OverLooked!! (Or, Three 5-Star World’s Finest Pieces That Went Overlooked in 2016!!) (Or, The Fourth Night of Clix-Mas!!)

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Once again (and this time, with feeling!), we are shamelessly unleashing the 12 Nights of Clix-Mas! Tonight is Night 4! If you missed The First Night of Clix-Mas, you can read what it’s all about right here! Night 2 was the nascent edition of a new holiday scenario we’ve been cooking up and can be found… here-ish! Night 3 took a brief look back at Horrorclix.]

sad-batman

So, I skipped Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice in theaters this year. Kept meaning to go, but I never did. The truth is, I show up opening weekend now for just about any MCU property (bring on “Marvel’s Fancy Ghosts!!“) because Marvel movies have earned my trust–the DCEU really hasn’t yet. But that’s a conversation for another day.

Anyway, I finally bought BvS: DoJ on Blu-Ray and watched the whole Extended Edition (or whatever it’s called) the other day. Yeeeesh. It is a mess (why was Lois Lane even IN this movie?!), and critics were right to write it off. Buuuut… But…

Ben Affleck is trying in this movie. He really is. It’s a good performance that will, frankly, end up overlooked in the annals of cinema when people think back on 2016.

Which brings us, in a roundabout way, to today! 2016 saw the release of NINE different Heroclix sets (which doesn’t even count all the Fast Forces, Starters and Monthly OP LE’s we got). We got a ton of 5-Star worthy figures this year, but not all have made their way into the Meta.

So today, we’re going to take a look at three overlooked 5-Star figures from this year’s first set, World’s Finest, and try to figure out what went wrong!

overwatch-calvarys-not-coming

Cheers love! The cavalry’s… not coming.

THE THREE MOST OVERLOOKED 5-STAR FIGURES OF WORLD’S FINEST!!

Nightlantern

3. WF037B Nightlantern: The Rare Prime from the year’s first full set, World’s Finest, Nightlantern still carries a 5-Star rating on HCRealms.com and was supposed to set the Meta on fire with his “Everyone is now an Entity!!” Trait (EVERY PERSON I KNOW IS AN AMALGAM OF TWO FROM YOUR UNIVERSE?: When building your force, you may pay 25 points and put a standard character on your sideline, called an Amalgam. At the beginning of the game, equip the Amalgam to a standard friendly character (other than Nightlantern) that is higher points than the Amalgam’s highest point value and link it to that character’s dial. For the rest of the game, the Amalgam provides the below effect when equipped: EFFECT: At the beginning of your turn or when when this character is clicked, you may choose a standard power on the equipped dial. This character can use that power until your next turn or clicked.).

When the set was first released, Nightlantern was going for a blistering $65-$75–unheard of for a Rare Prime, but folks were obsessed with all the possibilities he provided. Well, fast forward 10 months, and folks are dying to unload him for less than half of that original amount.

What Went Wrong: The Meta just never evened out for this piece. It doesn’t help that his dial is a little pricey at 150 for what you get (remember, that 150 doesn’t even include the extra 25 Points for an Amalgam): One Click of Hypersonic, 2 almost useless Clicks of TK and Leadership, etc.

Basically, to make use of his best ability (his Trait), you have to invest more than half of your total Build points in a 300 Point game. That is tough to make work.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Sure it’s tough, but that didn’t stop us from compiling a pretty comprehensive list of possibilities back in March!]

In a Meta era where folks are building entire teams around maximizing the number of Call-In Cheese Wheels they can use in one game, finding 25 Points to spend on an Amalgam is nearly impossible (or, to look at it another way, you’re spending the exact same amount of points that 5 Call-Ins would cost you).

Will We See Him Again?: If Wizkids decides that they’ve had enough of the Avengers Round Table and the Avengers ID cards and rotates them out around May of next year, then maybe. The JLA Teleporter will still be around, but if it’s suddenly impossible to call-in Hawkeye, Thor or Nick Fury, the Call-In strategy as a whole may fall out of favor.

