In Heroclix there are powers players seek out (outwit, perplex, impervious, etc…) because they are always good. This article isn’t about them. This is about the other guys. These powers need help to be competitive. Obvious penalty powers earthbound and battle fury were purposely ignored for this article. Here’s the worst powers in Heroclix and how I think they should be fixed. Here’s hoping they use my ideas in the next PAC.
5. Willpower – This power isn’t bad in and of itself, but seeing it on your dial means that character doesn’t really have a defensive ability. Apparently when that super hero goes to stop a mugger his battle plan involves taking a beating so the original victim has a chance to get away. The only hero I could think of that should be represented that way in heroclix is this guy. How to fix it: Characters that can use willpower can also use toughness on their first click. That makes sense comic wise with everyone you’d normally think of having willpower and it’s not broken for all the bigger characters with indomitable that would usually have toughness (or better) anyway. It’s not a huge change, but I think it can work.
4. Incapacitate – Using an action to essentially cost another figure a turn also shuts you down for that turn. So you’ve given an action token to an opposing figure and then action tokened your own at the same time. Assuming you and your opponent both spend the next turns resting those figures then it’s like you you’ve lost the advantage of being able to strike first and given that advantage to your opponent. Sure there are instances where your really low point character incapacitates the opposing teams tent pole, but those are few and far between. Multi-target ranged attacks help this power, but those mostly come on really high point figures that you need to be dealing damage. How to fix it: Characters using incapacitate on one target deal normal close combat or ranged combat attack damage when using incapacitate. Hitting multiple targets adds an action token, but deals no damage. No combining it with other powers.
3. Mind Control – How this power should work is you mind control your opponents best attacker and that guy turns and takes out the rest of the opposing team. What usually happens is that you get lucky and hit the huge first roll to take control of someone. Then you attack and roll a four… You need to make both rolls to do damage to anyone (other than yourself with feedback damage). A normal attack requires just one roll. How to fix it: Characters using Mind Control on one target give that target an action token when it’s hit. Hitting multiple targets lets you use mind control, but doesn’t add a token. So at least now hitting that first attack roll is rewarded with something. Additionally a character should only take feedback damage when trying to control more than one character.
2. Smoke Cloud – Imagine Batman in a movie running up near some gangsters. He stops to take a breather while the bad guys shoot at him. Then he drops a smoke cloud. Then the smoke clears and he walks off to tend to the bullet wounds he got while preparing the smoke that should have concealed him. Of course he could have thrown the smoke first and taken a breather. Then he approaches the gangsters a minute after the smoke clears and he still gets shot. This is not making for a great movie. I think the Heroclix designers also noticed this power needs help. The latest PAC gave it a bonus (it used to be worse) and the latest characters to come out with it (IIM Iron soldier, TT Robin, and AO Joker) have a modified version of the power that doesn’t suck. How to fix it: Smoke Cloud should have always been a free action. One character should be able to use it to cover their approach. You shouldn’t need a whole team of people with that power to use it effectively. As a downside you can’t use smoke cloud if you’ve attacked this turn and you can’t attack if you’ve used smoke cloud this turn. It should help movement only. If you attack you could be exposed.
1. Force Blast – It seems like it would be a nice enough power. Use a power action to knock back anyone basing you. But then you look at the fine print. Who can’t be knocked back? People bigger than your figure, or people with Charge, or people with Combat Reflexes. If someone is trying to base you to do damage how likely is it they have one of those powers? Pretty freaking likely. Like 90% of the close combat figures out there have one or more of those attributes. Maybe you’ll occasionally get a version of Wolverine with leap climb and toughness, but I’m having a hard time thinking of another close combat figure this power actually affects. It’s not like someone is going to run Hawkeye up to base you. Plus you’re probably better off doing damage than spending you’re whole turn trying to move someone away from you. How to fix it: This power should a be a free action. When used outside of a normal attack (IE rolling the d6) it should also produce knockback that can’t be ignored by anyone your size or smaller. As a slight downside you could say characters using force blast can’t use stealth until the start of their next turn (it’s not subtle). Yes this would mean that if you played a close combat attacker facing this power (that couldn’t just charge back the next turn) you might have to have one of your other figures help out. It might actually produce a situation where someone actually has to outwit force blast for like the first time ever. Wow.