Welp, it’s time for another go-’round with the old Watch List: where WizKids applies game balance to stuff that should’ve been caught on the drawing board.

 

Below is a list of figures/game elements that are being added to the HeroClix Watch List for Q4 of 2017:

  • JW #060 The Joker
  • WK #DP17-008 Boxing Ring
  • TMT #058 Uni-Mind

______

The Joker (Joker’s Wild 060)

jw060

This made webmaster Rurouni KJS’s Top Ten of 2016 last year (but not Sceritz’s. Who’s right? :D) with good reason. What I said then:

  • The short version is that he’s got to take 18 to 25 clicks of damage in order to be KO’d. On top of that, he has the ability to heal every round.

Only colossals have that kind of longevity. Granted, he’s not very dangerous on any click, barring a lot of external aid. But as a Mastermind fodder piece, especially given how improved that power got in the 2017 rules overhaul, he is potentially game-warping.

HEROCLIXIN’S FIX: He should have had his “KO lines” every four clicks instead of six, to make his dial manipulation ability actually risky. But that’s an impossible errata at this point. So let’s see one of these two fixes instead, if anything:

HOOHOOHOOHAAHAAHAA: At the beginning of your turn, you may roll a d6 and halve the result. When you do, either heal or damage The Joker that many clicks and he can heal past his starting line.

 

–OR–

  • New line: The Joker can’t be chosen for Mastermind.

Either put actual risk into his healing or remove his 18- to 30-click dial from being fodder.

 

WK #DP17-008 Boxing Ring

wkDP17-008

Hmm, this thing. I hadn’t given it much thought until recalling this is Pulse Wave-proof:

  • Characters that occupy squares out of the ring modify their attack values by -2 when attacking characters in the ring. Characters that occupy squares in the ring modify their attack value by -2 when attacking characters out of the ring.

So effectively a fig in the ring gets a DV bonus against PW. More to the point, certain characters (Kingdom Come trait bearers, Outsiders) can use the ring without penalty. That’s not fair. And then there’s the ability to camp a fig in the ring for protection and dropping an ID character outside to attack without penalty as well.

HEROCLIXIN’S FIX: The Boxing Ring gives DV bonus against outside attackers, not AV penalty.

It’s not the best solution, but it’s not much of a problem in our experience.

 

Uni-Mind (The Mighty Thor 058)

tmt058r

When a 150-point character can deal 7 clicks of penetrating damage to a Stealthed character 10 squares away without even the help of a heavy object, much less allies, that’s a problem — especially when KOing it (through a STOP click!) won’t even yield you points. HEROCLIXIN’S FIX:

FREE: Until your next turn, Uni-Mind can’t use the Power Cosmic team ability, but can use Perplex and Willpower. When it uses Perplex and targets itself, it may modify a combat value by +2 or -2 instead. This turn, it may use Perplex an additional time for every two characters with the Eternal keyword in your Sideline that it can choose powers from.

and

FORGED IN BLUE FLAME: During force construction, you may include a number of different characters in your sideline with the Eternal keyword, adding 5 points to Uni-Mind’s point cost for each. If it starts at 150 points, you may include up to 3. If it starts at 275 points, you may include up to 5. If it starts at 370 points, you may include any number. The included characters must be used at their highest point value and be turned to their starting click. At the beginning of each turn and whenever Uni-Mind takes damage, you may choose one standard power a chosen character can use. Uni-Mind can use that power until it chooses again. When Uni-Mind would be KO’d, instead replace it with all the chosen characters on their last non-KO clicks, placing them within 4 squares of it and the opponent scores it. Those characters can’t be healed this game. Protected: Pulse Wave.

 

That’s the least that should happen. But we’ll see what actually DOES happen.

 

Long time no post! I’m still suffering from the effects of the break-in and loss of internet, so it’s affected this blog. But I’m inspired by NaNoWriMo (google it) to get back to writing despite these obstacles. So let’s get to it.

Three HeroClix sets loom in the future, and I’m both excited for each and disgruntled by them.

First up is Harley Quinn and the Gotham Girls, due out in a couple of weeks.

