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DC HeroClix: Superman/Wonder Woman Design Insight

Design Insight- Sebastian Faust

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Design Insight

Hello everyone, my name is Patrick Yapjoco.  My teammates— Kevin Afrooz and Justino Jimenez— and I had the incredible experience of winning the inaugural WizKids HeroClix Team World Championship in 2014 at Gen Con.  It was probably the most exciting format that I had ever played and we wish to give a kudos to WizKids for coming up with such a great format to add to the HeroClix World Championship— incorporating a team environment to Heroclix is just genius.  But, that’s not what I’m here to talk about… I’m here to give you some Design Insight about the new Sebastian Faust figure in the DC Comics HeroClix: Superman/Wonder Woman set— the figure we picked to design as part of our prize for winning the HeroClix Team World Championship.

First, let’s take a quick look at Sebastian Faust’s background. Sebastian Faust is the son of the nefarious magician Felix Faust. His soul is sold by his father to a demon named Nebiros in exchange for power, but the demon cheats and grants the power to Sebastian instead of his father. Sebastian Faust uses “soul” magic and is able to steal the souls of others, granting him their abilities and powers, as well as recharging his powers. Faust’s powers include healing, regeneration, matter transformation, teleportation, and scrying. He primarily worked with the superhero team The Outsiders, and then later on he worked with the government organization Checkmate as a consultant against magic.  He is also associated with the Shadowpact and the Sentinels of Magic during the Day of Judgment storyline.

Why did we choose Faust? For starters, we wanted an “unclixed” figure, and, like many of you out there, we are HUGE fans of figures that have never been made before.  We also wanted to have an open-ended power set, and what better way to have that than a mystical character.  Lastly, we wanted something somewhat obscure, but still known in the general sense.  Sebastian Faust fit the bill perfectly.  Choosing Sebastian was Kevin’s suggestion— we felt Felix Faust is already well-known and wanted to give his son some shine.

DC HeroClix: Superman/Wonder Woman- Sebastian Faust

When designing the powers/abilities and dial, we wanted something under 100pts so the figure would be versatile.  We also wanted 7 clicks to show his survivability— although he is not particular durable (he uses his powers to heal himself), so we opted for the standard mystical defensive powers in Energy Shield/Deflection and Super SensesFaust isn’t super-powerful, so we felt that a figure that ended up around 100pts was a good representation of his power level.  We also wanted to delve into the “soul magic” a bit and come up with new ways to represent mystical characters.  The standard damage power set for mystical characters has always been Outwit, Perplex, and Probability Control.  We initially gave him Probability Control and Perplex to represent his Pocket Dimension, but we felt that was “old hat.”  So, I suggested to the design team using a power seen in the Marvel HeroClix: Avengers Movie set:

THE BIG THREE: When making an attack roll, Captain America may roll 3 dice instead of 2 and then choose 1 die to ignore.

Without batting an eye, they loved it and it was immediately added.

The next thing we wanted was his regeneration powers.  We originally made him with Steal Energy, but from range as well and also had him able to deal 1-damage to heal 1-damage as a free action within 3 squares.  They felt that was too powerful so we compromised and that’s how he got the current Steal Essence.  This made it a power action to an opposing adjacent character, but it now deals penetrating damage.  Obviously, he has Regeneration on the back end to further represent his healing powers.

Lastly, for inspiration for his Soul Magic trait, we took a look at a power from the Marvel HeroClix: Guardians of the Galaxy set:

MEMORY LEECH: Dire Wraith can use Precision Strike. When Dire Wraith KO’s an opposing character, place that character on this card on any click. Dire Wraith can use any standard powers that character possesses on that click.

We felt it was another good representation of soul magic and we just simplified it to include any power on the card, thus giving you the Soul Magic trait.

One more aspect of Faust that we wanted to add was his ability to “Shadow Walk”— which is basically teleport between shadows.  Sidestep and Stealth were what we originally came up with, but they just didn’t give the right feel of stepping through shadows.  So, we took a look at a power seen on Lydea Mallor from the DC Comics HeroClix: Superman and the Legion of Superheroes set:

WRAPPED IN SHADOW: Lydea Mallor can use Smoke Cloud and Stealth. Once per turn, when Lydea Mallor occupies hindering terrain and is given a non-free action, before the action begins or after actions resolve, you may place Lydea Mallor in any square of hindering terrain within 5 squares and line of fire.        

