Categories
Heroclix Rules Question

School of Hard Knocks – Even More Knock Back!

Greetings HeroClix Fans!

Previously, we’ve explored the basics of knock back .  However, there are many game effects that can influence the way knock back functions.  There are ways to prevent knock back, ways to cause knock back in different ways, and even some ways to pick and choose when you are knocked back.  In the previous article was the HeroClix KB 101 course, consider this the graduate level seminar…

Common Corner Cases – Map effects   

For purposes of this discussion, map effects will cover anything on the map (terrain, character configurations, map edges) that might interfere with normal knock back.  We’re not focusing on the character’s dial (powers and such) at the moment.

Let’s begin with other characters and how they impact knock back.  Recall from our last knock back article that Cyclops and Wolverine were throwing down with the Brotherhood?  Well, that battle is about to get a bit more complicated:

kb - pic 8

Last time, Juggernaut knocked back Wolverine and Cyclops knocked back Pyro.  We’ll say the same things happen this time, only now some other characters are in the way, and see what happens.

First, let’s look at Wolverine’s knock back path.  Juggy knocks him back, but Sabretooth is in the way… does that mean Wolverine is dealt knock back damage?  Is hitting a character the same as hitting a wall?  Well, the rule book (page 11) tells us:

If the knock back path would cross a square occupied by another character, put the knocked back character in the last unoccupied square adjacent to the square occupied by the other character. Stopping in this way does not deal damage to either character.

So, no, Wolverine would not be dealt any damage for being knocked back into Sabretooth.  Yes, the path of knock back is blocked, but being stopped by a character is not the same thing as being stopped by terrain.

But what if Sabretooth was re-positioned slightly?  Consider this arrangement:

kb - pic 9

If Juggernaut knocks back Wolverine now, there is no character directly along the knock back path to prevent Wolverine from flying through the air.  Even though it looks like he might have a hard time squeezing around Sabretooth and Blob (let’s face it, everyone has a hard time squeezing around Blob), the path is along that direct diagonal line and nothing will impede Wolverine on that line until he hits the elevated terrain.

Now how about Pyro?  Before, Cyke knocked him off the elevated terrain, but this time around Mystique is sitting in the square Pyro would have been knocked into.  Does he fall on top of her?  Does he go into another, lower square?  Page 11 once again has the answer:

If the first square of a lower elevation along the knock back path is not able to be occupied, the knock back path ends in the last square of the higher elevation and that character is not dealt knock back damage.

 

It seems that Pyro lucks out; not only does he not take any damage at all for knock back, he doesn’t even move.  He stays right there and can take a shot at Cyke in retaliation next turn.  Note that this would work not only in this particular case, where Mystique prevents Pyro from occupying that lower square, but if ANYTHING prevented Pyro from occupying that square.  A chunk of blocking terrain would work just as well in this case.

                        Now that Pyro has taken his lumps, let’s segue from the character interactions on knock back into some odd map effects.  First, let’s say Pyro does retaliate against Cyclops and Pyro rolls double 6s!  Take that, Slim!  The only place Cyclops has to go, though, is off the map… and we can’t do that.  From page 11 again:

A character’s knock back path can’t continue beyond a square that blocks movement, elevated terrain of a higher elevation or the edge of the map. If it would do so, the character’s knock back path ends in the square before its path would cross into any of these areas, and the character is dealt 1 damage, as shown in Figure 10.

 

As far as knock back is concerned, there is no real difference between the edge of the map and a wall or square of blocking terrain: the path is blocked, so damage is dealt.  Be careful generalizing too much with this, though… the edge of the map is NOT actually blocking terrain or a wall.  Any other game effect which actually cares about blocking terrain would not have anything to do with the map edge.

 

So far, these kinds of map effects are not specific to any one map; they can be applied whenever and wherever they arise.  Some maps, however, have orange special terrain and that special terrain may have additional, knock back related rules.  For example, the Deep Space terrain on the map from the set Super Nova has the following special text:

 

A successful attack that does not otherwise knock back a character occupying space terrain knocks back that character a number of squares equal to damage dealt -2, to a minimum of 0. When targeting a character occupying space terrain with Force Blast, roll two six-sided dice instead of one. All knock back ends immediately when a character enters the first square that is not space terrain. Characters occupying space terrain are not dealt knock back damage if their knock back paths are ended by the edge of the map.

 

Not only is it possible for any attack that causes damage to generate knock back, doubles or no, but pay particular attention to the bit that says, “All knock back ends immediately when a character enters the first square that is not space terrain.”  Specifically, the “All knock back” part.  So any knock back, whether caused by rolling doubles, by using Quake or Force Blast or another power, or by these special map rules, will end immediately if the character is taken outside of the special terrain.  “Does that mean the character is dealt knock back damage?” you ask.  Not unless that square would normally block movement anyway (like if there was a square of blocking terrain there); terrain that blocks movement is what typically causes knock back damage, not the simple ending of the movement.  Additionally, note that if the character is knocked back into the edge of the map, there is no damage in this special terrain.  In other words, this map tends to have characters shooting around like pinballs, but very little knock back damage tends to occur here.

 

Here’s another example, from the SHIELD Helicarrier map:

 

Orange squares 10,000 feet below squares. Characters can’t move into or occupy these squares. If a character’s knock back path is stopped by one of these squares, deal that character 1 additional unavoidable damage.

In this case, not only does the character take knock back damage for being stopped by the orange squares (a character can’t move through them, so knock back is stopped), but the knocked back character would be zapped with some additional, unavoidable damage even if it would otherwise ignore or reduce knock back damage.

 

We don’t really have the time and space to go over every single possible exception based on special map rules, but hopefully these few examples have given you enough of an understanding that you can figure out what happens if something else comes along.  And if not, you can always ask us if you have more questions!

 

Common Corner Cases – Powers and Abilities

Moving on, we are now focused on the characters themselves instead of the maps.  There are four common powers that provide exceptions to the knock back rules, two combat abilities that might be important, and a whole gaggle of special powers and traits.  An important point to keep in mind during this discussion is some of these effects prevent knock back from occurring.  You would check for these kinds of effects BEFORE any damage from a knock back causing attack is applied.

Let’s look at those common powers first.

Charge

Pretty simple: Charge causes the character to ignore knock back.  If a Charge-having character is hit with doubles, attacked with Quake, or would otherwise be knocked back, it just doesn’t happen.  Charge ignores that knock back.  Keep an eye out for this… I’ve seen players forget this many, MANY times, focusing instead on how Charge lets a character move up and attack.  Also note that this is no way optional; you can’t choose to “turn off” Charge if you want to be knocked back by an attack.

ForceBlast

Also pretty simple: assign your power action, pick an adjacent character, and then roll the d6.  Boom.  Instant knock back.  Players tend to poo-poo Force Blast because it doesn’t cause huge damage or let you zip around the map attacking at will… but they also tend to forget that there is absolutely no attack roll necessary (doubles or otherwise), that powers like Shape Change or Super Senses offer no protection, and you are guaranteed at least 1 square of knock back (maybe a lot more).   WS Nightcrawler being a pain in your neck?  Bounce him off the edge some elevated terrain!  Old KC Green Lantern too hard to hit?  Slam him into the wall once or twice and he becomes much easier to manage!   Force Blast isn’t as ubiquitously useful as Hypersonic Speed or Outwit, but it can be awesome in the right circumstances.

QuakeA little more complicated than Charge or Force Blast, but still pretty easy once you break it down.  Basically, your character attacks all adjacent opposing characters with one single attack and its damage value is locked at 2 for the duration of this attack.  After the attack is over and damage has been dished out, any character that took damage from this attack is knocked back accordingly.  So, barring critical hits, you can knock back characters either 1 or 2 squares with this power (depending on how much damage the characters actually took).  No doubles are necessary… all you have to do is hit and damage your target(s) and they will be knocked back. This power is particularly awesome when used against groups of characters with little/no damage reduction (most any Minion fits that description).  Note, that there are no special rules in place if you do happen to roll doubles when you attack with this power; you don’t get extra knock back for rolling doubles or anything like that.

CombatReflexes
This power actually has two parts related to knock back.  The first part allows you to choose to knock back the character in situations in would not normally be knocked back.  Is Wolverine taking too much of a beating from Juggernaut?  If Wolvie can use Combat Reflexes when Juggernaut successfully attacks him, you can choose to knock back Wolverine even if Juggy didn’t roll doubles and make an escape.  Please note that this only allows you to choose to take knock back in cases when you normally wouldn’t… it does NOT let you choose to ignore knock back in cases when your character would be knocked back normally.   Also note that this part of the power lets your character be knocked back even if it normally CAN’T be knocked back.  For example, Charge normally ignores knock back, but a character that can also use Combat Reflexes may choose to be knocked back even those Charge tries to say “no way”.

The second part kicks in AFTER a character has been knocked back.  Once knock back is actually happening (either because you choose to use the first part or because of some other, knock back-causing effect), if the character would then be dealt knock back damage for hitting a wall or something similar this power ignores that damage.  It doesn’t reduce the damage dealt, like Toughness would, but flat out ignores it.  This can be an important distinction if certain other game effects are in play (the Armor Wars Battlefield Condition, for example, increase damage dealt if it is reduced… this does not reduce damage dealt, so Armor Wars would have no effect).