EXCITED BECAUSE:

  • The rumored list includes long-unclixed JSA leader Sand, a character I’ve wanted in clix since the REV era.
  • The Female Furies of Apokolips are finally being filled out.
  • Paul Kirk Manhunter AT LAST. (His Prime version is revealed, so this is a lock)

DISGRUNTLED BECAUSE:

  • Too many Harleys. We got like 4 in Joker’s Wild just last fall. DC sets are too spread out to oversaturate with one character like this.
  • Not enough actual Gotham girls, with the never-quite-right Gotham City Sirens keyword apparently STILL not really doable in Modern Age.
  • A chase Wonder Woman in a new costume. I thought I was done with chasing WW costumes.

 

Coming in February is X-Men First Class.

EXCITED BECAUSE:

  • A lot of X-Men will be set to retire in Summer 2018, so this is a welcome shot to renew some of those characters.
  • More importantly, certain subthemes like Generation X could get filled out.
  • X-Men ID cards will allow the mutants to finally join in on that meta fun

DISGRUNTLED BECAUSE:

  • Did I say meta fun? ID cards are also the new resource warping the meta right now. I wouldn’t have minded them all retiring.

 

Finally, just this week, Avengers Infinity War was announced for a May release.

EXCITED BECAUSE:

  • It’s a new HeroClix set.

DISGRUNTLED BECAUSE:

  • It’s one with a more expensive booster configuration: 4 single-based figures and one 2×2 piece.
  • That means even more Colossal Retaliation is on the way, a mechanic that, while F.U.N., we’re growing a little bit weary of.
  • This means likely zero DC sets until Summer 2018 at the earliest.

 

So there’s good and bad ahead. We’re here for all of it.

WIN-HC-SolarEClix

We’ve been mostly dormant over the summer (THANKS, BURGLARS) but Heroclixin’ still lives. And now there’s new rules to digest. Here’s a glance at what’s better, what’s worse: (plus EDITs from errata not even a week later — or stuff I overlooked the first time)

SPEED POWERS

FLURRY: No change. EDIT: Actually, it gets a minor nerf with it not working with object attacks.

LEAP/CLIMBBoosted to work with any close attack, not just CLOSE

PHASING/TELEPORT: No change.

EARTHBOUND/NEUTRALIZEDBoosted. No longer removes non-standard size symbols.

CHARGE: No change.

MIND CONTROLBoosted to grant move + attack for hit targets and not suffer “feedback” damageNerfed to no longer use most of target’s powers and is now vulnerable to critical misses.

PLASTICITY:  No change… sort of. PAC FINALLY reflects changes made with the 2015 size chart.

FORCE BLAST: It targets now. Unsure if that’s a boost or not.

SIDESTEP: No change.

HYPERSONIC SPEEDNerfed as hell to not work with objects or carry passengers, and requires breakaway after the attack. Got a mild boost to work against Plasticity and move through characters and passive +2 breakaway.

STEALTH:  No change, but mildly nerfed by only heavy objects providing cover.

RUNNING SHOT: No change.

ATTACK POWERS

BLADES/CLAWS/FANGSBoosted to minimum result of -1 printed damage.

ENERGY EXPLOSIONNerfed to no longer combo with RANGE or deal “arrow damage”. Boosted to always deal 2 to all targets and pretty much get around Mastermind.

PULSE WAVEBoosted to ignore DV boosts fromoutside the wave.

QUAKEBoosted to deal normal damage to single target. Nerfed to no longer auto-knockback 2 squares.

SUPER STRENGTHBoosted to deal auto-knockback in melee and increased range on thrown heavy objectsNerfed in that object attacks don’t combo with most melee powers.

INCAPACITATEBoosted by timing change on damage to double-tokened targets to avoid Mystics damage. Nerf: It’s now vulnerable to critical misses.

PENETRATING/PSYCHIC BLAST: No change.

SMOKE CLOUDBoosted; only enemies get the -1 AV and the cloud can’t be lost ahead of its normal duration.

PRECISION STRIKENerfed as hell to only work with solo target, ineffective vs. Mastermind and evasions merely get -1 to rolls instead of zero chance.

POISONBoosted to work in Action phase but nerfed to not work after moving/placing.

STEAL ENERGY:  No change.

TELEKINESISNerfed to only place within 6 rather than 8 squares. Boosted to allow object attack even when based, to place single-based giants/colossals, and to TK yourself!

