Tag Archives: miniatures

My Favorite Clix, part 2: Vet Shi

Who would have thought that a Clix figure I got for free from another player would later prove to be one of my favorites? Yet that is exactly what happened in the case of the Veteran version of Shi; I didn’t know it when the fellow player gave her to me, but she’d become invaluable to my teams.

vetshi
Veteran Shi, #060 out of Indy. Image credit: HCRealms.com

With Stealth, Blades, and Super Senses for most of her dial, Vet Shi caught my attention from the beginning. I already knew, though I was still a very new Clix player, that I liked the combo of Stealth/Blades, and I could appreciate the value of Super Senses added to that combo. Her 11 attack and 3 damage only sweetened the deal; I had seen how rare such high values were in pieces under 50 points.

However, in my excitement over her high attack and power combination, I completely neglected to notice that she was also given an 8 range. I played her as a solely close-combat piece for months, until one of my opponents in a casual game asked me “Why haven’t you shot my guy with Shi yet?” I told him she couldn’t, and he answered, surprised, “Why not? She’s got 8 range!”

Indeed she did. In an instant, Shi’s versatility was newly revealed to me, and I began playing her like the Swiss Army knife she is. Her Stealth was no longer just protection for close-combat attacks, but for staying at range as well. And the Blades combined with the 3 damage suddenly made sense; Blades was for close combat attacks, if you so chose, but the 3 damage was for penetrating through even Impervious and Invulnerability at range.

The team ability of Crusades, meaning that a successful attack roll of doubles deals knockback to its target as well, is actually just more icing on top of an already awesome cake. She’s a consistent figure, keeping most of her powers until next-to-last click, and even her low defense values serve a purpose: she’s easy to heal even for Rookie Paramedics. Pair this with two very strong generic keywords (Martial Artist and Warrior), and you have an amazing Indy figure for the low, low price of 47 points.

Esteeming this figure as high as I do, it’s no wonder that I have not one but two Vet Shis in my current collection. When you need a Clix piece to pinch-hit for either the close-combat or range team, Shi can do it–and it’s twice the fun when one is throwing her sword and the other is slashing with it!

My Favorite Clix, part 1: LE Jane Foster

What better way to begin this HeroClix series than to profile one of my favorite Support characters, one I knew nothing of till I heard the mythical-sounding tale of her existence?

When I began playing HeroClix in the fall of 2007, I first saw the full set of Paramedics (Rookie, Experienced, and Veteran), and loved their ability to heal other characters. I saw how the addition of a Medic could change the course of a battle, simply by bringing a first-string attacker back to full health (or as close as possible). For the long-term games I liked to play, a Paramedic seemed like the best choice; I could simply outlast my opponent.

rev_paramedic
Image credit: HCRealms.com; screenshot shows the Paramedics from the Xplosion set. These same figures were reprinted in the Universe set.

The Paramedics’ dials (seen above) were very simple–just Support, nothing else. And I was happy with that, because the point investments were small (8, 10, and 12 points, respectively. You could fit a Paramedic on your team easily, and gain quite a bit of game longevity.

Then, I learned of another figure, who added Willpower for all 4 clicks of her life, and only cost 4 more points than the Vet Medic. She was a rare Clix figure, not often seen in local shops, and never traded once gotten…the Limited Edition Jane Foster, #206 out of Xplosion.

le_janefoster
Image credit: HCRealms.com

Not only does LE Jane Foster have a higher move value, she also keeps her attack higher for longer (that 8 attack is pretty mighty, considering she was printed very early in HeroClix’s history). And the combination of Willpower and Support, on all four clicks, for only 16 points? Let’s just say that once she finally became a part of my collection (thanks to my awesome boyfriend), she had an immediate place of honor on many of my teams.

Her ability to heal on back-to-back turns without taking pushing damage was unmatched back in the day, and she’s still the absolute cheapest option in the game for WP & Support, even considering Night Nurse (who at 27 points is the next cheapest). These days, I’ve used Jane Foster and Night Nurse to run many a successful triage station during Clix games!