There’s not really any recent Resources to pick from, so in this scenario (remember, Pandora’s Box and the 7 Deadly Sins would have rotated out as well, since they were released prior to the Round Table in 2015) players looking to upgrade a character with some off the board shenanigans would almost certainly give Nightlantern another look.

But it’s not nearly clear yet which way Wizkids is going to go with next year’s set rotations.

KC SUpes

2. WF061R Superman: This is the World’s Finest Chase KC Supes on his “Tower Click.” For just 35 Points, he’s extremely tough to KO (18 Defense, Invincible PLUS the KC TA), but he has the potential to lock down two of your opponent’s best pieces every turn with his Damage Special (I WANT TO FARM IN PEACE: Superman can use Incapacitate with two targets and an attack value of 12. Hit characters can’t make ranged attacks during their turn.).

Considering that he also has an 8 Range and the Superman Ally TA, there’s not a lot of places for your opponent to hide, especially if you win Map Roll and are able to take the game someplace without much Blocking or Elevated Terrain. Ended up ranked at number five in our World’s Finest Top Ten, which was pretty high considering how stacked that set was!

What Went Wrong: A few things. First, just like with Nightlantern, if you’re playing a popular Meta Build like an Ultron Drone Call-In team or a Devil Dinosaur Critter Spawn team, Superman doesn’t really fit so well into either of those archetypes. You’re 35 Points would be better spent elsewhere.

And even if you’re not playing one of those two teams, this version of Supes isn’t a great counter to either of those rosters, either. There’s just too many targets, even with his double bolts. Nick Fury? Sure! Supes can see through Stealth and tag him almost every turn (or at least make Fury spend an inordinate amount of time dealing with a 35-Point piece while you surround him with the rest of your force).

The other thing that hurt Supes here in the Meta was a controversial post-release ruling in May that basically made it impossible to use Supes–or any KC “Tower Click” figure–as a “Time Walk” Call-In piece. So he was kind of neutered both coming and going.

Will We See Him Again?: Probably not. The Call-In ban really hurts. However…

Wizkids just ruled recently that–in certain circumstances–Superior Foes Chameleon can actually use KC “Tower Click” pieces as a disguise. This may breathe new life into Supes’s Meta career, assuming Chameleon catches on a little bit more. Control is just that important in the Meta right now.

And of course, his regular dial should continue to see Meta play as a Call-In on its own…

weapon-drop

Oh. Yeah…

1. FFWFS100 Weapon Drop: This is almost a Resource masquerading as a Special Object. Offering (somewhat unpredictable) access to great abilities like Pulse Wave, Regen and Pen/Psy, the Weapon Drop seemed poised to become this cycle’s Gamma Bomb, a must-have Special Object that would show up time and time again.

And yet, despite all that, and despite its 5-Star rating on HCRealms.com… you just don’t really see it played that much.

What Went Wrong: Nothing in particular–I just think its time has not come yet. World’s Finest was released in February, and at that point, there was really less than two months left in the 300 ROC Limited format. I don’t think there was enough time for players to really embrace this piece’s Meta potential before the ROC rotated in a straight 300 Modern format.

Will We See It Again?: Well, as we slowly get back to that format, I think you’ll start to see the Weapon Drop show up more and more.

In a Resource-rich environment, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. In a Resource-less environment, though, it suddenly becomes extremely versatile and powerful.

 

Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the Comments below. And let us know if you enjoyed this look back at World’s Finest and if you want to see OverLooked become a regular feature on the site!

Lastly, don’t forget to come right back to this space tomorrow(-ish) for more 12 Days of Clix-Mas!!

Until then, Stay Safe, and Watch Where You Draw Your Lines of Fire!!

 

Advertisements

Who Watches the Watchlist: Part Deux!! (Or, The Eighth Night of Clix-Mas!!)

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Once again, we are shamelessly unleashing the 12 Nights of Clix-Mas! Tonight is Night 6! If you missed The First Night of Clix-mas, you can catch up right here! Night 2 is here. Night 3 is here, you can find the 4th Night of Clix-Mas by clicking here, and Night 5 went down right here! Night 6 is now up, and can be found here. Night 7 showed up right about… here.]

Hot Shots Part Deux

Hello again!