Since Combat Reflexes has two different effects on knock back that activate at two different times, it is completely possible that your character may not actually get to use both parts during the same attack.  Let’s continue the example above, with Wolverine choosing to take knock back from Juggernaut… we’ll Juggernaut hits him for 3 damage, Wolverine takes 3 and clicks onto a click with Regeneration.  Then he is knocked back 3 squares and, unfortunately for him, hits a wall and is dealt 1 knock back damage.  Since he now has Regeneration and not Combat Reflexes, he can’t ignore this knock back damage and it may very well KO him.  The opposite is also true: say Wolverine was on a click with Toughness and Juggernaut rolled doubles when he hit Wolverine.  Wolverine takes some damage, lands on Combat Reflexes, and is then knocked back because of the doubles.  During the knock back, he falls off of some elevated terrain, but the newly revealed Combat Reflexes would let him ignore the 2 damage normally dealt for being knocked back off of elevated terrain.

Now for the combat abilities mentioned before:

Flight

As you might have already noticed, that ability doesn’t say anything at all about knock back.  Instead, what we really care about for this discussion comes from the discussion of knock back in the rules book (page 11):

 

Characters using the Flight ability (see the Powers and Abilities Card) which are knocked back off of elevated terrain are not dealt knock back damage, though they still end their knock back path in the first empty square of a lower elevation.

 

So when a character that can use Flight is knocked back off of elevated terrain, it would not be dealt any damage.  Flight has no other effect on knock back (they are still repositioned normally, still dealt damage if stopped by a wall, etc), but since falling causes a big fat 2 damage dealt, this ability can really save your character’s bacon and is well worth remembering.

 

GreatSize

Right there at the beginning of the ability, simply put, these characters can’t be knocked back.  So, short of Combat Reflexes granting a choice on the matter, your Giants and Colossals won’t have to worry about knock back.

 

Moving on to special powers and traits, I want to point out that there are many, many, many related to knock back in some way, shape, or form.  It is well beyond the scope of this article to cover every last one.  Much like the special map rules, though, I’ll select a couple and hopefully you’ll be able to use these examples as a guide for other effects.

 

Repulsor Rays: After Iron Man hits a character with a ranged combat attack and actions resolve, you may knock back that character an amount equal to the difference between Iron Man’s range value and the number of squares to that character.

 

Using this power requires a bit of math, but is otherwise pretty straight forward.  If Iron Man hits a character with a ranged combat attack, and that character isn’t at the absolute edge of Iron Man’s range, he will knock it back.

 

There are a couple interesting wrinkles, though.  First, Iron Man doesn’t even need to damage the character, just that hit it.  So Impervious could reduce the damage from the attack to 0, but Iron Man could still knock that character back a couple squares if it was close enough.  Also worthy of note is that this power causes knock back AFTER the action resolves.  Normal knock back occurs DURING the action.  In this case, it is actually possible to generate knock back twice: Iron Man rolls doubles and hits, knocking back his target.  Then, after the action resolves, check how far away the target is and, if close enough, knock it back again.  Potentially a very deadly combo if the character is actually trapped in a corner and has nowhere to go… Iron Man can just keep bouncing it off the walls.

 

The Living Bomb Burst: All damage dealt by Blastaar causes knock back.

 

This one is deceptively simple.  When it says “all damage dealt by Blastaar”, it really does mean ALL damage.  For example, let’s say Blastaar is wielding the Infinity Gauntlet and now has the ability to use Poison… well, when Blastaar uses Poison and damages any adjacent opposing characters, those characters will also be knocked back by that damage.

 

Swat: All damage dealt by Red King causes knock back. When the knock back path of a character knocked back in this way is stopped by another character, deal both characters 2 knock back damage.

 

Normally, being knocked back into a character causes no knock back damage.  This particular power not only causes knock back damage to the character that was knocked back, but also to the character that stopped the knock back.  Two points of interest here are A) we are still talking about knock back damage, so it can be reduced/ignored by anything that would normally reduce or ignore knock back damage and B) ANY character ending the knock back will cause this damage (and be damaged), so watch how you position your own friendly characters or you may end up damaging them accidentally!

 

Common Corner Cases – Miscellaneous

 

Finally, because it didn’t really fit in anywhere else, keep in mind that multi-based characters can’t be knocked back.  Many multi-base characters are already Giants or Colossals (so Great Size also prevents knock back), but for those that aren’t, the rule book tells us on page 15 that knock back is a no-no:

 

Multi-base characters can’t be carried or knocked back. They can’t be placed by the Telekinesis power.

 

Got it?

 

So that wraps up our second discussion of knock back.  Hopefully, between the more basic, general knock back article presented earlier and now this look at some of the exceptions to the general knock back rules, we’ve covered all the bases.    If you have any further knock back questions, don’t hesitate to ask.  Who knows, maybe your question might be the genesis of a third article!

 

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

 

Jeff “normalview” Orasky

Categories
HeroClix Rules Review Rules Question

School of Hard Knocks – An Introduction to Knock Back

Greetings HeroClix Fans!

Today, HeroClix Rules Deputy Jeff “normalview” Orasky takes a closer look at how “knock back” operates in a typical HeroClix game.  Without further ado, we are pleased to present…

School of Hard Knocks – Introduction to Knock Back

BAM!  Juggernaut has just smashed Wolverine so hard that Wolverine is sent sailing through the air… happens all the time in comic books, but how exactly does that translate into HeroClix?  The answer, my friends, is KNOCK BACK.  Knock back is an awesome nod to comic book combat and adds an interesting (if somewhat random) wrinkle to the complexity of HeroClix.  But figuring out exactly what knock back is (and what it isn’t) and how it is used can be a bit daunting.  Here is yet another Rules Review to give you the introductory KB 101 you’ve been looking for.

What is Knock Back?

Let’s go right to the source and consult the rules.  From page 10 of the 2012 Rulebook:

When a player rolls doubles on a successful attack roll, the target is knocked back after any damage taken from the attack is applied. Knock back represents a character being thrown backward by the force of an attack.

So knock back is something that happens when you roll doubles on your attack roll, assuming that attack roll hit the target.  Cool.  Further on, we have:

A knocked back character is moved back one square for each 1 damage taken. Move the character in a straight line away from the attacking character—called the knock back path—even if that path is on a diagonal. If multiple characters take damage from a game effect that causes knock back, resolve the knock back starting with the character farthest from the attacker.

Because you rolled doubles and generated knock back, the target (or targets, because we see right here that we can knock back multiple characters) is repositioned away from the attacker 1 square for each click of damage the target took from the attack.  Seems simple enough, but why not give a practical illustration?


kb - pic 1

Cyclops and Wolverine of the X-Men are facing off against the Brotherhood of Mutants.  Uh-oh, Mystique has used her wily shape-shifting ways to sneak up on the leader of the X-Men!  Cyclops rolls to attack Mystique before she can stab him in the back and rolls two 5s… a hit and knock back!  Cyclops is dealing 3 damage and Mystique has no way to reduce that so she takes 3 damage.  And since she took 3 damage, she is knocked back 3 squares like so:

kb - pic 2 mod

It is worth noting that the section also specifies that knock back is always away from the character that caused the knock back.  So even if Mystique had been able to use Mastermind when Cyclops attacked her, the character damaged via Mastermind would have still have been knocked back away from Cyclops (the character causing the knock back) and NOT from Mystique.

So what’s next in the rules?

If the knock back path is not along a straight horizontal or vertical line, then the knock back path follows the diagonal line starting with the square that is on the opposite side of the target from the attacker, in both the vertical as well as horizontal direction.

Okay, so if the knock back isn’t on an exactly diagonal path, we make it an exactly diagonal path.  This keeps things simple rather than trying to guess at moving 1 square this-a-way and 3 squares that-a-way kind of thing (those who have been playing for a long time might remember how awkward that was…).  Want another example?  Sure!

kb - pic 3

The fiery Pyro is all set to roast Wolverine!  Pyro makes a ranged combat attack and rolls two 4s… a hit and knock back!  Wolverine takes 2 damage, but he is not on an exact diagonal to Pyro.  So when we go to knock back Wolverine, we need to find the square that is A) on the opposite side of Wolverine from Pyro and B) would be diagonal (not vertical or horizontal) from Wolverine’s current square.  He gets knocked back along that pathway.  Like so:

kb - pic 4 mod

Moving on in the rules, we find:

Movement along a knock back path ignores the effects of hindering terrain and objects on movement.

Very straight forward: hindering terrain (including any objects on the map) has absolutely no effect on knock back.  Just because a knocked back character “hits” a bush or gumball machine does not mean it stops its knock back prematurely.

Last, but certainly not least, we’ve got:

Game effects that activate as a result of a character moving are not activated by a character moving due to knock back.

So any and all game effects that care about “movement” are not bothered by knock back.  For example:

HYPERTIME

Whenever an opposing character given an action attempts to move from a non-adjacent square into a square that is adjacent to a character using the Hypertime team ability, it must roll a d6. On a result of 1-2, the opposing character cannot move to any square adjacent to the character using this team ability that turn. Characters using this team ability ignore it on opposing characters.

This team ability would normally require an opposing character to roll off before attempting to move into a square adjacent to the user.  But knock back is not defined as movement so if an opposing character is knocked back toward a Hypertime character, the team ability will not activate.

Once more, for emphasis since it comes up a lot, KNOCK BACK IS NOT MOVEMENT.

Knock Back Damage

Sometimes knock back will cause a character to hit a wall, or fall off the edge of elevated terrain.  When that happens, we get knock back damage.  Let’s check the rule book again (now on page 11):

A character’s knock back path can’t continue beyond a square that blocks movement, elevated terrain of a higher elevation or the edge of the map. If it would do so, the character’s knock back path ends in the square before its path would cross into any of these areas, and the character is dealt 1 damage.

