Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Superman: Then and now

I still have to applaud the fact that the new All Star Superman will be a common in the upcoming Superman set of Heroclix. Everyone who collects or plays should get their hands on a Superman. The fact that he has this two levels of play ability is even more awesome. I hope they continue to use this new mechanic, I love it. I think it will add to strategic game play on many levels.

If we look back, we can see how Superman has come with us on our Heroclix journey. If you look at the opening pic you may see a familiar Superman or two. Yes, the one in back to the middle left is the LE "Our worlds at war" Superman. The sculpt is the Superman from Hypertime, the first one they did. There are others too, and I don't have the black suit, Kingdom Come, or robot Supermen. I'm lucky to have the veteran Icon Superman on the far left.

The other two in back are the LE Clark Kent and I have a couple of the Supermen in storage that he's based on. LE Superman on the far right is a favorite of mine with the Batman Team ability.

Then, in the middle is the brick figure World's Finest that definitely isn't worth 500 points.

Some Supermen have been decent and other just pitiable. Still, I don't think Wizkids has ever skipped on giving us a Superman. Now we will have a set boasting Supes in more forms than we can build a force out of (actually, yea we can). We only have about seven days now before Superman hits the shelves and our hot little hands.

What's really funny for me in all of this is that I'm not as much of a DC fan as a Marvel fan, but I will get some Superman and I will do a review too. I thought a trip down the Superman memory lane was just fitting so close to release day.

Happy upcoming release day and keep on clicking!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Heroclix tips for beginners

In this little article I am going to share some general tips in learning to play Heroclix for the beginner. Maybe you've been a collector and feel the need to finally play or maybe you just got your first starter? Either way, these are the things you should start with to get you into the game.

1: Learn what the numbers mean on the dial and how they work. This is a technique used at the conventions to demonstrate Heroclix. You ignore all the powers and just use the numbers and dice. Get a couple of figures on the map and roll dice for combat against each other until one of the figures is KO'd. Mess around with this until you feel comfortable with how the numbers work. Don't forget range and the number of targets you can have in this. It's useful to practice with. This gets you hands on practice and will be the kindling to start your blazing Heroclix skills.

2: Read the PAC and keep it near at all games. If you don't have a Powers and Abilities Card, find a way to get one. Be sure you've read it over before trying to mess with any powers. The best way to learn how powers work, of course, is just to dive in and play. However, in my experience, you pick it up faster if you've read the card. Don't forget team abilities either.

3: The next thing to learn past the dial is the map. You should learn what all the terrain features mean so you don't find yourself lost on the maps your opponent will choose.

4: Start with small point games. Build small teams and base them on the powers you want to practice. Remember good teams will have several powers working in tangent. Just think about your favorite comic book teams and what each member brings. Some great teams available out there are the Secret Warriors (Captain America) and the Warriors Three (Hammer of Thor). If you don't have those, it's okay, there are plenty of combinations that you can use.

5: Don't worry about keywords until you've played a few games. You can pick up on themes later. It's all up to your comfort zone on what you've learned though.

So, what should you put in a team that gives you a chance on the map? Well, here's what each team should have for good chances in play.

Move and attack: Figures that can move and attack in one action. These are thanks to the powers of Charge, Running shot, and Hypersonic Speed. Since Hypersonic is usually expensive (unless you play Rocket Racer from Web of Spiderman) you should get a charger or runner. Running shot is one of my personal favorites but a flyer with charge is also quite useful. More often than not, you can fit two moving attackers into a team. It's a good idea. The fall back is to use telekinesis.

Support powers: A cheap healer to run back to is very useful but you should also make sure you have something of these three; Outwit, Perplex, and Probability Control. You may have a hard time fitting all three on a team, but you should at least have one. Remember that they are there and use them. Forgetting to outwit someones Blades/Claws/Fangs or to perplex damage or defense can cost the game quickly.

