Meta Musings - SLOSH Review

Sunday, 2 March 2014 08:00:00 Europe/London

Welcome to a series of articles focusing on the Heroclix Metagame. In this series I will be looking at current trends and trying to predict what teams or figures will become popular from upcoming sets. As well as this I hope you offer suggestions about how best to use this knowledge to your advantage with a focus firmly on competitive play.
 
Although the SLOSH set has not, at least at the time of writing, hit the UK yet it has been released in the USA and the full dial list is up on HCRealms. Rather than try and cover every single character in a short article I am going to pick out what I believe to be the most powerful tournament level pieces in the set and take a look at what they are capable of bringing to the table. For the sake of this article I am also focussing on 300pt games, as this is the format most commonly used for high level games. I have tried to select characters from a variety of rarity levels, just so you don't think I am telling you all the most expensive characters are necessarily the best, so without further ado here they are.

Common/Uncommon – Police Science Officer #004
Rare – Bizarro #039
Super Rare – White Witch #047a
Chase/Prime – Lydea Mallor #057

Before I even start to talk about these you might notice that Highfather is not even on that list. I felt that I talked enough about him in the last article and to be honest I wanted to talk about something else. You will note though that his affects are felt because none of the characters I am discussing are higher points than him (apart from potentially Bizarro), which I think tells it's own story. As always though feel free to disagree and leave me a comment below.

Now lets start to look at #004 Science Police Officer, who is a common and is 45pts and has a damage SP on his first 3 clicks that deals 1 unavoidable damage to an opposing character, within 8 squares, when they are given a free action, if they have already been given a non-free action that turn. This power is going to be a real headache for teams with a lot of move and attack because if you didn't realise it's going to affect anyone who uses charge, anyone who uses running shot, oh and if you charge + flurry that is 2 free actions right there. The power has also been ruled to kick in even if he loses the power as part of the action so if you use running shot to hit him and knock him off the power you are still going to take the damage. Team bases are also going to be affected as Working together is a power action then the other actions you give the base are then free actions. Unfortunately or fortunately depending upon how you look at it he doesn't offer much else for the points so I can't recommend playing more than 1 of them in a 300pt game but he is definitely one you need to watch out for.

In the rare slot #039 Bizarro is a character that has got a lot of attention since he featured in an early preview and played at a high enough point value he is going to be extremely hard to kill. His main downside is his randomness in just what click you are going to end up on but this can be offset somewhat with the right resources. The problem at the moment for players is just what point value to play him at. Games against high point Bizarro's look like they are going to be a real exercise in determination, give him an ability to heal and you really need to have a team of 3-4 attackers to give yourself a chance to take him down, see my previous article for what I believe 300pt teams are going towards after this set. Play him at a lower point cost and he becomes more killable but you can fill the team with other characters that can support him. I can certainly see a few people trying him out at a high points value but he might find his home at about 100 points, where you still need to get through his defences and damage him 5 times to KO him.

The super rare slot character acts as another silver bullet for free actions, #047a White Witch with her movement SP that gives her the option to either prevent opposing character's combat values being modified, with a power action, or give her a free action and each opposing character can't be given more than one free action until your next turn. Both of these options are great and limiting free actions is especially useful. *Note that the ruling on how this power affected embedded free actions, such as running shot, was a little hazy but has since been clarified. White Witch's SP will stop free actions being taken even if they are part of another action. This means she can stop things like Working Together and Duo Attack as well as any other action that includes a free action. Preventing combat values being modified is also great against a lot of resources and powers and unlike something like the Outsiders team ability she affects all opposing characters and isn't concerned with range or line of fire.  Outside of this power she isn't a one trick pony and looks like a capable support character, with Barrier and Support, if you push her on to her second click, and has the ability to promote into her Prime counterpart for a reasonable 87pts. Wizkids haven't exactly made it cheap or easy to get ahold of either of these characters, Prime Super Rares generally being the hardest character in any set to pull. But honestly though I think she is perfectly playable without worrying about the promotion mechanic.

Finally turning to the chases, whose stand out feature is 'The Growing Darkness' trait which they all  share. This allows them to basically steal an attached game element from an opponent's resource and assign it to themselves.  Personally I think the other chases are over costed but #057 Lydea Mallor comes in 79pts which means it might be worth the risk to fit her in a team and not feel too short changed if you end up playing team bases all day. Her movement power is very similar to Out of the Shadows Batman from the older Justice League set in that before she takes a non-free action she can be placed in a square of hindering terrain with 5 and line of fire. She has Super Strength to boost her damage up close and Close Combat Reflexes, Stealth and Shape Change for her defense. While she might need some help in the form of relics/resources, think Skadi's Hammer, to fulfil her full potential, she is certainly going to see some play. Even if you aren't tempted or able to play her you really do need to keep her in mind when planning what resources you are going to bring to the table. She makes the Infinity Gauntlet virtually unplayable, and Phoenix Resource certainly less desirable in my eyes and don't pin all your hopes on your Night Vision Googles, Black Light Ring or Angrir's Hammer because it just might have taken a walk before you start the game.

