Greetings Heroclix fans!
When we started looking at the existing Defense powers, we quickly realized that the damage reducing powers were a bit limited – there is only so much that can be done with Toughness, Invulnerability and Impervious. Moreso, we didn’t think that what HeroClix needed was ”Impervious deluxe”. We wanted something that would always be useful and would provide a balance between Invulnerability and Invincble, with the possibility to be even better as it had to deal with more damage.
Seemingly a very simple power, but with an interesting twist. Since Invincible doesn’t reduce damage, any power that deals penetrating damage (like Penetrating/Psychic Blast or Exploit Weakness) will still be affected by Invincible. Obviously this is a huge advantage, so ignoring half the damage was a fair trade-off to make sure Invincible didn’t get too potent – this way characters with lower damage values can still deal at least some damage to an Invincible character.
It is also important to note that you always round up in Heroclix unless otherwise stated. Since Invincible lets you ignore half the damage it means that a character with a Damage value of 1 will deal 0 damage to the Invincible character – half of 1 is 0.5, which is rounded up to 1, so the Invincible character would ignore 1 damage. By the same logic, if the Invincible character is dealt 3 damage it would ignore 2 damage and only take 1 damage and so forth.
To appreciate how Invincible compares to other defense powers, take a look at the following chart: (click on image to enlarge)
As you can see, Invincible walks a different path. Sometimes, it’s not as good as Invulnerability. Eventually, it’s better than Impervious, even if you factor in the fact that one third of the time, Impervious reduces the damage to 0. At this time, the only strategy your opponent has to address Invincible is something like Pulse Wave, which allows powers to be ignored. But penetrating damage won’t change the way in which Invincible works.* The average is based on the idea that over time, you are going to roll a 1-4 two-thirds of the time and a 5-6 one-third of the time and averaging the damage taken.
The last new power to look at is the Damage power. Some might say that this power has been a long time coming. As the close combat equivalent of Enhancement, this new power is very easy and straightforward to apply. Just like ranged teams make use of their Enhancement support pieces, many teams are going to appreciate a piece that can support a character in the thick of the battle.
With Enhancement, you typically set up a ranged attacker with the support crew giving him a boost. While those characters are boosting the attacker’s damage value, what else are they doing for your force and while you’re positioning, your opponent is likely limiting the effectiveness of your ranged attack. With Empower, odds are good these guys will be in the thick of it, making attacks in addition to helping out their friends. And once you’re adjacent to another character, it’s much harder to prevent close combat from happening.
Since this is a fairly simple power, let us instead look at how it works with existing standard powers. Obviously anyone with Flurry or the Duo Attack or Multiattack abilities will love Empower as the damage boost isn’t limited to once per turn. The duration of the bonus is limited to the attack, though, so you can’t ”save” the bonus from the first attack and try to stack it for the second attack. Speaking of stacking, though, Empower can be used at the same time as many other power (like Super Strength, Close Combat Expert, or even with another Empower character) to modify the damage value for even greater impact.
It is worth keeping in mind that a locked damage value can’t be further modified, so Empower will have no effect when the attacker uses Blades/Claws/Fangs or Quake. And lastly, Steal Energy works any time the character deals damage to an opposing character with a close combat attack, so Empower will only make Steal Energy more effective!
That’s all for this time! In our next rules article, we’re going to start looking at the some of the new ideas from the 2013 Rule Book. But coming up next, we’ll see how one of these powers makes its debut with one of this year’s Limited Edition Convention figures.