Speed Power Changes, PAC 2013
“What are your go-to powers? On the flip side, which powers do you not typically build a team around?”
That was how the team kicked off the 2013 PAC design meeting. “PAC” stands for the Powers and Abilities Card and this year, the goal was to get some of the powers that have been “shy and reserved” and see if they could stay true to their spirit with some changes to make them shine a little better.
Sure, almost everyone has that story of that one time they used Force Blast to knock Nightcrawler off the elevated terrain, or that time they used Incapacitate to completely lock down the opposing one-man-army, but in general there are a few powers that you tend to see on all the really successful teams (powers like Hypersonic Speed or Outwit) and powers that you very rarely ever see used (powers like Plasticity or Smoke Cloud) outside of special scenarios. Game design took a long hard look at the types of characters that were being played to see what was and was not being used (and how it was being used), and took the PAC back to the drawing board. Today, we will start looking at these changes with the speed powers. Bear in mind that we’re only looking at changes, so if a power stayed the same, we’re just moving on.
Let’s start with the first power on the PAC, Flurry:
There is only one change to Flurry, but it is a very important one. If you compare this wording above to the 2012 wording, you’ll see that we’ve removed the line that tells you Flurry will stop working if the power is lost mid-action. While rolling a critical miss or taking Mystics damage will still probably not be a happy occasion for you, at least now you don’t have to worry about Flurry ending prematurely when your character takes that damage. Instead your character will get to finish the action normally and make its second attack, even if they power is lost and no longer on the dial.
Similarly, if you have the combo of Flurry with Steal Energy, then if you hit with that first attack and you heal onto a click that doesn’t have Flurry, you can still make that second attack.
Next we have a small change to Leap/Climb:
Look closely and you see that Leap/Climb no longer ignores characters for movement purposes. Instead, when your character uses Leap/Climb, it can more around and through squares occupied by characters (just like the Flight ability). Since it no longer ignores characters for movement, you do need to roll break away when using Leap/Climb, but you do get a +2 bonus to that break away roll.
Charge has a little cosmetic change:
Blink and you might miss it: the last sentence was tweaked slightly. The overall effect is completely unchanged; however the old version sometimes caused some confusion so the power was altered for clarity. That’s all. REPEAT: THE FUNCTION OF THIS POWER HAS NOT CHANGED.
The next power, Mind Control, has some very significant changes:
There are three big changes here. First, Mind Control is no longer activated by a power action. Instead, it is activated with a close combat action or ranged combat action. This means you can now use Mind Control with Charge or Running Shot (or any other effect that allows your character to take a close/ranged combat action).
Second, your Mind Control character will still take damage if you use it on expensive characters, but the threshold has been raised to 150 points instead of 100.
Third, and related to the previous point, your character will only ever take 1 unavoidable damage now when controlling large-point characters. It does not matter if your Mind Controller controls 150 points or 1500 points: it will take only 1 unavoidable damage for doing so.
All of these changes serve to make Mind Control a much more formidable power. I always found it very useful (who doesn’t enjoy using your opponent’s own force against him?), but using Mind Control is now much more flexible and combo-friendly AND the penalties for using it are much more forgivable.
Now let’s look at what is quite possibly my favorite change on the PAC:
Plasticity still does everything it did before, but it has two VERY important additions. First off, it now prevents characters from automatically breaking away. A character that can ignore other characters () for movement purposes will still not have to roll break away, but any other character is going to be forced to roll break away first… and that’s a very daunting prospect considering Plasticity still subtracts 2 from the break away die roll.
The other big change is that any character that moves adjacent to a Plasticity-using character must stop moving. Even if the character could normally move around/through other characters () ; once again, the only way around this is if the character moving about completely ignores other characters ().
In a nutshell, outside of Phasing/Teleport, some Improved Movement characters, and a handful of special powers, Plasticity has become THE tie-up power. One Plasticity character could lock down an entire team with proper positioning!
Another power that receives a huge bump in power is Force Blast:
Like Mind Control and Plasticity, Force Blast has received a pretty significant upgrade. On the one hand, it still work exactly like it did before, allow your character to knock back an adjacent character without needing any kind of attack roll: just assign a power action and roll the d6 for instant knock back. But now there is brand new addition to its normal effects. Now, anytime your character successfully attacks a character, you can choose to knock back that character back without needing to roll doubles! Note that this “extra” knock back only occurs if the character wouldn’t otherwise be knocked back… you won’t get to knock back a character twice if you happen to roll doubles. Also, since it says “may”, this new part is entirely optional. If you’d rather not knock back the target (maybe you want it to stick around for a follow up attack), then you don’t need to use this new part of Force Blast. Lastly, bear in mind that this knock back is not any different than rolling doubles. So if the attacked character has Charge or another game effect that causes it to ignore knock back, it isn’t going anywhere.
Last, but not least, Hypersonic Speed has been tweaked, too:
Like Leap/Climb, Hypersonic Speed now requires a break away roll. And, like Leap/Climb, you get a +2 bonus to the break away. This means that your speedsters will now have to think long and hard about using Hypersonic Speed if it is adjacent to an opposing character; no longer can they zip around the map with little fear of impediment. Sure, a +2 bonus means that break away failure will be rare, but when it does happen, the action ends immediately and the character can’t even attack (much less run away). And with the changes to Plasticity, even if your speedster isn’t adjacent to an opposing character when it is given the power action to use Hypersonic Speed, it may still have to stop mid-action if you aren’t careful!
Coming up next time!
We will take a detailed look at the changes to the standard attack powers on the 2013 PAC. We’ve already shown you that Energy Explosion has been changed in a previous article… I wonder what other powers have been given a face lift?
I hope you found this primer on the new 2013 speed powers useful. If you have any more questions about these alterations or anything else in the rules, send an e-mail to HeroClixRules@gmail.com or hit the Rules Deputies up on the forums!