Two nights ago, we reviewed the Watchlist changes from the beginning of the year. Now we’re gonna take a look at the most recent Watchlist from July 27th of this year. Did these changes make the game better? Or did they go too far in some cases? Let’s take a look!

2015 Q2 WATCHLIST:

AKA “The Felix Faust” Watchlist! Who, it so happens, is our first corrected piece to review! Let’s take a look:

Felix Faust

  • Felix Faust: There were two main changes wrought by Faust’s World Championship dominance. First, all of Faust’s nastiest d20 abilities now have a maximum effectiveness range of 7 squares. What’s that, you say? 7 squares is still pretty damn good? Well, normally I’d agree, but considering that before the Watchlist these shutdown abilities had an effective range of THE ENTIRE MAP, so I supposed I’d have to say that this was a step in the right direction. Pieces that are meant to shutdown the opponent’s pieces are always going to be hard to balance. In this case Faust was just ungodly for his measly 70 Point asking price. The second change that came in the wake of Faust running roughshod over THE WORLD is that d20 rolls can no longer be rerolled. Yup. Rerolling d20’s was a thing in the summer of 2015, since it enabled you to lock your opponent down completely. No more! Verdict: Having played against Mr. Faust since these changes came down, I can say that they probably didn’t do enough. He’s still able to dominate a game if his controller has ANY kind of dice luck!

Doc Strange

  • Doctor Strange: No changes to the good Doctor, which isn’t that surprising given that Doctor Strange here costs about 80 more points. Verdict: This was the right call. Why Faust was so much cheaper is beyond just about everyone.

Avengers Age of Ultron Scarlet Witch

  • Scarlet Witch: This one’s a little harder to discuss, since her problematic ability is written like a phone book. For the record, this is how her power now reads: HEX MAGIC: Once per turn, after an attack roll has been determined, Scarlet Witch may give the attacker up to 3 Hex Magic tokens if the attacker is within range. A character may not be given Hex Magic tokens if they would have more than 3 Hex Magic tokens on their card. For each token she gives the attacker, reduce the attack total by 1. Opposing characters may be given a free action to remove a Hex Magic token and modify any friendly character’s attack value by +1 this turn. Basically, they added the “A character may not be given Hex Magic Tokens if they would have more than 3 Hex Magic tokens on their card” bit. Verdict: Her ability was worded veeerry loosely originally, so I’m not surprised it got changed. Pretty moderate change, too. And definitely necessary.

Yellow Power Battery

  • Yellow Power Battery: No change. Verdict: Nor should there have been. This Battery works just fine.
  • Orange Power Battery: Ditto. Verdict: Ditto.

And there ya go! This Watchlist wasn’t as packed as the last one. Does that mean WizKids has learned their lessons and taken the appropriate measures to make sure we’ll never have to deal with another Watchlist ever again?

Uhh… no. But that’s okay. At least WizKids is quicker to own up to a huge failure now and do whatever it takes to fix it. It seems like they’re making a concerted effort to achieve a modicum of transparency.

Having said all that, I’ll see ya tomorrow night for the 9th Night of Clix-Mas!!

Who Watches the Watchlist? (Or, The 6th Night of Clix-Mas!!)

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Once again, we are shamelessly unleashing the 12 Nights of Clix-Mas! Tonight is Night 6! If you missed The First Night of Clix-mas, you can catch up right here! Night 2 is here. Night 3 is here, you can find the 4th Night of Clix-Mas by clicking here, and Night 5 went down right here!]

Watchmen by monkeybiziu.

Uh… the Watcher? Banner art by monkeybiziu.

Welcome back to the 12 Nights of Clix-Mas!!

Tonight, we’re gonna go back and look at the first Watchlist that dropped this year and the changes that it brought with it. Did those changes make the game better? Did they course correct too far in some cases? Let’s take a look!

(And yes, we’ll take a brief look at the most recent Watchlist from this year very soon in one of the coming 12 Nights of Clix-Mas articles!)

2014 Q4 WATCHLIST:

Ah, come back with me now, back to last January. It was a time when men were men, and Entities still transferred all of their keywords to the piece they were possessing! Yup! That was the main reason for the Q4 Watchlist: the Entity issue! Let’s go point by point and see what worked, and what didn’t!