Damage dealers: These can often be found with your moving attackers. Psychic Blast and Exploit Weakness are the best, but Pulse Wave is nice too. If you can't deal damage, you won't win, ever. The fastest way around pesky defense powers are these. Super senses can still be a pain but then you need to use it too.

Defense: 17+ are good on defense but make sure you pick powers that either reduce damage or make it harder to hit you. Super senses is a great power because it gives you a saving chance. Same for shape change. Those can save you from any damage or attack (almost).

A couple more pointers for the beginner:

1: A one man army can and will get mobbed. Don't do this until you've played quite a few games.

2: Don't rush into the face of danger. The first person to get close is usually the first person hit (except for those move and attack powers). The flip side to this is called Turtling. Turtling is when a person deliberately takes as long as humanly possible to move up or just spends the whole game running away. Players HATE that.

3: Never put someone in harms way alone unless you intend to use them as bait. Even then, make sure one of your other pieces can try to back them up.

So, there you have it, tips in a nutshell. Above all, no matter what you do, enjoy yourself and have fun. Heroclix is an awesome game with a great following. Keep clicking!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Review on Doomsday: What are they doing?

I have to say that making a Doomsday that can't make an even threat with a same set Superman, seems to be a trend.

Back in DC75th they made a very powerful 259 point Doomsday with a severely underpowered Superman in the same set. This figure had two main failings. First, his movement for someone who can leap like the Hulk (high enough to attack airplanes and far enough to go from county to county) his opening movement was pitiful as a 6. Anyone who can jump that far should have an opener of at least an 8. I could understand a max of 10 and going down from there for game balance too. Thanks to that sad movement Doomsday was and is a sitting duck for ranged psychic blast attacks. His trait was cool, but honestly a bit too much. You pick someone on your opponents team and Doomsday does penetrating damage to that person for the whole game (if he can catch them). It became kind of redundant on half his dial thanks to having exploit weakness. Everything else pretty much rocked on him.

Now, in the upcoming Superman set, we have a new Doomsday. The sculpt shows him with one arm tied behind his back as if he just got out of his buried prison. When posted on Facebook, the responses were very mixed. It was a love/hate combination and I could see why. Check out this pic:

So, first of all there's his trait. He uses battle fury (so he can't be carried) and can't be placed by telekinesis. I really wouldn't care about that if it weren't for the rest of his power issues. Like his movement that gives him charge. So long as he's using charge he can ignore hindering terrain and other characters for the move. You know what he doesn't get? That's right, leap/climb. They try to make up for this with his damage power, but it's only any good at the last three clicks of his dial where his defense is crud. Let's not forget that power is only any good if there's only one figure left on your opponents team.

Let's take a look at his opening damage, shall we? It's a 2. Huh? A casual swat from this monster only does a two? You have to wait and use close combat expert to get his real damage. I'm sorry, but yuck! Quake is okay, with the angle they are using (him having an arm tied up and all) but that didn't reduce his damage dealing by that much. Check this out:

Note what Guy looks like and how he says he didn't even have time to fight back. That's how it was for pretty much the whole JLA except Maxima. Even she took a pounding. That brings us to his opening attack value. It's a pitiful 9. For plenty of lesser figures out there a 9 is fine. But this brute stomped a whole team of supers in less than five minutes. It's listed in the book as "moments" or "seconds" and he only has an attack opener of 9? Never mind the fact he did all that with one hand tied behind his back.

DC75th had his reactive adaptation power on board. In this new one they try to use that in form of his stats getting nastier as he goes, except his defense. But if you look at how his power worked, you would see the dial misses the mark. If anything, his defense should go UP as his resistance gets stronger. In all the stories, when he's hurt by something, next time he's practically immune to it. So he should have started with invulnerable and moved up to impervious. If you're going to use combat reflexes, make the opening damage a 3 and have it move up.

As for a trait that would be more useful, try this: All characters must roll breakaway from Doomsday regardless of traits, team abilities, or powers. Anyone with the Superman Team ability, name of Superman, or the Kryptonian keyword is -1 to break away roll.