Well those are my thoughts about some of the characters to look out for in the next few weeks and I would expect that at least some of these show up in a few teams at our forthcoming Realms Open Championship event. Keep in mind though we don't get the chance to play with these in the UK for another week or so and my opinions might change when I actually see them in action. Feel free to share your opinions on these characters, or any others from the set, in the comments below.

*I have changed the wording of this article twice due to confusion with how White Witch's Movement SP was going to be ruled, cross fingers I won't have to do it a third time.

As well as playing and reading about Heroclix, Chris also listens to Heroclix podcasts and enjoys nothing better than to curl up in front of the fire and dream about Heroclix. In this spare time he runs Blue Rat Games which is the number one specialist retailer of Heroclix in the UK, but you knew that already.
Posted in Meta Musings By

Chris Dunn

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Blue Rat Games

posted on Tuesday, 18 March 2014 15:19:13 Europe/London
Thanks for the feedback Ian, I would like to incorporate dial info if I can, but not sure what the best way to do that would be. I don't really want to do a screen grab from HCRealms as I don't think they would be too happy with that. Will have a think what I can do and see if I can't add something for the next article.

Ian King

posted on Saturday, 15 March 2014 20:42:41 Europe/London
Great article Chris. I like the way you bring in rules clarifications as part of the write up so when looking up a figure on the realms for the full special power wording I'm not going to confuse myself!

If you could somehow add a picture of the dial into these articles it would be helpful even if you've just screen grabbed a table tapped up in Word. Or perhaps that's just me being lazy!

Personally I'm looking forward to the ridiculous number of actions that cosmic Boy and Saturn Girl can take.. Indeed Cosmic Boy would be my Meta piece of choice from the commons. With the ability to use TK at least once EVERY TURN even when clearing tokens you could end up running rings around the opposition (well floating rings around them at least!).

I'll also be interested to see if Giganta (fast forces version mainly) makes Giants appear in competitive play.

Blue Rat Games

posted on Tuesday, 4 March 2014 09:40:02 Europe/London
Thanks for the comment Damian, I certainly considered Amethyst as a potential candidate but the problem with her trait is that she needs to hit the character she wants to tie up. With a 0 range and no move and attack you would need to invest quite a lot of effort into pulling the move off. Compare this to how Highfather or even Star Sapphire control who is allowed to attack who and you can see the difference.

I do like Universo as well, especially if you give him running shot with a resource, although what is working against him is that if you want to incorporate a Mind Controller into your team there are currently 2 other great options Brother Voodoo and Omen. Mind Control as an effective tactic is also very dependent upon your opponent's team, against some teams it isn't very useful. Universo might do well in sealed because of the number of characters with the Legion of Super-Heroes keyword but there are other options that do a similar job than him in constructed.

Another character that I probably underestimated at first glance is Tellus, who is going to see play due to his Trait: Link Telepathically. I can certainly see teams doing stuff like shooting through bystanders or Astral Stranges while keeping the shooter safely holed up to avoid retaliation. Overall though there are several characters that I haven't mentioned that will likely see competitive play because they might combine well with another character or I just overlooked their abilities so please feel free to give me your own opinions.

DAMIAN THORNTON

posted on Monday, 3 March 2014 10:50:51 Europe/London
As you know I don't play in any competitive setting and only very rarely a points cost as low as 300 but I'm still enjoying these articles, so thank you for that. I'm surprised not to see Amethyst mentioned though. As an outside observer she seems like a really good investment for a 300 point competitive scenario with her Gemworld Portal ability. The chance to essentially neutralise a tent pole or other serious threat and then make a run for it via a friendly TK or carry feels like it pays for itself in a lot of ways. Universo also seems like a solid investment at 71 points with a decent range, a triple target mind control and two attempts at a defensive roll via his Shape Change and Super Senses. I realise he's considerably less useful after taking any decent hit, but a timely mass mind control could really inflict some major pain or otherwise scupper a battle plan.
As I pointed out though, I don't play in a competitive setting though, so please forgive me if my observations appear somewhat naive.

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