DEFENSE POWERS

SUPER SENSES: No change, but P STRIKE changes makes it useful again. Nerf: Cannot evade critical hits

TOUGHNESS: No change.

DEFENDNerfed. DV chains impossible due to sharing of printed values only.

COMBAT REFLEXESNerfed. No longer protects from knock back damage if you end up on the power after a hit

ENERGY SHIELD/DEFLECTION: No change.

BARRIERBoosted; barriers can’t be lost ahead of normal duration

MASTERMINDBoosted to make fodder — which includes common keywords now — actual targets rather than just damage sponges. Nerfed to only work on attacks.

WILLPOWER: No change.

INVINCIBLEBoosted to reduce damage by 2 — even penetrating damage — and cap damage taken at 3. Nerfed to do worse against 5 damage.

IMPERVIOUS: No change.

REGENERATIONBoosted to heal half d6 roll. Nerfed to maximum heal of 3 instead of 4, and -1 to any heal result if from a STOP click.

INVULNERABILITY: No change.

DAMAGE POWERS

RANGED COMBAT EXPERT: No change.

BATTLE FURY: No change.

SUPPORTBoosted to minimum heal of 2 instead of 1 and modifications work on both medic and patient. Nerf: -1 to any heal result if from a STOP click.

EXPLOIT WEAKNESS:  No change.

ENHANCEMENT: No change.

PROBABILITY CONTROLNerfed to only work attacks and breakaways.

SHAPE CHANGE:  No change.

CLOSE COMBAT EXPERT:  No change.

EMPOWER: No change.

PERPLEXBoosted to retain modifiers when target’s damaged/healed.

OUTWITBoosted to preemptively deny powers. Nerfed to not counter abilities anymore.

LEADERSHIPBoosted to drop tokens off adjacent fellow keywords and allow automatic +1 action. Nerfed to only allow ONE extra action.

And some other PAC stuff:

IMPROVED TARGETING: DESTROY BLOCKINGNerfed to only wreck one bit of blocking at a time.

IMPROVED MOVEMENT: CHARACTERSNerfed to not ignore characters but only automatically break away. Minor change but could be a corner case.

SWIMBoosted to grant +1 DV against range when in water.

WILD CARDSNerfed to only pick one TA per turn

———

TEAM ABILITIES also got revamped, though only on the WizKids Rules Forum (licensing likely restricts the company from printing them on the physical sheets anymore).

Boosted

AVENGERS / JUSTICE LEAGUE: +1 speed on MOVE action.

BROTHERHOOD OF MUTANTS / INJUSTICE LEAGUE: Removes token on attack rolls of 10-12

UNDERWORLD: No longer restricted to MOVE action and works with shared keyword instead of TA.

Nerfed

AVENGERS / JUSTICE LEAGUE: No longer “free move”

BATMAN ENEMY / DEFENDERS / JUSTICE SOCIETY / SINISTER SYNDICATE: Only shares printed values, no chaining.

MYSTICS: Deals penetrating, not unavoidable, and only after resolutions instead of immediately. Also uncopyable.

OUTSIDERS: 6 range instead of 10

SUPERMAN ENEMY: One fig MUST be lower points

UNDERWORLD: No longer works with shared TA

Gone(?) There were some no-shows on the list of TAs. One hopes they’re among the “Past Rules” stuff and not gone completely from play…

CRIME SYNDICATE

FANTASTIC FOUR

MORLOCKS

SERPENT SOCIETY

SKRULLS

ULTIMATE X-MEN

WATCHMEN

Exciting times!

A couple of weeks ago, the notorious Heroclix Watch List made its first appearance in a couple of years. Less than two weeks later, we have the results!

 

Felix Faust

WHAT WE SAID

The Realms Open Championship league banned Felix twice. WizKids hasn’t banned a figure in its entire history. Perhaps Felix will be the first, because there’s really no elegant fix for this douchebag of a piece.

Wizkids agreed. Where convention exclusive pieces usually have a long shelf life before rotating out (for example, Bat-Mite was released in spring 2013 and just got retired this June), Felix Faust gets the axe immediately.

Sooo… Not banned. But… Yeah, banned.

