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HeroClix Watch List Uncategorized

The HeroClix Watch List: Upcoming Changes

Greetings HeroClixers, it is at last time to circle back on the Watch List and announce some big changes. As discussed in previous articles (The Announcement and An Update), by launching the Watch List, our goal is to encourage a healthy game environment for HeroClix. The list below gives a very high level description of the changes that will be made.  Note that the specific rules language hasn’t been finalized yet, as we’re checking for corner cases, but the essentials of each change is below.

GENERAL RULE CHANGE

The process of analyzing and testing the items on the Watch List demonstrated there was one general issue  contributing to an unhealthy game environment – the ability to create situations where a single character could make multiple attacks during the course of a turn. Therefore, the first major rules change to come out from the Watch List is: “Each time a character makes an attack in a turn after their first, their damage value is modified by -1 until the end of the turn, minimum 1.”

Now, this causes a trickle-down of other errata. Duo Attack and Multiattack are both combat abilities that already do this, so the modifier in those combat abilities will be removed, which slightly improves Multiattack. Flurry is a standard power that was never envisioned to have this penalty, so it will get language that would prevent this new general rule from affecting it. This modifier will be just like other modifiers, so it will be subject to the rule of 3, a locked value would not be modified, etc. Right now, we don’t envision errata to any characters that make multiple attacks via a special power that doesn’t use Flurry – they’ll get the -1 to damage.

TEAM BASES

While the Working Together ability is impacted by the new general rule, it was not quite enough to bring this ability to where it needed to be. Therefore the number of actions a team base gets from this ability is being toned down as well. Going forward, while using Working Together, a team can be given up to 1 action as a free action for every 200 points (or fraction thereof) of the team’s point value. The same restrictions apply, only up to one of each power, move, close combat or ranged combat action, and then the rest can be attacks.

While the Working Together ability was the primary focus of team bases during this analysis, two other changes for team bases are being implemented. First, being able to heal a character up beyond the click it was brought into the game is a mechanic that needed to be revisited. While the basic mechanics of Solo Adventure remains the same, the characters brought on the map through this ability will consider that colored click number as their starting line. Now, there are still isolated cases where characters have the ability to heal beyond their starting line (like Black Queen), but outside of those isolated cases, these characters won’t be able to heal up past the click they are brought in on.

The other change is to the roll to see who goes first. The bonus a player gets as a result of playing a team base will change. Instead of being +1 for each character on the team base, it will be +1 for per 100 points (or fraction thereof) of the team’s point value.

SHATTERSTAR

A late addition to the watch list, he bubbled up as the “piece to play” if everything else on the list was addressed. Again, many different approaches were tried, with the goal to keep him a solid piece to use, but to remove the abuse of being able to bring a character to attack anyone/anywhere. To that end, he will be issued errata preventing the teleported character from being given a non-free action this turn. This alters his play style significantly. You’ll be using him to position offensively when you can afford to wait until your next turn to act with the teleported character or, more likely, you’ll see Shatterstar’s teleportation being used defensively much more frequently.

BAT-MITE

Another character that brings the danger of teleportation, but this time it already had a clause preventing the non-free action. The flip side with Bat-Mite was the Idol’s likelihood to be making a close or ranged combat attack as a free action. Now, the first thing is the new general rule scales this back a touch. In addition, we are issuing errata for this mechanic. Instead of dealing unavoidable damage on a 1 only, the risk to the Idol is now going to result in unavoidable damage on a result of 1-2 (and the ability for Bat-Mite’s player to control the location and not take damage occurs on a 3-6 instead of a 2-6).

HEROES FOR HIRE

This ATA made a huge splash at Nationals and brought characters like Ghost Rider to top teams. While the ability needed to be toned down, we wanted to maintain a similar mechanic. Going forward, Heroes for Hire will allow the character to remove a Hired token to make a close or ranged combat attack as a free action, instead of being given any action as a free action. And, of course, the general rule would apply to this as well, so if they’ve already made an attack this turn, this one will be at -1 damage.

UTILITY BELT

The Utility Belt was the first HeroClix piece to allow you to customize your force after you had seen what you were up against. With its ability to allow you to use Prep Time to get to the +2 click, the focus of the Belt has been all about the bonus and the items have been an after-thought. While this change will certainly drop the Belt in terms of its effectiveness, it will encourage the player who is making use of Utility Belt Items to make the most of them. Prep Time will be issued errata to say: “Give the assigned character a double power action and turn the Utility Belt to any click that does not have a special power. Do not otherwise turn the dial at the end of your turn.”

