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!