 

Now the battle is really on and Wolverine and Cyclops both find themselves tussling with the unstoppable Juggernaut and the fiery Pyro!

kb - pic 5

Juggernaut has been scrapping with Wolverine and both have taken some damage.  Suddenly, Juggy rolls double 3s, a hit and knock back on Wolverine!  Wolverine takes his 3 clicks (like I said, both have taken some damage and Juggernaut isn’t on his 4 damage clicks any more) and then is knocked back 1 square before the elevated terrain gets in his way and he must stop moving, 2 squares short of the 3 he should have moved.

kb - pic 6 mod

Since Wolverine ends his knock back early, he would normally be dealt 1 damage but the Combat Reflexes now showing on his dial protects him (more on that in the next article).

Meanwhile, Cyclops and Pyro are taking shots at each other and Cyke rolls double 5s!  Pyro is hit and knocked back off the elevated terrain like so:

kb - pic 7 mod

And we see in the rule book (page 11, again):

When a character is knocked across the rim of elevated terrain (i.e.: from a higher elevation to a lower elevation (see Line of Fire: The Rim, p. 14), the knock back path ends in the first square of a lower elevation and that character is dealt 2 knock back damage.

Even though Pyro would normally be knocked back 3 squares by Cyclops’s attack, when he changes elevation the knock back movement ends immediately and he is dealt 2 damage.

Finishing up… For now

There is plenty more to discuss with knock back (specific exceptions, odd-ball interactions, and such), but this article is already getting pretty long and you’ve got quite a bit to read through.   We will cover these more complicated situations in a later article. Let’s just finish up by pointing out that knock back damage (the stuff that happens whenever the knocked back character hits a wall or falls off of elevated terrain) is DAMAGE DEALT, which means that it can be reduced by any game effect that reduces damage dealt.  Toughness, Invulnerability, and Impervious can all blunt (or completely neutralize) the threat of knock back damage.  But knock back damage is not, by itself, an attack.  It frequently happens because an attack was made, but it is a side effect of the attack and attacks are not the only way knock back can be generated.  This means that game effects that depend on attacks to activate (like the Mystics team ability), will not be activated by knock back damage.

In summary:

  • Knock back (normally) occurs when a successful attack roll is doubles
  • Knock back is ALWAYS away from the source/cause of the knock back
  • Knock back is (normally) equal to the damage taken by the target of the attack
  • Knock back is NOT, NOT, NOT movement and will NOT, NOT, NOT activate game effects that kick in when movement occurs
  • If knock back is ended prematurely (by hitting walls or something), knock back damage is dealt
  • Knock back damage is damage dealt and can be reduced accordingly
  • Knock back damage is not an attack

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

Jeff “normalview” Orasky

Categories
Announcements Errata Heroclix Rules Question

Normal Distribution – Giant Colossal Size X-Men

Giant Size X-Men is in stores now and boosters are flying off the shelves. Now, you may be one of those folks who enjoys the 5-figure boosters, but for me, I enjoy a game with a gigantic figure on the board. As everyone knows, the Super Boosters have one of 6 colossal figures in it, each one towering over the battlefield.

In any game of HeroClix, actions matter. Whether you are playing 300, 600, 1000 points or more, the number of times per turn that you are doing something matters. Any time that you have can’t do anything with a character, it just feels like you’re missing opportunities. When you are playing with BIG characters that are BIG points, those turns when you have to clear that character feel like you’re about to walk into traffic blind-folded.

To help players understand the rules for damage-colossal figures, I thought a quick review of the Colossal Size rules would be in order. If you are a veteran player, it’s not only good to review, but trust me, you don’t know everything there is to know about this combat ability.

Characters with the damage-standard and damage-giant symbol do not block lines of fire to or from this character.

Colossal figures are the biggest thing on the board and other figures might as well not be there when it comes to drawing lines of fire.

A character with this ability ignores the effects of hindering, elevated, and outdoor blocking terrain on movement.

When a colossal figure moves, the only terrain that slows him down is when he has to move around indoors. Those indoor walls and blocking terrain are a bit of a challenge. Also, remember that inside the figure moving will need an opening as wide as the character’s base. So those big bases might need to blow out some walls if they want to get where they want to go.

This character can’t be knocked back and can make ranged combat attacks against non-adjacent opposing characters when they are adjacent to opposing characters.

The knock back part is easy enough, in fact it applies to all multi-base characters. The ranged combat attack is sometimes confusing to people. Normally, a character that is adjacent to an opposing character is prohibited from making ranged attacks. There are some ways around this, such as the Sharpshooter combat ability, but in that case, the ranged attack that the character is allowed to make is still not allowed to be against a non-adjacent target. So when Cyclops is adjacent to The Hellfire Guard, the X-Men leader can still make ranged attacks against The Hellfire Guard, for example, using his Range Combat Expert. But The Hellfire Guard’s boss Magneto few squares away doesn’t have to worry about Cyclops… yet. This is not true if you replace Cyclops, with say, Apocalypse – who happens to be holding a slightly crushed Cyclops, so I think that would be a fair swap.

Colossal figures, like Apocalypse, can make ranged attacks against all non-adjacent characters. Naturally, they still need line of fire and the character needs to be within range. What’s interesting is that, unlike the Sharpshooter, they can’t make ranged attacks against the opposing characters that are adjacent to them, only the ones that are not adjacent. (They have no problems making close combat attacks against those characters though – that’s usually plenty!)

This character and a character on elevated terrain draw line of fire and make ranged combat attacks against each other as if they were both elevated, but terrain effects still apply normally. This character can make close combat attacks against elevated characters, even when this character is grounded.

These lines are just like the rules for damage-giant characters. A character on elevated terrain would not need to be “on the rim” in order to be able to draw a line of fire to a damage-colossal character, as they can treat the damage-colossal character as if it was elevated (and vice versa). Close combat isn’t a problem across elevation either, as a grounded damage-colossal character can do so regardless of the targets elevation. If the damage-colossal character itself is elevated, while it’s free to make close combat against other elevated characters, it would not be able to make close combat attacks against grounded characters, at least, not through this ability.

This ability can’t be countered.

No one should have any trouble with this line, eh? No outwitting a Colossal Size. What are you going to do, squeeze the Frost Giant into a smaller box?

Now, wasn’t there something new that I was promised earlier? Something to take the edge off of players who hate giving up their turn when they’ve invested 500 points in that one big figure?

When this character has two action tokens, it can be given a non-free action. After the action resolves, deal it 1 unavoidable damage and do not remove action tokens from it at the end of the turn.

You read that right. Colossal characters used in a force – all of them, not just the ones in the Giant Size X-Men Super Boosters – can now be given an action every single turn as a bonus for having the damage-colossal damage symbol. It costs you, to be sure. But as the player, you can now make the choice.

Let’s review this ability in a little detail so that it’s clear how pushing damage and willpower come into play.

It’s round 1 and I need to decide what I’m going to do with my Apocalypse. He’s on his first click, sporting a 10 speed with Charge and 5 damage with Close Combat Expert. I move him the full 10 squares with a standard move action and place a token on him.

On round 2, I see that I have an opposing character just a few squares away. I give him a power action to Charge and he attacks the opposing character, dealing 5 damage! When Apocalypse gets assigned a second action token, he is dealt pushing damage. If he did not have Indomitable, he’d be taking a click of damage himself. But thanks to Indomitable, he can ignore pushing damage and end his turn.

On round 3, Apocalypse is sitting there with 2 tokens. Under previous rules, this would the time when the opponent would come in at Apocalypse full force. They’d be able to attack him knowing that Apocalypse would be powerless to retaliate. To be sure, players still have that option. If you want your Colossal character to rest and clear tokens, that’s a choice you can make.

With the new ability in Colossal Size, opposing characters can never rest easy again. On turn 3, Apocalypse can be given a non-free action. Since he has 2 tokens, he is not assigned a third one. And after the action resolves, he’ll be dealt 1 unavoidable damage. This is different from pushing damage – Indomitable isn’t going to help him this time. What’s more, Apocalypse does not get to clear this turn. So, during round 4, Apocalypse’s player can make the choice again – rest Apocalypse so that he can be given actions that do not cause damage or give him another non-free action, attempt to decimate his opponent, but give Apocalypse another unavoidable click.

It may become a tough choice at times, but you’ll find your damage-colossal figures will be having a better time decimating the opposition!

Giant Size X-Men is on sale now. The colossal figures are in the super booster. I mean, of course that’s where they are – how else are you going to fit that much fun in a box?

Categories
Announcements Heroclix

Player’s Guide Update – The Brave and the Bold Edition

A new set comes out, which means it is time for a new Player’s Guide. You can grab a copy at the bottom of the article or you can go to the Downloads section to pick up the latest copy. This will be the last “Restricted/Unrestricted” release of the Player’s Guide. Next month will see the debut of Blackest Night and we’ll have our new Golden/Modern Age formats for the Player’s Guide.

A number of the figures from The Brave and The Bold have led to some questions. Where necessary, we’ve added clarifications to the Player’s Guide, but I’ll also review these items here.

ALTER EGOS

One of the new mechanics introduced in this set, a number of people have asked about how this mechanic works in a sealed format tournament.  If you pull a Diana Prince and a Winder Woman in your boosters, you are welcome to use the Alter Ego special power to change. But if you did not pull a Wonder Woman, you cannot bring one from outside the game in order to upgrade the character. If you think of the normal game play as allowing you o pull from your collection, in the sealed environment, your “collection” becomes limited to only those characters that you got from your booster(s).

Some folks are trying to find loopholes in order to use Superman at a lower cost or to have a transformed Clark Kent become more powerful. For clarity, you can never heal a character beyond the starting line it comes into the game on. So when Clark becomes Superman, the starting line for Superman is the orange line. You cannot then try to heal Superman up from this line.

