The Ghost of Christmas Present… uh, PRESENTS… The Marvel Heroclix Set We Should Have By Now, But Don’t!! (Or, The Fourth Night of Clix-Mas 2018!!)

 

 

New FF Intro.jpeg

[EDITOR’S NOTEWelcome to Clix-Mas 2018, wherein we here at Critical Missives rather foolishly try to provide you with twelve different articles in twelve days, all brought to you by either the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, or the Ghost of Christmas Future! If you need to catch up with our intro to all of this, the first Night of Clix-Mas 2018 can be found in our first post of the season, and Night 2 speculated on the next Star Trek set. And Night 3 looked at some of HypeFox’s favorite Golden Age pieces!]

Welcome back for Night Four of The Twelve Nights of Clix-Mas 2018!!

Tonight we’re going to look at a (for now) imaginary set that, when you think about it in the abstract, we should have gotten already, but for whatever reason, Wizkids has yet to produce.

FF Tortured

Yup… getting the FF back in Clix has indeed been a torturous endeavor.

Whew! That’s as awkward an article description as any I think I’ve ever written. Nevertheless… here we go!

The Marvel set we should have gotten by now but haven’t is…

New Fantastic Four.jpg

THE NEW FANTASTIC FOUR:

There’s been no shortage of articles detailing Marvel’s alleged (wait, is it even still “alleged” anymore? Hasn’t it been proven?) reluctance to allow any licensed merchandise featuring the X-Men or Fantastic Four. But the weird part is, this shadowban of FOX movie properties seems to have expired some time ago for the X-Men. How long ago? Well, long enough ago that their big return to Clix, Uncanny X-Men, HAS ALREADY SHIFTED TO GOLDEN AGE!

When you consider that the first Deadpool set and the DoFP comic book Gravity Feed (which itself was essentially just Marvel using Wizkids to send Fox a giant middle finger) both came out in Spring 2014, we were really only without Marvel’s Merry Mutants in Heroclix for about two years. Meanwhile, Marvel’s First Family hasn’t had a core character appear in any set since Fear Itself in 2013 (the Super Rare FI033 Angrir) and a regular set since Chaos War in 2012. 20-FREAKING-12!!

So this leaves me with two questions:

1.) Why are the FF (and their related characters) being withheld from Clix while the X-Men have basically had a green light to appear for going on three years now when their respective licenses were both being held by the same competitor?!

2.) IF the FF were to ever be allowed to front another Heroclix set, which version of the team would I personally like to see as the focus of such a set?

The answers:

1.) Nobody knows.

Seriously. At this point, I’m really not sure if anyone even freaking knows. And even if someone deep inside of Marvel or Wizkids did know, I doubt they’d ever tell us.

2.) Hmmmm… how about…

All of them?

And thus, I would simply call this hypothetical set “New Fantastic Four” (from the famous Walt Simonson run) and plaster the box art with both the traditional Reed-Sue-Johnny-Ben lineup AND the Hulk, Spidey, Wolverine and Ghost Rider lineup.

I mean, did you know that if you look up the FF all-time roster on Wikipedia there are 17 names BEFORE it even gets to the New Fantastic Four entry?

So this set would still have a ton of Marvel Heroclix staples like Spidey and Wolverine WHILE AT THE SAME TIME finally giving us Modern Age designs for the traditional lineup! I’d even add in a “Fantastic Five” sub-theme from the MC2 Universe.

Add in some Doctor Doom and a Latveria sub-theme along with a new Surfer and Doc Strange-led “Defenders” sub-Theme, and you’ve got more than enough pieces for a full five-figure set.

Hell, if you want to ensure that this set would literally blow off the shelves and sell out everywhere nearly instantly, Wizkids could meme us all and make the Chase theme for this set “Fox-owned figures that played starring roles in the stories other sets were based upon yet never showed up.”

Chase figures like:

Sue Storm AOU Best

–Invisible Woman (from the “Age of Ultron” comic story and Limited Edition set)

Wolverine and Wolverine.jpg

–Wolverine and Wolverine duo fig (from the “Age of Ultron” comic story and Limited Edition set)

The Silver and Golden Surfers.jpg

–Silver Surfer and Adam Warlock duo fig (from the famous Infinity Gauntlet series and the Avengers: Infinity set)

Molecule Man slice

–Infinite Molecule Man (from the “Time Runs Out” storyline and Secret Wars: Battleworld set)

Black Priest Doc Strange.jpg

–Black Priest Doctor Strange (from the “Time Runs Out” storyline and Secret Wars: Battleworld set)

Rabam Alal.jpg

–Doctor Doom as Rabam Alal (from the “Time Runs Out” storyline and Secret Wars: Battleworld set)

And, of course, the special Ultra-Chase that fans have been demanding for almost four years:

God Emperor Doom

God. Emperor. Doom!

