[EDITOR’S NOTE: We are knee-deep into the Twelve Nights of Clix-Mas!! Night One, Night Two & Night Three have come and gone, but you can always click on any of the links to catch up if you missed a night!]
Watchlist 3 was released a little while ago, which means that there are figures and/or mechanics in the game that the Powers-That-Be are taking a look at to see if they’re too strong to the point that they hurt the competitive balance of the game. That got me to thinking (always sketchy territory, that)… what if WizKids took a look at some of the Standard Powers currently in the game to see if they too needed some TLC. They’ve done it before (most recently in 2013, when they added the Pink Powers), so it’s not completely unprecedented.
Now, not every Standard Power is created equal; some are just always going to be more useful than others, and that’s fine. That’s intended from the designers, even. But some powers are so useless, you could take them out of the game and no one would notice! That’s not good, but we’re here to help.
Now, Ninwashui touched on some of the weaker powers last year; and yet, some of the same problems still exist. So I’m going to take another brief look at some of the standard powers in the game that I think are either weak or outdated, and talk specifically (as in, the exact wording I’d use) about how to fix them!
The Weak Power All-Stars:
You don’t have to take my word for it; WizKids doesn’t even like this power. Why do I say that? BECAUSE THEY NEVER GIVE IT OUT ANYMORE!! Honestly, there’s, like, 10 Marvel Modern Age figures that have Leap/Climb top click. That’s 10 out of roughly 30,000 different Modern Age Marvel dials [EDITOR’S NOTE: That is a rough estimate.].
Before I get going on why Leap/Climb sucks, let’s look at the current wording:
“Give this character a move action and move it up to its speed value; during this movement, this character adds 2 to its d6 roll when breaking away and can use , , , , . When you give this character a close combat action, it may target a character regardless of the target’s elevation.”
Doesn’t seem so bad, until you realize that a ton of different figures have many of those Improved Movement abilities as, y’know, IMPROVED MOVEMENT ABILITIES!! As in, they have the power already and it doesn’t take up their Movement slot!!
Think about the last time you played Engineer or Chase Super Skrull, where you can choose any Movement power you want. Would you ever in a million years choose Leap/Climb? No, you wouldn’t, because you not an a-hole.
How I Would Fix Leap/Climb:
“Give this character a power action; halve its speed value for the action. Move this character up to its speed value and then it may be given a close combat action as a free action. During this movement, this character adds 2 to its d6 roll when breaking away and can use , , , , . When you give this character a close combat action, it may target a character regardless of the target’s elevation.”
Boom. We just made Leap/Climb awesome!!
I know what you’re saying.
You: “Uh, you just added Charge to Leap/Climb.”
Me: “Your damn right I did! Why? Because just about any character who should have Leap/Climb is a character who probably moves and attacks a lot in the comics. Thus, Leap/Climb shouldn’t just be a static ability that no one uses–it’s meant to represent characters like Black Panther or Spidey, characters who jump from foe to foe or scale walls at a moment’s notice.”
You: “But won’t that just make Charge obsolete?”
Me: “Not at all. Toughness is a lesser version of Invulnerability, but I would hardly call Toughness obsolete. It’s just not as good as Invulnerability. Leap/Climb would simply be a better version of Charge, in that same way. And you would expect it to cost more, as well.”
There! Now, if you design a bruiser who just pummels people in the comics, you can give him regular ol’ Charge. But if you have someone who bounds around a lot in the comics, you can give them the now superior Leap/Climb! You’re welcome.
Ninwashui has talked several times before about all the reasons why this power both literally and figuratively blows. When it can only be used against adjacent characters, but something like 90% of close combat-based figures ignore knock back, you have a problem. Let’s look at the current wording real quickly:
“Give this character a power action and roll a d6; a single adjacent opposing character is knocked back from this character a number of squares equal to the result. When this character hits with an attack, you may choose that it generates knock back if it doesn’t already.”
That last sentence about being able to choose to generate knock back if you want when you attack is a new addition from the 2012 wording of the power. That one line was WizKids’s last attempt to “beef up” Force Blast. A noble effort, to be sure, but it’s still not quite good enough. This power is probably gonna require some major surgery if it’s to be saved.
How I Would Save Force Blast:
“Give this character a close combat action and roll a d6; a single adjacent opposing character is knocked back from this character a number of squares equal to the result. When this character hits with an attack, you may choose that it generates knock back if it doesn’t already. When this character targets an opposing character with the or symbol, knock back can’t be ignored.”
So I did a couple things here. First, I changed it from a power action to a close combat action. You may be asking why.
I said, you may be asking why…
You: “Oh! Uh, yeah, um, sorry, I didn’t realize this was a recurring gimmick for this article. <Ahem> Uh, why did–”
Me: “Why did I change Force Blast from a power action to a close combat action? Good question.”
You: “Uh… thanks?”
Me: “By making it a close combat action, I’ve done a couple things. First, Force Blast now interacts with stuff. Like Charge! Or the new Leap/Climb I just gave you. Yes, it would share the same dial slot as those other two, but that hasn’t stopped other figures from gaining, say, Charge and Flurry at the same time. We can give figures a white power that allows them to use both powers simultaneously. Also, there are certain Relics or Constructs that would allow a character to have both powers as well.”
