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New FF set rules: Winners & Losers

by Rurouni KJS
June 20, 2008


The game of Heroclix changes significantly again with the July 9 release of the Fantastic Four starter set...in my opinion, for the better. Here's a primer on the changes, who wins or loses some and what each change means for the game.



No longer requiring adjacency, it has an 8-square range, essentially granting the TKer the ability to move its force or objects from range. Note that figure bases affect TK moves now and can block TK avenues.



All TK figs. Low-cost ones are no longer one-shot catapults. High-cost ones have increased attack and support options.


Plasticity. TK of friendlies now requires breakaway if based by foes. Plasticity will make it easier for your TKer and tougher for theirs.


Giants. No longer immune to friendly TK, the big boys and girls get a real leg up.


Double-based figs. Still immune to TK, they can block a TKer's lanes to use the power.



Stealth. A TKer can now move objects right from underneath Batman.


Taxis+TK. Flying a TKer when basing an enemy (or a flying TKer dropping a brick in base with one) used to give the baser a "get out of jail free" card if things went badly since the TKer could mindlift the based friend without a roll. Now a breakaway is needed.


Bottom Line: TK is now a power of use the entire game, not just for the first strike. This is a fantastic upgrade.



Now lasts as long as Outwit, enabling boosts to own defense or damping down enemy AV or damage.



Every stinkin' Perplexer in the game, from R Con Artist to SR Supermillion, gets a great shot in the arm.


The self-Perplexing Special Powers. Being able to use these on defense between actions is pretty awesome, especially for big bricks like Black Adam, who can now act on their own behalf without pushing.


Outsiders. Before, this TA was only good as semi-Outwit, generally requiring LOF to the enemy (thus opening them up to counterfire). The "beginning of turn" restriction was also not so hot. But now, with the boost to Perplex, Outsiders can become an effective defense against an enemy trying to nerf your damage, or to nullify the defense boost he just gave himself.



Any fig with 3 damage or less. One Perplexer can render these folks unable to do much against Invulnerability or even Toughness. Against a swarm of them? Fuggedaboudit.


AV Moon Knight. Even this change can't help him.


Bottom Line: Perplex, already just a step below Outwit in power and usefulness, just leapfrogged it to become a must-use.



No longer able to shoot foes in base (or be shot at by them). -2 to speed while carrying.



Zero-range figs. Already at a handicap against snipers able to chip or straight kneecap them from 10 out, close-combatants having to take fire even when in base with a hovering shooter (or because they ARE hovering) was a bummer. No more.


Combat Reflexes. Once easily circumvented by hovering fliers with range, now CR makes them scared to base you. Even better is the vice versa; 0-range fliers with CR no longer have to be extra-careful who they base.


Outwit. Flight can now be countered by this power.



All fliers got a little less effective. But Taxis take the bigger hit, being unable to cart their fares as far, especially if Charging or Running Shooting (the -2 comes after the halving replacement). Consequently, the other losers are 0-range fares. These folks may not be able reach their targets as efficiently.


Bottom Line: Once sporting all the advantages over their walking and swimming fellows, fliers get reigned in a bit. The Carry penalty is a nicely comic-accurate addition (showing the flier either being weighed down by the passenger or slowing down for their benefit). Given the greater effect of tie-up, this is an important balancing factor.



Ignore bases for movement like fliers and can carry if they don't have a token. Still punch from 2 squares out but aren't adjacent. Can be TKed by pals.



Giants, of course. Despite losing their 2-square tie-up zone, they are much more team-friendly by being able to move freely and be moved by TK.


0-range bricks. They can now base Giants directly. They can also be effectively carried by friendly Giants.



Giants with Plasticity. Once able to tie up whole street blocks, they're now no better at it than plain folks.


Giant Stride feat. Complete waste.


Bottom Line: Once just easily tied-up targets for enemy shooters, Giants now can truly pull their considerable weight.



No longer leave debris when destroyed. Lights and heavies can be tossed 2 more squares respectively. Dropped objects no longer stack on top of existing objects but leave the game.



0-range bricks with Super Strength. Now they have an effective range at least 6. Giants are even better, being able to see over figs for more targets.



Stealth. The G-D Batman giving you a fit? Blow up the gumball machine he's on. No debris = Bats in the open.


Bottom Line: Object rules get welcome streamlining and reign in the Bat Allies. Anything that gives 0-range figs a boost is good for the game.



No more ranged combat when based unless a fig has this symbol, which also enables it to shoot past enemy figs.



The Sharpshooters. All the ranged advantages of fliers in the new world. Lite Trick Shot, too.


Outwit. It can axe this ability, too.



Ranged Combat Expert-centric normal figs. The power is useless if based now, requiring more care than before.


Feats requiring the :a-fist: icon, such as Fortitude will be unusable by these pieces.


Bottom Line: No more range in base contact is huge, giving 0-range figures much better effect on the game than before and no longer being so outclassed by every shooter on the field.