It was an almost perfect representation of Shadow Walk, but we wanted to make it unique, so the design team suggested that instead of triggering before being given a non-free action, it was just linked to his Sidestep.  We felt it was perfect and, after some tweaking, you get Faust’s Shadow Walk in its current state.  To keep the points down, we just cut the Stealth part.

To round off the design, we decided to keep the combat values pretty basic, if somewhat below average.  This was by design to keep his point value down and the dial longer.  His keywords are diverse, to say the least.  Of course, you can always play him on a Mystical themed team, but the fun starts when you look at Shadowpact, Outsiders and Checkmate teams.  Faust can be used as a secondary attacker primarily, but on a Checkmate team where you can use the Checkmate ATA, he can be a serious primary attacker.  With a lot of Perplexes and great special damage power, you can use Checkmate Knights and Pawns to pump his damage and range to hit for massive amounts of penetrating damage.  He is cheap enough so that you can easily play a swarm Checkmate team to fully exploit his damage potential.  If going with Shadowpact, Nightshade is a perfect pairing with Faust.  At 140 points, that still leaves lot to work with point-wise.  She can carry him around and use Smoke Cloud to help Faust Shadow Walk into position. With other pieces like Zatanna and Etrigan the Demon to round out the team, Faust will have the necessary support to do battle, and don’t forget that awesome Shadowpact ATA to counter Mystics!  Lastly, Outsiders themed teams offer a variety of options.  Faust can be used with Red Arrow (Crisis) as a nice 1-2 punch, as after Red Arrow shoots, he can use Smoke Cloud.  Then Faust can use Shadow Walk to get into position and shoot as a follow-up.  You can pair him with Halo for transport (as well as using the Outsiders team ability), or for more Shadow Walk-ing fun you can play the “Out of the Shadows” Batman so they can both “port” together!

We love how our figure turned out and we had a blast designing it.  Our hope is that everyone has a fun time playing our figure and enjoys the game play.  We wanted to have a good figure, but not too-powerful that it sucks the fun out of playing the game.  We would like to thank the entire WizKids staff for giving us the opportunity and honor of designing our own figure. This is just another reason why this game is the best game out there.  I hope Faust does well for you in sealed tournaments, and remember, when in doubt, Perplex the attack!

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DC HeroClix: Superman/Wonder Woman Design Insight

Design Insight – Equipment, Linking and Standard Characters

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Design Insight

Hello HeroClix Players,

We hope you are all looking forward to playing in the upcoming Pre-Release events starting today, Wednesday, October 21, for the DC Comics HeroClix: Superman/Wonder Woman set.  To find a store near you running a DC Comics HeroClix: Superman/Wonder Woman Pre-Release event visit the WizKids Event System.

As we enjoy the early look at the set, you may have seen a recent Comicbook.com Unboxing Video which showed a sneak peek at the new Super-rare Eclipso figure.  He uses some new terminology that we’d like to touch upon, as there are other items that have been released using similar wording and future game elements will also use that wording.

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Before we begin, let’s take a look at the wording for Eclipso’s Trait:

Black Diamond Possession When Eclipso is KO’d or if you pay 25 points when building your force, equip this character to a friendly character and link it to that character’s dial. (To equip, place this on the standard character’s card. The character can use its effects. If the character is KO’d or equipped again, KO the previously equipped game element. A linked dial is always on the same click number as the dial it’s linked to.)

EFFECT: At the beginning of your turn or after this character is clicked, you may choose 1 power on the equipped dial and 1 combat value on the equipped dial higher than this character’s same printed combat value. This character can use that power and modifies that combat value by +1 until your next turn or clicked. (A character is clicked whenever it is damaged or healed.)

So the first thing we notice is that Eclipso works the same as previous “Possessor” type characters.  This time though, he is treated as an equipped item.  With that being said, let’s discuss equipment.