“Bye Feliciax”

 

 

 

Jakeem Thunder

WHAT WE SAID:

Should escape the Watch List unscathed for a number of reasons. First, he already has built in balances within his “pick a power” trait: Limited to beginning of turn, limited selection of “grade A” powers. Second, the new version of Outwit will be a gut punch …

Again, Wizkids agreed. Jakeem is not the problem here.

 

Pym Tank

WHAT WE SAID

 it’s rather like Precision Strike in that it’s an element that combos with EVERY SORT of attack with an effective Area of Effect that far exceeds its 8-point price and has almost no counter.

At minimum, it shouldn’t combo with other attacks.

Wizkids more than agreed. Not only is it a no damage attack — which is appropriate because it’s essentially like tossing a grenade — but they took its penetrating damage as well.

Heroclixin’ likes this change. It is enough that the tank forcibly moves Invulnerability-plus figs. It should NOT damage them the same as completely unarmored characters.

It’s called INVULNERABILITY.

More the point: it’s an 8-point piece. Its reward (high) was all out of proportion to its risk/expense (low).

Finally, on a F.U.N. level: use of Pym Particles in a fight is not something that should be easy for any old character not named Hank Pym, Janet van Dyne or Scott (or Cassie) Lang to pull off.

 

 

Goblin King

WHAT WE SAID

Oh, WizKids, you were doing so well with balancing the “pick a power” thing.

Then you go and make Goblin King with NONE of those [balances]. AND protected from Outwit.

Whose design is this???

Heroclixin’s fix: If he picks powers, he can’t use Power Cosmic.

Wizkids went even further, banning from using the team ability at all on his lower point costs. Some have complained that him losing Willpower is the bigger deal. But one of his two power choices can always be Willpower (unlike Jakeem), sooo… This isn’t a problem unless you need easy mode Heroclix.

Same goes for the old loophole that allowed him to have four powers in a turn because he kept his choices until he chose again. Wizkids closed it.

Heroclixin’ is on board with all this.

Frequently when a new HeroClix set releases, a sub theme will emerge as a new favorite for yours truly. In late 2009, it was Guardians of the Galaxy in the Hammer of Thor set. 2014’s The Flash introduced me to The Authority.

This go-round, in the Deadpool+X-Force set, it’s X-Statix.

X-Statix_logo

This isn’t a very optimized crew. There’s hardly ANY of the old “STOPP” formula of pit crew powers.

  • No Support. X-Men team ability is a source of healing, true, but it has its built-in drawback.
  • No Telekinesis. This team is unlikely to ever get first strike.
  • No starting Outwit. By the time it shows up, the team is likely in deep trouble.
  • No Perplex. At all. EVER
  • There’s only starting Probability Control, and only on Doop’s fragile 35-point dial.

 

So these lovable losers are going to have an uphill fight. Let’s look at what they have going for them. We’ll also give HEADLINE TIPS focusing on their shared trait to rack up Headline tokens that’ll grant each a unique effect via different traits and powers.

 

 

U-Go Girl [Deadpool & X-Force 013] 40 points

805407-x2

She’s the team taxi, of course, though only on alternating turns; she can carry 4 friendlies with her keywords when she’s free of action tokens. So barring token removal, once she ferries her crew in, they’re stuck there for the time being. She serves as OK tie-up with Reflexes.

HEADLINE TIPS: Despite 10 AV and Quake, she’s unlikely to gain Headlines. And her benefit — moving as free action — isn’t the best use for them because she generally needs to be free of action tokens to use her taxi skills.

She’s vital to the team, freeing the others up from burning actions getting to the fight.

______________________________________

 

Anarchist [Deadpool & X-Force 030] 75 points

anarchist3

Running Shot and Penetrating/Psychic Blast makes him the best source of early offense and Headlines. He’s also got Poison and Improved Targeting to shoot even in adjacency so tying him up is dangerous and largely pointless for foes. The downside is he’s fragile with only ESD for defense.

HEADLINE TIPS: Spending his Headlines to get penetrating Poison seems like a bit of a waste.

He’s vital to the team as its only real range.