It is also not allowed to decide to just play the super hero at the lower cost, even if you start them on their orange line. Putting Batman on your force means you start with a 74 point character on his green line. You cannot start Batman on his orange line at 48 points. The orange starting line is only used when Bruce Wayne activates his Alter Ego special power.

ERRATA

There are 3 figures that needed a bit of tweaking to more accurately reflect their design.

Power Girl – this errata was issued within 24 hours of her announcement. Power Girl was designed and play tested with a trait allowing her to use Super Strength.

Flash and Green Lantern – similar to Power Girl, this figure was designed and play tested with more capability than was printed on the final figure. With the publication of this errata, this figure now has a range of 8 and 2 targets.

Mister Miracle and Oberon – the special power that allows adjacent characters to TK this figure needed a slight adjustment as the figure is a multi-based figure and could not actually be moved with Telekinesis without some errata.

Shazam! and Black Adam – A small correction to the trait that allows you to choose the point value of the figure clarifies the Duo/Single confusion. In a nutshell, when you play the character at 280 points, it is considered a Duo. But at only 140 points, you get the attack symbol.

CHARACTER NAMES

There are a couple of mechanics in The Brave and the Bold that use character names to determine how a mechanic works. Kryptonite Man, for example, has a real affect on characters named “Superman”. Meanwhile, Extant has a special power that causes characters with the same name to take damage in unison. This leads to questions about how close the name needs to be.

Firstly, the names do need to be the same. It is not enough to have part of the name be included. So, “Superman Prime” and “Superman Robot” would not count as “Superman”. Similarly, “Checkmate Pawn (White)” is not going to be the same as “Checkmate Pawn (Black)”.

Secondly, where abbreviations are used, the entirety of the name should be considered. So “Dr. Doom” and “Doctor Doom” are both going to be affected by Extant’s special power.

The character who makes this the most “interesting” is the new, fun-to-play, Superman and The Flash character. To date, they are the only figure in the game whose name actually changes partway through the match. So while Kryptonite Man will have no affect on “Superman and The Flash”, once their “And the Winner Is” power activates, and the player chooses one or the other, the name of the figure changes to either “Superman” or “The Flash”. And the wrong choice here could lead to Kryptonite Man being very happy!

TRAITS AND OUTWIT

Traits cannot be countered, everyone knows that. It’s been like that since traits first appeared in Mutations and Monsters. But the concepts of “possess” and “use” need to be reviewed so that this can be completely understood. To do that, I’m going to use the “way back” machine and talk about a similar mechanic – feats. Feats are also something that cannot be countered. However an individual feat can either let a character use a power or it can say that a character possesses a power. Two examples:

Alias: “This character can use Shape Change…”

Force Field: “… This character gains Toughness.”

In the case of Alias, the character assigned the feat does not gain, have, or possess Shape Change. They can use it. As a result, you would not be able to outwit Shape Change on that character. On the other hand, a figure that is equipped with Force Field would gain Toughness – it behaves as if it is a power on their dial – and it can be outwitted, should you choose. Even though the feat itself cannot be countered, if it indicates the character now possesses something new, then that new thing might be able to be countered.

For example, Pym Particles, if it were used to gain the damage-giant symbol, you would not be able to outwit the symbol, because combat symbols cannot be countered. On the other hand, Giant Stride – one of the abilities the damage-giant icon grants you that can be countered – would still be available to an outwitter.

So now, let’s bring this back to traits. Almost all of the traits in existence specify that a character “can use” something (for example, Power Girl’s trait that says “Power Girl can use Super Strength”). In those cases, since the trait cannot be countered and the power itself is not possessed, the character gets that ability with no fear of it being countered.

But when a trait says that something is gained or possessed – like Batman and Green Arrow’s trait “Batman and Green Arrow possess the Sharpshooter ability.” – then it would allow an outwitter to target that ability, even though the source of it is something that cannot be outwitted. It’s the same as Toughness being available for outwit when Force Field is being used.

That’s about all I have for this week. The link for the latest player’s guide is available below and should also appear in the downloads section of the site. Anything you’re having trouble with, feel free to drop me a line at HeroClixRules@gmail.com

RESOURCES

Categories
Announcements Heroclix Preview

New Rules are A’Comin

I’m so excited that this article is finally going up, I almost don’t know where to start. Helping to shape the HeroClix rulebook for the DC HeroClix Blackest Night Starter Game was one of the first things I was asked to participate in when I was asked to put the Rules Arbitrator hat back on. The goals were simple. Change as little as possible except where we could make the game simpler or more intuitive to learn and play. Almost everything I describe below falls into that broad umbrella.

NEW IDEAS

There are a few new things one can see reviewing the 2010 HeroClix Core Rulebook. Some of them are not necessarily new ideas as much as they are a common understanding, now being formalized as a rule.

Click Numbers: As has been mentioned in earlier previews, starting with Blackest Night, figures are going to be printed with small red numbers that indicate what click you are on.

Rule of Occupancy: Many powers (e.g., Leap/Climb, Phasing) were written with specific language to state that the character could not stop or be placed such that they occupy blocking terrain. As part of our goal was to simplify and scale back the amount of text necessary for the Powers and Abilities Card, it made sense to formalize this as a rule. So it’s a global rule now, you can’t stop in blocking terrain no matter what.

Rule of Action Tokens: This is another one of those things that every game effect that deals with tokens needed to mention. If the action taking place was going to somehow result in a character having three (or more) tokens assigned, then the action couldn’t be done. Instead of having special powers that talk about “where the target has zero or one action tokens…”, we now have a simple rule that states “if the target can have more tokens than they should, you can’t do it.”

Locked Values: This is probably one of my favorite new ideas to come out with Blackest Night.  There are times in HeroClix where we force a combat value to change and, for that effect, it can’t be modified further. With the 2010 Rulebook, we introduce a term for this called a “Locked Value.” A locked value cannot be replaced and cannot be modified. It is used in a number of powers on the PAC and is an exciting new tool in the design team’s arsenal.

SMALL TWEAKS

If we had to describe the different kinds of questions that show up learning HeroClix, it’s the oddity of certain interactions. Things behave one way in most cases, but in this one case, it behaves another way. As much as we could, we tried to smooth out these kind of rough edges.

Knock Back: To be honest, this was the first thing on my list when I was asked “what would you simplify.” When knock back occurs on a straight line, nothing has changed. When the line of fire is not on a “perfect diagonal” the attacking player can now choose from 2 directions. Which directions? Simple. Extend the line of fire between the attacker and the target. The first 2 squares that line hits are the two possible choices you have.

The other simplification for knock back comes from the way it works when a character s knocked back off elevated terrain. If the first square of grounded terrain is unoccupied, there is no change – a non-flier will be dealt 2 damage and a flying character will ignore it. But when that space is occupied, and the knocked back character remains on elevated terrain, well, no damage is dealt. You will no longer have to explain to your new player “well, he isn’t knocked off the building, but he is kind of knocked off the building, so he’s hanging on and pulls himself back up and… yeah, that all leads to him getting one more damage.”

Starting Areas: We’ve had an odd rule in HeroClix that armies that were too big for the starting area of the map had to downsize. Literally. This rule is revised so that starting areas expand in order to meet the size requirements of the teams that are present. To be fair, both sides expand identically, so if your army needs an extra row, then my army gets an extra row as well.

Penetrating Damage: With this rulebook, penetrating damage ignores all damage reducers. It doesn’t matter what the source of the reduction. Previously, only reducers that came from powers and abilities were ignored. Feats and Battlefield Conditions were able to alter penetrating damage. Now, it’s easy to remember. If it says “reduces damage dealt”, it doesn’t affect this.

Destroying Walls: As with the knock back direction, the wording we’ve had for destroying walls has led to some strange possible situations. In the current rulebook, you need to draw a line of fire to each side of the wall and the wall does not block the line of fire. The rule does not require that the line of fire actually goes through the wall. So in the diagram below, we demonstrate this oddity with Metallo on the left – he can destroy the wall between the two lines of fire drawn because he is able to draw line of fire to each of those squares. If this seems weird or confusing, don’t worry about it. The revised wording for destroying walls makes it clear that the line of fire from the attacker to the target square must go through the wall – as diagramed with Extant in the picture on the right.

Replace and then Modify: The rule to replace and then modify has been around for a while and it isn’t going away. However, there’s always been complexity in understanding that this only applied to replacements and modifiers that occurred at the same time. And then laying out which happened when. For example, if you perplex up a character’s defense, and they then get a replacement defense from an adjacent character using Defend, but they are in occupying terrain – what does their defense value become? For many players it was confusing to know that the perplex modifier was overwritten by the replacement value while the hindering terrain bonus remained. So this rule has become more encompassing – all replacements and all modifiers are only ever calculated when you need to determine a character’s combat value, and that’s when you would do all replacements first followed by all modifiers. So our perplexed target in hindering terrain would get +2 to his defense after replacing it with his Defend buddy’s defense value.

Wild Cards: The confusion around wild cards has always led to questions about how long the team ability lasts, when one can change, and what happens when that change causes an action to become illegal. The 2010 Core Rulebook clarifies all of this to make things clear and makes a key change. Wild cards can still change their team ability with any declared action (friendly or not). We’ve made it more clear that this team ability lasts for as long as the wild card continues to use it, and that it may choose to stop using it with another action, if it so desires (even if it is not changing to copy another team ability). The only time that a wild card is not allowed to change its team ability is when doing so would make an action illegal. For example, if Mikron O’Jeneus is not copying a team ability when an enemy decides to target him with a ranged attack, Mikron cannot choose to change to Batman Ally with this action. He could have done in response to a previous action (even if he was not participating in it), but the current action cannot be made illegal through the change in team ability.