“Equip” will be a new term going forward to indicate when and how a character can be assigned a game element.  A character with such a game element on their card will be “equipped” by that game element. Once equipped, the equipped character can use the effects as described on the item’s card.  Most importantly, by default, a character can only be equipped with one item at a time (unless a specific game effect says otherwise).  During force construction, a character can’t be equipped with more than one game element. During the game, if a character is equipped with a second item, the previously equipped item will be KO’d and scored for your opponent if appropriate.

The reason for this change in wording to what we have seen on previously released figures with similar mechanics is that the new term “Equip” will serve as a key term to describe this particular game mechanic without having to write out the underlying rules for it on each character’s character card.  The “Equip” term, it’s restrictions and game effects will be included in the next HeroClix rulebook—but for now, we have included explanatory text on special powers/traits that utilize this mechanic in parenthesis (as seen in the Eclipso example above).

To equip, place this on the standard character’s card. The character can use its effects. If the character is KO’d or equipped again, KO the previously equipped game element.

Another restriction to equipping will be that most equipment will only be able to be assigned to a “standard character”.  What is a standard character?  Let’s find out.

This is the official definition of a standard character:

A standard character is a character that is not a bystander and does not possess the Duo,Team , Tiny, Giant, Colossal, or Vehicle combat symbols.

If a character is not a standard character, then it can’t be equipped.  Using Eclipso as an example, he can’t be equipped to a bystander character, or any character that possesses one or more of the listed combat symbols.

The rationale behind the change to the definition of “standard character” is to address newer combat symbols that did not exist at the time of the original wording which we deemed were necessary to include— for the reason of game balance— as restricted to utilize game effects that are limited to “standard” characters.

In general, a game element that is equipped to another character is still whatever the game element normally is (Relic, Resource Attachment, Special Object, etc.).  The exception is with characters that become equipped items.  A character that becomes equipped to another character is no longer considered a character on your force or for any game effects that refer to “characters”.  Other than any effects they provide as an equipped item, they would no longer be able to use any of their other powers or abilities.  They would, however, be affected by effects that refer to equipped items.  Using Eclipso again as an example, if you choose to pay his 25 point cost during construction to equip him to a standard character on your force, he would not count as a character for any other parts of force construction, or later for any game effect that affects “friendly characters”, etc. This means his keywords would not apply to Themed Teams, he could not be assigned ATA’s, he would not count towards your initiative roll, etc.

PLEASE NOTE: Following up on this article, we will be posting an official errata for figures that previously utilized the “Possession” wording (DC Comics HeroClix: War of Light Entities and Marvel HeroClix: Age of Ultron Jocasta) so that they will now be updated to use the new “Equip” language.

One final new term to review is the term “linked”.  “Linked” will be a term used to describe the interaction with equipped items and some other game elements that have dials that we want to always turn the same way.  When a dial is “linked” to another dial, the linked dial must always match the click number of the character the dial is linked to.  For example, if a dial is linked to a character that is on click #3, the linked dial must be turned to click #3 as well regardless of what other click number it was on before it was linked.  No game effect can prevent a linked dial from matching the dial it is linked to.  If a linked dial is turned to a KO click after the resolution of effects, the linked dial will be KO’d.  A linked dial is also KO’d if it can no longer be turned to a matching click number.  For example, if a character’s dial is turned to click #15; unless the linked dial also has a click #15, the linked dial will be KO’d.

Similar to the reason behind creating the key term “Equip,” the creation of the term “Linked” is for the purpose of being able to have a single key term to communicate the underlying rules of the game mechanic without having to write out the rules for the game mechanic on each individual character’s card that features this mechanic.  The term “Linked” will also be included in the next HeroClix rulebook.

Thank you all for joining us for some Design Insight looking at some of the new game terms and rules we’ll be using.  We hope this has helped you get a better understanding of how to better use the figures.  Please make sure to visit your local game shops hosting the DC Comics HeroClix: Superman/Wonder Woman Pre-Release events for your chance to pick up Eclipso and many other great figures!

Until next time!

ADDENDUM (Reason: Further clarification of scope and timing of changes)

The information listed in this article applies specifically to game elements that uses the “Equip” terminology (and game elements that we specifically have changed to use the “Equip” wording). Other game elements that use different terminology such as “assign”, “attach”, etc. are not affected by this change and would not be held under the same game restrictions.

Game elements that are affected by these rules are affected by these rules immediately.