______________________________________

 

Orphan [Deadpool & X-Force 045] 70 points

Guy_Smith_(Earth-616)_from_Official_Handbook_of_the_Marvel_Universe_A-Z_Vol_1_7

The leader is not so great with Leadership that can’t remove tokens from any but one (or two) of the team due to his too-low point cost. He’ll improve with the new rulebook, but until then he’s just a decent close fighter (IM:Hindering 9 Speed Charge, 10 AV Precision). His real worth is his Leadership SP’s ability to shift Headline tokens from character to character. For example, if Anarchist is the only member with a Headline but Dead Girl is needing to heal, Orphan can give her the Headline.

Later in his dial, he gets Outwit, possibly offering the crew a second wind.

HEADLINE TIPS: His trait allows him to spend Headlines to add a die to his attacks. But as tempting as it is to roll extra dice, resist. Wait. Shift the first Headlines to Dead Girl if she doesn’t have any, then store them on Orphan himself. Try not to use more than one for his attacks, as he has a decent shot at regaining the one spent on a hit. And if you have Prob Control, use it on a normal attack FIRST before making the boosted Headline roll in the reroll.

He’s vital to the team for his Leadership and, as noted, to make the Headlines work.

______________________________________

 

Doop [Deadpool & X-Force 046] 90 points / 35 points

Doop_translator

So he’s the sole member with multiple point costs. At 90, he’s the priciest of the lot, bringing Invincible and Close Combat Expert as his contribution. But with only constant Sidestep for movement, he’s rather unlikely to get to use the latter (without being taxied first). And anyway, you might prefer to roll the dice on his “The Unimaginable Power of Doop” trait which has a 33% chance each of either shifting adjacent figures 1 square, or pulling all figs within 4 next to him. On a 5, he grants a friendly fig Power Cosmic for the round and a 6 gives him 10 range and the power to shoot 3 targets (and everyone adjacent to them) for 3 damage each.

But using these results can be fraught with peril. Sometimes the repositioning for the first two options is problematic. The Power Cosmic only really benefits when a friendly has an action token (or enemy Outwit has been an issue). And the Rain of Mjolnirs is hampered by his middling 10 or 9 AV and is no good at all without line of fire.

So it might be more prudent to roll with the little round guy at 35 points as the team’s Prob Control. Though only a scant 2 clicks, he’s protected by Invincible and Regen. The latter gives him potential as an X-Men heal battery.

HEADLINE TIPS: Don’t spend Headlines to reroll his “TUPOD” result unless said result is worse than useless and you REALLY have to get something out of this power action.

Doop is vital at 35 points if only to get ONE of those STOPP powers working on the team’s behalf.

______________________________________

 

Dead Girl [Deadpool & X-Force 051] 75 points

76797-20879-dead-girl

Along with Anarchist, she’s going to be the offensive engine of the team thanks to 11 AV Blades and 3 Exploit. Her drawback is 8 Speed holding her back, even with Flight. She’s going to depend highly on being ferried by U-Go Girl. But she also can serve a secondary role on the team as a healer. So long as she has a Headline token, she heals at turn start, making her a long-lasting X-Men TA battery. And she’s got insurance against KO with 3 or more Headlines.

We also can’t overlook her as a silver bullet against STOP clicks. When she hits, those clicks are unusable for the round.

HEADLINE TIPS: Every Headline should come her way until she has the three needed to dodge KO. She also doesn’t burn them to do her free healing.

She’s vital as the one member of the team with an above average AV, Flight and a degree of “don’t die” ability.

______________________________________

There’s a wrinkle here. If Doop is run at 35 points, this team is 295 points. But at full cost, the team is an unwieldy 350. What to do with the extra 50 points that’s F.U.N.?

In Modern:

Bedlam [026] 40 points

He almost looks like a member of this version of X-Force — and of course has the X-Force keyword to keep the named theme. He nullifies equipment within his 5-square range, so there’s that.

Marrow [043] 40 points

She, on the other hand, doesn’t fit the fun feel of X-Statix. You just add her for the named keyword theme.

Domino [FF 006] 25 points

Likewise for this meta source of Prob even cheaper than Doop.

 

In Golden:

Orphan [Fantastic Forces 091] 50 points

Hey, an actual X-Statix piece! Despite the total lack of moving powers, 11 AV Exploit isn’t bad. He can draw attention from the rest of the team long enough to buy them time, or serve as X-Men TA heals once off his EW clicks.

