Greetings HeroClix Fans!
Every year, HeroClix players assemble at Gen Con Indy to play through a gauntlet of worthy opponents and challengers, all with the aim of proving they’re worthy of the mantle of HeroClix World Champion! Today we check in with 2012 HeroClix World Champ Alex Avila, who is nice enough to give us a peek behind the curtain and tell us what it was like to participate in the HeroClix design process.
WizKids: Hello Alex, thank you for joining us today!
Alex Avila: Hello, thank you for having me!
WK: It’s entirely our pleasure. We’re very excited to have this opportunity to speak with you. So, what was it like to win HeroClix Worlds 2012?
Alex: Worlds 2012 was a lot of fun. Great staff at the WizKids booth and excellent competition. I had 3 members of Immortal Team Rubicon there, so I had wonderful support, scouting, and brainstorming in my corner. The last chance grinder I slipped in through was grueling and I’ll always remember the razor thin margin I beat Hair10, an excellent player, by. Day 2 was no less exhausting, but the surreality of being up against those players and those amazing teams distracted me from the mental strain.
WK: Did you enjoy the competition?
Alex: The competition was one of the greatest experiences of my life. In a local tournament or casual game, one can usually make a placement mistake without much trouble. At worlds, your opponent will capitalize on any mistake you make. In my first game of day 2, I forgot my perplexes first turn and my speedster opponent one shotted scarlet witch. It’s just a different level of play, and I love it.
WK: What sort of strategies impressed you?
Alex: The strategies were fantastic. “Build me a doomsday weapon” was a popular option along with “HSS is KING!” teams. My favorites were Patricia Lam’s evasive Eradicator, and George Massu’s Black Adam cannon. Both showed incredible movement potential and synergy, though they weren’t quite my style. The best thing about the teams was the variety. No two teams were the same and, with the exception of the (Infinity) Gauntlet, no element was on more than half the teams.
WK: How long have you been playing HeroClix?
Alex: I’ve been playing since Secret Invasion/Arkham Asylum.
WK: What first brought you to the world of HeroClix?
Alex: I actually played MechWarrior for a bit back in the day. My brother Jon really got me into HeroClix though. Specifically when he showed me how to TK 73 pt Gamora at vet Icons Superman and Exploit (Weakness). Rolled one 6 for blades and I was hooked.
WK: How often do you play, and where do you play HeroClix?
Alex: I play at two venues most weeks: Comics and Gaming in Gainesville and Fairfax. I judge at a shop in Vienna called Game On! Comics. The real work gets done in my buddy’s garage, which we call the Lab.
WK: So, we know you’re probably eager to talk about your 2012 Championship figure. With all of the characters available out there, what finally nudged you towards Stargirl?
Alex: There was never a doubt in my mind that my choice was Stargirl. She’s my favorite super hero and has been an inspiration to my life. Kudos to Geoff Johns for creating a character his sister would be proud of.
WK: What were the challenges or considerations you faced while conceptualizing such a high-profile figure?
Alex: Well, I didn’t want to go completely fanboy and give her monster combat values and crazy powers. However, I had reason to suspect that this is the only shot Courtney (Whitmore, Stargirl) will have for a redux, so I figured I’d make a definitive version. In all honesty I wanted to make a tribute to the JSA (Justice Society of America) comics that had such a huge impact on me.
WK: I can only imagine what it feels like to have this opportunity. What’s your favorite aspect of the finished piece?
Alex: My favorite aspect is her playability at both point values. She can be a team leader or a brutally efficient support piece/secondary attacker. Her gadgets keep her fairly well protected and with some JSA buddies or a nice wildcard, she is nigh untouchable.
WK: What did you think of Stargirl’s sculpt when you first saw it?
Alex: I just couldn’t believe it. The digital sculpt looks just like me and every detail from the shot I wanted was present. They even got my belt and beanie perfect. Of course, Stargirl looks incredible and is the centerpiece to the whole sculpt.
WK: Well, we’ve kept folk waiting long enough, we should probably show everyone Stargirl now. Any parting thoughts before we do so?