Boom. Mic drop.

This set would not sit on shelves. These are the characters fans want in Modern right now!

What do you guys think? Would you get hyped for “The New Fantastic Four?”

Let me know in the Comments below!

And next time the Ghost of Clix-Mas Presents appears, he’ll have a theoretical DC set to talk about that WE HAVEN’T GOTTEN YET!!

And come see us tomorrow night for Night Five of Clix-Mas 2018!

MCU 10 years

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Originally, this article was going to be about the TWO Marvel sets we should have by now but haven’t gotten yet. The other hypothetical set that people have been clamoring for is a MCU: Tenth Anniversary/Infinity War set. But this was a little bit harder to pin down for two reasons: First, it’s unclear whether we will be getting an MCU set for Avengers: Endgame. I don’t think anything’s been announced, but Captain Marvel’s MCU Clix set was sort of thrust on us in a low-key way, and I’m not sure we’d hear for certain either way until January or February. Secondly, a MCU Tenth Anniversary set seems to mean something different to everyone. Some folks just want the movies we never saw Clix’d from Phase 2 on (Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Ant-Man 2, etc.). Others really just want the (well, formally, now I guess) Netflix heroes Clix’d. So it would have been harder to articulate exactly what people would want from that set, even though it’s an expansion theme that I hear people requesting all the time!]

 

 

 

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The Ghost of Christmas Present Is Going on a Star Trek!! (Or, The Top Ten Figures in Star Trek: Away Team!!)(Or OR The Fourth Night of Clix-Mas!!!)

[EDITOR’S NOTEWelcome to Clix-Mas 2017, wherein we here at Critical Missives rather foolishly try to provide you with twelve different articles in twelve days, all brought to you by either the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, or the Ghost of Christmas Future! If you need to catch up with our intro to all of this, the first Night of Clix-Mas 2017 can be found right here! And we announced a new Holiday Scenario for our local venue on Night Two! And the Ghost of Christmas Past named a few of his favorite things from the past Clix year right here!]

Welcome to Night 4 of The Twelve Nights of Clix-Mas!!

Today we’re diving right in to a Top Ten Set Review of Star Trek: Away Team!

So, without further ado, here are…

THE TOP TEN FIGURES IN STAR TREK: AWAY TEAM!!

Nurse Chapel

10. STAT009 Nurse Chapel15 PointsCommon: Does what it says on the box. She has sneaky good mobility (notably from having Sidestep on each click) and a special Support that heals Starfleet personnel a click more than everyone else. Willpower means that she can attempt a heal two out of every three turns–which she may need to given that her Attack tops out at 9. Still, this is a pretty useful package for just 15 Points.

Yeoman Rand.jpg

9. STAT022 Yeoman Rand25 PointsCommon: Very similar to Nurse Chapel, except her Special Power (Can I Help You Captain?: POWER: Remove an action token from an adjacent friendly character of 50 points or less. If that character has the Starfleet keyword, it may be a character of 100 points or less instead.) allows her to take away action tokens.

This can be very useful if you’re building around it. Her top dial Willpower means its a trick you can keep running, too.

Captain Kirk.jpg

8. STAT026 Captain Kirk100 PointsRare: One of the three (THREE?!?) Title Characters in this set, Captain Kirk has a long dial (8 clicks), Running Shot/Pen/Psy, Indomitable, Super Senses and Leadership… and that’s before you even get to his Title Character abilities.

His master ability actually lets him “Beam In” Starfleet characters from outside of the game! It takes awhile to build up, but it’s not impossible to beam in extra 40 or 50 point piece in a regular game. Pretty impressive.

Lt Uhura

7. STAT029 Lt. Uhura 40 PointsRare: One of the best supporting pieces in the set, Uhura costs 5 more points than KC Green Lantern on Tower Mode, but also offers a bit more.

First, her Trait (Communications Officer: At the beginning of the game, you may choose a copyable team ability that an opposing character can use. As long as Lt Uhura is on the map, adjacent friendly characters and friendly characters with the Starfleet keyword can use that Team Ability.) is reeeeeallly good on a Starfleet Themed Team.

(Incidentally, more than a few of the pieces in Star Trek: Away Team seem like they’ll get even better as more faction options become available upon the release of future sets.)

Second, her Perplex Special (Monitoring All Channels, Captain: Perplex. When Lt Uhura uses it, she has a range value of 10 and can use Targeting: Ignores Hindering, Elevated, Blocking.) is, for my money, one of the best in the game. It’s even better than KC Green Lantern’s when you consider the fact that she can actually move via Sidestep or normal movement, whereas Green Lantern is stuck in one place the whole game.

Mirror Universe Uhura.jpg

6. STAT038 Uhura (Mirror Universe Version) — 75 PointsSuper Rare: And then there’s the more lethal version of Uhura from the “Mirror, Mirror” universe.