Intersections: We’ve never had a term to describe “the midpoint where 2 diagonal squares meet” though we’ve always needed to talk about it. With the new Core Rulebook, this mid-point is defined as an “intersection.” What’s more, in order to make game play easier, we’ve simplified rulings regarding intersections. When 2 different terrain types meet at a point, anything that crosses that point treats the intersection as if it were the more forgiving terrain type. While this is the rule we essentially had in place for lines of fire, it was different for moving. Now, all rulings are the same.

Alternate Team Abilities: Alternate Team Abilities are now considered a different thing from Feat cards. ATAs are a part of the Modern Age of game play, though there are some differences from when they were considered Feats. Mechanically, ATAs will no longer replace existing team abilities – they will be additional abilities that the qualifying characters can use. As we started with Hammer of Thor, ATAs will be keyword driven rather than based on team symbols. What’s more, we will be going back through all of the existing ATAs and over the course of the next few months, making them available through print-and-play with revised, keyword-driven, additive mechanics. All of this requires some slight changes in order to balance things out a bit. As you’d expect, these pre-existing ATAs will be modified so that they cost a little bit more than they did before. Another balance will be that a force can only have one ATA assigned to it. Finally, wild cards will be allowed to use these team abilities, just like they can use any other team ability on your force.

There are probably a few other changes that have a small impact to the game. When a combat symbol comes from a special power or ability, it is clear now that it overrides whatever other combat symbol the character currently possesses (and Namora will be getting a clarification accordingly to make her the exception). Feat prerequisites through special powers now require that the prerequisite be specifically named by the special power, so Nico loses her ability to qualify for nearly every feat.

The 2010 HeroClix Core Rulebook is included with the DC HeroClix Blackest Night Starter Game.  All 2010 Core Rulebook rules go into effect on the release day for the starter.  I can’t wait to see what you think. As always, send your questions to me at HeroClixRules@gmail.com and I’ll get back to you as soon as I’m able. Tomorrow, we’ll look at the new Powers and Abilities Card (and we might have a couple of surprises, too)!

Categories
Announcements Heroclix

The Ages of HeroClix

HeroClix tournament formats update – welcome to the Modern Age!

Categories
Rules Question Uncategorized

Normal Distribution – PAC Spotlight on… OUTWIT

Every now and again I think it will be worth all of our time to take something from the PAC and talk about it. Nearly every mechanic in Heroclix has subtleties that are important to understand to be sure that you are playing like a pro. This week, in response in part to some of the questions and suggestions I’ve gotten at HeroclixRules@gmail.com, we’re going to spotlight OUTWIT. Let’s start with a quote from the PAC:

Once during your turn (but not during another action), as a free action this character counters a power or an ability (other than a team ability) possessed by a single target opposing character. Treat the target as if it does not have the countered power or ability, which remains countered until the beginning of your next turn. A character using this power must be within 10 squares of the target and have a clear line of fire to the target. If this character loses Outwit or is defeated, the countered power or ability returns immediately.

At a basic level, this power is so easy to understand. You use it as a free action and you can “turn off” one of the powers of the opposing force. Truly the devil is in the details. Let’s take the power step by step:

ONCE DURING YOUR TURN – Though the rules do not have official “phases” to a player’s turn, there are 3 concepts that are similar in nature. There is the “beginning of the turn,” “the turn,” and “the end of the turn.” Normally, if you are giving your character an action (and it doesn’t matter if it’s a free action or a tokenable action) then you are in “the turn.” Once you’ve started “the turn,” you cannot do anything that requires it be during the beginning of your turn. Similarly, once you’ve started anything that happens during the end of your turn, you can no longer go back and do anything that needs to take place during “the turn.” Outwit specifies that it is something you can do “during your turn.” Your turn includes all 3 parts of your turn – the beginning, the turn itself, and the end. Therefore, you can use Outwit during the beginning of your turn – a very useful trick for a team that has an Outwitter and a Poisoner. Poison is a power that only can be activated during the “beginning of your turn” (and maybe we’ll discuss Poison another time) – by using Outwit during the beginning of your turn, you can outwit someone’s damage reducer (like Toughness) and then use Poison, getting that click of damage that might have been unexpected!

(BUT NOT DURING ANOTHER ACTION) – This phrase makes it clear that although you can use Outwit during your turn, it needs to get its own action and it can’t be bundled in the middle of another. This comes up most often when talking about a Hypersonic character – a player wants to move the figure, use Outwit, then make an attack, and then finish the figure’s move. This clause makes it clear that is not legal. Outwit is actually not alone in this regard. The truth is, unless the power or ability specifically says so, you can never give a character an action in the middle of another action. That said, there are a number of exceptions – Mind Control is a good exception but so is the S.H.I.E.L.D. team ability – both of these are situations where the mechanic spells out that an action is given in the middle of another action.

AS A FREE ACTION  – okay, this part is easy, right? It’s a free action. No token and it doesn’t count against your allotment of actions for the turn. To be sure, it is still an action. There are some mechanics in Heroclix that depend on whether or not the character has been given an action this turn (being able to use Probability Control from a Themed Team comes to mind). Outwit is still an action in this regard.

THIS CHARACTER COUNTERS A POWER… POSSESSED – what is a possessed power? It’s a power that the target character has on their dial. Many special powers (which are powers) out there grant the character the ability to use a whole laundry list of standard powers. For example, the Loki super rare from Hammer of Thor has a special power God of Mischief: Loki can use Outwit and Perplex. The power he possesses is “God of Mischief”. The powers he can use are Outwit and Perplex. If someone were to outwit Loki, they would not be able to choose between the two standard powers, rather, they would counter God of Mischief, which would then remove his ability to use either one of those powers.

OR AN ABILITY (OTHER THAN A TEAM ABILITY) – A little out of sequence, but Outwit can also be used to counter an ability. Combat abilities are a huge part of the Heroclix game and it will very often take your opponent by surprise when you counter their character’s Indomitable or Carry ability. Each combat icon can result in a figure possessing a number of abilities, most of which can be countered (only Giant-Size and Colossal-Size cannot be).

BY A SINGLE TARGET OPPOSING CHARCTER. – Another common question that comes up in regards to Outwit is whether having additional [target] icons helps? The answer is “no”, it does not. Outwit is not a ranged attack, so having the ability to multi-target doesn’t change the fact that only one target can be affected with the use of Outwit.

TREAT THE TARGET AS IF IT DOES NOT HAVE THE COUNTERED POWER OR ABILITY, – another easily understood part of Outwit, and in truth it is redundant. The rulebook’s glossary already defines the word counter to mean:

Through the use of a power or ability, causing another power, ability, or effect to be ignored. The effect of a countered power, ability, or effect ends immediately.

WHICH REMAINS COUNTERED UNTIL THE BEGINNING OF YOUR NEXT TURN – this phrase can make things a little confusing, so let’s take a look at a particular dial for clarity. Here’s Bug’s dial (figure #001 from Hammer of Thor):

Bugs_Dial

As is typical, the focus of my photo is facing overwhelming odds. Say Bug is on his first click. Fandral starts the turn by outwitting Bug’s Super Senses. He then attacks and hits him for 3 damage. Bug moves to click #4. Is his Super Senses still countered? It sure is because we have not yet gotten to “the beginning of your next turn” yet.

Next, Jimmy Woo attacks Bug and hits, dealing another 2 damage. Bug now clicks to click #6. Since this is all on the same turn, Super Senses is still countered. So when Pip takes his final shot, Bug is not going to be able to try to evade the attack.

A CHARACTER USING THIS POWER MUST BE WITHIN 10 SQUARES OF THE TARGET – okay, this half of the sentence is easy, so I pulled it out. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a question asking me if 10 meant something other than, well, 10.

AND HAVE A CLEAR LINE OF FIRE TO THE TARGET. – here’s the part that gets folks. Let me start by saying I know how much this irks certain people and I sympathize, I really do. A line of fire has a game definition – it is the path between the target and the attacker. It can be 10 squares apart. It can be 1 square apart. With other powers (like Perplex) it can even be 0 squares apart. The distance does not matter. What this means is that a character using a power like Stealth that would prevent a line of fire from targeting them would be able to use that power as a means to block the line of fire from Outwit. It can be 10 squares away or it can be adjacent to the Outwitter. The distance does not matter. So yes, Joker can try to punch Batman because they are adjacent but he still cannot draw a line of fire to him if Batman is using Stealth. And without a line of fire, Outwit cannot be used to counter a power.

Also worth mentioning here is that there are clear lines of fire and there are blocked lines of fire. Even though a line of fire crosses hindering terrain, it is still considered “clear.” So while Stealth will prevent the line of fire from allowing Outwit to work, it is because it changes the line of fire to a blocked line of fire.

IF THIS CHARACTER LOSES OUTWIT OR IS DEFEATED, THE COUNTERED POWER OR ABILITY RETURNS IMMEDIATELY. – Another sentence from this power that is generally understood. What’s worth pointing out here is how crucial the word “immediately” is. Because “immediately” means, well, instantly. In certain situations, this can be a big thing.

M11_Hela_Dials

During her turn, Hela outwitted M-11’s Willpower, thinking that would discourage her opponent from pushing the robot. Figuring that he would probably not get a better chance to deal 5 damage to her, M-11 decides to push anyway. He rolls to attack and hits! Here’s what happens:

  1. 1. Hela is dealt 5 damage. She gets clicked down to click #9.
  2. 2. Since Hela took damage, her Mystics team ability activates, causing M-11 to click to click #2. This click also has willpower and at this moment, it would be gone except…
  3. 3. Hela’s Outwit is now gone, so M-11’s willpower comes back immediately.
  4. 4. M-11 gets his action token.
  5. 5. M-11 is dealt pushing damage, but since he now has Willpower, he does not take pushing damage.