That makes his slow movement more acceptable. After all, he wants to kill Kryptonians and especially Superman, remember?

Sorry guys, while most of the Superman set looks exciting, this Doomsday is dismal. It's not even Doomsday, it's Mediocre Threat Day at best.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Ideas for a new Indy heroclix

I would really love to see them take a new stab at Indy heroclix and I even have some suggestions on where to start. I suggest going old school with some old heroes who pioneered the comic books back in Gold Key and the days of Radio. Some are still around today in books, video games and even movies. I don't think it would be too far off to get a set going. It may not even be hard to get the licensing arranged. Heck, even if they do it by gravity feed with just these people, I would be "game".

My suggestions, just to get started:

GREEN HORNET AND KATO: This would be a cool tactics team. Kato has all the martial arts abilities with things like close combat expert and combat reflexes. Green Hornet gets an ability for the knock out gas, outwit and perplex. Make sure he has a range of about 6. Kato could even leap climb or charge. They could even be a decent duo piece.

LONE RANGER AND TONTO: While we're on duos, why not consider this old school favorite? Heck, we have the Two-gun Kid and even Jonah Hex. The Lone Ranger was first, folks. LR would make a decent ranged fighter or marksman while Tonto could have stealth and exploit weakness.

THE SHADOW: The Shadow knows! Stealth, mind control, outwit, and super senses could round this guy out with a few extras. Made right, the Shadow could be a real threat. Give him stealth that no one can see through because he clouds the minds of others.

THE PHANTOM: Another awesome brawler with a few powers of his own. He was called "the ghost who walks" and "the man who cannot die". Regeneration fits this one nicely as well as outwit and probably some running shot for his pistols.

MAGNUS, ROBOT FIGHTER: Come on, the guy beats the snot out of robots with his bare hands! Impervious, exploit weakness, maybe even super strength and charge? Give him some benefits for when ever he fights anyone with the robot keyword.

TARZAN: The ape man himself! Charge and leap climb (or just have him ignore hindering for movement), blades/claws/fangs, and exploit or close combat expert. He can throw his knife a few spaces too. Also, give him a benefit involving the animal keyword, like being able to use mind control on any figure with the animal keyword (without backlash). Hey, this is Tarzan LORD OF THE JUNGLE we're talking about!

DOC SAVAGE: The man of bronze was every bit as strong as Superman in his day and just as impervious. Give him a starting of at least 4 damage and some powers that fit a tough guy like ol Doc.

ZORRO: Leap climb and blades will make Zorro a decent fighter, but he was smart too. Outwit and maybe a special power for his whip like a range of 2 or 3. He also deserves combat reflexes and super senses.

SINBAD: While we're in old legends, you can't leave out Sinbad. Adventurer and monster killer. He gets something for the monster keyword like Elsa Bloodstone, but he gets the aquatic movement ability. Blades is also obvious for Sinbad along with some perplex.

TUROK: Yes, the dinosaur hunter. A marksman and ranged combat expert with blades/claws/fangs. Let him claim his mark and gain +2 to attack that mark for the rest of the game. That person also can't use stealth against Turok.

DOCTOR SOLAR: The man of the atom would have some serious powers. Running shot, psychic blast, impervious or energy shield deflection, heck what couldn't this guy do?

Well, I've shown a lot of tactical power in this and not a lot of bruisers, but hey, that made the old day comics what they were. These guys were the "batmans" of their day and I think they could make some awesome clix!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Top Ten best Women of Heroclix

First, let me say this was no easy task. How I made these selections, was to take all the female characters and separate then into "point classes". Then I had to compare what all the figures offered for their perspective points. I also considered how long dials were, traits, some popularity via players, and their stats. Finally I also considered how many ways the character could be played, as in how many versions are out there. Some of this list is obvious, the rest will surprise you. In any case, while opinions vary, you're sure to enjoy playing these beauties:

10: ORACLE: From Legacy, this 27 point gal offers some serious strategic power. The drawback is that you have to play her card with her to get the most of it. That can make her a point sink and a half for most small teams. Still, the access to leadership, outwit or perplex along with altering combat values by +1 is nothing to sneeze at. Being golden age and a bit costly puts Oracle at number ten.