She has two things that make her stand out.

First, her awesomely-named Trait (Assassination Of Superiors Is A Common Means Of Advancing In Rank: FREE: Choose an adjacent opposing character of 100 points or less. That character can’t use defense powers until the beginning of your next turn.) makes her the new Winter Soldier Agent 13.

Second, her second and third clicks are absolutely LETHAL when combined with her Trait. She has both Flurry and B/C/F on both clicks, which she can use to absolutely end figures that cost three times as much as her.

Finally, her Mirror Universe Team Ability is basically Mystics, so she’ll even do penetrating damage on her way out.

Mirror Universe Spock.jpg

5. STAT036 Mr. Spock100 PointsRare: While his dial is not bad, the main reason Mirror Mirror Spock is this far up the list is his awesome Barrier Special (Agony Booth: Barrier. When Mr. Spock uses it, after resolutions if an opposing character is adjacent to 4 of his Barrier markers, roll a d6 and deal that character penetrating damage equal to half the result.).

So, wait, for 100 Points I can completely shut down my opponents best character by surrounding that piece with four Barrier tokens AND squeeze in up to 3 penetrating damage at the same time?! Sign me up!!

Khan.jpg

4. STAT048 Khan — 100 Points — Chase: Some of the guys I play with were slightly disappointed with his dial, but I like it. Primarily because of his sweet Damage Special (Although Your Abilities Intrigue Me, You Are Quite Honestly Inferior.: FREE: Choose a standard damage power that an opposing character within range can use. Khan can use that power until your next turn. If you choose Outwit, Perplex or Probability Control, also modify his combat values +1 until your next turn. Khan has PROTECTED:Outwit.).

He’s slightly dependent on the pieces that your opponent is playing, but he can punch above his weight in the right matchups.

Gorn

3. STAT043 Gorn100 PointsSuper Rare: A relentless close combat monster, Gorn is ten clicks long for just 100 Points. He only has one Special (it’s on Defense) that doesn’t show up until halfway through his dial (Bare-Handed Against The Gorn, I Have No Chance.: Toughness. At the beginning of your turn, heal Gorn 1 click. Protected: Outwit.).

But his dial becomes reeeaaaallly interesting when you equip him with Proteus. If ever there was a piece that didn’t care about that possible one damage a turn from Proteus, it’s Gorn. And with +1 to all stats, Gorn becomes even that much harder to deal with.

Charlie X.jpg

2. STAT037 Charlie X40 PointsSuper Rare: At first, he just seems like a typical Prob-equipped supporting piece with really good mobility for his Points (Sidestep, Willpower).

But what really makes him dangerous is his Trait (Don’t Laugh At Me!: When Charlie X is the only target of an attack that misses, after resolutions deal the attacker damage equal to its printed damage value.).

So you can let Charlie flit about the board controlling rolls, or you can try and take him out–and risk taking massive damage!

Trelane

1. STAT044 Trelane50 PointsSuper Rare: So yeah, the Super Rares in this set are pretty good.

His Traits ( It’s My Game And My Rules: At the beginning of the game, roll a d6 and place it on this card. POWER: If there is no d6 on this card, roll a d6 and place it on this card. Trelane has PROTECTED: Outwit.) and (I Can Do Anything I Want. I Should Think You Would Have Realized That By Now.: Whenever a character rolls an attack roll, you may remove the d6 from this card and replace a die in the roll with it.) essentially make him the new Mr. Myxzptlk.

He only deals two damage (with a 10 Attack top dial), but he also has Super Senses and a STOP click to keep him annoying your opponent for most of the game.

 

And there you have it. Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the comments below. And be sure to head back here tomorrow for more Clix-Mas!!

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!!

 

Power Struggle!! (Or, Do Some Standard Powers Need Fixin’?!) (Or, The Fourth Night of Clix-Mas!!)

[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!]

Get it? It's literally a 'power struggle.' Cuz, like, they have powers! And they're, y'know, struggling!

Get it? It’s literally a ‘power struggle.’ Cuz, like, they have powers! And they’re, y’know, struggling!

Welcome back!

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:

 

Black Panther Leap Climb

Leap/Climb:

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 HeroClix Improved Movement / TargetingHeroClix Improved Movement / TargetingHeroClix Improved Movement / TargetingHeroClix Improved Movement / TargetingHeroClix Improved Movement / Targeting. 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 HeroClix Improved Movement / TargetingHeroClix Improved Movement / TargetingHeroClix Improved Movement / TargetingHeroClix Improved Movement / TargetingHeroClix Improved Movement / Targeting. 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.

 

Cyke blasting Cap

Force Blast:

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 HeroClix Tiny Symbol 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!

 

Batman Smoke Cloud

Smoke Cloud:

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?”

 

Superman Invincible

Invincible:

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!