Top Ten Winners/Losers in 2013’s changes: #2 & #1

Posted on May 3, 2013

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#2

EE

 ENERGY EXPLOSION!

Hard to use, hard to explain, and hard to justify ever using on any click that could shoot out a wall instead, Energy Explosion has long been one of those stepchildren of attack powers. For while it was potentially powerful against multiple hit targets, getting that shot was usually difficult and not worth the trouble if even +1 damage got you to 3 damage or better. And if you had a SP or trait granting you some other ranged combat action power, like Penetrating/Psychic Blast or Pulse Wave? Fuggedaboudit; you’re using one of those two 90% of the time.

The 2013 ruleset addresses all that in the following ways:

  • EE is no longer a ranged combat action, but activates when one is made, more like Blades/Claws/Fangs. So just as Exploit Weakness + BCF = possible 6 penetrating damage, so does PPB + EE = penetrating “splash” damage.
  • Instead of dealing damage to the “splashed” characters based on “number of hits,” which was sometimes powerful but super-complicated, it’s based on the shooter’s number of targets. This is a vast upgrade because a 3-target EE shooter no longer has to fire at a big cluster of targets to deal the big splash damage.

To illustrate: In the past, Lightning Lord could target Ult. Cap, Arachne and Bucky Cap and deal damage via EE accordingly…
EEillustrationOLDMoon Knight, who’d normally be untargetable thanks to Stealth, and Spymaster take some heavier damage due to being adjacent to two hit targets. But by and large, most are only scratched (and Aquaman, who’s got Invulnerability, isn’t even tickled).

Now, with the 2013 rules, Lightning Lord deals EE damage like this:
EEillustrationNEW

Whoa, that’s a BIG DIFFERENCE! Good thing ol’ L.L. only has a 9 AV, huh?

Oh, he’s a wild card? Copying Batman Enemy? With Joker As Sgt. on his 11 — or 12 — AV click?

This explosive leap in usefulness makes the orange attack power the #2 Winner of 2013.

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Speaking of leaping:

spiderman2600_(11)

LEAP/CLIMB.

Once the darling power of cheap tie-up figs everywhere, the king of mobility has lost its automatic break away might, only granting the +2 to the roll. It also lost the “Improved Movement: Characters” bit that would allow it to slip past enemy lines with ease. Most of the time, the Leap/Climb piece won’t have trouble doing so, but Plasticity (and certain other SPs and abilities) will trip it up.

Though still plenty useful, Leap/Climb is the #2 Loser in 2013, because the orange speed power is so much less than what it was.

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And now: the NUMBER ONES!

Flash+Tarpit

PLASTICITY!

It was long one of the lamest of all powers. Sure, it worked great at tie-up against most opponents, and helped minimize its users’ vulnerability to tie-up. But there were nearly 800 dials with Leap/Climb; nearly 300 with Hypersonic Speed and close to 650 with Phasing/Teleport. Once you add the Improved Movement pieces and the Giants and Colossals, you’ve got a full third of all characters in the game ABSOLUTELY IGNORING an opponent’s Plasticity.

So two of those powers/abilities were stripped of their automatic breakaway skills. That still left another third or more of all characters in HeroClix able to freely move around Plasticity via Flight or some other ability. That’s where Plasticity’s true upgrade comes in: the ability to gum up its surrounding squares for movement. Suddenly:

  • Hypersonic Speed characters with zero range can’t hit and run, or even run up and hit.
  • Leap/Climbers can’t bypass Plasticity to the rear guard.
  • Neither can fliers.
  • Or even colossals!

Plasticity doesn’t do squat against Phasing/Teleport (it ignores characters for movement) or vehicles (same) or certain types of Improved Movement. But the blue Speed power has been fantastically upgraded and will have a far greater impact on the game than ever before. It’s easily the #1 Winner in HeroClix’s 2013 rules revision.

And the #1 loser:

Flash trips

HYPERSONIC SPEED.

Although HSS has been nerfed a couple of times (full range to half; option 2 gone), it remained the one power that truly had no hard counter the way nearly every other power did…until now.

Losing automatic break away was the first blow, with HSS instead getting a +2 to the roll instead. But the changes to Plasticity make that a true hard counter to the brown speed power if its user has 0 range.

So say goodbye to the days when a HSS figure could easily and merrily stay just out of reach in the late game if you didn’t have Outwit to stop it. Now all you have to do is base the speedster, and you might have a chance at a fight.

It’s still pretty much the best power in the game, but it’s also pretty much the #1 Loser in 2013 because it’s gone from being as close to an auto-win standard power as exists in the game to merely being the best.

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That’s it! I, for one, am very much looking forward to these changes, which will tip the balance a bit more to the melee end of things while not invalidating the power of range. And, of course, there are the brand-new PAC powers of Sidestep, Precision Strike, Invincible and Empower!

But that’s ahead in June. For now, I’m off to go see Iron Man 3. Have F.U.N. clixin’!

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