Incapacitate. It’s almost a given: if a figure appears to be overcosted, one is rarely surprised to see multiple slots of Incap on its first few clicks.

Sure, Incap is great:

  • against Mystics (if they already have a token AND if they can’t use Willpower)
  • with multiple targets
  • with Stunning Blow
  • against tough targets…IF they already have a token
  • on low-damage pieces

But, aside from those circumstances in my mostly-humble opinion, Incap is a power that doesn’t enhance playability nearly as much as other comparably bank-busting powers like:

  • Outwit.
  • Perplex.
  • Hypersonic Speed.
  • Invulnerability / Impervious.
  • Leadership.

In fact, that final power’s potential to remove tokens directly hits Incap’s bottom line. Add to that the growing number of characters with the Indomitable ability, and you’ve got an increasingly lame power.

Therefore, the number one needed change to HeroClix is this rewrite:

“INCAPACITATE: Give this character a close combat or ranged combat action to make an attack that deals no damage. If the attack hits, give the target an action token; it can’t make free actions (that aren’t part of a non-free action) until the beginning of your next turn.

I think this is in the spirit of the power (as seen in the classic Spider-Man Incap maneuver of webbing someone in the face). If someone is sufficiently bound/webbed/disoriented (by, say, Vertigo), they shouldn’t have the mental wherewithal to Outwit or Perplex — and certainly should not be able to perform any of the game’s increasing numbers of trait- and special power-granted free actions.

This change would make Incapacitate worth every point, even on the high-damage types.

That wraps up Heroclixin’s list of most-needed changes to HeroClix. For the most part, I stuck with simple but effective tweaks to overcosted powers (except for the case of Mind Control, where I may have gone a little overboard) rather than more popular ideas like guaranteed healing with Regeneration or ability to draw line of fire to adjacent characters regardless of, well, anything. Cheap powers such as Smoke Cloud or the Swim ability were passed over because, while they are of pretty limited use without SPs or certain other elements upgrading them, they are, as I wrote, very inexpensive. Low cost = lower utility.

Coming in January is a pretty much solid month of Top Tens, starting with HeroClixin’s Top Ten figures of 2011. And believe you me, the competition this year is FIERCE!!



Remember Feats and Battlefield Conditions? I do.

Remember what a colossal pain they were to deal with? I do.

Do you miss having to deal with them in nearly every tournament? I don’t.

That’s why I was glad for the current Modern and Golden Age formats for HeroClix — the first, for the shiniest and newest elements of the game, uncluttered with destabilizing cardboard elements, and the other for when anything goes.

But in the years since the new formats, WizKids has introduced sets that, despite being the shiny-and-new, are not allowed in the Modern Age game (namely, the HALO and LORD OF THE RINGS sets). This is highly frustrating to those of us who want to play all our clix but don’t particularly care for the destabilizing cardboard elements that can clutter up Golden Age play — or who play in environments that lean more heavily on the Modern Age format.

Simply put, there needs to be an official middle ground between the two extremes for the heroic aspects of gameplay. (I stress “heroic” because a line’s still got to drawn somewhere. The starships of the Star Trek Tactics game don’t really belong. I really wish the designers had done a bit more to distinguish it from the normal HC lines). The number two most needed change to HeroClix is: “SILVER AGE: In this format, all HeroClix figures in Golden Age and Modern Age are legal for play. Feats and Battlefield Conditions are not legal for play. “

Outwit is one of the most expensive powers in the game, and with good reason: it alone has the ability to render useless the powers and/or abilities an opposing figure is paying good points for.

Not only that, but it can do so from the relative safety of 10 squares away, requiring only a clear line of fire. Thus, while the Outwitter is well away from the action, he or his pals can pile on the rendered-defenseless target.

That’s the problem with Outwit for a lot of players. Sometimes, for just a few points to use Outwit and little else, said Outwitter can essentially make multiple clicks of a single damage reducer, which a more powerful opponent needs to stay alive, utterly useless. Coupled with the action disadvantage the heavy hitters already have to overcome, this weakness to Outwit is somewhat unbalancing.