Ion War of Light Butcher Entity

  • Entities: The main change here was that Entities would no longer transfer all of their keywords–particularly the “Entity” keyword. All they would transfer from here on out was their Lantern Corps keyword. Verdict: This was actually a very successful change that brought a bunch of balance to the game. The Entities were already powerful enough; by allowing them to transfer the “Entity” keyword to the piece they were Possessing, it allowed power players to make really overpowered Themed Teams out of characters who should never grant Theme when paired together. Entities were still played heavily after this change, but the playing field was leveled just a bit, which is exactly what a Watchlist fix should do. Selfishly, I wish that they’d still let them transfer their “Cosmic” keyword as well (all but Black Hand have it, I believe), as that would have kept a few more interesting Build options available, but that’s a small complaint when so much good was accomplished here.

bill-agent-of-aim

  • Bill, Agent of A.I.M.: The reason most people played him was his Special Attack Power (MY HIGH-ENERGY FINDER THING:Give Bill, Agent of A.I.M. a power action and choose the highest-point opposing character. Until your next turn, that character can be targeted with a ranged combat attack by one friendly character without line of fire to that opposing character.) that shows up on Click 2. This power was changed so that the character getting the benefit of Bill’s technology has to be adjacent to Bill. Verdict: This was a pretty reasonable change, and while it did make Bill slightly less useful, his power was still good enough to keep Bill in the Meta rotation.

Iron Pharaoh cover

  • Iron Pharaoh: This one really hit me hard. His special Trait (GOLDEN FALCON, SOARING: When Iron Pharaoh is first placed on the map, place a Falcon special terrain marker in an adjacent square. Give Iron Pharaoh a free action to move this marker up to 3 squares. Iron Pharaoh can draw lines of fire and count range (up to 3 squares) from the Falcon marker using Improved Targeting: Ignores Hindering Terrain, Ignores Elevated Terrain, Ignores Outdoor Blocking Terrain, Ignores Characters.) was just absolutely gutted. After the Watchlist, the Pharaoh had to choose to either move OR attack, something the figure was never really designed to do. Verdict: While Iron Pharaoh was certainly a powerful force in the Meta, an occasional ROC win doth not a broken piece make. But even if you accept that Iron Pharaoh was a problem piece (and ignore the fact that within a year, WizKids would have published several silver bullet pieces for the Pharaoh, like Jack Hawksmoor), the official change really destroyed this piece, to the point that he was almost unplayable afterwards. This particular change was probably WizKids’s biggest overreach since they’d been publishing a Watchlist.
This is how Iron Pharaoh owners felt after the Watchlist dropped.

This is how Iron Pharaoh owners felt after the Watchlist dropped.

Bizarro

  • Bizarro: This was another pretty simple pair of fixes. WizKids decided that he could only be played in 25 Point increments up to 150 Points (as opposed to playing him all the way up to 300). Also, it was decreed that Bizarro could ONLY be healed through the use of Support. Verdict: This was another winner. It’s hard to describe how dominant Bizarro was in the Meta back in 2014 if you’re a newer player, but he was everywhere. He still turns up on certain Meta teams to this day, so he’s still a quality piece, but at least he’s fair now.

Proxima Midnight

  • Proxima Midnight: Proxima was reviewed, but it was decided that she was working as intended. Verdict: Sanity prevails. There’s nothing wrong with being a good piece–it’s when a piece becomes gamebreaking that a designer really needs to get involved. If only they’d been as levelheaded about Iron Pharaoh…

Well, that’s all for tonight! And yes, we’re running a few days behind if we’re gonna get everything out by Christmas. Just stay tuned, though, and we should have articles coming fast and furious in the next two days!

Back to the Future… Imperfect!!

Oh boy. Here we go again...

Oh boy. Here we go again…

So, yesterday was “Back to the Future Day,” and, perhaps in keeping with that spirit, WizKids seems determined to revisit certain Clix mechanics that have caused problems in the past and streamline them for the future. According to some, however, their fixes have actually exacerbated those issues and made the future Meta much more cloudy.

