Thursday, September 23, 2010

Heroclix Keywords

This is just my opinion and input on the keywords used in forming teams for Heroclix. Keywords are used to help form themed teams. If all the figures on your team share the same keyword they are considered "themed" and you get some bonuses for having them this way. It should be noted that bystander tokens do not count for keyword use.

The first notable bonus is a plus modifier to your opening dice roll for who picks map and goes first in the match. The bonus added to your die roll is equal to the number of characters on the team with that keyword. This benefit is very good, especially for the strategy of choosing the map to play on.

The next to mention is that this team gets to cancel a battlefield condition, but they don't have to. It's optional. I really don't like this benefit. For the most part, I think it makes battlefield conditions practically obsolete. Maybe they wanted to do that, I don't know. Ordinary day was already a threat to battlefield condition strategies, but now if everyone you face is using themes you can about count on your BFC getting tossed. I don't know about you, but just about everyone I face won't play anything they can't put into a themed team.

There is a house rule that our local store uses that I like much better. It's the idea that you have to play a themed team just to have a BFC. No canceling. It's kind of a reversal that I think makes more sense. Just my opinion though.

The third bonus to using themes is that you get a probability control roll for ever two figures on your force that share that keyword. In order to use the power, a figure can not have had an action that turn, must have clear line of fire to the reroll target and will have a token placed on them for use of the power. So, if you have ten figures on your team you get five uses of probability control.

You can still build your team however you like, but you may take a strategic minus for doing so.

Problems I have with theme teams:

Point heavy: some of my favorite themes simply cost too much in points. I would love to put together some of the teams I've seen in the comic books, but they also wind up point heavy and outside of what my local store plays. These include the Infinity Watch and Avengers. That, or you don't have enough points to cover the level of tournament you are playing in. For example, if there's only three people with a keyword you want to play and you have a 400 point game, it's problematic when you have 60 points left to fill and no one else with a keyword. You wind up feat card heavy and most places don't want you to use that many feats.

Too specific: Speaking of Avengers, some keywords are getting way too specified like Mighty Avengers, West Coast Avengers, Great Lakes Avengers, Dark Avengers. At least there are enough Dark Avengers to make a themed team, but they won't have much in support, I can hit that in a later post. The makers need to be careful no to toss in a keyword that's going to appear once, with only one or two figures and vanish. That's just frustrating to the players.

I will say, thanks to the new Thunderbolts card you can give someone a keyword/team ability and make them part of your theme. That helps but costs points.

Past that, I think building a good theme is a decent challenge and still fun. I think the benefits are a bit overpowered and too geared toward wiping out BFC's. Still, I enjoy playing heroclix and play themes to keep up with my fellow players. I can't play some of the team ups I would really like to see, maybe a feat called Marvel-Team up? That would be nice. Then I could team up Spider-man and Nightcrawler and actually have them themed.

Today's Photo: My conversion of duo figure, Aquaman and Aqualad, enjoy!

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