What, then, to do with Outwit? Some suggest restricting it to a shorter range. But I have sore memories of un-Stealthed Outwitters being easy kills even at the 10 range zone. And do we really want to make the best Outwitters — the Batman family and other sneaky types (The Question) — even better by encouraging them to Outwit you AND then shoot you, too? (Not that they can’t do it already, but this rule change would make it more commonplace.)

Others want Outwit not to affect higher-point characters, or to force a power action to do so. There, though, we run the risk of making the already-most-expensive-power-in-the-game Outwit a severely overcosted power on those cheaper pieces, who have paid the cost of the power so that their whole team need not be utterly helpless against high damage reduction. Anyone who’s faced an Invulnerable opponent with a team of only 2-damage fighters knows how much it stinks to depend on critical hits while praying to avoid the just-as-likely critical miss.

Here’s the solution: shorten Outwit’s duration somewhat. We’ve all seen this scenario play out:

PLAYER A: “Batman Outwits Hulk’s Invulnerability and shoots for 3.”
PLAYER B: “Hulk takes 3; he’s down to Toughness.”
PLAYER A: “Question Outwits his Toughness and takes a shot…HIT!”
PLAYER B: “Hulk took 2 and is back Invulnerable again.”
PLAYER A: “OK, since Invulnerability is still countered, Johnny Quick will Perplex his own damage to 3 and push to Hypersonic Hulk.”
PLAYER B: “#%@#%@!!!! I just took 8 straight clicks of damage from these peons!”

The enduring Outwit is the problem here, to me. Thus, the #3 most needed change to HeroClix ought to be this rewrite to Outwit:

“OUTWIT: Give this character a free action to counter a power or a combat ability possessed by a single target opposing character until the beginning of your next turn. Any game effects with a duration specified by the countered power or combat ability are removed. A character using this power must be within 10 squares and line of fire to the target. If a target character is damaged or healed, the effect of Outwit on that character ends immediately.

This change reins in Outwit in a manner more fitting to the source material. Perhaps Daredevil found a way to pierce The Thing’s rocky hide for one attack, but the pain of the hit makes Mr. Grimm tighten up his defenses and not get hit in that way again. It also keeps, say, old-school Black Panther’s 20-points’ worth click of Outwit from negating Superman’s 50-plus run of Impervious, giving Big Blue a chance against a swarm that gets around 6 attacks to his one.

And lest some think this weakens Outwit beyond usefulness for its cost, consider the scenario a few paragraphs above. With this small change, Hulk is STILL taking six clicks of damage that turn. But on a 10-11-click dial, that’s a significant improvement of his odds of survival.

A few revisions of the rules ago, Super Strength got a nice little upgrade for those occasional characters with the power who couldn’t smash through walls or destroy objects without help due to only having 1 or 2 damage value. And for a while, that was all the tweaking Super Strength needed.

But other rules have changed as well, leaving Super Strength somewhat in the dust.

See, back in the old days, Super Strength was guaranteed to have potentially six objects on the board, three of which you could pretty much rely on getting your Super Strong mitts on. But then came Special Objects, with several deleterious effects on the green Attack power:

  • early Special Objects frequently provided powerful 0-cost effects that using the object in an attack would deprive you of, discouraging said use;
  • there were also immobile blue-ringed objects that could never be used with Super Strength;
  • later, Special Objects would usually come with a point cost, further discouraging their use;
  • with the phasing out of feats and bystanders, these new Objects have become increasingly important point fillers, making them more ubiquitous;
  • and all Special Objects must be set up at least 5 squares from all starting areas, rendering them extra vulnerable to destruction by a long-ranged opponent;
  • worst of all, with objects becoming part of the force, players have the choice of fielding fewer or none at all, potentially halving the number of weapons available for Super Strength.

Simply put, all this has served to leave Super Strength rather literally empty-handed in Modern Age games where the perpetually usable Generator/Dumpster 3D object or the Rip It Up feat are unavailable.

Therefore, short of a Modern Age version of the Generator, the #4 most needed change to HeroClix is this revised line to Super Strength: “When this character makes a close combat attack targeting blocking terrain, a wall, or an object, modify its damage value by +2 for the attack and give it a light object from outside the game.”

It’s not a free action, being tied to an attack on terrain, and the object is immediately held, so this new ability to keep objects in the game shouldn’t break things too terribly. (Though Cyborg Superman gives me pause.) It also gives a little more reason to use that smashing 2nd ability of the power, even when already holding an object (not that you’d likely want to try with a heavy object).