Less a change than a brand-new mechanic, this gives the equivalent of perma-Willpower.



Outwit, which can counter this.


Protected. The feat is a perfect fit for any character with this ability.


Tentpoles who get this ability won't get swarmed so easily.



Incapacitate loses some steam against this ability.


Bottom Line: Look forward to some interesting dial designs



The game's shift to defined abilities such as Flight, Carry and Giant Stride to indicate formerly innate abilities granted by the Wing and Giant symbols give Outwit even more versatility.



Every stinkin' Outwitter in the game, from Amadeus Cho to Spirit of Vengeance Spectre. Now there's almost no time an Outwitter should have nothing to worth countering.



Everyone without Fortitude or Outsmart or other anti-Outwit tech. :)


Bottom Line: This upgrade, though a bit unnecessary, is nevertheless appropriate. Plus, with Perplex's new prestige, Outwit needed SOMETHING to keep up. :)



Previously known as "Star Abilities." Some characters will have powers that are neither counterable or cancelable throughout their whole dial.



Those with Traits. Nice to have a power that can't be Outwitted.



Outwit finally meets its match.


Those with Traits. Not being able to cancel these abilities could occasionally be a double-edged sword. For instance, a Trait that prevents pushing damage would prevent the character from voluntarily getting off a bad click.


Bottom Line: Offer unprecedented flexibility in dial design so long as they don't run rampant in the game.



Now limited to 10% of the game build.



The game of Heroclix. For a while, the game was becoming overly cardboard-centric as feats were used to boost power efficiency to near-gamebreaking levels. Now hard choices will have to be made with regard to feats; does one go with the Warbound crew or give Armor Piercing and Protected to everyone? Can't do both anymore.



Mediocre characters. Feats were critical for boosting offensively mediocre characters (such as, say, Dawnstar) into legitimate threats on the field. Now they'll have to be considered on their dial's own merits.


LE card hoarders. The ones who sharked or spent to get a half-dozen new Protecteds and Maneuvers won't be able to abuse them entirely now.


Costly feats. Fortitude really loses its appeal since it'll be about the only feat on a 300-point team.


Tentpoles and one-man-armies. Not being able to add 50 points of cards means these are less viable.


Bottom Line: The game is about the figures again. It's about time.



Can only borrow, not lend, AVs/DVs or other benefits from certain TAs. Can no longer copy ATAs.



Non-wildcards. At last, WCs are relegated to the guest-star status they always should have enjoyed, rather than being the linchpin to a Sinister Syndicate or Defenders team. And I won't be unhappy to never again see across from me a chain of 20 DV Legionnaires anchored by T-Bolted Ant-Man in the back.



Wildcard abuse teams lose a lot of options. But don't cry too hard for them...they have plenty of TAs to copy just fine.


Certain TAs that depended on high-value wildcards for extra effectiveness and versatility are now left to their own resources.


Wildcards, too, won't be able to use these TAs if isolated from their source. Once among the most powerful of TAs, the wildcard ability is now perhaps a bit more in line with its moderate cost.


Bottom Line: While it's fine to see wildcards less of a factor in the game, I think perhaps they've been weakened a tad too much...especially since this new weakness drags down some TAs with them.



Instead of the normal TA function, this team can choose to boost up range as a free action.



Hi-cost SHIELD members. It used to be a waste for an attacker to burn a tokenable action to boost a peon's damage. Now the likes of Falcon, Junkpile and Iron Man can actually contribute to the fight with their TA without pushing.


Low- (but not 0) range figs. SHIELD can be a cheap way of giving them a little boost.


Bottom Line: A completely positive change. Even 0-range characters can benefit with the help of a Perplexer or similar effects.



33% chance of not taking damage.



X-Men have a TA that actually has actual benefit than usual.



X-Men with activation clicks that may not get activated as quick.

Teen Titans, if they don't get a similar rewrite next year.


Bottom Line: Another overwhelmingly positive change that makes the ability worth using more often.



The complicated, little-used Option 2 is gone.



High damage HSS figs, who never had a reason to use it.



Low damage HSS figs, who tended to hit and run with Armor Piercing anyway.


Bottom Line: The byzantine Option 2 really only needed tweaking (such as losing the target's defense increase) rather than outright removal, but not many players will really miss it.



Grants immunity to Possession in addition to Mind Control



Tentpoles with Battle Fury.



Deadman and Jericho, both made to cry.


Bottom Line: Anything that makes Battle Fury better is good.



No longer in the game.



Fun theme teams like Blackfire and Starfire or Omni-Man and Invincible are legal now.



Alpha Strike is completely useless now pending errata.


Bottom Line: Like HSS option 2, this is a mechanic little-used and won't be much missed.



The changes to the game make Heroclix much friendlier to close combat than ever. Tie-up is now a powerful tactic, able to shut down both range and TK alike. Overall, while range still has its benefits, it's no longer the absolute favorite.


Send comments to rurounikjs@yahoo.com


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