What was it like to win the Modern Age World Championship in 2013?
Surreal. I was happy just to make it back into the top 8 after not doing so well in 2012, but then, in 2013, I made the top 8 again and kept on going. My wife was there as well; it was her first real experience with high-level tournaments and she had enough emotions for the both of us.
When it was all said and done I was pretty excited and started going over character designs in my head.
Did you enjoy the competition?
The competition was good; there were a ton of great players around. It was good to see both new and familiar faces in the top 16. The higher you go though, the more exciting and stressful it gets.
What first brought you to the world of HeroClix?
The webcomic, Sluggy Freelance. The author would talk about HeroClix and draw pictures of rules interactions he found silly. I was looking for a new hobby to get into and decided to nab a booster. My brother came along too. Mutant Mayhem was the newest set out and we both grabbed boosters of Unleashed. My brother pulled a Unique Magog and the store employee gave us a quick demo. From then on I was hooked and I have been playing steadily ever since.
How long have you been playing HeroClix?
Since Mutant Mayhem was released so 2003 or 4? It’s not something I’ve ever really thought about but it’s definitely been about 10 or so years.
How often do you play, and where do you play HeroClix?
It varies, I play anywhere from 1-2 times a week. I’m usually at The Uncanny in King of Prussia Pennsylvania, but I also bounce around between a few other venues depending on my availability and what the event is.
What is your favorite thing about HeroClix?
I like the strategy and the silliness of the game as a whole. There are 1001 combos and some of the mechanics are pretty fun. I just recently had my first game with the Flash set, and had a ton of fun with the new Speed Force powers.
So, we know you’re probably eager to talk about your 2013 Championship figure. With all of the characters available out there, what finally nudged you towards Shriek?
Well, originally I wanted to do Dex-Starr but when I heard that he was going to be released in a set I changed my mind. I did this because I really wanted to bring a new figure into HeroClix. I had done a favorite of mine, Mr. Sinister, in 2011 who was desperately in need of a remake. This time, I wanted to do something new. Once Dex-Starr was out, in my mind, there was only one other figure I could make, and that was Shriek.
My brother and I were both huge fans of the Maximum Carnage Comic and Video Game back in the day. I have many fond memories of playing that game with my brother and being incredibly frustrated at how ridiculously hard, but fun it was.
Over the years, I watched WizKids bring out a new Carnage, and make Doppleganger, Carrion, and Demogoblin but no Shriek to finish off the carnage family. Then she came soooooo close to winning the fan vote that there really was no other choice for me.
What were the challenges or considerations you faced while conceptualizing such a figure?
She’s on a much lower level then Sinister power-wise, so I absolutely wanted to keep her point cost down. I also wanted her to be exactly 119 points, as that would let her and the rest of the Maximum Carnage folks be played at 600 on the nose with their ATA.
So with that, I really had to not fall into the trap that I did with Sinister, which was ALL POWERS ALL THE TIME. If you look at Sinister, there’s not a spot on his dial where he doesn’t have a power and I think that bloats him a bit. With Shriek, I definitely wanted to go lean and mean without shortchanging anything she can do and without making anything too over-powered.
Now that Guardians of the Galaxy has released—walk us through your dial design for Shriek.
The first thing I had to do was represent her as the core of the Maximum Carnage Family. During that story she definitely did what she could to keep them together, and inspired fierce loyalty from both Carrion and Doppleganger. Demogoblin less so, but he still stuck around. That led to her first trait:
A TWISTED MOTHER: Adjacent friendly characters with the Maximum Carnage keyword modify their attack and defense values by +1. If Shriek took damage from an attack since your last turn, one friendly character with the Maximum Carnage keyword can use Charge as a free action, but while using it may only attack a character that damaged Shriek since your last turn.
I definitely designed this trait with Doppleganger and Carrion in mind. During the Maximum Carnage storyline, Doppleganger actually attacks Carnage for striking Shriek and remains fiercely protective of her. Granting the ability to use Charge to hurt whoever hurt her was a great way to do that, and it combos with the Flurry that Doppleganger has, as well as Carrion’s Exploit Weakness special. The bonuses to attack and defense were applied to show that fierce loyalty she inspired in her “children”. Because Doppleganger is golden age though, the trait was not limited to any one figure with the keyword.
Her second trait is a result of Shriek’s somewhat varied power set. She can project waves of sound from her hands, which both harms and causes a psionic feedback of despair. She used it to cause Cloak to flee from his guilt at allowing Dagger to die (she got better) and, towards the end, when she and Carnage are torturing Spider-Man during his last stand. “A Double Blast from her Psychic Shotgun” is actually a direct quote from Carnage that describes the effect. Despair is a bit of a hard thing to conceptualize in HeroClix, and the effect wore off quickly once she stopped so a -1 to all combat values when she hits a single character was my idea. It also works well with her other trait, as she can hit an opposing character and give them a -1 while granting an attack bonus to her buddy.
Then it was on to her most famous power and scene from the Maximum Carnage storyline. Shriek described it as pushing out the bedbugs in her head and that being around Carnage had made it more powerful. The power name is actually a direct quote from where she described it and so very 90’s that I had to use it.
CARNAGE IS THE BATTERY, AND I’M THE RADIO!: Characters within range that do not have the Maximum Carnage keyword possess Battle Fury. Shriek can use Mind Control, and when she does, she can target any opposing characters within range regardless of line of fire or Battle Fury, and she isn’t dealt unavoidable damage from Mind Control.
This was such a hard power to finally nail down. It went through so many iterations. In the Maximum Carnage story, Shriek actually causes half the city to give into insanity. This caused crime and riots and pushed the heroes to the very brink to try and stop her. She was able to do this almost effortlessly, only straining herself when she was counteracting Iron Fists’ ability to calm the crowd.
In the end, I chose to allow her to passively give out battle fury to represent her ability to enrage, with the ability to mind control figures within her range. This represents how she passively makes you crazy, but when she pushes herself, she can really make you do something nasty. Limiting it to her range was a way to reel it in as she could be justified in affecting the entire board.
Once her special powers were hashed out, assigning the standard powers was next.
For her movement, most of it was always going to be dominated by her special ability but I also wanted to give her some sort of positioning power to represent how she and Carnage moved from block to block during their rampage. Running Shot really didn’t fit her, as she never really moved and then shot. Sidestep seemed like a happy medium and it being a free action worked for me. Her improved movement was there to represent how she continually escaped from the heroes and couldn’t be stopped for quite awhile.
Psychic Blast I felt more then adequately represented her Sonic Blast, with the end dial Precision Strike representing her Torturing Spider-Man and peeling the Symbiote off of Venom.
Defensively Super Senses really made sense. At one point she is fending off multiple heroes, dodging everything they toss at her until she is hit in the back of the head by Cap’s shield. The best way to represent that was Super Senses. The willpower mixed in towards the end represents when she was willing the city to violence, then switch back to senses for the end while torturing Spiderman.
Empower is the final bit to represent that fierce loyalty she received from Doppleganger and Carrion and to give her charge trait a little bit of extra goodness. She really didn’t deserve perplex/outwit, and she was never one to help someone shoot when she could be right there throwing a punch as well. Probability control would have been completely out of character as well and I couldn’t think of any justification for it.
Thank you for chatting with us, Dan— any parting thoughts?
It’s been a heck of a ride and I really hope that Shriek fans out there enjoy the character. I never expected to get a chance to make a second piece and I hope you have as much fun playing her as I did making her.
Name: Daniel Joynes
WES ID: morand
Location: Lansdale, Pennsylvania
How long have you played: 10 years
Favorite local venues:
The Uncanny, Tales of Adventure