Jane Foster is a favorite of mine because she’s simple, yet effective. There are no tricks to playing her; you just include her in your team build, keep her away from the main fighting, and she’s there to Support when needed. And her ability makes it possible for me to play teamfuls of “squishy” Clix pieces and still win the day. I’d say that’s worth making 16 points’ worth of room for her on a team!

After 10 Years, a New Dove Appears!

And no, I’m not joking! It’s really happened! 😀

I am incredibly excited about this new Dove, which is coming out in the upcoming Streets of Gotham set, because it represents an updated/revisioned look at my favorite comic book heroine of all time. They have only printed her once before, as I’ll show you.

The Old Faithful Dove

Way back in 2002, a little lady in blue and white simply called “Dove” (seen at left) was printed in the very first DC HeroClix set, named Hypertime. 3 versions of her (Rookie, Experienced, and Veteran) were printed–I have sampled the Veteran’s dial above as an example of her powers (thanks to HCRealms.com for dial image).

She was a simple but elegant figure, bearing a long strand of Super Senses and Close Combat Expert, along with a 10 attack and 17 defense that were mostly unheard of in those days. (Given that a 17 defense, in 2002, was usually given to the likes of Sue Storm and other high-defense pieces, Dove’s defense value was a rarity.) Back in Hypertime, figures were simpler, did not have cards with them, and had no special powers or traits–Hypertime Dove was a prime representative of this.

Her mostly-powerless first click, however, known as an “activation click,” put most players off in the beginning; why should we have to wait for a hero to transform? For most, then, Dove was a forgettable piece, relegated to second-string teams or to the trade box.

My Personal History Playing Dove

When I began to play HeroClix in 2007, I received a rookie Dove as a gift from another player, and I was intrigued. Who was this heroine in Carolina blue and white? I had never heard of her.

I began to read the comics associated with her (the “Hawk and Dove” title of the late 80s/early 90s), and found that I really liked her backstory–it explained why she had an activation click, for one thing (she has to shout her name to mystically transform). But by this time, the Hawk and Dove pieces were both rather passe in Clix tournaments, even though they could still hold their own with modern figures who were laden with special powers and traits.

Though I loved the simple way they’d built the Hypertime Dove, I wondered when they would ever update the figure for the modern game, because I wanted to see what the new game mechanics (like special powers and traits) would make of a heroine like Dove. And now…they finally have updated, and what an update!

New Dove: Even More Comic-Accurate than the Old


At 86 points, New Dove is 17 points more expensive than the old Veteran Dove, but she’s also got many more abilities:

  • Bat-Team (for stealth) instead of Titans Team (for healing)
  • Charge, Exploit Weakness, and Flurry, all of which greatly increase her combat usefulness. She’s no longer just a flying defensive piece for Hawk!
  • Heightened attack on second click (and no activation click!)
  • 18 defense on first click with Defend AND Super Senses on the special power; me LIKEY! 😀
  • Regeneration on last click–exactly like the comics, she and Hawk both heal faster when they are in superhero form

Though New Dove’s movement is lower than Old Dove’s (an 8 as opposed to a 10), she’s much more capable of charging in and doing damage, which was a disadvantage for Old Dove players. And that Toughness on defense back-dial keeps her from getting hurt as easily, especially if you’re like me and can’t roll Super Senses, ever.


New Dove’s card shows off even more comic-accurate traits–literally, her Trait describes her fighting style in the Hawk and Dove comics. She often maneuvers her enemies to hurt themselves more than she directly hurts them, either by flipping out of the way when they charge at her, or by disabling their weapons so that the weapon ends up hurting the wielder.

Plus, the special power on her defense matches her even better than the old dial’s Super Senses. With the addition of Defend to Super Senses, it fully expresses Dove’s powers as a guardian for the weak (and a guardian for Hawk when he’s too beaten up to defend himself). I have been waiting for them to do a combo of Defend and Super Senses on a piece for ages…and they finally did it, on my favorite character to boot! 😀

What About the Keywords?

The old Dove only had Mystical and Teen Titans; New Dove keeps the Mystical keyword, but trades out Teen Titans for Brightest Day and Birds of Prey (the latter of which she was a member of for several recent issues). I’m not as familiar with the Brightest Day storyline, but from what I know of it, Dove plays a significant role in fighting for the White Lanterns, even though she isn’t officially one of their number.