9: GHOST WIDOW: From City of Villains. For 54 points, this spider-lady has a lot to offer. She's basically a mystic with her team ability, she has phasing at 9 spaces, poison, support and an 18 defense. Her points give her perfect room for a feat card, Armor Piercing, to make her poison hit home. She may have a short dial, but if you don't take her down right away, you will get bit.

8: DOMINO: From Giant Sized Xmen for 69 points. Stealth, 8 range, high defense from range, and 3 damage with probability control are what she has to offer. Oh, but lets not forget her special power, Lucky Shot, that increases damage to a critical hit by 3 instead of 1! She's a great background piece that supports her team nicely. When not in hiding, she gets running shot and super senses. Nice arrangement of powers and the Xmen team ability lends it's own support.

7: SPIDER-GIRL: From Secret Invasion for 77 points, this lady is a warrior. Her special powers load her for bear with charge, running shot, and leap climb in a single power. Incap and force blast on another and super senses with combat reflexes together on defense. It would be better if she had super strength on open but she does gain it later along with exploit weakness. The Spider-man team ability helps her use any team ability on your force, making her very team flexible.

6: STORM: Giant Sized Xmen brought us the best Storm ever! For 86 points she has great range and damage that increases on an outdoor area of map. Just click through her dial for a great arrangement of powers to include telekinesis! Storm is epic and fits beautifully into any team arrangement.

5: BLACK ALICE: From DC75th for 94 points. Black Alice is truly dangerous. She has the probability control with 3 damage to start her off, like Domino. But she has a nasty special power. She can outwit any standard power and then use it for herself! Phasing gets her into position to do this really fast and her defense at range is 19! Add that to being a mystic and it hurts to hurt her! Black Alice is a thorny adversary and worthy of the mid spot on this list.

4: MOON DRAGON: From Hammer of Thor for 134 points. Mind control, 10 range, psychic blast and super senses, start out this cosmic lady of the Infinity Watch. If that's not enough for you, she changes mid dial into a giant dragon with powers to match. That includes running shot, 3 damage, and an 18 defense with toughness. She also has perplex and telekinesis along the way. Well stocked for her points, though an extra click of life or two would be nice. Still, that's a lot of power in just 8 clicks.

3: SUPERGIRL: For this, I chose the 178 point version from Crisis. You could just as easily play the 200 point version Legion of Superheroes and do just as much damage if not more. They both have hypersonic speed, super strength, and impervious with some shooting range for heat vision. And which is better, the Superman team ability or ability to copy it for just 22 points more? Mystic opponent? She'll smack them with a dumpster, take her click and probably knock out the mystic in the process. And she'll still be dangerous.

2: WONDER WOMAN: You can pretty much take your pick of all the current versions of Wonder Woman, they're all mean. Arkham Asylum gave us a Wonder Woman for 248 points with charge, super strength, a 12 attack, 5 damage, impervious and indomitable (built in willpower). The fact she can also incap two figures adjacent to each other is just cake. Of course, she would rather just crush them. Just about any Wonder Woman you can play today, can hold her own in point value on this list and win. Yes, range is her enemy, but at 10 opening movement with charge, it won't take her long to close the gap. Her 12 attack laughs at your 19 defense and her incap works at a range of 6. Heck, play the white lantern and don't worry about the range. Feel like being brutal today? Wonder Woman is the way to go.

