Heroclix HeroClix Rules Review Rules Question

A Whole New World – Energy Explosion

Greetings HeroClix Fans!

Welcome back to our series of articles where we walk you through the new changes to the Powers and Abilities card recently revealed and coming soon to a starter near you.

Today’s article is going to focus on one power and one power only – Energy Explosion.

For years, this power has been challenging for players, both rookies and veterans, leading to questions about targeting, damage, and so on. When we were tackling this project, we looked back to some of the various versions of Energy Explosion we have had, how effective they were, how things changed and why.

If you’ve been playing HeroClix for any amount of time, if you’ve used even once, you need to throw out all of your preconceptions for how the power works, because of all the things changed in 2013, this one power has changed the most. The spirit of what it does is very close, but the way in which it works is drastically different. Let’s take a look:


There is the PAC entry, but we’re going to take the language one step at a time.

When this character is given a ranged combat action…

Right up front, there is a major change to how Energy Explosion activates. Energy Explosion now activates any time you are given a ranged combat action; it doesn’t require its own action for activation. Think of how Blades/Claws/Fangs works (in relation to a close combat action)and this change should be no problem to understand. Just like Blades will activate any time you use Flurry or within Charge, Energy Explosion will activate within a Running Shot, when you use Penetrating/Psychic Blast, or even Pulse Wave. We’ll look at some of these combinations later. The important thing to remember is that you no longer give your character an action to activate Energy Explosion. It automatically activates whenever that character is given a ranged combat action.

…and deals damage,…

In order for the power to activate, besides the ranged combat action, there also needs to be damage dealt. Now, there’s been a fair amount of confusion for what this means, so I’ll make it as plain as can be. When damage is assigned to a character that is the target of the ranged combat attack, that causes Energy Explosion to activate. The design team has determined that mentioning the damage in this specific clause isn’t communicating that properly, so we are going to adjust this part of the language, but we’ll talk about that more later.

…an area of effect may include…

Before we start figuring out what is included, let’s check out these few words. If you’re wondering about “area of effect”, we’ll be talking about it in some detail in an upcoming article. The short version: it’s saying that when you make this damage-dealing ranged-combat action, there are going to be some characters that are going to possibly be targeted/attacked that wouldn’t normally have been.

Also important is the word “may”. Energy Explosion activates EVERY time your character is given a ranged combat action that deals damage. But whether or not there is an area of effect is up to you.

OK, so who is in this area of effect?

… all untargeted characters that are adjacent to one or more hit targets that are assigned at least 1 damage from the attack.

So let’s break that down a little more. We already know that we’re making a ranged combat attack of some kind (we must be, we’ve been given a ranged combat action). Well, ranged combat attacks have targets, that is, the characters you’re attacking. So the first criteria for these “other characters” is that they are NOT anyone that you are currently attacking. This is very much like the original version of this power, which would cause damage to all adjacent characters. You will also note that there is no mention of the word “opposing” in this criteria, so just like the original Energy Explosion, if you are using it, your characters adjacent to the target are just as much at risk as the opposing ones. Remember that you get to decide if you are using Energy Explosion, but once you decide to use it, the area of effect exists for friendly and opposing characters alike. You can’t choose to only have the opposing characters be hit by the Energy Explosion part.

Next, you’ll see a bit of editing of the power to handle the second criteria for these characters. This errata will be included in the Player’s Guide when it is published with this PAC’s release. This criteria says that the untargeted character must also be adjacent to at least one of the characters you’ve hit that are assigned damage.  Let’s see how damage plays out.

Hit targets are dealt damage normally, …

So this part is easy. Anyone who was a target of the ranged combat attack is dealt damage just like they would be if Energy Explosion wasn’t going on.

…other hit characters are dealt 1 damage for each bolt printed on this character’s base.

Here’s where the power of Energy Explosion manifests. Each of those other characters, assuming you rolled high enough to hit them, are now being dealt 1 damage for each target the character has. Mind you, they do not have to hit that many targets, they don’t even need to be targeting that many targets – that’s just being used to determine the amount of damage being dealt.