You: “That almost sounds useful.”
Me: “I’d agree! Sure, it would still be hard to deal damage with Force Blast–it would still have to be used very strategically. But by now being able to combo with other move-and-attack powers, you can actually set up a Force Blast in one turn instead of hoping to get one off over two turns. Your opponent would have to be really careful about their figure placement around a Force Blaster, or they could be taking some knock back damage, or at the very least end up in a different spot from where they wanted to be. Which is how it should be, as opposed to how it is now, where you usually don’t care whether or not an opposing fig can even use Force Blast, unless you plan on landing right next to them and then not do anything for a turn. Which, y’know, is pretty rare. Unless you like using terrible strategies.
You: “They would definitely have to be more careful–this is is true. But I’m not sure that dealing damage was ever the primary intent of Force Blast.”
Me: “That’s a very good point. Here’s my counter-point: I’m don’t know that there ever was a primary intent behind Force Blast, since, once again, MORE THAN HALF OF THE FIGURES YOU’D WANT TO TARGET WITH IT ARE IMMUNE TO KNOCK BACK!! Also, we’ve made it so many of the characters in the game that you’d actually want to use it against would actually be affected by it, instead of simply ignoring it without having to burn an Outwit. Like they’re able to right now.”
You: “But it seems like you stole that last part of the fix from Ninwashui’s article–”
Me: “Moving on!”
This one is a pretty simple fix. The current wording:
“Give this character a power action; place up to 6 hindering terrain markers in distinct, adjacent squares that are all within this character’s range (minimum range value 4). At least one of the terrain markers must be within line of fire when it is placed . The terrain markers remain until the beginning of your next turn. Characters that occupy these terrain markers modify their attack value by -1 unless they can use Smoke Cloud or ignore hindering terrain for line of fire purposes.”
How I Would Boost Smoke Cloud:
“Give this character a power action; place up to 6 hindering terrain markers in distinct, adjacent squares that are all within this character’s range (minimum range value 4). At least one of the terrain markers must be within line of fire when it is placed . The terrain markers remain until the beginning of your next turn. Characters that occupy these terrain markers modify their attack value by -1 unless they can use Smoke Cloud or ignore hindering terrain for line of fire purposes. If this character has not already been given a move action this turn, this is a free action instead.”
Look, this power was almost useful. The power itself is fine–people use it all the time with Brother Voodoo or when someone is assigned the “Net” Construct. The common denominator there is that people really only use this power when it’s a free action, so that’s what I’ve done. Now, I’m not trying to break it, so it can only be used as a free action under certain circumstances, but this power would see so much more use with this wording.
You:”Okay, that is almost exactly what Ninwashui proposed in his article last year.”
Me: “Oh really? Well, is Ninwashui here right now?”
You: “Uh… no?”
Me: “Okay then. So I guess it’s my idea now, isn’t it?”
What? Invincible? No! This power is epic, you say!
This power is epic, YOU SAY!
You: “Oh. We’re starting the section like this? Uh, okay. This power. Is. Epic.”
Me: “Wow. That was a really stiff line reading. Regardless, I agree. Invincible has been a great addition to the game. But I think it actually needs to be just a little bit stronger to really fulfill it’s role in the game as the ultimate damage stopper. This fix would also help balance another power, so it’s almost like a two-for-one special!
You: “If you say so.”
Me: “I do say so. But first, let’s look at the current wording:”
“Half of damage dealt to this character is ignored.”
How I Would Improve Invincible:
“Half of damage dealt to this character is ignored. This power can’t be ignored.”
Admittedly, this is a small tweak that has MAJOR ramifications. It would also take Pulse Wave down a very small step, which I would argue needs to happen anyway, since Pulse Wave has no natural predators–it’s the best way to deal damage with a Standard Power in the game. Honestly, it’s probably a little TOO good. Well, this would help that.
Some people would argue that this revision would in turn make Invincible too powerful.
You: “<Sigh> Horror. Of horrors. This revision would make Invincible too powerful. Oh. No.”
Me: “Okay, you know what? If you’re not gonna do the gimmick right, I’m just gonna monologue.”
You: “Please do! I’m running late for work as it is and I don’t actually remember agreeing to do this in the first place–”
Me: “That’s not important right now.”
Where was I? Oh yeah–I would argue that Invincible can still be Outwitted, so making it un-Ignorable isn’t a huge deal. Now, there are some cases where characters who have Invincible also have either Power Cosmic, Quintessence or some Trait or Special Power that says their other powers can’t be countered. Does my revision suddenly make Invincible unfair? What could you possibly do to get damage through in these situations?
Actually, it’s pretty simple:
Deal 2 damage.
Honestly, that’s the only threshold you’d have to hit to get damage through against someone with Invincible. Nothing’s changed there. Instead of unfair, I’d argue that it’s EXTREMELY fair. Most characters in the game deal at least 2 Damage on most of their clicks, so it’s a lot harder to get stuck late game against an Invincible figure without a way to deal damage than it would be against a piece with Impervious or Invulnerability.
Okay! That’s all for tonight! Thanks for sticking around. We’ll probably have something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT for tomorrow’s Clix-mas entry…
Until then, stay safe, and watch where you draw your lines of fire!