1: PHOENIX: I'm not talking about a colossal, but you have to admit, she's the only woman with a colossal figure out there. Two of them actually. Giant Sized Xmen gives us a Phoenix for 297 points with a trait, hypersonic speed, 10 range, 3 targets, telekinesis, impervious, and 5 damage just to kick things off. Her trait will save her life once per game and her ability to heal when she uses support on someone else is just awesome. She can stand alone against 300 points and I've seen her do it. Down her dial she gains psychic blast while still at 4 damage and perplex. Not only that, but the Power Cosmic team ability gives her willpower and protects her from outwit. It's this combination and all the ways that Jean Grey can be played, along with being a Colossal in two forms, that make this the most powerful woman in heroclix. It's why she's HOT and NUMBER ONE.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Playing Sentry of Mighty Avengers!

Recently I was challenged to give a by the numbers article on playing Sentry from Secret Invasion. First, I have to admit, Sentry does offer some good stuff for his 197 points. I don't really care for his randomized hypersonic speed/charge possibility, but a 6 space charge with super strength isn't shabby. His probability control is also a nice addition for a bruiser like Sentry. That's just the start of the show for this guy. Take him a couple clicks in and he just gets meaner with 5 damage and impervious. He gets 10 clicks of life, but with one weakened click that I don't think was really necessary. So, how do you play this rerolling, flying powerhouse?

Doing this article required pulling out every Avenger I have and looking up those I don't. That's not a small amount of pieces, people. Sentry only gets two keywords, Avengers and Mighty Avengers, believe me, that's enough. If you can't build a team around an avenger, you're in trouble. It may be you just don't have any Avengers to play with. In that case, get cracking and buy some clix.

Now, 197 is a big point load for a 300 point team. I have seen Sentry pull a decent "one man army" in a 200 before. He can hold his points worth. So, let's get started and see what happened with all the combos I went through.

300: Your basic knuckle sandwich, Marvel style, hold the mayo.
-Best Duo: Put him with 103 point Wolverine for an even 300 points.
THREE WAY!!!: Put him with Ronin and Vet Echo for 293.
-Best Four: Add him to Vet Echo, Vet Mockhingbird, and Stingray for 298.

Now that you can see how I'm doing this, lets continue. And let me assure you, I spent a lot of time with my calculator adding and re-adding!

400: Superhuman haymaker.
-Best Duo: Put him with 188 point Ironman for 385.
-Best Trio: Invisible Woman (110) and black suit Spider-Man (95) for 402.
FOUR SQUARE!!: Invisible Woman (110), Ronin, and Vet Echo for 400 even.
-Best Five: Ronin, Vet Echo, Moonstone, and Vet Mockingbird at 400 even.

Invisible Woman adds a whole new spice to playing the Avengers, try her and find out! First with Sentry, that double probability control can be fatal to your opponents die rolls! The rest is cake.

500: Bringing down the house.
-Best Duo: Once again, I find myself suggesting a duo figure for a two piece team. I suggest the Ironman/War Machine figure for a total of 497.
-Best Trio: Ms. Marvel and the Ironman/War Machine duo for 501.
-Best Four: Invisible Woman (110), Wolverine (103), and double base Capt. America for 493. Granted, you can use the 105 point Wolverine if it's your preference, but that one won't be themed!
FULL FISTED (five fingers in a fist): Invisible Woman, double base Cap, Moonstone, and Vet Echo for 504.
-Best Six: Double base Cap, Moonstone, Ronin, Vet Echo, and Vet Mockingbird for 483.

600: Bringing down the whole block. (no duo here, too many open points and then it's kind of stupid not to fill them)
-Best Trio: Ironman/War Machine duo and Wolverine help him out for 600 even.
-Best Four: 188 point Ironman, Ms. Marvel, and Vet Echo for 591.
-Best Five: Double base Cap, Invisible Woman, Ms. Marvel and Vet Echo for 596.
SIX PACK!!: Double base Cap, Invisible Woman, Wolverine, Ironfist, and Vet Echo for 601.
-Best Seven: Double base Cap, Wolverine, Ironfist, Moonstone, Vet Echo, and Vet Mockingbird for 601 again.
-Best Eight: Wolverine, Ironfist, Moonstone, 50 point Spiderman, Vet Echo, Vet Mockingbird, and Stingray for 597.