I hope you enjoyed this walk through of all things “Outwit”. If you liked this particular style of article, have things you’d like explained in more detail, or just want to say “hi”, feel free to shoot me a line at HeroclixRules@gmail.com.

CHALLENGE #4 SOLUTION

Understanding how probability works is a huge part of playing Heroclix at the expert level. It’s true that there are many times that it’s worth it to risk a harder roll in order to get a better benefit (like KO’ing the target). But if you don’t understand the probabilities, then you aren’t making an informed decision. There’s nothing wrong with playing from your gut, but the more seasoned players are understanding the odds and playing the game where they get more hits.

If figuring out that the character with a 9 attack needs to roll an 8 in order to hit the character with a 17 defense is tough for you, skipping to the bottom may make the most sense for you. This is going to get a little technical.

I’ll also caveat this section with the information that throughout this challenge we are exclusively talking about the opponent using Probability Control. That makes rolling a hit more difficult. If you have Probability Control on your team, it balances things out (or makes it better if you have more PC than your opponent). In future articles, we will dig into some of the math for taking your own PC into account. To get started, we’re just focusing on opposing PC.

Let’s start with a coin flip. What are the odds that you are going to flip it once and get heads? Easy, right? 50%. Flip it a second time and what are the odds you get heads again? Still 50%. But what is the probability that you are going to flip a coin twice in a row and get heads both times? That will only happen 25% of the time. This is a pretty easy computation to visualize since flipping a coin twice is either going to result in Heads twice, Heads and then Tails, Tails and then Heads, or Tails twice. Since there are 4 possible outcomes and the desired outcome is only one of them, then 25% is pretty easily understood.

Another way to figure this calculation is through multiplication. 50% of the time we will get tails on the first flip. The other 50% of the time we will get heads on the first flip. Of the latter half, our opponent will make us reflip the coin through Probability Control, and again, half the time we’ll fail and half the time we will hit. How do we figure out half of 50%? Multiplication! 50% times 50% is equal to 25%.

Since Heroclix is not played with (very much) flipping of coins, let’s start talking dice. Here is a table worth learning:

RollingProbability
3 or better97%
4 or better92%
5 or better83%
6 or better72%
7 or better58%
8 or better42%
9 or better28%
10 or better17%
11 or better8%
12 or better3%

We can talk offline about why these odds are right, but take it on faith the above numbers reflect what the odds are of rolling any particular number (or better). Using the same logic as the coin tossing, if a character needed a 7 to hit and their opponent was using Probability Control, what is the probability that they will roll a 7 or better twice in a row? 58% times 58% (which comes to 34%).

Super Senses adds another wrinkle to the equation, but it doesn’t make it too complex. Since Super Senses succeeds only 1/3 of the time, what that means for probability is that once you’ve determined that a hit has occurred, there is another “coin flip” to be factored in. We already know that when there are two factors we multiply them together to get the overall probability, and that carries through for a third factor as well. But what do we multiply by for Super Senses? We already know that 34% of the time our roll of 7 will hit. We also know that 1/3 of the time, the opponent will evade, turning the hit into a miss. That means that 2/3 of the time, the hit will stay a hit. That is the other factor – two-thirds. So now our equation is 58% * 58% * 2/3. An overall probability of 22%.

Finally, Shape Change. If you have no other targets, then Shape Change’s affect on the overall probability is similar to Super Senses. 1/3 of the time, you will (essentially) miss, so you can use the same 2/3 as another factor in the equation and get the overall probability. However, if there is another target available, then it does something a little different. The probability to hit your Shape Changing target is the same, but your overall probability to hit something increases because 1/3 of the time, you will be making an attack roll on that other character.

Now, we can finally get around to answering last week’s challenge. To make things a little easier to write, I’m going to use the following shortcuts:

  • H = The odds to hit Harbinger
  • K = The odds to hit King/Queen

We are faced with three choices of what we can outwit before we attack, and each choice has an impact on the odds.

Baseline – Outwit Nothing

Probability of hitting Harbinger = H * H [The odds to hit Harbinger twice, since she’ll use Probability Control]

Probability of hitting King/Queen = (2/3 * K * K * 2/3) + (1/3 * H * H) [Two thirds of the time, King/Queen will miss their Shape Change roll and we’ll have to roll to hit them twice because of Harbinger’s Probability Control and then, if we hit, two thirds of the time they will fail to evade the attack through Super Senses COMBINED with the one third of the time that Shape Change succeeds and we have to roll twice to hit Harbinger]

Scenario 1 – Outwit Shape Change

Probability of hitting Harbinger = H * H [This hasn’t changed from the baseline]

Probability of hitting King/Queen = K * K * 2/3 [This changes from the baseline in removing the possibility that we may end up targeting Harbinger due to the Shape Change roll]

Scenario 2 – Outwit Super Senses

Probability of hitting Harbinger = H * H [This hasn’t changed from the baseline]

Probability of hitting King/Queen = (2/3 * K * K) + (1/3 * H * H) [The only difference between this and the baseline is removing the Super Senses 2/3 factor from the roll against King/Queen]

Scenario 3 – Outwit Probability Control

Probability of hitting Harbinger = H [Only have to hit her once now]

Probability of hitting King/Queen = (2/3 * K  * 2/3) + (1/3 * H) [Again, this is similar to the baseline but we no longer need to try to hit anyone twice]

Now we can take these equations, figure out the appropriate “to hit” percentages and determine the solution to the challenge.

SOLUTION

King/Queen to hit = 6 or better (72%); Harbinger to hit = 7 or better (58%)

TargetScenario 1Scenario 2Scenario 3
Harbinger34%34%58%
King/Queen35%46%51%

Solution: Outwit Probability Control and target Harbinger!

BONUS ANSWER (Harbinger has had her defense increased by 1)

King/Queen to hit = 6 or better (72%); Harbinger to hit = 8 or better (42%)

TargetScenario 1Scenario 2Scenario 3
Harbinger18%18%42%
King/Queen35%40%46%

Solution: Outwit Probability Control and target King & Queen!

CHALLENGE #5

The Runaways are facing their biggest challenge yet – Superman Prime. The battle so far has been tough. On their previous turn, Nico used her Staff of One to use Outwit and took away Superman Prime’s Hypersonic Speed. He pushed, trying to KO Nico, but he only moved her to her last click. Now it’s the Runaways turn. Assuming that when they attack, they will roll just high enough to hit (no critical hits), what should the Runaways do to wrap up this insane villain? [Be sure to see what clicks each character is on and note that Molly is currently holding a heavy object]

Categories
Rules Question

Normal Distribution – Lines of Fire Part II: I Can See You From Here

There is actually quite a bit to cover this week. First up, there are links at the end of the article to the latest Player’s Guide. Once again, there is a Restricted and Unrestricted version so that you can keep your documentation as current (and low page count) as you wish. For those not familiar with how these documents are set up, a brief run down. The Unrestricted version is the most complete guide to playing Heroclix available. It contains every errata and clarification that is deemed necessary for understanding the game outside the rulebook itself. The Guide is divided into two major parts. The first part covers the rulings and updates themselves. Very little text is duplicated from the original materials (like the Powers and Abilities card, Feat cards, character cards, etc.). The original goal with the guide was to have a “one stop shop” for any Heroclix material you needed to look up. That’s where part two comes in – it contains the most accurate updated version of any game element text. If nothing has been changed (or updated with a new release of a card), it’s there just like it appears on the game element. If there has been a change, then it is included in what you see. You could print out just Part 1 and have everything you need to understand all the nuances. Part 2 is about having the most current wording available in an easy-to-find layout.

The Restricted version is just an edited copy of the Unrestricted version. Since the Unrestricted version contains a lot of information about retired elements, the Restricted version is our attempt to provide a slightly smaller document for players that only want to focus on the most current releases. The Restricted version is made up of 2 parts that map to the same parts in the Unrestricted version. In fact, if you search for the dagger symbol (†) in the Unrestricted version, you will find all of the retired elements that have been removed from the Restricted version.

Finally, you will notice that some text is in red – some underlined and other crossed out. The underlined text is material that has been added into the Guide from last month. Text that is crossed out is material that has been removed since last month. In the next Guide, the crossed out material will be gone and the underlined material will appear like normal text.

ELEVATED LINES OF FIRE

Enough about documentation; let’s get into this week’s lesson. Last week we talked about some easy ways of finding the midpoint between 2 figures and how that can make determining a clear line of fire easier. This week we are going to focus on lines of fire and elevated terrain. Throughout most of this article, I’m going to talk about drawing a line of fire from an elevated character to a grounded character. That’s just to make the discussion easier. Lines of fire are reciprocal – which means if there’s a line of fire from character X to character Y then there is also a line of fire from character Y to character X. Now, it’s true that the powers/abilities of one may block the line of fire to the other, but for our purposes here, we’re just trying to learn the squares the lines of fire travel through. Powers and abilities affecting that line of fire would be a different lesson.

Elevated Lines of Fire Core Concept – When drawing a line of fire between an elevated and grounded character, the only single square of elevated terrain that the line of fire can travel through is the one the elevated character occupies.

From the square Ultron occupies, he is able to draw a line of fire to Captain America. The only elevated square the line of fire goes through is Ultron’s. In order to draw a line of fire to Sentry, notice how the line of fire passes through the square with the red dot in it. That is a square of elevated terrain and it is not the one Ultron occupies, so the line of fire is blocked. If you want to be sure it crosses that square, finding the midpoint makes it pretty clear that some part of that line must cross the elevated square.