Regeneration is a double-edged power. On the one hand, it’s a chance to do something few effects allow in HeroClix: healing. On the other hand, it’s a defense power that doesn’t help you one bit on defense and even has a solid chance of utter failure.

The problem is that, in the game, it’s a power action that eats up an opportunity to try running, or fighting, or anything else. In the comics, the power is almost always akin to Wolverine’s healing factor — healing that’s accelerated and automatic.

Regen isn’t costed to be that foolproof and guaranteed. (The Automatic Regeneration feat shows that.) But Regen isn’t quite right as it is, either. Namely, one should never —EVER! — have to risk pushing oneself to KO by choosing to use Regeneration.

Therefore, the #5 most needed change to HeroClix is this additional line to the power’s existing rules:

“This power does not cause pushing damage.”

Regeneration is a dicey enough power as it is. Negative clicks of healing shouldn’t be a possibility.


Mind Control is one of the most expensive powers in the game, and in the early days, it wasn’t hard to see why. Not only did it gain control over a character not on your force, allowing you to move it or make it attack its allies or deactivate one of its powers, but it also gave said character an action token, possibly pushing him/her. Essentially, it combined most of the effects of Telekinesis, Incapacitate and Outwit in one power.

Trouble was, Mind Control’s cost in the point formula isn’t even double ONE of those pricey powers, much less all three — it MIGHT cost as much as Incap OR Outwit. Consequently, it’s been steadily scaled back in a couple of ways:

  • Damage reducers are no longer optional and thus Mind Control can’t turn them “off.” (This used to be a vicious way of circumventing Impervious.)
  • The Mind Control action no longer gives the controlled character an action token.

While MC is still a potent power, it’s also very high-risk. Not only does the initial MC roll have to land (and not be Super Sensed), but then the target frequently has to make its own rolls to either attack its friendlies or try to break away from them. There’s a great chance that this high-risk power could yield very low reward.

Additionally, unlike most other offensive powers, Mind Control has no moving-attack option other than Telekinesis. The power does gain a bit of extra utility when used with extra targets, though the chance of extra self-damage rises, too.

“What’s the big deal?” some might say. “Other powers are pretty situational, too!” But those other powers are much less expensive than Mind Control is. For Mind Control to share a similar price point as the likes of Outwit or Running Shot, it needs to be a power worth using whenever it shows on a dial — one that begs using instead of simply doing a regular attack.

Even setting aside the playability issues, Mind Control also just doesn’t reflect the comics so well. Most of the time, MC is used as a ranged attack and thus requires line of fire. The trouble? Mind Control in the comics doesn’t always require line of fire to the target. Ways mind control occurs in comics:

  • Telepathy (Professor X, Saturn Girl)
  • Illusions (Princess Projectra, Mysterio)
  • Gas or pheromones (Mysterio, Purple Man, Daken, Deadly Nightshade)
  • Hypnotism (Gorgon, Ringmaster)
  • Attached devices (Red King, Mad Hatter)
  • Gobs and gobs of money (Bruce Wayne)

In fact, in many cases it’s more comic-accurate to say the target needs the line of fire to the Mind Controller, not the other way around!

With these things in mind, the #6 most needed change to HeroClix should be this:

MIND CONTROL: Give this character a power action; it makes a close combat or ranged combat attack (minimum range value 4) as a free action using 3 dice (ignore 1 for the result) that deals no damage and ignores Stealth and Shape Change. A successfully hit target becomes friendly to your force. Each target hit may be assigned one action as a free action, immediately after which the target becomes an opposing character again. Deal this character 1 unavoidable damage for each 100 points of the successfully hit targets’ combined point value.

It’d be another light blow to Shape Change, but given all those methods of mind control that just don’t care WHAT the target looks like, I don’t see why Shape Change should ever really work against Mind Control. And again, so many methods of Mind Control can’t be prevented by mere camouflage, so no Stealth. Finally, the “roll-3-use-2” change reflects Mind Control’s difficulty to evade, as it’s usually an unseen attack. It also gives players a reason to try it rather than simply making a standard attack.