700: Throwdown City.
-Best Trio: Give him Thor and Quasar for 686. This actually looks like a frightening team for just three guys.
-Best Four: Thor, Ms. Marvel and Invisible woman is back for 701.
-Best Five: Ms. Marvel, Invisible Woman, Wolverine, and for a surprise entry, Aaron Stack costing 690.
-Best Six: Double base Captain America, 95 point Spiderman, Invisible Woman, Wolverine, and Aaron Stack for 697.
-MAGNIFICENT SEVEN!!!: (That's seven figures in 700 points with a theme) Double base Cap, 95 point Spidey, Invisible Woman, Wolverine, Ironfist, and Vet Mockingbird for 698.
-Best Eight: Db Cap, 95 pt Spidey, Invisible Woman, Ironfist, Ronin, Vet Echo, Vet, Mockingbird for 688.

800: Head-busting Marathon.
-Best Four: Quasar, Thor and Invisible Woman join him for 796.
-Best Five: Quasar, Invisible Woman, Wolverine and 128 point Black Panther for 801. You can use the other Black Panther if you want to, but I feel this one has more to offer in these teams.
-Best Six: Invisible Woman, Dr. Strange, Wolverine, Black Panther (128), and armored Spiderman (111) for 798.
-Best Seven: Ronin, Invisible Woman, Moonstone, Dr. Strange, Wolverine, and Spiderman (111) for 801.
8-BALL!!!!: Ronin, Invisible Woman, Moonstone, Dr. Strange, Wolverine, Vet Echo, and Ironfist for 798.
-Best Nine: Ronin, Invisible Woman, Moonstone, Wolverine, Vet Echo, Ironfist, Aaron Stack, and Spidey (50) to add up to 805.

900: Gearing up for Armageddon.
-Best Four: Ironman/War Machine duo, Ares and Black Panther (128) for 900 even.
-Best Five: Hulkbuster Ironman, Quasar, Invisible Woman, and Ms. Marvel for 903.
-Best Six: Hulkbuster again, Invisible Woman, Ms. Marvel, Dr. Strange, and Wolverine for 892.
-Best Seven: Invisible Woman, Ms. Marvel, Dr. Strange, Wolverine, Ironfist, and Aaron Stack for 903.
-Best Eight: Invisible Woman, Dr. Strange, double base Cap, Ironfist, Aaron Stack, Wolverine and Spidey (78 point) for 896.
WHOLE NINE YARDS!!: Invisible Woman, Dr. Strange, double base Cap, Ironfist, Spidey (50), Ronin, Wolverine, and Moonstone for 893.

1000!!! The power of a million suns.
-Best Four: Quasar, Ironman/War Machine duo, and Thor for 986.
-Best Five: Quasar, Powerman/Ironfist duo, Ms. Marvel, and Thor for 990.
-Best Six: Invisible Woman, Hercules, Thor, Dr. Strange, and Ms. Marvel for 992.
-Best Seven: Invisible Woman, Vet She Hulk, Spidey (111), Dr. Strange, Ms. Marvel, and Wolverine for 1008.
-Best Eight: Invisible Woman, Ms. Marvel, Spidey (111), double base Cap, Moonstone, Dr. Strange, and Wolverine for 997.
-Best Nine: Invisible Woman, Ms. Marvel, dbl Cap, Moonstone, Ronin, Spidey (50), Dr. Strange, and Wolverine for 991.

You might notice that the full roster for Mighty Avengers isn't quite there. That's because their full points didn't fill enough of their hundred marks to make this list. Too much room needed to be filled with cards and such to make the next hundred. You also see a lot of more new pieces than old in my lists. That's because far too many of the older sets just can't compare to the newer ones. Defenses are far too low and they are underpowered in most cases. There are a few I still use because they just fill in points nicely and still have a sharp edge, like Echo.

So, grab up your clix and throw some teams together, it's throwdown night at your house! Keep clicking!