In addition, game effects allowing the Belt-holder to also make attacks as free actions created an unintended loophole where the dial was not clicked. So we are adding a clause to the Turning the Dial section so that it says: “At the end of your turn, if the assigned character was given a non-free action or made an attack, roll a d6”

VEHICLES / GCPD CRUISER

As we took a look at the non-attack capability of the GCPD Cruiser, other vehicle-related issues came up. While many of these changes might not be “Watch List” caliber, it was felt that they bring a more rational set of rules for vehicles in general. For one thing, from now on, pilots can’t be bystanders. Secondly, since we use the damage symbol to communicate “size”, pilots are also prohibited from being larger than the vehicle they are piloting – so Giants and Colossals can no longer be pilots (except Giants may pilot the Bug which has the Giant symbol). Lastly, vehicles can no longer be assigned a resource (with resources like the Book of the Skull that apply to your entire force, the exact wording of how this is going to be implemented is still in the works).

With the general non-Watch List related items out of the way, the tweak for the GCPD Cruiser is a very simple change. It maintains the capability to still move characters about and it will continue to deal damage, but the “penetrating” aspect of the damage it deals with Clear the Streets is being removed.

Well, folks, that is a whole lot of changes for the game environment. While it was certainly not our…

What’s that?

You were expecting more?

Let me check my papers here…

(shuffle shuffle)

Heh

Yes. There was indeed one more topic to cover.

Ahem.

SPIRAL

No one on the Watch List generated as much passion and discussion as this girl. Comments ranged from as extreme as “just leave her be, there are other ways to address her” (with a long list of strategies) to the other end of “just remove the trait altogether.”

So, it is known that whatever change is being made here, it’s going to be seen as “not enough” for some people and “way too much” for others. Our primary goal was to bring Spiral to a place where she could be a playable piece, worth fielding for her point value, and not an automatic go-to in order to circumvent the map choice.

With that in mind, we’re implementing the following changes to Portals. It will now read: “Give Spiral a double power action, remove all of her Gateway markers from the map and place 2 Gateway markers on the map. Place one in an adjacent square and the other may be placed in any square on the map. Starting with your next turn, give a friendly character occupying the square of a Gateway marker a free action and place it in the square of the other Gateway marker.”

That’s 3 important changes, each underlined separately.

First, the Spiral on one force no longer messes around with the Gateway markers of an opposing Spiral. While this was a good thing to have in balance on the original version, with the other changes made, this was no longer a necessary exploit.

Next, the opposing team will now have a turn to react before Spiral’s force starts utilizing the Gateway. While you certain can place the Gateway marker among your opponent’s force to get maximum attack capability, the opponent might take that opportunity to scatter, occupy the Gateway, or other strategies to address it.

Lastly, it is no longer a simple “move” to go from one square to another. You have to give a character a specific free action to change from one Gateway to another. That will mean that the other Gateway will need to be clear. It’ll mean that if you aren’t occupying the Gateway at the beginning of the turn, you need to find a way to get that character to that square in order to be able to get to the other side.

In short, Spiral’s Portals are still useful but they aren’t the shortcut to alpha strike that they used to be.

CONCLUSION

Those are some pretty big changes and it will no doubt be some time before they are all included in the Player’s Guide with final language. We would advise judges running events to work with their player base and consider adopting these rulings sooner rather than later.

That’s it for this iteration of the Watch List.  Brother Voodoo was determined not to need refinement at this time.  The Watch List is closed for now, but if gameplay issues come up again, either through new figures or new exploits of previous game elements, we may reopen the list with new additions.

And, with that, we really are done. Other games would issue “bannings” to these pieces, but that’s not the path we chose.  We want you to be able to play these pieces, but we don’t want them to be the only option for competitive play.  So we have reduced the power on some of these pieces and are hopeful that these changes bring about a more balanced field of choice.  We always want a healthy gameplay environment, but we also want a dynamic environment with innovative mechanics and character designs that intrigue players.  From time to time, that means we may need to tidy things up, as every other collectible game that has lasted more than 10 years also needs to do.  This is why we instituted the Watch List.  Lots of amazing pieces have come out in the past year that may get a chance to shine now, and there’s more amazing stuff on the way.  Stay tuned!

 

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HeroClix Watch List

The HeroClix Watch List: An Update

Logo

 

Greetings HeroClix fans,

Shortly after the HeroClix Watch List was published, both the R&D and playtesting teams began to attack the challenge with renewed vigor. While each had their own take on how to fix individual aspects of each item on the Watch List, there was a consistent message that came across: Addressing only one item on the Watch List would only result in less feasible teams. In order to encourage a more balanced metagame, there is a need for many, if not all, items on the Watch List to have some change.