Our attacking character for this example will be Exploding Ed, who has a 10 attack, 3 damage, and 2 targets. The targets are Fearful Fred (with a 17 defense) and Nervous Ned (with a 16 defense). There are 3 other characters – Bystander Bob (with an 18 defense), Innocent Irene (with a 17 defense), and Civilian Clive (with an 14 defense). Here’s our setup (everyone is indicated by the first letter of their name):

. . . . . . . .
. E . . . F . .
. . . . I . C .
. . . N . . . .
. . . . B . . .

Scenario 1: Exploding Ed rolls a “9”. This gives him an attack total of 19, and hits both Ned and Fred. He divides his damage up evenly, assigning 1 damage to Ned and 2 to Fred. Since some damage has been assigned to Ned, Bob and Irene are potential “untargeted hit characters”. Similarly, since Fred has been assigned some damage, Clive is also a potential “untargeted hit character”. Irene qualifies a second time due to Fred being hit, though it doesn’t matter how often you qualify, you still only get damaged once. Since Ed’s attack total is 19, well above all the defense values, Bob, Irene, and Clive are all dealt 2 damage each, while Ned and Fred are dealt 1 and 2, respectively (as that is how Ed assigned the damage from the ranged combat attack).

Scenario 2: Exploding Ed rolls a “7”. With an attack total of 17, he still hits both targets and assigns damage the same way. This time, however, while Bob remains a potential “untargeted hit character”, since the attack total was not high enough, he is not actually hit and therefore, is not dealt damage. Ned and Fred are still dealt 1 and 2, respectively, from the ranged combat attack, and Irene and Clive are dealt 2 each from the “splash” damage.

Scenario 3: Exploding Ed rolls a “6”. This time, Ed has not hit Fred, since his attack total is only a 16. Therefore, even though the attack total would easily hit Clive, Clive is not a potential “untargeted hit character” and isn’t damaged at all. All 3 of Ed’s damage is being dealt to Ned and we check Irene and Bob to see if they are hit (and they are not, since the attack total is not high enough).

Scenario 4: Exploding Ed rolls a “9”, but this time, Fred happens to be using Invulnerability. Ed has a couple of choices.

  1. Ed can assign all 3 damage to Ned. That will cause Ned to take 3 damage and then Irene and Bob will each be dealt 2 damage (as per the number of targets Ed has). Clive, however, would not be dealt any damage as no damage was assigned to Fred.
  2. Ed can send all 3 damage to Fred. This will cause Fred to take 1 damage (since he’s dealt 3 from Ed and reduces it by 2 thanks to Invulnerability) and then Clive and Irene are both dealt 2 damage (as per the number of targets Ed has). Ned and Bob both get off with no damage this time.
  3. Lastly, if it’s really important to Ed that both Clive and Bob are dealt damage, Ed can opt to assign 1 damage to Fred and 2 to Ned. Now, Ned will take 2 damage, ‘cause that’s what he’s been dealt. Bob will take 2 damage because he’s adjacent to Ned. Fred doesn’t take any damage, because his damage reducer drops it to 0. But, since he was assigned damage, Clive is dealt 2 as a result of the Energy Explosion. Lastly, Irene is dealt 2, and you can say it’s because she’s adjacent to Fred or because she’s adjacent to Ned. Either way, she’s dealt 2 damage.


Since we’re giving this power its own spotlight, why don’t we take a few moments to run down some of the various ways in which this power interacts with other powers.

RANGED COMBAT EXPERT – We’ll start with the easiest one. Since Ranged Combat Expert is a power action, Energy Explosion does not interact with it at all.

PENETRATING/PSYCHIC BLAST – Another relatively easy interaction. Penetrating/Psychic Blast says “Damage from the attack is penetrating damage.” That means the targets are being dealt penetrating damage and the “other hit characters” are also being dealt penetrating damage.