Whatever theme team you choose to play New Dove with, whether she’s fighting alongside the likes of Black Canary and Huntress on Birds of Prey, or whether she’s teamed with Raven and Zatanna on a Mystical theme, she’ll be an excellent supportive fighter for any team.

Conclusion: New Dove is Well Worth Playing

If you’re looking for a piece that possesses both combat strength and defensive capabilities, with a little bit of healing and a little surprise Trait, then Dove is just the kind of hero you want. Finally, they’ve paid graceful homage to an awesome character without completely taking away the spirit of the old figure. (And I personally can’t wait to play Old Dove and New Dove together! :D)

Read more: “New Dove” article at HeroClix.com

HeroClix & Fashion

For me, shopping for clothing and shopping for Clix are very similar. While it may be strange to think of shopping for Clix in the same mindset as shopping for fashion, I think the two worlds have a lot in common. For one thing, the tournament world is a lot like the runways!

As a Clix player, I often use nearly identical guidelines to trading and buying Clix as I do in buying clothing and accessories. Spending Clix “points” in building a team is, of course, not the same as spending real-world money to put together an outfit, but the result is often the same: a strong whole made up of many parts, a set of pieces that run well together.

The following 3 tips are geared toward building stronger teams and gathering more functional pieces for your collection…with fashion metaphors illustrating. Hear me out–this is actually a fairly apt connection!

Clix & Fashion Tip #1: The Cheaper Points It Is, The Better

There’s a reason I chiefly shop clearance racks and discount stores when shopping for fashion–I’m looking for the kind of fashion I want at the lowest prices. I don’t care about following the “latest trends” or having an outfit that has a big brand name stamped all over it. Instead, I prefer to have cheaper clothing that will still look good while combined with my existing collection’s pieces.

Case in point: I went to a discount store about a year ago and found a short-sleeved black shrug (like a shortened sweater or coat) for about $10. It went with just about every nice sleeveless top and dress I owned, so I bought it. A few months later, I spotted a similar black shrug being sold for $50 at a department store–I just chuckled and walked by.

I look at Clix the same way–I select pieces based on their point value as much as their abilities. Why spend 50 points on a Probability Control piece, when I have a perfectly good Rookie Destiny that’s 20 points? Anywhere you can save points can help you have more points left over to select other pieces.

This is why I have an assortment of Paramedics (8, 10, and 12 points, respectively) and Destinies (20, 23, and 26 points), just like I have an assortment of cheap tank tops and shrugs–they are cheap but efficient ways to upgrade my selected team (or my selected outfit).

Clix & Fashion Tip #2: Spend the Points on Long-Term Usage, Not Short-Term Trends

Every season the fashion world comes out with flashy, fragile pieces that don’t seem to be appropriate for any event, not even on a Las Vegas stage. Mostly, I ignore these and choose more wearable, neutral or modest pieces that are made of better material and will last longer.

Case in point: I shopped at a shoe store with a friend about two years ago and had a choice between a couple of pairs of ballet flats (they look like ballet slippers but have a stronger sole). One pair was bright, bright red and shiny, the other a pale, less shiny gold-tone with a small bow on the top. Because the red pair felt more constrictive on my feet, I chose the gold pair (even though they were a little more expensive), while my friend picked the red pair.

Though I wear my pale gold ballet flats for a lot of different events (from formal weddings all the way down to a trip to Walmart if I feel like), my friend ended up not really sure where or when to wear her bright-red flats after a while. They seemed too loud for everyday wear, but didn’t really go with anything besides a dress of the same color, or with a couple neutral pieces. They were awesome shoes, but once the trend faded…well, they had lost some of their patent-leather luster.

Similarly, I evaluate Clix for long-term quality rather than just cheap flashes in the pan. The new hot pieces in Clix tournaments do not interest me unless I see that they are truly quality pieces that would fit well in my collection. If the trendy new piece is only good in certain situations (just like the red ballet flats are only wearable with certain other colors), then why spend the points on them, when I can use a piece that serves its function better and maybe even multitasks in battle?