That puts us halfway through the list. Have a Merry Christmas and rejoin us tomorrow for the first of the top 5 changes needed for HeroClix!

Some time ago, I did a Top Ten on Barrier, writing something about how it’s one of those sleeper powers that can totally steal the show when built right.

But Barrier has one big, stupid problem: It can only be used on clear terrain.

"So I can use my powers to make shields of ice, but can't turn the water around me INTO ice? LAME."

Barrier should be air-tight; the appearance of unoccupied hindering terrain or water terrain or special terrain shouldn’t preclude the placement of the Barrier token.

Therefore, the #7 most needed change to HeroClix is the change of this line to Barrier from this:

“place up to four blocking terrain markers in adjacent squares of clear terrain that are all within this character’s range (minimum range 1)”

to this:

“place up to four blocking terrain markers in adjacent squares of unoccupied non-blocking terrain that are all within this character’s range (minimum range 1)”

The only wrinkle is how would it interact with objects in squares. I’d rule they can coexist, but there might be a ruling I’m overlooking.

Originally, both Injustice League and Masters of Evil got this identical team ability:

“When two or more friendly Injustice League team members are adjacent to the same opposing character, each team member may use this team ability to be given a close combat or ranged combat action which may target only that adjacent opposing character. The total number of actions given using this team ability during a turn requires only one action from your available actions for the turn, but each Injustice League team member given an action using this team ability receives an action token after the action has been resolved.”

Back when the rules allowed actions after being carried by a flier, this TA was pretty powerful and worth its points. But that hasn’t been the case since about 2003 or so. It got especially useless when the 2008 rules pretty much killed off ranged attacks in adjacency.

See, it seems that any ability that grants extra actions in a turn is priced pretty highly in the point formula. That’s why so many Masters of Evil characters seem to be at least a little overpriced compared to otherwise similar figures.

I’m thinking of you, M+M Wrecker.

Masters of Evil got a nifty upgrade in 2006 that made the expensive TA better worth its cost (I mean, can you imagine how incredibly bad that Wrecker would be with the old TA? Brrrrr). But Injustice League TA lingered in its old state for many years more…no doubt due, in part, to HeroClix’s unfortunate year-long dirtnap lasting from about this time in 2008 through 2009.

Finally, in 2010, there was this from the then-rules arbiter:

“When we were reviewing the team abilities, we knew that this was the one that needed a change. Like its predecessor, Masters of Evil, the team ability as worded just never sees very much play. Instead of just making it change to follow Masters of Evil, we tried to make the team ability more functional within the spirit of its original intention.”

That spirit was the Masters of Evil essentially all curb-stomping one guy at once.

So it got this rewrite: “Whenever a character using the Injustice League team ability attacks an opposing character that was attacked by another character using the Injustice League team ability this turn, the action does not count toward your available actions this turn.”

That’s basically the same thing as before, only it doesn’t require adjacency, finally letting the dastardly villains gang up on enemies from a distance. It’s a very positive change.

It’s still sub-par.

It still only saves actions from being eaten up. But on your average 300-point team, using up actions is not likely to be a problem at all, given the 95-point average cost of Modern Age Injustice League team members. (So you’ve only used one action of the three in your pool. So what? You only had three characters anyway.) Sure, you could bolster your swarm by adding wild cards, but it’s still a weak ability for the point cost.

At the same time, I’m not a fan of simply making it a clone of Masters of Evil again. Doing so the first time was just lazy design, in my opinion. Apparently, WizKids thought so, too.

Perhaps IL should take a hint from this year’s change to Leadership. Instead of simply granting some extra, but largely unneeded (and conditional) actions, what if it really increased action totals by also removing tokens like Leadership can now? That way, it benefits not only the swarms but also the higher-priced two-member squads.

Therefore, the #8 most-needed change to HeroClix is this rewrite to the Injustice League team ability:

When a character using this team ability makes an attack, after actions resolve another character using this team ability can immediately make an attack on the same opposing character that doesn’t count toward your available actions this turn. At the end of your turn, remove an action token from each character that used this team ability to make an unsuccessful attack this turn.

Saving actions is fine, but getting more consecutive actions is better. This version keeps the gang-pile spirit of the power but makes it better for bigger-cost Injusticers and their lower-AV friends.