Some of the proposed changes wouldn’t directly errata the listed items, but would change the game in other ways. Some of the proposed changes would be errata. At this point, it is not looking like anything specific will need to be banned, though that option will remain available should playtesting prove it necessary.

One thing we can report is that Shatterstar has been added to the Watch List as well and some game alteration can be expected that would affect this piece as well.

We are currently narrowing down the options we plan to use for errata. This process will lead into a series of additional playtest cycles, with each team testing at least one of the Watch List items with the proposed changes. This process itself takes time and there will then need to be some time to analyze the results and formalize the changes. You can be sure that we’ll be back here when that stage is complete.

As always, thank you for your continued support and interest,
-The WizKids Team

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Heroclix HeroClix Rules Review Rules Question

A Whole New World: Invincible and Empower

Greetings Heroclix fans!

Today we continue our look at the new powers added to the 2013 Powers and Abilities Card, and we start with the new Defense power, Invincible!

INVINCIBLE

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.

Invincible

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)

Slide1

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.

EMPOWER

Invincible

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.

 

Categories
Heroclix HeroClix Rules Review Rules Question

A Whole New World: Sidestep and Precision Strike

Greetings HeroClix Fans!

Among the changes to the HeroClix 2013 Core Rulebook and Powers and Abilities Card are 4 brand new standard powers to add variety to your HeroClix dials.  Today’s article will look at the new powers for the Speed and Attack slots.

SIDESTEP

Sidestep

At first glance, this new standard speed power might not seem too flashy, simply giving your character an extra 2 movement.  But 2 extra movement as a free action is pretty significant.

Sidestep can be used every turn, even if your character already has 2 action tokens.  Over the course of 3 turns, that’s 6 extra squares of movement, and the ability to move and clear on the same turn is not to be underestimated.

It can be used before or after another action.  Need to get closer to someone before using Close Combat Expert?  Use Sidestep first.  Need to duck behind a wall after using Penetrating/ Psychic Blast?  Use Sidestep after your ranged combat action.

The speed value is locked, so that 2 movement is the same whether you’re moving out of hindering, using the Carry ability, been Perplex’ed down, etc.  Of course, the downside is that this means the speed value of 2 can’t be increased during the action, either, but that’s a more than fair price to pay.

Remember, though, that if your “Sidestepper” is adjacent to an opposing character, you still have to roll for break away normally.  But if you do need to break away, you can always use Sidestep to try first, and if that fails, use a move action to try again. When you’re breaking away, it’s important to check your powers for those that might activate while you’re using Sidestep. Leap/Climb and Phasing/Teleport are both powers that require a move action, so they would not help you when trying to break away with Sidestep. Improved Movement (Characters), on the other hand, activates whenever the character moves, so it would be useful when using Sidestep.

As you can see, what make this new power so potent is that it goes well with everything.  (Just like bacon.)

PRECISION STRIKE

precision-strike

Speaking of new powers that work well with everything, let’s take a look at the new attack power, Precision Strike.

Damage reducing powers have always had a way to get through them with Penetrating/Psychic Blast, and later, Exploit Weakness.  But unless you were packing Outwit or Pulse Wave, there were still very few ways to neutralize damage that didn’t have an easy workaround.  Super Senses could still evade an attack, and Mastermind could transfer the damage to a different character.

With Precision Strike, your character’s attacks can’t be evaded (Sorry, Super Senses), the damage dealt can’t be transferred (Mama Mia, Mastermind), and there’s even a touch of the old Armor Piercing feat in there, since the damage can’t be reduced below 1 either!   Remember, though, that there are also powers that ignore damage rather than reducing it (come back here Tuesday to learn about one in particular), so those powers can still operate at full effect against Precision Strike.

Since Precision Strike doesn’t require its own action to activate, instead triggering “when this character makes an attack,” it works with every power that include an attack.  That makes it an extremely versatile power and one of the best tools to use if you need a way to deal some almost-guaranteed damage.  So, just like bacon and Sidestep, Precision Strike makes everything better.

 – – – – – – – – – –

We hope you enjoyed this glimpse at some of the exciting new powers coming this year, and stay tuned as we continue to preview the HeroClix 2013 Core Rulebook and Powers and Abilities Card. Coming up, we’ll have previews of characters that use these new powers, demonstrating just some of the interesting new combinations that can happen.  Until then, keep your clix off their K.O.’s!

