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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Fire all of your guns at once

My West Coast Avengers squad just got a big upgrade.

Gaze at the power and the glory of the Silver Centurion Iron Man. Stand amazed at the faux metallic gleaming of the painted plastic. Regard with awe the superlative stats on the dial. An 11 might not seem like much for a fighting machine like the Armored Avenger, but Seth's obvious strategy of lowering my expectations by giving every figure for the last three sets a top attack value of 9 has apparently worked on me; I see a 10 AV these days and I swoon to the floor in an overoxygenated rapture. A single click of 11? Good Lord, I'm in a bliss-coma. And the powers. Oh, the sweet, sweet powers. Still no Super Strength, yes, I know, and it tasks me, it does, because Iron Man SHOULD be able to pick up a dumpster and bang-shang-a-lang nearly anyone right upside their stupid haid with it, yes he should. But all that Incapacitate -- oh my. And the switch over to Energy Explosion halfway down the dial? Oh my. The four clicks of Outwit? Oh my my.

This... this may be the finest Iron Man ever rendered in HeroClix form.

But what makes him rock so hard isn't evident in the graphic representation of his dial, because for some reason, WizKids just can't seem to post multiple targets correctly. Looking at the Iron Man I snatched up at a New Kids Night event last evening, you see a wonderful difference between WK's grid and his actual dial -- two, count them, two lightning bolts next to the little 8 that indicates his range.

It's transformative. Suddenly, a merely decent dial becomes an Artie Simek sound effect -- KA-BA-BOOOOOM!!!! It's the difference between impulse engines and warp speed, between "a few shots, sahr -- not enough against tharrh shielllds" to "Aye, Cap'n, we'll blow the mofos right the fuck out of space, SIR". It's the way things ought to be. It's everything for everyone. It's... da BOMB, baby.

But, Highlander, you importune me, giving me the puppy dog eyes, I don't, I mustn't, I can't understand. Why is two targets so much better than one? What difference can it possibly make? And, for the love of God, why am I even reading this nonsense if I'm not Mike Norton?

As to the last, no one can answer that but you, true believer. But as to the first -- well, attend closely, my old:

Posit with me that the West Coast Avengers, in little plastic figure form, find themselves confronting the evil of Diablo, the Mole Man, the Mad Thinker, his Awesome Android, and, just for kicks, Blastaar, King of the Negative Zone. Mole Man has brought along a few little Moloids to boss around, because, you know, it makes him feel like a reeeeeeal big man, oh yes it does. In the swirling chaos that has erupted since the initiation of hostilities, poor Mockingbird finds herself beset by the ever belligerent Blastaar on the one side, base to base with her and prepared to thump her senseless with his massively mesomorphic mitts, and Diablo on the other, who is just about to splash some sort of nefarious goop on her that will harm her grievously this turn and poison her appallingly the next. Who needs that? Not you, not I, not even a former SHIELD agent who should, by rights, be dead. But she is helpless, helpless, a mere chickie poo with a couple o' sticks against the onslaught of awesome evil that is the ruler of an entire anti-matter universe and a thousand year old immortal alchemist with an attitude.

Enter Iron Man, all jets ablaze! He'll have none of this misognystic mischief; the baddies mess with a fellow Avenger over Tony Stark's armor clad corpse. His first three slots brimming with Running Shot, the Golden Avenger (in, I grant you, silver and red armor at the moment) goes blasting in, boot jets blaring, dealing Incapacition with either hand. KA ZOW! A stunning bolt of repulsor energy goes hurtling at the Mole Man's hapless head! BA-KOW! A furious flare flies frantically at Diablo's sneering mustachios! Assuming both hit, another action token is placed on both villain's bases, and if they already had one there, they're pushed! A click of damage for the cretins, if you please, garcon. (Actually, Diablo may well have Willpower, in which case, he'd be spared that click of damage, but still would be unable to take any action for the following round. And this version of Iron Man has Outwit on his opening click, too, so if he's as smart as he should be, he'll get rid of Diablo's Willpower before he lowers the boom.)

But, it gets better. Slap a Stunning Blow feat card on this Iron Man and in addition to those extra action tokens, suddenly he's got a full 4 clicks of damage to divide between his two targets. Take that, monkey men -- an extra action token, paralysis for the following turn, a click of damage from pushing, and perhaps another 1 to 4 clicks, depending on the iron whim of Tony Stark, as a little lagniappe.

Still not satisfied? Hoo boy, tough room. Okay, throw an Armor Piercing on him. In combination with the Stunning Blow it makes sure at least one click of damage from every successful Incapacitation attack goes through no matter how tough his target may be, and later on, when he's flinging around Energy Explosion, it will potentially multiply that one click of damage across any enemies that may be adjacent to Iron Man's target. HOO-ha! Take that, you dirty rats!