Since no one complained too much about last week’s math, I’m going to bring a little bit of math into this lesson, too. There are two important 45 degree angles at work here to help you visualize where Ultron can draw a line of fire to.

Look carefully at the diagram above. As Ultron’s lines of fire extend along the perfect diagonals away from his square, everything inside those 2 lines are squares he has the potential to draw a line of fire to (terrain will play a factor to this). Anything outside the “cone” is going to cross one of the elevated squares Ultron does not occupy and therefore would be blocked.

Most of the time someone asks for help checking a line of fire between a grounded figure and an elevated figure, it is something that visualizing this “cone of fire” allows me to do with just a glance. And the big percentage of those checks are not checking the line of fire from the elevated character to the grounded character. Most people remember to “check the diagonal” when checking the line of fire in that direction. It’s when they are going from the grounded to elevated character that they seem to lose this focus. That’s where the rule about reciprocal lines of fire comes in. If you’re going from grounded to elevated and you’re not sure if the line of fire is clear, reverse it and check the line of fire from the elevated to the grounded character. If it’s clear, then the original line is clear as well.

LINES OF FIRE BETWEEN ELEVATED AND GROUNDED

There are four kinds of game elements that can affect your line of fire. Remember that we are specifically talking about lines of fire between an elevated character and a grounded character. All of these things can behave differently if the line of fire is between 2 characters at the same elevation.

1 – damage-standard characters – if the line to your target crosses a square with a damage-standard character in it, it remains clear. These characters do not block an elevated/grounded line of fire.
2 – damage-giant character – if the line to your target crosses a square with a damage-giant character in it, it is blocked. These characters block an elevated/grounded line of fire.
3 – Blocking terrain (this includes walls and other sections of elevated terrain) – if the line to your target crosses blocking terrain, it is blocked.
4 – Hindering terrain – I left this one for last since it is the one game element with an exception. Generally speaking, hindering terrain does not affect the elevated/grounded line of fire. However, if the target (not the attacker) is occupying hindering terrain, then it DOES affect the line of fire.

LINES OF FIRE AT THE SAME ELEVATION

Grounded lines of fire (i.e., a line of fire between two grounded characters) are straightforward. Every square with terrain in it affects the line of fire normally. Hindering terrain causes the opposing character to get a defense bonus, blocking terrain prevents the line of fire, and characters and elevated terrain both block the line of fire.

A line of fire between 2 elevated characters is also straightforward. If the line of fire is exclusively elevated (meaning it doesn’t cross over any grounded squares), then it behaves just like a grounded line of fire – all the effects in between the attacker and the target influence the line of fire normally. When the line of fire between two elevated characters is going over grounded terrain, any terrain in those squares do not influence the line of fire. Grounded hindering terrain does not provide a bonus to the target and grounded blocking terrain (including barriers) does not block the line of fire. Even most characters do not affect the line of fire. The only things that can affect the line of fire between elevated characters from a grounded position are damage-giant characters – if the line of fire crosses one of these, then it is blocked. Take a look at this scenario:

Ultron seems to have a lot of targets from his current position, but let’s look at them one at a time.

1 – Thor – the line of fire to Thor is blocked. Both figures are elevated and there is a square of elevated blocking terrain between them.

2 – Giant-Man – this line of fire allows for the attack to be made. We’re going to talk about Giants some more below, and we’ll follow up on this line of fire then.

3 – Sentry – Ultron can not draw a line of fire to Sentry as Giant-Man blocks it. A grounded damage-standard figure would not prevent the line of fire between these two elevated characters, but since Giant-Man is, well, a Giant, the line of fire is blocked.

4 – Captain America – This line of fire is clear. Although the line of fire crosses hindering and blocking terrain, all of those squares are grounded, so they do not affect the line of fire. Giant-Man is not in the line of fire nor is the elevated blocking terrain near Thor (I’ve put a small x on the map to pinpoint the midpoint of this line so you can see how these squares do not get crossed).

GIANT LINES OF FIRE

Since we bring up Giants, it’s worth it to talk a little bit about how lines of fire with them behave… a bit differently. As much confusion that there is about them, I think you’ll find it’s a lot easier once you review it in one fell swoop. There are 2 key rules in the Giant Size ability, both quoted below.

Characters with the Damage_Blue symbol do not block lines of fire to or from this character. This character and a character on elevated terrain draw line of fire and make ranged combat attacks against each other as if they were both elevated, but terrain effects still apply normally.

The first rule (in blue) is simple and it applies to all lines of fire – grounded to grounded, grounded to elevated, or elevated to elevated. If there is a damage-standard character along the path of the line of fire, that character does not block the line of fire. It’s like they aren’t there.

The second rule (in green) is the one that has generated questions in the past. First, let’s explain when to use this rule. If the Giant is elevated and the other character is elevated, this rule does not matter. They will already be drawing lines of fire to each other as if they were both elevated. If the Giant was grounded and the other character was grounded, this rule wouldn’t matter as neither character was on elevated terrain. And the last “it doesn’t matter” scenario is when the Giant is elevated and the other character is grounded – as again, the giant would be treated elevated regardless.

It is only when there is an elevated character drawing a line of fire to the grounded Giant that his rule has an effect. It grants the line of fire to act as if the Giant were actually elevated instead of grounded. Practically speaking, what does this mean? Let’s look at the same list of things that could impact the line of fire between an elevated and a grounded character:

1 – damage-standard characters – Nothing really changes here. These characters were going to be ignored anyway.
2 – damage-giant character – Nothing changes here either. These characters were going to block the line of fire before and they are going to do so now.
3 – Blocking terrain – Here is where the Giant Size ability comes into play. Normally drawing a line of fire from elevated to grounded through one of these squares would be blocked. But when you draw that line of fire from an elevated character to another elevated character, it would be clear. With a Giant Size character, since you treat them as elevated, blocking terrain does not affect the line of fire, even though the Giant is grounded.
4 – Hindering terrain – Nothing changes with this. Normally the hindering terrain does not affect the line of fire and again here, it does not affect the line of fire. It is probably important to point out that the other part of this, regarding a character occupying hindering terrain, also does not change. A Giant that occupies hindering terrain still gets a bonus for his defense.

Remember that line of fire Ultron drew to Giant-Man? Well, now you understand why it was good to go. The grounded blocking terrain does not affect the line of fire between the elevated Ultron and the Giant-Man who has the line of fire drawn to him as if he were elevated. It is worth pointing out, though, that since he is standing in hindering terrain, he still gets a +1 to his defense if Ultron decides to attack him.

There is a fifth type – the damage-colossal characters – but those are few and far between and we can cover those next week in a short wrap-up.

WRAP UP

I’m hopeful that this week’s article helps people understand the rules for line of fire, especially how they interact with different elevations and Giants. But if the last few days of response has demonstrated anything, it’s that we can make things easier for people by providing a good reference tool. Take a look at the Line of Fire Assistant PDF.

To use this chart, determine the elevation and damage type of the two characters involved in the line of fire. Find the row that has these 2 types of characters. Next, Check the types of terrain and characters in between (remember elevation is important) that fall on your line of fire. The table tells you how to treat each of those squares for line of fire purposes. Remember the line follows the “worst case”, so even if there are 6 squares of clear terrain between the 2 characters, it only takes 1 square of blocking to prevent the line of fire.

CHALLENGE #2 SOLUTION

Given what we’ve discussed, let’s take a look at last week’s challenge. The target that generated the most discussion was Fenris Wolf. As a double-base figure, Thor can try to draw a line of fire to either square. However, when you look at those lines of fire, you can see that the midpoint of each line crosses the square of elevated blocking terrain.

Fenris Wolf is a damage-giant figure, so when Thor draws a line of fire to him, you treat Fenris Wolf as elevated. Is a line of fire between two elevated characters blocked by elevated terrain? It certainly is. So Fenris Wolf is not a legal target.

As for our other targets, in the image below, green lines indicate clear lines of fire and red lines stop at the point where they get blocked.

The Fire Demon is a grounded character and there is grounded blocking terrain between him and Thor. That blocking terrain prevents Thor from drawing that line of fire.

Surtur is a giant, so while the grounded blocking terrain is also between him and Thor, the special rules for Giants come into play and Thor draws the line of fire as if he and Surtur were both elevated. An elevated to elevated line of fire is not blocked by grounded blocking terrain, so Thor is good to go targeting Surtur.

The Rock Troll is occupying hindering terrain so while Thor can easily draw a line of fire to him, the Rock Troll will get a bump to his defense because of his location.

Finally, the grounded Hand Ninja who though he was so smart didn’t realize that Thor’s line of fire from elevated terrain isn’t affected by grounded hindering terrain unless he occupies the square. So Hand Ninja’s Stealth doesn’t activate and Thor can target him as well.

CHALLENGE #3

This week, poor Iron Man is facing off against the hordes of Asgard. Iron Man is on his starting click with Speed: 10/Running Shot, Attack:11/Energy Explosion, Defense:18/Invulnerability and Damage:4/Extremis (Iron Man can use Outwit and Perplex. When Iron Man is not using Outwit, he can use Super Senses). All of the opposing figures are on their starting clicks as well, conveniently standing in alphabetical order: (back row) Enchantress, Fire Demon, Hela, Karnilla, Loki, (front row) Malekith, Rock Troll, and Valkyrie. Iron Man’s first instinct was to perplex up his damage to 5 and take a shot at Loki, who is the highest point character on the board. But an attack is available for significantly more damage.

The challenge for this week is to enable Iron Man to make an attack that is most likely to cause the most amount of damage to be taken. What should Iron Man do this turn? Hint: He may be making more than one action.

