It’s very rare these days to have a toy actually make it to release without somebody catching wind of it. We live in a 24-hour hour news cycle world, and toy news (while certainly not the most important focus) isn’t immune to that. Most figures are revealed or found out about months in advance to their release, so I find it extremely exciting when something slips by and hits the shelves unannounced. It’s even more special when the figure is something I actually want. The secrecy of these two Figmas was probably assisted by nobody really expecting it. The prospect of Valve’s DOTA2 action figures mostly fell off toy collector’s radars after an Axe figure by NECA was unceremoniously canceled.
For the past six years Valve has hosted a grand tournament for one of their biggest competitive team games, DOTA2. Seeing as how DOTA2 has over 100 unique heroes to choose from there is a ton of merchandise produced for these events. I mostly skip over the shirts and pins in order to go right for the collectibles. The past few years Valve has offered sets of blind boxed chibi-styled collectibles of the game’s characters called “Demiheroes.” Unfortunately, their absence this year leads me to believe that line is over. Instead they have been replaced by a pair of Nendoroids and a couple Figmas!
I was quite shocked by this news. I never expected to really get DOTA2 action figures. But to have those action figures be Figmas? I was impressed, excited, and wanted to own them immediately! I really only had to wait a couple days to officially purchase them since Valve released their “Secret Shop” catalog about a week before the tournament started. Discovering a new toy and being able to own it a week later is pretty magical, a feeling the Anti-Mage wants to destroy.
So now that you have a good background on DOTA2, let’s talk about the Anti-Mage figure.
Notice that he holds two blades in his hands. Wonder why? Because originally, DOTA was a Warcraft 3 custom map. The mod was limited to whatever character models were in the game, so the Magina (Anti-Mage’s name prior to DOTA2) used Illidan Stormrage’s model. Obviously when Valve started to develop their own stand alone game they couldn’t continue to use one of Blizzard’s characters, so the Anti-Mage was born. Would you like to know more?
If you’ve owned a Figma before, the Anti-Mage should be a very similar experience. He comes packaged with three extra sets of hands, a rack to hold those hands when not in use, a figure stand, an extra wrist peg, a plastic bag, and some instructions. When switching around the hands, my pegs tend to stay attached to the hands instead of the arms which means I need to remove them in order to switch things around. Maybe I have fat fingers, but I can’t seem to pull them out with anything but my teeth. I’m not sure if this will have long term effects on those pegs, but I haven’t noticed any real damage in the short term.
I was told that one of the biggest issues Valve had with NECA’s Team Fortress 2 toys was the inconsistent quality control of the production figures. It makes sense, then, that they went overseas for this venture. Figma releases are usually very consistent across the board in their quality control, especially with paint applications. One of the reasons it is so easy to order Figma and Figuarts releases sight-unseen is because paint quality is almost never an issue. The paint and detail on the Anti-Mage is very clean, and I personally love the shades of purple that make up his robes.
Speaking of his robes, I was fascinated to see that they decided to put the parts that drape down below his waist on ball joints. Overall, the articulation scheme is fantastic. The one thing I do wish he had was a swivel under or around his arm-guards. Since they run up the arm and over his hands it limits how far I can turn the swivel at the wrist. His collar blocks some of the head’s side movement to his left and right, however, this is less a fault of the sculpt and more so the source material. They do enable his neck to hunch forward in order to work around this a bit.
I’m loving this release! I’ve always wanted DOTA2 action figures, but never really actively campaigned for them because it seemed like a long shot. The figure is extremely posable, very cleanly painted, has a nice selection of accessories, and looks like he jumped out of the game. This is one of those releases that immediately have me lusting for more. But let’s be honest with ourselves, we’ll be lucky if we maybe get six DOTA2 Figmas ever. If they continue to release a pair at the yearly Tournament Internationals I give it a couple more years before Valve loses interest or Good Smile’s license expires.
This is the type of collectible where it’s better to just enjoy the ones you have because they are great toys. Figma isn’t going to get around to producing 112 different characters to complete the entire roster. On top of that Valve has a terrible record of producing third sequels and their merchandisers completing teams. So instead of making a most wanted list I’m just going to mess around with Anti-Mage and Windranger, enjoying them for what they are. If additional characters come out, great!
Valve is currently taking preorders for all of their Tournament International merchandise over at their official store.