirly magic dealie, a pointed blast and the Rune of Ruin, his Drain Attack piece. The shield, sword, and swirl are all molded with shapes that look like the Xevoz alphabet, but don't actually spell anything. Well, the shield almost says "BLOCK" if you squint at it just right, but the sword only says "CLEAVE" if you're being super generous with the shape of the letters, you'd have to be incredibly forgiving to think the blast says "DART," and the spiral doesn't say dick.

Because of their color scheme, they can quite easily be energy-weapons ala the Yellow-Lantern-esque pieces that came with the Hyper Guardian, but that's up to you. And the Firedrake's weapons can quite easily be borrowed too, if you want! Keeping in line with the wizard theme, his neat energy blast can be used with his interchangeable open-palm hands. His main head has spiky purple hair and a goatee, while his alternate head is armored, matching the shoulder pads, kneepads and breastplate, as well as the metal strips that hold his cape and loincloth on (also there are stickers to put on if you want). To sweeten the deal, he has alternate shoes - alternate shoes! They're like curling geneie shoes. Is he the first Xevoz to come with alternate feet? I think so!

Like the other two-packs, the Firedrake vs. Runeslayer set comes with a Battle Terrain mat for the game. One side shows the Ilumion Enclaves, a series of rickety bridges over a fog-shrouded chasm; the other shows what is presumably the front gate of Gaergoth, the elaborate cavern-city where the Reptosaurs live. There are spots conferring warps or bonuses to all eight races on each side: when you flip the board over, the values are reversed.

So, overall, this is yet another amazing two pack from Xevoz, and a fine end to the line. Although both figures aren't quite as essential as, say, the gigantic grasshopper and the ninja, these are amazing toys and excellent designs, very deserving of a place in your collection.

-- 12/06/14

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