Greetings HeroClix Fans!
In the far flung time of Heroclix expansions past, Marvel HeroClix: Fantastic Forces gave us two feats called Fantastic Four and Thunderbolts, altering how team abilities were used for years to come. Since that time, these “Alternate Team Abilities” have gone through a variety of changes… not the least of which is that they are no longer called Alternate Team Abilities but are instead now Additional Team Abilities (or ATAs for short). So it is only natural that players might have a question or two about how exactly these ATAs work, whether they are an old hand at ‘clixing or new to the fold. Well, worry not, dear reader. I am here to help!
First, the basics. As a refresher, this is what the rulebook has to say about team abilities (page 17 of the HeroClix 2012 Core Rulebook):
Team abilities are special abilities a character can use due to its alliance with a team or an affiliated group. When a character’s base includes a team symbol, it indicates the character possesses the team ability, as described on the team abilities card for that universe. Characters may have more than one team symbol on their base; this grants the possession of multiple team abilities. Characters can also possess team abilities through special powers or trait abilities or Additional Team Ability cards. Unless specified otherwise, these granted team abilities do not replace the symbols or team abilities currently possessed by the character.
As for Additional Team Abilities, we turn to page 18:
Additional Team Ability (ATA) cards can be added to your force if the characters on your team meet the prerequisite listed on the card. Each ATA card indicates the cost per character that must be added to your force in order to use it in the game; all characters that meet the prerequisites must be assigned the ATA and your force’s Build Total is affected accordingly. ATA cards provide either different or additional team abilities to the qualifying characters on your force. These team abilities are possessed by the qualifying characters and can be used by wild cards (unless the ATA specifies otherwise). A force may only include one ATA card.
Okay, so now we know that ATAs are team abilities that are described on special cards. Good. Going back to the part from page 18 and breaking it down, we see:
Additional Team Ability (ATA) cards can be added to your force if the characters on your team meet the prerequisite listed on the card.
So each card will have a prerequisite listed on the card, gotcha. And the ATA is added to character that meet that prerequisite. Clear so far!
Each ATA card indicates the cost per character that must be added to your force in order to use it in the game; all characters that meet the prerequisites must be assigned the ATA and your force’s Build Total is affected accordingly.
Next we see that each ATAs has a point cost and all characters that can be assigned an ATA must pay that cost. This means we can’t put an ATA that costs 5 points on a team with 3 characters that meet the prerequisite but is only 10 points shy of the build total… we’d need at least 15 points to spare. Got it!
ATA cards provide either different or additional team abilities to the qualifying characters on your force.
Hmm… this is where it gets a bit murky. What exactly is meant by “different or additional”? How about we take a look at a couple examples?
Here we have two ATAs. On the left is Annihilators and has a cost of 4 points. This means that you would have to pay 4 points for each character assigned this ATA. The one on the right is called Guardians of the Galaxy (Silver Age) and has a cost of 1 point and, if we look closely at the description, we begin to see what is meant by that “different or additional” part of the ATA rules: the Guardians of the Galaxy (Silver Age) ATA specifically says that characters using this ATA don’t possess any other team abilities. This would completely replace any other TAs the character might have! The Annihilators ATA doesn’t say anything like that, though. Instead, this ATA can be used in addition to any other TA the character could normally use!
These team abilities are possessed by the qualifying characters and can be used by wild cards (unless the ATA specifies otherwise). A force may only include one ATA card.
Last but not least, we see that these ATAs are possessed by the characters and can be used by wildcards (usually). Very cool for wild cards! Also, you can’t have different ATAs on one team; one card only, please. Not as cool as the wild card thing, but clear none the less.
In a nutshell, ATAs are TAs (they just come on a card), they have a prerequisite (normally a keyword), they have a point cost (per character), must be played on all qualifying characters (watch those build totals), might replace an existing TA or grant a new one (depends on the wording), can be used by wild cards (awesome), and only one per force (no doubling up).
ATA WRAP UP
Oh, and a couple more things before we go:
1) Those old feats mentioned earlier? You know, Fantastic Four and Thunderbolts. Strictly speaking, they no longer exist. You may have a card with an orange border that says “Alpha Flight” or “Checkmate” across the top, but all those old feat cards that granted different team abilities have been replaced by new, black-bordered ATAs of the same name. These new ATAs largely do the same thing the old feats did, but frequently the descriptions have been tweaked, the costs might be adjusted, and the prerequisites have probably changed. Keep the old orange cards if you like for your collection, but you’ll need the black ATAs for official play. All ATAs are listed in the Golden Age Player’s Guide, Section 17 with their current wording, prerequisites and cost.
2) Many players have wondered what exactly ATAs are classified as and what set they are a part of for tournament build purposes. ATAs are team abilities and not feats or battlefield conditions, or anything else found in the Part 4: Tactics section of the rule book. Just a variation on team abilities. Also, ATAs do not belong to any one particular set. If your next tournament has a description limiting your character choices to a couple specific sets, that is fine for the characters, but ATAs cross over all sets and have no limit in official play (your venue and judge may, of course, choose to rule it differently for specific events).
3) A question we get a lot is how do ATAs interact with replacement characters, like Alter Egos or Duos using the Split ability? This was already covered in a previous article, but briefly the ATAs stay attached to the character, even if it is replaced. The new character may or may not be able to use the ATA (they need to meet the prerequisite in order to use it), but the ATAs remain assigned to that character.
4) You may be asking yourself, “Where do I get these ATAs?” The answer is, “Right here!” There is a section called Print and Play at www.heroclix.com (check under Downloads) and you can find .pdf versions of all sorts of cool things to print out for your use, including ATAs. And the best part is these are all completely officially tournament legal! Simply print them off (in color if you like, in black and white if you want to save your ink) and you are ready to play.
NEW ATA GOODIES
Finally, we’d like to give you all little parting gift. Those of you that made it to GenCon this year have likely seen these already, but for those of you who couldn’t make it or were busy playing other games, we’d like to present three new ATAs: Justice League Dark, Justice League: New 52, and for the first time ever a generic keyword ATA for Animals!
Justice League Dark has the Justice League keyword as its prerequisite. It is fairly cheap at 2 points a pop, but please notice that it can’t be copied by wild cards… you’ll have to pay at least 4 points, for two Justice League keyword characters, if you want to get any real use out of this ATA. That said, it is a pretty amazing ATA allowing you to knock down your opponent’s range values by -2 if you position two of your Justice League Dark characters adjacent to each other!
Justice League: New 52 also has the Justice League keyword as its prerequisite. This one is a bit pricier at 3 points for each character, but it can be used by wild cards. And if you like Leadership, then this ATA is a doozy! Stick your New 52 character next to a friendly character that uses Leadership and you will now have a 50/50 shot (usually) to activate Leadership… everyone likes removing action tokens and receiving extra actions, right?
Animal, as promised above, has the generic keyword Animal for its prerequisite. It is the most expensive of the three, at 4 points per character, but it can be copied by wild cards to help cut costs on certain teams. Even if you do end up paying 12, 16, or 20 points to use it, it is potentially very powerful. One roll on your part at the beginning of your turn and your opponent’s Stealth or Shape Change characters will be sitting ducks!
We hope you have found this information useful. If you have any more questions about ATAs or other aspects of the game, please feel free to send an e-mail to HeroClixRules@gmail.com or message the Rules Deputies online!
-Rules Representative: Jeff “normalview” Orasky