Clix & Fashion Tip #3: Sometimes You Just Have to Grin and Bear a Higher Point Cost

Occasionally, to get the correct fit, right color, and long-wearing fabric, you have to pay a little more than you’d like to otherwise. Such is shopping for quality pieces!

I’m reminded of the suit jacket I ended up having to buy at a specialty store, because of my broad shoulders and rather well-endowed chest. Though the jacket ended up being nearly 90 bucks, I have since been able to wear it to job interviews, workplaces, nice dinner events, and lots of other dressy places for the last five years. It’s served me well and shows no signs of wear like a cheaper jacket would have by now.

The same thing happens in Clix sometimes; you end up liking a piece but have a hard time fitting it into your teams because it’s just a wee bit too expensive in terms of point cost. But if it’s a worthwhile piece and would make your team a lot more potent in battle, it may be worth trimming down point costs on your other pieces to be able to fit that expensive-but-worthy piece in.

For instance, I would rather invest the 95 points in Saint Walker, for instance, than to spend a total of 92 points on 1 Rookie Destiny, 2 Experienced Destinies, and 1 LE Destiny. Reason? I know that Saint Walker can stand up to more pain in battle, and has both his Prob-like Trait as well as natural Prob. As much as I love playing Destiny, I know that if she’s hit with 4 damage, she’s gone, leaving me with one less Probber. Though that huge 95-point investment on a single figure hits me right in the gut, I know it will pay off in the long term.

Summary

Though this might be a funny way to think about building up your Clix collection and constructing teams, it’s an interesting and playful connection. Who knows, with these tips, your own teams might be walking the runways at your next tournament!

The Best Offense is a Good Defense–Wait, What?

bestoffensegooddefense
[/shameless paraphrase of cliche]

A quick, efficient win is usually prized among gamers, especially when playing competitively. But let me bend your thoughts a minute. What if, instead of looking to win quickly, you wanted a SATISFYING game? A game that took a little while but afforded a win you could actually savor?

This second approach is my philosophy on gaming. I don’t want just a quick, easy win–it feels like cheating, or like eating cotton candy for dinner. I’d rather have a game which makes me think and allows me to socialize a little, too. I favor long games–which means that I play defensively.

Thinking Defensively Rather Than Aggressively

aggressivedefensive
If you want to play defensively, you’ve got to think long-term, because aggressive players will burn themselves out quickly. “Aggro” Magic: the Gathering players, for instance, soon run out of cards in hand and have less options to defend themselves. Aggressive Clix players usually wear out their first-string attackers by mid-game, leaving themselves only their second-string attackers and their support crew (if that).

So, a defensive strategy that wins has to have 3 basic prongs:

  • High defenses/support to stay alive long-term
  • Strategies that punish the other player for attacking
  • Good resource management/game control

Defensive Strategy Examples

Magic: the Gathering

  • Life-gain to offset opponent’s direct damage
  • Graveyard recursion to foil any milling or discard
  • High-toughness creatures to both block combat damage and deal a little combat damage of my own
  • Mill, board wipes, discard, targeted destruction, and other minor control elements to stay alive

HeroClix

  • A couple of Medics to heal wounded figures
  • Several sources of Probability Control and Outwit, to reroll dice and get rid of particularly damaging powers and abilities
  • A Mystic or two and some Wildcards, to punish the opponent for attacking me
  • Figures with high defenses (18+), or figures with Energy Shield/Deflection or Combat Reflexes

The Reason I Include Control With High-Defense Strategies

As I have learned from experience, if you focus on nothing but defense, you will get controlled and manipulated into destruction. Black and Blue Magic decks with a lot of control elements will keep a high-defense White deck from doing anything, for instance, while 6 or 7 damage from Vet Icons Superman holding an object will KO any support piece before you can use it.

As a defense player, you have to have a modicum of control included in your strategy, but you don’t have to make it irritating–just a strategically-placed and protected Windborn Muse can be enough to stop aggro, and a Story Circle can prevent even the fastest of Burn decks from hurting you once it’s out. Likewise, using Outwitters and long-range pieces can help your defensive HeroClix team win the day.

