The Learning Curve – Playing in the New Rules – Jason Collins

Majestix - Team List

jasonby Jason Collins

Playing In the New Rules

I heard there are new rules!
It’s like a brand new game!
Is it even Heroclix anymore?

The Talk of the Heroclix World right now is of course our brand new shiny rules and how they may or may not have changed the way we play the game. On a grand scale, the game still feels like Heroclix. We move, we attack, we have powers, the powers do things. However once you start to enter a more competitive mindset, you start to look at the minutia, and when you look at the minutia you start to see more and more changes. So let’s take a little time to discuss exactly what to expect in this new competitive environment and how the new rules have had an effect on the way things play out.

The More things change, the More they stay the same

Wait, this looks different!
It isn’t.
Are you Sure?
Trust me I’m sure!

As we mentioned beforehand, on a fundamental level, Heroclix plays exactly as it did before. In fact most of what was strong beforehand stayed that way and we can mostly expect things to work in the same way. Where some things work the same, they may READ slightly different. It is in fact very easy to miss the new syntax on powers when you’re used to reading things the old way. At the time of this writing, the only sets using the new rules syntax are The Mighty Thor and Undead. As a result, misreadings of how powers work happen on a regular basis. So our new important keyword when deciding on a figure is READ. Make sure you know what type of action the power is, pay attention to those capital letters or underlined letters ahead of time! For the most part these powers are used in ways we’re familiar with, but will read oddly.

POWER: -> Give this character a Power Action
RANGE: -> Give this character a Range Action
CLOSE: -> Give this character a Close Action
MOVE: -> Give this character a Move Action
FREE: -> Give this character a Free Action
At the beginning of the turn -> okay the only difference here is the underlining but you get the point.

The More They Stay the Same the More Differences You See

Okay so it’s not EXACTLY the same.
See I told you it was different!
Not THAT different.
Different enough to do THIS!

Now that we’ve talked about how things are similar it’s time to think about what’s actually different. With the number of similarities we have in the game, there are minor changes to the game that have had much larger effects on the overall scope of competitive play. Most notable being the way outwit functions. In the past, we’ve relied on the ability to use external effects to give our characters powers, and as a result, under the old rules those powers were safe from outwit because outwit only functioned when the power was on that character’s dial. Now outwit is free to cancel any power even if that character never actually gets it on their dial or can currently use the power. So with that, can we plan around it? Sure! The fact of the matter is, with the current relevance of picking powers (between traits/powers and possessors) players aren’t given an abundance of outwit sources worth playing competitively. There just isn’t enough room on a team to bring outwit to that degree. That said though, actively picking the powers you’re selecting will require anticipating the sources of outwit that ARE on the board.

That as well is coupled with the damage potential that came from objects. Gone are Ultra Heavy Objects and the days of using Objects with Hypersonic Speed. Of course, it doesn’t mean that Super Strength has no more value. In fact, Super Strength now comes with the perk of knocking their targets back with Close Combat attacks. This adds an amount of disruption that this power at one point lacked.

The fact is, competitive gaming is based on the minutia. We take what’s small, we amplify it by 10. It’s those small changes we can capitalize on at the highest level of competitive play. Take these types of changes into account when planning to play in the new competitive environment.

What was good is now BETTER

Time to peel that band-aid. ID Cards are a 1000x better than they were before. In the past, they had a timing restriction, which only allowed you to use them at the beginning of the turn. Meaning whatever you planned to use the ID Card for, you had to be ready and in place with certain free action exceptions. Now we see ourselves not having to plan that far ahead. Every character with telekinesis is capable of helping create those ID Card bombs we know and love. As well, the restriction of having 0 action tokens is gone – meaning you can push the limits of the functionality of the ID Cards without having to manage turn timing. All of these facts, take ID Cards from a dangerous weapon in the game of Heroclix, to THE MOST dangerous weapon in a game of Heroclix.  If a certain number of things can be attempted ahead of using your ID Card, and those setup items fail to succeed you can hold off on the use of the ID Card. Ultimately ID Cards are way more flexible than they were in the past and a much more potent requirement to the current competitive game.

The only exception to the strength change is in relation to those characters we called in for any sort of beginning of the turn effects. Since ID Cards are no longer part of the beginning of the turn phase, those juicy beginning of the turn effects are no longer able to be used the way we used to use them.

Prepping for this

So now what?
Now we prepare!
Same way we do every night!

So how do you prep yourself for all of this? The same way we’ve been doing since we started. Our teams all work in basically the same way with a few minor exceptions (sorry about your Poison teams and ID Card Peggy Carters) Beyond that, we still have a very similar game with changes to the ways we were going to exploit anyway. So the best practice at this point is probably to see what YOU could/would exploit and used that as your knowledge base. Outside of that, grab your new rules and get some practice, because you will need it to familiarize yourself with the new-ish environment.