Categories
HeroClix Rules Review

HeroClix Q&A: Big or Small, We Got Them All!

Greetings HeroClix Fans!

How big is a Sentinel?  Can Wasp really carry the Hulk?  Questions like these have been asked since the days of Infinity Challenge.  And, as the game has changed over the years, the answers haven’t always been the same as they are now.  Welcome to yet another exciting edition of Rules Article Thursday where we take a Giant look at some Colossal questions and see if we can reduce any confusion to a Tiny fraction of its Standard size…

How Big Is It?

So what exactly is “size” in Heroclix?  And how do I know what size my character is supposed to be?  Good questions both and let me begin by saying what size is NOT:  Size has absolutely nothing to do with how large (or small) the character’s sculpt or base/dial is in relation to other sculpts and bases.  For example, due to artistic license with sculpt, we’ve had some characters that look positively massive… and yet they are only standard size characters.  Similarly, a lot of actual colossal characters can be found on 2×2 bases, but there are a couple standard sized characters on 2×2 bases, too.

Nope, the only way to know for sure what a character’s size is in Heroclix is to look at its damage symbol.

A character will always have a damage symbol and it is this symbol that determines its size.  Currently, there are four different damage symbols in Heroclix: the standard damage symbol damage-standard, the giant damage symboldamage-giant, the colossal damage symbol damage-colossal and (the most recent addition) the tiny damage .

The Powers and Ability Card (PAC) tells us exactly how these different sizes stack up against each other:

So we can see that Tiny is the smallest, Colossal the largest, with Standard and Giant somewhere in between those two.

The size of a character can have a lot of influence on how it plays in the game.  The two most frequent ways size changes a game are the effect size has on line of fire (LOF) and the Carry ability.

Sizing Up LOF

Let’s take another quick look at that PAC entry:

We can see from that last line that a character will block LOF if it is the same size, or larger, as the characters involved in the process of drawing LOF.  Let’s take a look at some specific examples…

Hank Pym and some of the other Avengers are trying to thwart the sinister Stranger’s latest scheme!  During the course of the battle, the Avengers find themselves arrayed at various elevations and, unfortunately for Hank, the Stranger has decided to focus his wrath against the doctor!  Which of Hank’s various allies can possible save him from certain doom?

Hank has the damage-standard damage symbol, so he will block Iron Man’s LOF to Stranger: no help there.  However, Vision is sitting on a higher elevation than Hank, so he can draw LOF over the poor,  about-to-be-squished scientist and shoot the Stranger.  Thor, even though he is elevated, can’t draw LOF, either, because of the blocking terrain in the way.  Vision is Hank’s only hope!

But what if Hank wants to increase his odds of survival?  Let’s say he decides to use his Morph ability and change into Ant-Man.  Now he has the damage symbol… he is smaller than Iron Man (and Stranger) and Iron Man will now have a clear LOF to Stranger!  Two Avengers can blast away and try to save Ant-Man!  Thor is still out of luck, though…

But what if Hank wants to try to fight the Stranger himself?  Let’s say he decided to use his Morph ability and change into Giant-Man.  Now he has the damage-giant damage symbol… he is now larger than Stranger (and Iron Man and Vision) and will block both Iron Man’s and Vision’s LOF to Stranger!  Oh no!  Giant-Man better be able Stranger on his own…

We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat…

The other game effect size can really impact is the Carry ability.  Here it is, for review:

We see in that description that a character can’t carry larger characters.  So even if a damage-standard size character could normally use Carry, it couldn’t use that ability to carry a character with the damage-giant or damage-colossal symbol.

Let’s say Giant-Man has realized Stranger is just too much for him and needs to get out of there fast.  Unfortunately for him, even though Iron Man is right next to him and can use Carry, Giant-Man is larger than Iron Man; Iron Man can’t carry Giant-Man.  Giant-Man will either have to Morph into a smaller character or get out of there on his own.

Big Things Ahead: Sizes and Combat Abilities

Each damage symbol also comes with its own set of combat abilities.  Each of these abilities can also have a large impact on the game, beyond the simple size of the character, and will be the focus of future articles.  The PAC describes each symbol and its associated abilities; please see the PAC for more details and keep an eye out for those future articles.

Thanks once again for reading along today.  I hope you have found this information useful.  If you have any more questions about counter, ignore, or other aspects of the game, please feel free to send an e-mail to HeroClixRules@gmail.com or hit the Rules Deputies up on the forums!

-Rules Representative: Jeff “normalview” Orasky