INCAPACITATE – With its new capability to deal damage to an already-pushed character, Incapacitate with Energy Explosion opens the door for some potential extra damage. First, remember that this only applies when you are using Incapacitate through a ranged combat action. Second, it only activates when you assign a targeted character damage from the attack, so if you are only targeting characters with less than 2 tokens, Energy Explosion does not activate. But if you hit that pushed character while using Incapacitate, then it will be dealt 1 penetrating damage, and then any “untargeted but adjacent characters” can be checked to see if they are dealt damage, too. Now, unlike Penetrating/Psychic Blast, the only damage that is specified as being penetrating is the 1 being dealt to the pushed character, so the Energy Explosion damage, in this case, would not be penetrating. Still, extra damage is good, isn’t it?

PULSE WAVE – Now it gets a little interesting. All of the characters “inside” the wave are “targeted characters”, so who might be the “untargeted hit characters”? First, look at the outer “edge” of the wave. Any characters on that edge that have someone adjacent to them (but outside the wave) are potentially hit as well. But there’s one more character who may be hit – the attacker. Pulse Wave got a boost a few years ago, allowing characters to use it while adjacent to an opposing character. When you have Pulse Wave and Energy Explosion going off together, be careful if the attacker is adjacent to an opposing character. The attacker has not been targeted, so if any adjacent character is hit by Pulse Wave, then the attacker is suddenly having to check themselves to see if they’ve been hit, too.

SPECIAL POWERS – Many special powers already exist using a language like “Grenade Man can use Energy Explosion as if he had boltboltbolt.” The Player’s Guide in June will include a general clarification that explains how this works under the 2013 rules. The boltboltbolt will allow the character to, essentially, make ranged attacks with up to 3 targets. And, if they hit, they potentially deal damage to the “other hit characters”. The important thing to understand is, going back to the original power, those “other hit characters” are dealt “1 damage for each bolt printed on” the attacker’s base. The special power has not changed what’s printed on the base, so if Grenade Man only has 1 target, then even though he is targeting 3 characters thanks to the special power, the “other hit characters” are only being dealt 1 a piece.


The way in which the power now works does not really change many of these Q&As. Still, they come up with Energy Explosion often enough, that it’s worth it to run down the usual suspects.

Does a character with Shape Change that is not a target of the attack get to roll to possibly prevent the Energy Explosion attack?

No. The character isn’t being targeted with an attack, it is an “untargeted hit character”. Shape Change only activates when the character is (a) targeted by (b) an attack. While this is an attack, they are not targeted.

Does a character with Super Senses that is not a target of the attack get to roll to possibly evade the Energy Explosion attack?

Yes. The only criteria for Super Senses is that the character is being dealt damage from an attack. Even if you are untargeted, you are still being dealt damage from an attack, so you would be able to use Super Senses.

Does a character with Energy Shield/Deflection that is not a target of the attack get +2 to their defense value when determining if they are hit?

Yes. Energy Shield/Deflection activates for all ranged combat attacks (and the power doesn’t even specify that you need to be a target).

If a Mystic is an “untargeted hit character” and takes damage because of Energy Explosion, would the team ability activate?

Yes, because Energy Explosion is damage dealt from the attack. In order for Mystics to activate, the character needs to take damage from an attack. Both conditions are met here. Moreso, if you use Energy Explosion and damage a bunch of Mystics, that 1 unavoidable damage to your attacker for EACH Mystic, so I hope it’s worth it!

If one of the characters taking damage from the attack has Mastermind and shifts the damage to another character that’s taking damage from the attack, is the damage dealt “twice?” And, does it matter if the Mastermind character is a target or an “untargeted hit character”?

Firstly, it doesn’t matter if the Masterminder is the target or not. Also, all of the damage being dealt is from one attack and all at once. So while the Mastermind character can shift the damage to someone else, all of that damage gets dealt at once so any damage reducers would be calculated against the total damage dealt to the character, not against each damage individually.


Bringing all of the above together and demonstrating how it will be errata’d, this is the wording of Energy Explosion will have as per the June issue of the Player’s Guide: “When this character is given a ranged combat action, an area of effect may include all untargeted characters that are adjacent to one or more targets that are assigned at least 1 damage from the attack. Hit targets are dealt damage normally, other hit characters are dealt 1 damage for each bolt printed on this character’s base.