Welcome back to the photographic record of Super-Strength characters who can hold their own object tokens. Today we’re looking at more from the HULK set!

Icehulk (Incredible Hulk #048, center) and A.I.Marine Hulk (#100, right) hboth holds their tokens neatly in the ice formation and under his right arm, respectively. But Hulk Robot (#006, left) really doesn’t grip the token nearly as well as it looks like he does here.


Thundra  (#012) and her daughter and sculpt-mate Lyra (#016) both hold the token easily under their left arm.   (Doc Samson (#030) does it even better and more dynamically!


The Prince of Power, Hercules  (#026)  easily grips the token under his left arm. And, in center, Spider-Man (#038) surprises you: his hands aren’t glued to the wall, so a token can be held most excellently. Finally, Mrs. Green Scar Caiera (#039) perfectly cradles the token in her open arms like the mother she is. (Then she’ll smash your enemies with it like the baaaaaad mutherhushyomouf she also is.)


 Skarr (#015 and #207) obviously takes after his parents, Caiera above and Green Scar (Mutations & Monsters #033) below:
…but before we digress too far off the Hulk SET path…

Tiger Shark (#033) grips the token well for a guy who’s frequently all wet. :)


And to wrap up, the Mighty Thorr (#050) uses the lightning to heft his object.

I want to publicly thank fellow players David of Griffin, Lenny of Lawrenceville and Paul of Decatur for allowing me to paw and photograph their brand-new figures for this edition of Token Totin’, as I only own the first three featured (Hulk Robot, Icehulk and A.I.Marine Hulk) due to car repairs eating up my already-meager clix funds.

Christmas is upon us, and I want to celebrate a little by continuing my Top Ten Changes I Want for Clix throughout the holidays! Check in daily starting tomorrow for #8!

Outsiders team ability reads: “Once at the beginning of your turn as a free action, characters using the Outsiders team ability may choose a character (including itself) within 10 squares to which it has a clear line of fire. Until the beginning of your next turn, the target’s combat values can’t be modified. This team ability can’t be used by wild cards.”
There’s something about being an Outsider. (No, it’s got nothing to do with the S.E. Hinton-penned classic novel. (Which I have not read.)) Chiefly, the appearance of this team ability nearly always coincides with an overcosted, less-than-efficient dial.
That means the TA is probably pretty expensive, and with good reason. Outsiders TA can, with but a glance, essentially kill off all of the following:
  • Perplex
  • Close Combat Expert
  • Ranged Combat Expert
  • Energy Shield/Deflection
  • Combat Reflexes
  • Super Strength
  • Enhancement
  • and any number of Special Powers and Traits that cause modifications of stats.
 In fact, the Mutations & Monsters figure Danger showed us just how good a similar ability could be via her own uncounterable Special Power that nixes stat modifications automatically on sight. Because of that potential, Outsiders is limited in a couple of important ways:
  1. Unlike other budget-busters like Superman Enemy or Masters of Evil, it can’t be copied by wild cards.
  2. It’s only usable at the beginning of the turn.
 It’s that second part that really hinders Outsiders from being good. Unlike similarly powerful (and expensive) free-action abilities like Perplex or Outwit (or the not-so-pricey, non-action, but still powerful Probability Control), Outsiders is a lot harder to use well.
  • You can’t be taxied and then use it.
  • You can’t be TKed and then use it.
  • You can’t even move and then use it.
If you’re not where you want or need to be to use Outsiders on a target at turn’s start, you just can’t use it at all. Meanwhile, opponents have a large window of opportunity to cut off the Outsider’s line of fire, making it likely that the Outsider will NEVER get to use its expensive team ability to any degree.
Thus, the #9 most-needed change to HeroClix ought to be this rewrite to the Outsiders team ability:
As a free action, characters using the Outsiders team ability may choose a character (including itself) within 6 squares to which it has a clear line of fire. Until the beginning of your next turn, the target’s combat values can’t be modified. This team ability is uncopyable.
This way, it’s actually of actual use by characters other than Crisis Nightwing. Reining in the range should keep it from passively overwhelming the game.
Next post, I think I’ll dip once more into the vaults for another HULK edition of Token Totin.’ Then join me for the #8 Change Needed for Clixmas!