A few years back, I did a far-too-long article reviewing all characters with the Atlantis keyword. This series is a needed update.
For example, the old article opens with a list of the problems an Atlantis team has: the weakness of the Swim ability on maps with little to no water, the dearth of supporting powers and a total lack of long range.
But a number of these weaknesses have been addressed in the past 2.5 years: Most dolphin Speed characters get water-based bonuses and there is more water terrain on maps — or ways to get it — than ever, the amount of “pit crew” powers has at least doubled and range values in the general game have been lowered even as the number of ranged Atlantis figures has grown.
Finally, Heroclixin’ is splitting up this update into much smaller slices and spreading them out a bit.
There are some things a F.U.N. ‘clixer needs to consider when running the fishmen.
Because it’s a named keyword, Atlantis has a good shot at map choice. So make sure you have some Watery maps. Many of these characters’ powers depend upon water.
Many maps offer some water, but the trouble with most is that the water is either so minimal (see, for example, the Graveyard [The Brave and the Bold]), remotely placed (as in The Lab (Armor Wars)) or both (re: the Axis Chemical Plant [Icons], the Training Complex and Institute Grounds [both Danger Room], The Crater [Brightest Day]) as to be tactically useless, or the water is so central that it becomes a fish-in-a-barrel shoot for elevated snipers and Hypersonic hit-and-runners (Centennial Park Zoo [Icons]).
- Killer Croc’s Lair (Streets of Gotham) has a healthy amount of water terrain, and much of it is behind walls so the swimmers won’t be completely vulnerable to ranged attacks.
- Dock (No Man’s Land) is about 40% water. Use the post-cataclysm side for best blocking terrain cover.
- Pacific Ocean (Fear Itself Month 5) is entirely water, and swimmers get a few extra movement bonuses on it. But beware: Objects on your force can’t be placed on this map!
- Flooded Wakanda [Avengers Vs. X-Men Month 2] is mostly water, with land islands. These islands have walls that help shield the swimmers from lines of fire outside their retaliation zone, making this one of the best maps of all for Atlantis.
- Aruna Temple (BPRD Action Pack), the original “water map.” While it’s gold for Atlantis teams, it’s also very open, offering excellent lines of fire for long-ranged shooters. Swim with care.
- The Dockyard (Starro Attacks) and The Bridge (Web of Spider-Man) are even worse in this regard, with every square of their copious water terrain visible from multiple elevated zones.
- The Dawn of Time (Crisis) has a large river running through it (and if you play its Time Zones, the Kooey Kooey Kooey and Camelot zones offer a lot and a little water, respectively). There’s a lot of hindering terrain to deal with, though.
But, of course, many maps have no water at all. There are some ways around this limitation, at least in Golden Age games.
- Atlantis Rising. Save this Battlefield Condition for that eventuality and hope your opponent doesn’t have his themed-team ignore function to spend. But even if you’re not able to use this card, all is not lost.
- The Opened Hydrant special object gives you as much as 3 x 3 squares of water on any map. Place it carefully! Indoor maps are best, as the water effect isn’t blocked by walls. Note that it only works on clear grounded terrain.
- Bucket of Water. This light special grants a single square of portable water terrain. Super Strength’s ability to drop objects make it even more usable.
- The third object on your force needs to be either the Dumpster or the Generator — a 3D heavy object that’s not destroyed in an attack. Atlantis has a lot of Super Strength pieces, so it needs this to realize maximum damage potential.
A Golden Age Atlantis team is going to need feats. Here are the main two to look to.
- Submerged. Moving through water is OK. Hiding in water is pretty awesome. On a Golden Age team, this 5-point feat should be present on multiple characters. Note that it won’t fit on Dolphin Transporters.
- Rip It Up. Although it’s a double-edged sword that keeps you from picking up heavy items, it’s still a way to make certain this Super Strength-laden keyword always has extra damage and/or range attack! It’s also a way to get objects for use in the Pacific Ocean map.
In Modern Age, you’ll need to look to the Atlantis ATA, which gives characters a +1 DV bonus against ranged attacks while in water. This stacks with the hindering bonus, too. But note that depending on who else is on the team, you may wish to use a different ATA to boost those characters instead of this comparatively weak ability.
The Matter Rearranger ring and its attendant resource, the Power Plant, from Invincible Iron Man is the relic of choice for the Atlantis keyword, giving Modern Age teams a way of getting — one square at a time — water terrain even on maps that have none.
Enough basics. In future installments, Heroclixin’ reviews the characters by point cost: Under 50, 51-100 and so on. We’ll also recommend cards to help maximize each piece. Stay tuned.