Summary

Defense is often discounted in most collectible card and miniatures games, but it’s a key strategy in a long-term game. Sure, if you want a 5-minute win, aggression is still your best way, but if you like longer games with more chances to socialize and more chances to laugh, playing “de” might be your best way to do that.

HeroClix

heroclix
HeroClix is best described as “chess with comic-book characters”–within this game, you get to play your favorite characters in a self-created team, facing them off against your opponent’s team of characters to see which team comes out on top!

Many of the most popular Marvel and DC characters appear as models in the game already, as seen below (top left to bottom right: Captain America, Superman, Green Lantern, Black Widow, Incredible Hulk, Batman). However, that’s not all there is to know about HeroClix–read on to find out more!

captainamerica superman
greenlantern blackwidow
hulk batman

Basic Gameplay

To play HeroClix, you start out with a point total, say, 300 points. Every HeroClix figure is worth a certain number of points; to build a working team, you select heroes whose point values are less than or equal to the chosen game total when added together. (If the combined points of all your chosen heroes are more than the point total, you have to reformulate your team.) But as long as you stay within the point total, any type and combination of figures is open to you.

See example below, drawn from my own collection of figures:

Non-Working HeroClix Team for 300-Point Game Working HeroClix Team for 300-Point Game
Wonder Woman (127 points)
Wonder Girl (87 points)
Amazon (50 points)
Scarlet Witch (62 points)
Total: 326 points
Wonder Woman (127 points)
Wonder Girl (87 points)
Amazon (50 points)
Elektra (36 points)
Total: 300 points

I wrote up an even more detailed article about HeroClix gameplay on my “How to Play Clix” page.

Choosing Characters Based on Powers and Abilities

Different characters are gifted with different abilities–for instance, Spiderman’s amazing wall-crawling and web-swinging abilities translate into the HeroClix ability called “Leap/Climb,” and the Flash’s lightning-fast movement translates into “Hypersonic Speed.” Hulk’s superpowered muscles grant him “Super Strength,” and Captain America gets “Energy Shield/Deflection” courtesy of his iconic shield.

These abilities are denoted by different colors printed on the base of each character’s figure. (The base of the figure is called a “dial” because it can turn to show differing abilities as the figure takes damage.) Here are my common-sense descriptions of all the powers and abilities in the game thus far.

Choosing Characters Based on Their Stats

Characters also have numbers printed on their dials, which show how strong they are in combat. For instance, the 127-point Wonder Woman I mentioned earlier starts out with 10 movement, 10 attack, 17 defense, and 5 damage–this means she can travel up to 10 spaces on a HeroClix map in one turn, and that when she attacks another character, she adds 10 to whatever number you roll on your two six-sided dice. That 17 defense means that whenever another character attacks her, they can’t damage her unless their attack number plus the number that appears on the dice equals or beats 17. And that 5 damage? If she successfully attacks another character, that character’s dial is clicked down 5 times. Considering that all characters’ dials have space for only 12 clicks on them, that’s a LOT of damage!

However, not all characters need high stats to be great at what they do. I wrote up a little bit about Experienced Destiny as an example of how low stats don’t automatically mean a bad Clix figure. Sometimes you need figures with “low” stats to be more tactical figures in your strategy!

Putting Together Your Team and Its Strategy

A large part of Clix is building a strategy that makes sense for you. Some people like to play characters that run into the fray and smash things up; others like to play characters who stand at a distance and shoot. Some players choose to take higher risks and start the battle sooner; others like to play slowly and subtly, waiting for an opponent to fall into their trap. Some players choose just a few very strong characters with high point values to make up their team; others (like me) choose to have many weaker, smaller-point-value characters which together overpower opponents with sheer numbers.

Whatever abilities, characters, and gameplay style you find yourself drawn to, you can build successful teams. Give HeroClix a try with your friends–play a few casual games. Who knows, you might run across a killer combination of figures that no one ever thought of before!

To Learn More about HeroClix

Official Site: HeroClix.com
Excellent HeroClix Forums: HCRealms
My HeroClix help pages: HeroClix @ The Gamer’s Repose