RESOURCES

Categories
Rules Question

Normal Distribution – Drawing Lines

So many things in Heroclix depend on drawing a line of fire, I thought it would be a good idea to review the basics of this crucial aspect of the game. At its most basic level, a line of fire is what one character needs to be able to be sure it can “see” another character on the map.

A common misconception is the idea that a line of fire is limited to a character’s range. Lines of fire have nothing to do with range. Characters with a 0 range using Outwit or Perplex are using lines of fire. A character using Probability Control is using a line of fire. Range acts as a limitation for how far one can reach with a ranged attack, but it does not mean that a line of fire is limited.

One of the biggest challenges with determining a line of fire is determining which squares in between the two ends of the line are affecting it. A line that runs horizontal, vertical, or on a perfect diagonal, it is pretty easy. But once you “step off” that perfect straight line – that’s when the arguments start and the small strings come out to measure things up. I sincerely doubt that anything I teach in a single online column is going get anyone past this – in fact, my standard “clix kit” in my car includes a ID holder as a portable line of fire tool – but there are some tricks I can impart that might lessen your need to spend time arguing.

The first thing I do when I’m dealing with a line of fire question is to find the midpoint. There is a rectangle between the two points of the line and it is so many boxes wide and so many boxes high. Finding the midpoint will often make the conclusion obvious. Take the diagram below.

Loki felt pretty safe, thinking he was hiding behind the safety of the wall. But by finding the midpoint – without even needing a string – we can see how this line of fire is actually clear. First, let’s establish the size of the rectangle between them. 4 boxes across and 2 boxes high. That means the mid point is 2 boxes right and 1 box down from Loki (or 2 boxes left and 1 box up from Enchantress – it being the midpoint, it should be the same). See the diagram below.

Next, we ask ourselves – can Enchantress draw a line of fire to the midpoint? Certainly. Is there the line of fire from the midpoint to Loki clear as well? Absolutely. In this case, no line of fire tool is needed – Enchantress has a clear line of fire.

Even numbers makes this pretty easy, but the system works for odd numbers too. If Enchantress had been positioned a little closer, that wall would have been much more useful to Loki. Take the diagram below.

Now the rectangle between them is only 3 squares wide and 1 square across. That puts the midpoint as 1½ squares across and ½ square down. Those ½ squares aren’t unsettling – they just mean that instead of seeing the midpoint at an intersection, we’re going to see it in the middle of a square.

Once we find the midpoint it is pretty clear that Enchantress can’t draw a line of fire to it, so in this scenario, Loki is safe (for now).

Next week, we’ll look at lines of fire and discuss how terrain and characters can get in the way.

CHALLENGE
I was particularly pleased to see the positive response to this part of the feature. Had I know how well received it was going to be, I would have been more careful to make sure to thank Jerome (Munchoboy) Gonyeau. As I was on the road and away from home, he was quick to respond to my shout out for some photographic assistance. Here is last weeks solution:

CHALLENGE #1 SOLUTION – Following the blue path, Spider-Girl can charge to attack Psycho-Man. Although he’s on elevated terrain, since she has Leap/Climb, she can treat him as adjacent when she is given a close combat action. Following the green path, Spider-Girl can charge Dr. Doom. She has to avoid the square where the red path ends or she would be adjacent to Kristoff. During the movement portion of Charge, she cannot ignore characters or terrain with her Leap/Climb power since she has not been given a move action. Finally, Kristoff is a legitimate target as she can move along the red path.

Spider-Girl cannot reach Magus because the only ways to get to him require ignoring hindering terrain or characters during the move, something she cannot do during Charge as it requires a power action, not a move action. She also can’t reach the Doombot because the only path that allows her to get adjacent to him would require she move adjacent to an opposing character. And as we all know by this point, she has been given a power action and that part of Leap/Climb does not activate.

CHALLENGE #2

This weeks challenge is a set up for next week’s article. At least one of the lines of fire depend on finding the midpoint like we talked about today though. Thor (in the blue circle) has gotten himself into a bit of a bind. Various grounded enemies surround him. While Thor stands on the edge of elevated terrain, determine which of these characters he can draw a line of fire to. For each character, the description may (or may not) impact whether or not he can draw a line of fire.

(1) Fenris Wolf – the double-base giant
(2) a Fire Demon, hiding behind a barrier
(3) the giant Surtur, also behind the barrier
(4) a Rock Troll, standing in a square of hindering terrain and
(5) a Hand Ninja on a Stealth click with a Smoke Cloud between him and Thor.

Which characters can Thor draw a line of fire to? Which of them would get a defense bump from the hindering terrain?

Categories
Heroclix Rules Question

Normal Distribution- Power and Ability Combos

Norm here, with the first Normal Distribution of 2010! Today, I want to talk about combos. Not the way you get fries and a drink with your sandwich at some fast food restaurant – I’m talking about the various powers and abilities in Heroclix and how they are allowed to combine. If I had to nominate a single question type to be the most common question asked of me at HeroclixRules@gmail.com, it would be a question about whether or not one power can be used with another. I’ve often been asked to publish a compatibility chart to make this information easier to look up – but I always resist. I’d much rather a player learn why some combos work while others do not.

Sure, the standard powers have been stable for years now, but special powers always turn these things on their ear. That’s part of the fun of special powers. So I wouldn’t want a chart out there that says Hypersonic Speed and Pulse Wave don’t work together when a special power could easily come along and allow it. So let’s talk about combos.

When you are giving your character an action, you have to give it a certain type of action. It can be a power, close combat, ranged combat, move, or free action. Powers and abilities indicate if a certain type of action is required to activate it. Let’s use Charge as a good example. From the Powers and Abilities Card, Charge says:

Give this character a power action; halve its speed value for the action. Move this character up to its replacement speed value and then give it a close combat action as a free action. A character with this power ignores knock back.

In order to activate this power, we need to specifically give this character a power action. If some game effect were in play that said “you may only give characters close combat or ranged combat actions” then you would not be able to activate Charge since it needs a power action. With the power action, 2 things are going to happen:

1. The character gets to move half its speed value and
2. The character gets a close combat action as a free action.

The wording of Charge is important to understanding both of these things. For moving, notice that Charge does not say that you get to move half your speed as a move action. It only says you get to move the character. What this means is that the movement of Charge is not a “move action”. Any power that relies on a move action would not activate during the movement part of Charge.

For the attack part notice that Charge specifically says that you are given a close combat action as a free action. The free action is important – a character is only allowed to be given one non-free action per turn. If the close combat action was not treated as a free action, you wouldn’t be allowed to actually make the attack.

Since the character using Charge gets to be given a close combat action, it can be used to activate any effect that requires a close combat action. Flurry, for example, starts with “Give this character a close combat action.” Therefore, if your character has both Charge and Flurry, it would be able to move and then use Flurry as the close combat action. On the other hand, Close Combat Expert starts with “Give this character a power action.” Since a power action is not a close combat action, you cannot use Close Combat Expert to attack with as a part of the Charge action.

Two concepts that often get confused are “actions” and “attacks”. An action is what you give the character in order to activate an effect. An attack is simply what is happening when combat is taking place. You would never “give” your character an attack – you give characters actions. Some actions lead to making attacks.

Let’s look at Hypersonic Speed to see how another power is worded:

Give this character a power action. … During its move, this character can as a free action make one close combat or ranged combat attack with its range value halved for the attack.

Once again, the power begins by describing what kind of action type is needed to activate it (a power action – so no starting Hypersonic Speed after moving with Charge). Also, again, the power describes what can be done as a free action as a part of using this power. Instead of a close combat action like Charge, Hypersonic Speed only allows the character to make an attack (either close or ranged) as a free action. The character cannot use a close or ranged combat action, it can only make an attack. Therefore, any powers or abilities that require a close/ranged combat action would not activate, though anything that required a close/ranged attack would.

Let’s look at some powers that activate off of other kinds of actions to see how all of this plays out. We’ll start with the main candidate for why a compatibility chart can never be perfect – Leap/Climb. This power has 2 components to it:

(1) When you give this character a move action, it automatically breaks away and ignores the effects of characters, hindering terrain, elevated terrain, and outdoor blocking terrain on movement (but it can’t end its movement on blocking terrain). (2) When you give this character a close combat action, it can target a character regardless of the target’s elevation.

The power has 2 sentences (that I’ve numbered) giving the character 2 different capabilities. The first only activates during a move action while the other only activates during a close combat action. So when I’m asked “Can I use Leap/Climb with Charge?”, the answer is “Yes and No”.

THE NO PART: The movement part of Charge is not a move action. It’s a power action that instructs you to move, but it is not a move action. If a character has Leap/Climb and uses Charge, it would not be allowed to ignore terrain because of the Leap/Climb power. Compare this to the Flight ability which begins:

This character ignores the effects of hindering terrain on movement…

A flier using Charge would be able to ignore terrain, because Flight does not specify that it only activates during move actions. But the first part of Leap/Climb is specific – it only activates during a move action.

THE YES PART: After the character has moved with Charge, it gets a close combat action as a free action. As discussed above, that can be used to activate any power requiring a close combat action. The second part of Leap/Climb – allowing the character to target a character on a different elevation – activates when the character is making a close combat action. So this part would be usable during a Charge.

CHALLENGE

Take a look at the picture below. Spider-Girl’s special power Weblines says “Spider-Girl can use Charge, Leap/Climb, and Running Shot.” She’s on her first click, so she has a speed of 10. Assuming all of the other characters on the map are opposing characters, which ones can she attack using Charge?

Blog Challenge

Picture Key:

A=Spider-Girl
B=Psycho-Man
C=Kristoff
D=Dr. Doom
E=Magus
F=Doombot 5953

Come back next time for the answer and a new challenge!