Under my House Rules, he gets even sweeter -- Running Shot works better, and his Outwit can hit two targets when done at range (although you have to make a successful attack roll, and the range is more limited), and I'm even thinking about getting rid of WK's 'divide up ranged damage between targets' rule, just because it sucks. If I do that, o mama! Four clicks of damage and an Incapacitation token to two different targets -- suh-WEET.

And it's all due to my beloved SuperFiancee and the ever affable Orto. The latter supplied the invaluable info on when/where a New Guy Night was to be found hereabouts, the former drove me there, after we checked out the grand opening of a library across the river in Indy that SuperFiancee had overseen much of the restoration on. In the ensuing clix battle, SuperFiancee's Teen Titans pretty much beat the snot out of my HIVE group (allegedly bolstered somewhat by Deathstroke the Terminator, but he ain't such a much once Terra and Speedy tool up on him a little), which was okay with me, since I was just in it for the Iron Man.

Even better, not only did we get one Iron Man for the New Guy (SuperFiancee) we actually got one each, so I have two! Any of my few readers who'd like one, let me know quickly, as I'll most likely post it as trade fodder on the WK site pretty quick. Say, within a week or so. Otherwise, I'll assume I can do with it as I like.

In addition, I also picked up a copy of the 3/4s size Sinister map, showing a cell block. We actually did the clix battle on that map, and I can't say I think much of it -- there is, basically, only one hallway connecting either side of the map, so you end up fighting there, or close to there, with very little room for tactics or strategies. It's the sort of map where a strong Phasing/Teleport team would clean up, especially under my House Rules which allow all figs to move and attack on the same turn.

So, all hail SuperFiancee and Mike Norton! We who have collected loot salute them!


At 10:16 AM , Blogger SuperFiancee said...

For someone who "didn't really care about going to New Guy Night", you really seem excited about getting the piece. Glad we were able to work it all out. It would've been a pretty nice night even if you didn't let me win.

Oh, and it was kinda cool being the only New Guy at New Guy night without a penis. Glad they weren't checking at the door or anything.

At 12:55 AM , Blogger MJ Norton said...

H: A fine piece it is, to be sure. The Avengers got a nice boost with this one. I'm looking forward to reworking some teams once I get Supernova's Thor, Ant-man, Vision, Justice, Jack of Hearts and maybe even Mantis, and this Iron Man is likely to make the team.

I've just gotten hold of the Sinister prison map, too, but haven't played anything on it yet.

T: Looking around most venues the presence of a penis may be as significant as the presence of an appendix. ;)

At 4:51 AM , Blogger Highlander said...


I didn't let you win. A team comprised of six HIVE drones, Queen Bee, and Deathstroke the Terminator isn't well suited to go up against Robin, Speedy, Beast Boy, Terra, and Raven. I'd thought when I put the team together I could do some interesting stuff with the HIVE Troopers' Smoke and Enhancement powers working in accord with Deathstroke's Stealth and Energy Explosion, but in the tight confines of the map we ended up using, that proved elusive. You won fair and square; the superior movement abilities of that particular Titans team pretty much sealed the deal.


I'm very much looking forward to the various Supernova adds to the Avengers roster, too. There aren't too many A-squads that one can fit Ant-Man onto (at least, not continuity accurate ones) but I'm still going to be happy to take the fig out for a test drive. The new Vision and Thor pieces will be a help, too. I haven't seen enoughof Mantis to make that judgement call as yet, but it will be nice to have one to put next to my Swordsman, even if she sees as little actual play as he does.

At 8:48 AM , Blogger MJ Norton said...

Heh. It's too easy to imagine a vaguely embarassed Mantis repeatedly being "saved" by Swordsman jumping between her and danger, either being left pathetically wounded or winking out entirely. Well, with a new Thor and Vision on the team maybe she'll be too busy throwing herself at them to even notice?

At 8:57 AM , Blogger Highlander said...

Hmmm. That suggests another potential Feat... SACRIFICE PLAY. When two friendly figures are adjacent, and one of them is KOed, as a free action, KO the other instead while returing the original figure's dial to where it was before the previous attack hit. Or something.

But what would it cost? And would there be prerequisites? Well, same TA on both figs, probably... yeah...

At 9:02 AM , Blogger Highlander said...

5 points per fig? Like Thunderbolts? Or maybe it's an alternate Suicide Squad TA? That way Avengers could Thunderbolt it... hmmmm...


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