______________________________________

Speaking of Golden Age, Feats can help greatly at the 400-point build:

Doop: Thanks to two opening clicks of CCE, he can gain a 4-square “charge” with Lunge.

Orphan: It’s pricey, but Contingency Plan on him can really patch the lack of Perplex on the team, especially with U-Go Girl freeing the team from having to burn actions getting into position.

Anarchist: Could use Force Field for the Toughness it grants.

Dead Girl: Because she usually gets carried into the fight, Opportunist can aid her (or Anarchist and Orphan, but they already have their feats) to make sure to land that needed first shot.

But even better is Warbound, which can keep U-Go Girl free of tokens to constantly be able to cart the crew about. Lack of Willpower hampers this feat — and the 40-point feat cap. So with the 3 points left over, lets try either Vault or better yet Alias.

Finally, although it’s not a feat, the old 5-point Yellow Lantern special object can give Anarchist and Dead Girl +1 to AV within 4 squares thanks to their PPB and EW, respectively so they can land those early hits.

______________________________________

(We’ve opted not to cover the original convention exclusive Doop due to his general exclusivity. And at 95 points, he adds little to a force unless facing resources and relics, until the back half of his dial. But if you got him, run him.)

I’m alive!

After the theft of my computer, it’s been hard to stay at this blog. Too many RL things to handle, plus lack of, y’know, a computer and internet to update.

But we’re slowly getting back in the swing of things. I was gifted an old battery-less laptop and the library has free Wi-Fi.

 

I’m also motivated by the re-emergence of the notorious WizKids Watch List, by which problematic HeroClix figures are put on notice that, thanks to errata, their time of easy dominance of the game may be coming to an end.

 

Here’s what’s on the block and Heroclixin’s take on each.

 

Felix Faust

Seeing a repeat appearance here, ol’ Felix has been a long non-favorite in these parts. We’ve written extensively about Felix’s ability to affect the battlefield in a way that would have required an entire team of cheap Outwit figures to replicate.

Originally, Felix’s d20 effects were global; an errata shortly after 2015 Worlds reduced it to his natural range of 7. But that was clearly not sufficient because most of his effects are free and enough inexpensive taxis exist that he doesn’t have to so much as use an action to potentially lock down entire teams long enough for him or his allies to rack up hits and points.

The Realms Open Championship league banned Felix twice. WizKids hasn’t banned a figure in its entire history. Perhaps Felix will be the first, because there’s really no elegant fix for this douchebag of a piece. The closest Heroclixin’ can come up with is the “F.U.N. Fix” we suggested for using this figure in casual play:

“… give Felix a non-free action EVERY TIME he rolls the d20, and don’t roll it if he can’t [take a non-free action].”

It would have been better if this piece had never been made.

 

Jakeem Thunder

Should escape the Watch List unscathed for a number of reasons. First, he already has built in balances within his “pick a power” trait: Limited to beginning of turn, limited selection of “grade A” powers. Second, the new version of Outwit will be a gut punch to his current versatility. Finally, he’s really only problematic when wearing linked dial equipment or a resource.

 

Pym Tank

Heroclixin’ hasn’t talked much about this. But it is problematic on a level that nearly matches Felix. We don’t really have time to get into it, but it’s rather like Precision Strike in that it’s an element that combos with EVERY SORT of attack with an effective Area of Effect that far exceeds its 8-point price and has almost no counter.

At minimum, it shouldn’t combo with other attacks. Using it should be a power action or something. That’s Heroclixin’s stance, short of banning it outright. Only Hank Pym should be able to use it, anyway! IT’S HIS KEYCHAIN

 

Goblin King

Oh, WizKids, you were doing so well with balancing the “pick a power” thing. You wisely made Engineer [Flash 059] unable to pick defense and gave her light natural armor. You held Jakeem to one primo power at a time and at beginning of turn. You made Nico Minoru swap slots for her choices. You forced Element Man to choose one or end up taking damage. You ensured Iron Man had to give up powers to get powers.

Then you go and make Goblin King with NONE of those limitations. AND protected from Outwit.

Whose design is this???

Heroclixin’s fix: If he picks powers, he can’t use Power Cosmic.

YOU KNOW IT’S RIGHT.

 

So we’ll see what WizKids does. Part 2 will discuss the eventual changes.