This is actually going to be more of a straight-up battle report, as the 900-point Modern Age tourney I attended got me the chance to play a big Birds of Prey theme:
Big Barda (Batman) 148
Black Canary (Fast Forces) 100
Huntress (Fast Forces) 100
Hawk (Fast Forces) 100
Dove (Batman) 86
Katana (Batman) 76
Lady Shiva (Streets) 67
Lady Blackhawk (Fast Forces) 50
Oracle (Fast Forces) 50
and, wearing a maxed-out Utility Belt…
Oracle (10th Anniversary) 73
Wait…WHAT? Wasn’t this one of the Top Ten WORST pieces of 2012? Yes, it was. But the U.B. on this barely mobile support piece seemed the most F.U.N. approach to using it.
My basic strat was to use Lady Blackhawk to ferry Barda, Shiva, little Oracle and Canary to hindering patches in preparation for Boom Tubings. Big Oracle would use PC or Perplex or Outwit as needed from the starting area or a building somewhere (which wouldn’t be a problem thanks to a pair of Grapnel Guns on her Belt) with Katana acting as bodyguard. Hawk and Dove would back up Barda.
Here’s how it actually went down (all played on the Jotunheim mountain map):
- Dan, my first opponent, was really green and blundered right into my attack. But I played a little too conservatively and got Dove killed before she could finish a near-dead Terrax. Also rather improbably missed four of five attacks in one turn on Ancient One, who slowed down my force from helping. Meanwhile, Dan had sent Gladiator pushing to one-shot 10th Oracle clear on my side of the map for the difference in the game. 0-1.
- The very young Kai’s army of Haunted Tank, tons of Living Mummies and a pair of Franken-Castles were no match for my superior tactics. KO’d both his Spider-Girls (which were there just to grab LE The Zombie’s relic) and Franken-Castles for the win when time ran out. 1-1.
- Ended with a victory against new but learning Dakota’s pair of Electros, The Mighty Avenger (fully Gauntleted), Baron Mordo, Big Barda, Ancient One and Man-Thing. He unwisely claimed the high ground, which put him in my swing range. I lost Black Canary but took Barda and both Electros for the clear difference. 2-1.
Had a lot of unplayed pieces in this team:
Black Canary (Fast Forces): Despite Barda ostensibly being the lead attacker, in each match it was Canary who actually made the first strike with her Running Shot + Pulse Wave combo. A fantastic piece that totally made this team work.
Huntress (Fast Forces) impressed much less, but that’s only because of the sheer firepower on the force. Running Shot + Willpower allowed her to press the attack more than once. I probably should have been much more aggressive with her than I was. I’m not totally sold on her as my go-to Huntress, but less likely to just trade/sell the piece away now.
Hawk (Fast Forces) IS my go-to version of the character. Great attack value and armor makes him the better partner to Dove (especially the 0 damage version I prefer).
Lady Shiva (Streets) was Big Barda’s passenger, the KO blow to Barda’s opening shot. Combat Reflexes + 18 DV made her a great tie-up piece to safeguard Barda post-Boom Tube.
Lady Blackhawk (Fast Forces), along with her set-mate Oracle, was the engine of mobility for this team. Her super-taxi skills got Barda and Canary in range of attacking anyone for the early game, then ferried Dove in range for her combat skills in the thick of it.
Oracle (10th Anniversary) was on the team for the F.U.N. combo of her running the Utility Belt: Friendly because, well, it’s Oracle; Useful because of her “Eyes Are Everywhere” trait; and Nifty because much of it is quite character-accurate for Oracle’s long reach. I used the following items:
- Radar Monitor to leech enemy team abilities. Cracking enemy codes is totally something Oracle would do.
- Two (2) Grapnel Guns were to ensure she could get onto elevated terrain in a hurry if necessary. Oracle’s been known to use them to hoist herself to different levels of her Clock Tower in emergencies.
- Gas Pellets (planted on her team ahead of time to be remotely activated in need) were useful as a surprise contingency combined with her trait. Next time I try this Oracle+Belt combo, I need to double up on these!
- Two set of Batarangs, on the other hand, were NOT as needed nor as comic-accurate. I’ll drop ’em in a flash for Flash Grenades (natch!) or more Gas Pellets.
That wasn’t the only fun I had with the Utility Belt. Prior to the tourney, I had a quick fun game with some unplayed Spy pieces:
and, cinching her business suit with a Utility Belt (OBVIOUSLY snatched from Bruce Wayne’s boudoir, so to speak), my #10 Favorite piece of 2012:
Unfortunately, the opponent was Blackheart and his two Hellfire Guards. The big bad demon kept siccing his Poison gargoyle on my team, drawing my fire over and over. I should’ve let it Poison Tate to her Outwit and then countered its Poison over and over.
The Belt’s stat boosts were a great help to a low-damage piece like Tate. I also got some use out of Gas Pellets, Batarangs and the Radar Monitor.
As for the never-played pieces on the team:
KGBeast was OK with his range but missed the one shot he got off before that stupid gargoyle tied him up and Poisoned. He’s a bit too soft for the attacker he ought to be. I’ll keep him around for the Russian theme team I’ve been wanting to run (complete with accent to being used for each declared action, da?) but not beyond that.
Similarly, Skrull Saboteur spent most of the time tied by that same Gargoyle. A decent tie-up in his own right (thanks to Toughness), SS is more suited to range with his Energy Explosion. But he’s for Skrull teams or nothing, IMO.
Finally, El Gaucho was unable to effectively leverage his talents with the knife as he needed to get in close to deal with Blackheart and his Hellfire shields. He did OK, but played more like a 60-point piece rather than a 92-point one.
So I’m warming to the Utility Belt. It’s a dynamic little resource outside of the +1/+2 stuff. As you can see from this article, I’m still more focused on making it F.U.N. rather than powergamey. But that’s what you expect from Heroclixin’!
On Friday, just in time for Black History Month to be over, check out my reviews of a half-dozen black characters in the second half of Figure Flush Week Two.