WizKids published two articles yesterday. The first one was a continuation of their popular “Design Insight” pieces that unveiled the new Eclipso and–perhaps more importantly–debuted the new “Possession” mechanic rules. Just as vehicles got a streamlining of their rules with the release of Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., so too did this mechanic with the (pre)-release of Superman/Wonder Woman.

Among the key passages from the article:

Equip” will be a new term going forward to indicate when and how a character can be assigned a game element.  A character with such a game element on their card will be “equipped” by that game element. Once equipped, the equipped character can use the effects as described on the item’s card.  Most importantly, by default, a character can only be equipped with one item at a time (unless a specific game effect says otherwise).  During force construction, a character can’t be equipped with more than one game element. During the game, if a character is equipped with a second item, the previously equipped item will be KO’d and scored for your opponent if appropriate.

The reason for this change in wording to what we have seen on previously released figures with similar mechanics is that the new term “Equip” will serve as a key term to describe this particular game mechanic without having to write out the underlying rules for it on each character’s character card.  The “Equip” term, it’s restrictions and game effects will be included in the next HeroClix rulebook—but for now, we have included explanatory text on special powers/traits that utilize this mechanic in parenthesis:

To equip, place this on the standard character’s card. The character can use its effects. If the character is KO’d or equipped again, KO the previously equipped game element.”

Okay! And what constitutes an equippable “game element,” you might ask? Good question. The closest the article came to defining that is this passage:

In general, a game element that is equipped to another character is still whatever the game element normally is (Relic, Resource Attachment, Special Object, etc.).”

Hmmm… so, like, does that mean that Resource Attachments (like, say, the Green Crossbow?) are now considered “game elements” that must be equipped? Because if so, that also means that Entities can no longer be used with Resources. This would be a potentially HUUUGE change–particularly in the Meta–that seems to have just kind of quietly been slipped into the game by WizKids.

Or has it?

Since this is 2015 and we have the internet which allows us to look up everything ever in seconds, Ninwashui ventured onto Facebook to find a clear and concise answer as to whether or not things like Entities can still work in conjunction with a Resource like, say, the Green Power Battery.

Actually photo of Ninwashui venturing into the Internet...

Actually photo of Ninwashui venturing into the Internet…

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Yes, I know WizKids calls it the “Power Battery (Green Lantern Corps)” or whatever, but that’s a mouthful. It’s the freaking Green Power Battery.]

Basically, responders to Ninwashui’s post quickly divided into two camps:

FIRST CAMP: As summarized by user David Newsom: “Guys, a game element must have the Equip mechanic, or Equip rules written on it to fall under this [new ruling]. You’ll still be able to have multiple constructs. They are not equipment.

SECOND CAMP: As summarized by Ninwashui: “Well I think now it’s an Entity or a resource attachment, not both.

The First Camp is basically contending that WizKids would not slip a potentially huge, Entity-nerfing ruling into a Design Insight article like that released today, or, if they did choose to do it like that, they would put it right at the top, in bold, so there would be no confusion. At the very least, if they intended for previously released Resources and their attachments to not work with Entities, they would have issued Errata for those Resources that changed their “Assign” verbage to “Equip,” in the same way that the article mentioned the forthcoming Entity Errata (which, as it turns out, was the subject of the second article WizKids released yesterday).

The Second Camp points to what was actually written in the article and has extrapolated what little clarity is there and come to the conclusion that Resource Attachments are now supposed to be Equipped. In a roundabout way, they feel, this passage–

“In general, a game element that is equipped to another character is still whatever the game element normally is (Relic, Resource Attachment, Special Object, etc.).”

–establishes that Resource Attachments are in fact an equippable game element in addition to being, well, Resource Attachments. And if Resource Attachments are equippable, than they can’t be used in conjunction with another equippable game element such as a Possessor (as equipping a second game element to a character would KO the first equipped game element unless there is specific card text saying otherwise).

Submissions to the Rules Forum have been made regarding this quandary, and I will update this post if the Powers That Be ever respond, but at the moment, we’re pretty much on our own.

Much more to come on this later this week…