Alex: Yes, I just want to thank the people who helped me along the way. Shout outs to the members of Team Rubicon: Andre Robinson, Paul Briggs, John Compton, Scott Lovelady and Jacob Whitlow. Thank you to the honorary members as well: Jon Avila, Jim Mattingly, Kelsi Lynn and Alex Rothschild. And, thank you to my friends, family, judges, and the incredible staff at WizKids.
WK: Thank you Alex. You’ve been a gentleman and a scholar. Now, would you mind taking us through Stargirl’s dial?
Alex: Thanks, I would be happy to! Wow, so there’s a lot going on on this card. Let’s take a look at the traits first. Student and Teacher gives Stargirl’s teammates a little extra “oomph!” if they are a lower point value, share a keyword, and are adjacent by modifying their attacks values by +1. Conversely, if she is played at 75, Stargirl gains the +1 AV when adjacent to a higher point friendly character with a common keyword.
Her second trait, Cosmic Belt or Cosmic Rod, allows her two options which give her access to different powers and abilities. Stargirl will always have +2 defense, but depending on her die roll it will apply to either close or ranged combat attacks. If you roll/choose the Cosmic Rod, Courtney can use Ranged Combat Expert, allowing her to deal 4+ damage down her dial. If you roll/choose the Cosmic Belt, Stargirl can use Incapacitate, has two targets and a range of 4, and gains access to the Sharpshooter combat ability.
Now to the special powers. Stargirl starts the game with either of two special powers, depending on her point value. At 110, she begins the game with Stunning Blow. Just like the old feat, which featured her on the card art, this special power allows Stargirl to deal her printed damage value whenever she uses incapacitate. At 75, she shows her discipular aptitude in the form of Star Pupil. With this power, Stargirl can be given a free action to “copy” a standard attack or damage power from an adjacent higher point friendly character with a common keyword.
The combat values and standard powers on Stargirl’s dial make her pretty decent attacker at either point cost. At 110, she sports Running Shot, giving her a threat range of 12, and Leadership to boost her teammates’ effectiveness even further. At 75, Ms. Whitmore has a range of option for attacking or support. She retains Running Shot, though she loses Leadership, and tacks on Barrier and Telekinesis to cut off lines of fire or deliver an attacker into the right position. At the back of her dial, Stargirl has two clicks of close combat expert to finish out a fight. Throw in a smattering of Toughness and Charge, and Stargirl remains a threat through most of her dial.
Now with capabilities as an attacker and support piece, plus aptitudes at close or ranged combat, the real question is who to pair Stargirl with. For a JSA team, you might want to throw on 93 pt Green Lantern (#011) and 86 pt Flash (#018) from DC10th Anniversary. Plenty of 18 defense to share, and GL gives Stargirl access to Ranged Combat Expert even when she rolls/chooses Sharpshooter. With 11 pts or 46 pts to spare, depending on a Stargirl’s cost, there’s room plenty of room for ATAs and Resources.
In the case of Justice League, there are a lot of options. A simple choice for high defense shenanigans is 150 pt Superman Fast Forces Superman and 75 pt DC TabApp (D-003) Wonder Woman. This team sports two potential 20 defenses from range, 3x 11 Attack Values, and two Probability Controls with Stargirl at 75 pts.
If generic Keywords are more your style, Martial Artist has always been an excellent option. Paired with 76 pt Streets of Gotham (#038) David Cain, Stargirl becomes a powerhouse of a disciple. Thanks to both Cain’s and Stargirl’s traits, she can shoot with a 12 Attack Value for 6 Damage! Add 148 pt Teen Titans (#037a) Deathstroke to copy the JSA team ability, and Courtney can have a 20 defense for close or ranged combat, plus two chances to take action tokens off of her.
Well, it’s been a pleasure showing this piece, but all good things must come to an end. Tune in next time for more exciting HeroClix previews!
WK: Thanks again Alex! Stargirl will be available once DC HeroClix: Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes hits stores this February! Thanks for joining us today, and like the man says, come back soon for more exciting previews!