Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Winds of Change

Oh no, the sky is falling.

Wizkids announced that they are changing the rules for Heroclix. Obviously, this means the sky is falling, we all need to relearn the game and this inferior rule set will have us all uitting in droves.

In reality, the changes are all tweaks rather than full rewrites, and not a whole lot changes. In actuality more things make sense. To download the new Rulebook and Powers And Abilities Card, while reading NBPerps explanation of the changed powers, go to :-


I'm going to talk about how the changes actually affect the way we play the game, especially locally.

Close Combat Expert
This can now be combined with Super Strength to get the object damage bonus on top of the CCE damage bonus. Rule of Three still applies. There aren't a huge amount of figures we commonly use that benefit from this and most of those have move and attack powers as well. The best thing I can see about this is taking more light objects for those figures that can use both, while providing less heavy objects for their opponents. Otherwise, since most objects are used up in the first few attacks, no one locally will care.That said, I do like the change as it always seemed odd that a super strong expert of close combat couldn't use his full skill with the object, while others can use the object to exploit your weaknesses.

This really isn't going to make much of a difference on existing figures. This is a power that is rarely relavent in local games, though sometimes flyers that gain it can be knocked into terrain. This change is more to clean up the power vs special powers. Now if you are Earthbound then you are stuck without combat abilities, regardless of what your trait and special powers say. Keeps it simple, in my opinion, as now light green on move = no combat abilities. That's all you need to remember for that power, no exceptions.

So now this is a move action that ignores other characters completly. It gets around the rarely seen Hypertime team ability while now comboing with team abilities that give Move actions with out using up actions from your allotted total. A subtle change, as most teams aren't large enough to take advantage, and none of the keyworded Modern Age Brotherhood have the power. Could be useful in larger games though.

This also becomes a move action, which gives it most of the same benefits as above. Again, not something that will be hugely relevent. People should use this more locally cause I love using Elevated Terrain to gain a commanding fire point.

Battle Fury
This got a boost. it now ignores Incapacitate and Shape Change. This is a huge benefit, as Shape Change has appeared on a lot of figures recently as a defensive power. Could spell trouble for figures such as Nightcrawler if you can get such a figure to him. Not sure what figures this affects, but as long as people remember it, it's a good change. Unfortunately, I can see people remembering this as often as they remember Shape Change in the first place.

Energy Explosion
This power no longer causes damage on a fumble. A small benefit that will often be forgotten as it comes up too infrequently to be memorable. Especially as this power sees little play locally.

This power no longer causes damage on fumbles, nor extra damage on crits. Again, not something that's going to get a whole lot of notice locally, due to the probability of those dice rolls and the frequency of this powers use.

Now when using this power, your damage becomes 2. Doesn't matter if it was higher or lower before you activated the power. Not sure how many figures this affects currently, but I can see there being more figures with this power and a printed damage value of 1 from now on. I like this change.

Shape Change
Now this power is worded better, everyone understands what happens when the roll succeeds. I remember when we thought that somebody using Hypersonic could move on to attack someone else if their first attack was foiled. Now they can't, if you can't choose a new target for the attack from where you are you are stuck. A nice simplification.

On the downside, this now only triggers 2/3rds of the time rather that 50%. On the upside, it now trigger multiple times in a turn and remove action tokens from adjacent cheaper figures. This means teams that use cheap leaders like Samuel L Jackson can take another leader as a back up and get even more actions, while the recent slew of high cost figures that have Leadership actually get a benefit from the power without needing to be in a million point game.

Pulse Wave
You can now use this while based. That make the power much stronger, and might actually have it see more play. I can't remember the last time someone used it locally. I'm pretty certain it involved Black Bolt.

This is only active during your opponents turn. Makes sense, as during their turn you are more likely to be hiding. Really only affects uses of Probability Control as little else your opponent can do can happen during your turn. A nice change,

Probably the change that affects me most, as I have always been the bigget proponent of the power. The changes to line of sight are minimal, as it just requires slightly more thinking on your positioning. Most of the figures I  move with it have some form of move and attack, so my opponents positions mean little. The big thing is that when throwing an object, this targets the square and not the figure. This allows it to get around Stealth. As if I needed more encourgement to use Magneto :)

Move and Attack
This is now Hypersonic but worse. They've added the half range from that power, but kept the -2 attack and the inability to use the power if already based. This makes Transporters much worse and will see the use of this power fall away locally.

Great Size
This removes some of the weird differences there were between Colossal and Giant figures. Now Colossals are Giants with added benefits. No longer do Giants break away easier than Colossals. This change is important now there are Colossals that are playable in smaller games with out being dominating like Starro and Galactus.

This has been simplified so more people can understand how to work out the knockback path. Never a bad thing.

Multiple Elevations
A complaint people had with the Web of Spider-man Bridge map was that the bridge is on the same elevation as the water. That doesn't make a huge amount of real world sense, but was needed to allow for action to happen on top of the towers. How else would your Green Goblin be able to kill off your Gwen Stacy bystander token at this iconic location? Now, with multiple elevations, they can make a wider range of more interesting maps. Hopefully the local players will learn to use elevation to their advantage now.

Now powers can't be cancelled. An important change, but rarely relevant.

Free Actions
Now all free actions are once per turn unless stated otherwise. The majority of these already were, especially the ones we used,  so this doesn't change a much. I can see it having a major affect on Gen Con level tournaments though.

Double Power Actions
Giving a name to something they intend on doing with Special Powers. It will be interesting to see what new powers this lets them come up with.

Wild Cards
Now wild carding is a repeatable free action during your turn. Whatever you choose last sticks for your opponents turn. Not a huge change for the locals as no one plays wildcard abuse teams anyway.

Theme Teams
This reduces the benefits of having a themed team. Now you can't give somebody the Probability Control if they have already used the power that turn. You also get less attempts at this dependant on build total. Also, above 400 points, you need more figures on the team to get the bonus. This is going to hurt the expensive figures that are already difficult to build thematic teams with. I feel it comes from the online backlash towards generic keywords. This will be the biggest change locally, and the one I can see people needing reminding on the most. People still need reminders on the old rules without them now changing.

The majority of these changes are positive ones and I'm in favor of them all. The big problem with the changes is that they are not being accompanied by a printed rulebook. There is no word currently on when the next starter is going to be out. While the rules are freely available for download, I personally prefer a hard copy. It means I can read it without having to carry the Netbook around. I also prefer reading books rather than a computer screen. It would also have been nice for a starter to be announced so we can look forward to new figures :)

What I don't look forward to is reminding people of the changes every five minutes, especially to those with little time/net access to read the changes for themselves. The lack of starter feels like a complete lost opportunity.

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