Sunday, February 28, 2010

What's more powerful than an Amazon with a Power Ring?

In case you missed the news, Heroclix is back in full force. Newsarama has posted an article featuring the sculpts from the BLACKEST NIGHT starter set, due out in May, that includes the Deputy Lanterns from the Storyline. Follow the link and you'll see Blue Lantern Flash, Orange Lantern Lex Luthor, Indigo Lantern Atom, scary barfs-a-lot Red Lantern Mera, Yellow Lantern Scarecrow, Green Lantern Hal Jordan, and this lovely lady: Violet Lantern Wonder Woman.

It's a bit of a fanboy's dream to cross superhero powers. What if Batman had Superman's powers? In the story Speeding Bullets Clark Kent's Kryptonian space shuttle lands in the backyard of Wayne Manor, and baby Superman grows up to fill the cowl. I always like to joke about the Hul-verine: Dr. David Logan was a mutant with incredible regenerative powers, whom the government got a hold of and bonded Adamantium to his skeleton, but was then also exposed to Gamma Radiation and grew into a giant, green skinned hairy goliath with claws.

Hul-verine am the bestest one there is, bub!

In the case of Heroclix, fans will get to play out what it's like to have an already mighty Amazonian warrior acquire one of the most powerful weapons in the universe. What could be a greater force than that (I ask in the title to my blog)?

To me, the answer is a New God with a Power Ring. Big Barda has all of the strength and stamina of the Themescyrian Princess, and none of her patience or morals. Born under Darkseid's shadow, Barda is a punch first, think later type of gal, who also wound up with a power ring (albeit a green one) in the classic JLA miniseries Another Nail.

Heroclix fans were treated to this version of Big Barda (and Mister Miracle) with the Justice League Expansion, and will get a chance to answer who would win in a fight of power rings, when Blackest night debuts. In the meantime, many folks have wondered - is it better to field the Duo Big Barda & Mister Miracle or play the two counterparts as individuals, something I tried to answer in this column, that I originally published February 20th, 2009.

Welcome to another Duo review.
Today we venture into the Fourth World:

Big Barda And Mister Miracle's gains over Barda/Miracle

Immediately, the Hypertime TA sticks out as a plus, and will protect the duo 1/3 of the time from getting based. Aside from a TA you'll likely forget to use, the Duo bump up their range to 6, outclassing Barda's 4, and Scott Free's 0. Range nerfing powers will never be an issue with the Duo as it is with solo-Barda, as the pair dump the former's Battle Fury in favor of a full dial of Support and attack powers like Outwit, Perplex and CCE.

Barda gets the better end of the duo-deal with an upgraded Defense. 18 Invulnerable replaces her figure's 15 Toughness. Whether or not 18/INVL is better than Mister Miracle's 18 Super Senses is subjective, but once that Invulnerability is gone, it's never coming back so it may be better to make an enemy push you off it rather than push off it yourself.

The Green Lantern of New Genesis also features a higher opening attack than Barda and Miracle combined, but quickly loses utility when pushed with AV's dropping steadily thereafter. Overall the Duo's attack values are better than their component parts.

Three clicks of combined TK/Super Strength outclass solo-Barda's 2 clicks of TK and make this the most damage efficient of all Duos. On their own (and pushed onto their second click) Barda and Mister Miracle could possibly dish out 9 clicks of damage. Perplexing up their damage value to a 4, and armed with a Heavy Object their first Duo attack would net 6 clicks, while the second would hit for 3.

Damage Values are solid, with 4 clicks of natural 3 damage. Super Strength and Perplex can help pad the numbers. The dial dips down to 1 damage in the middle, but is backed up by CCE to give it a little boost, still able to crack Invulnerability which is respectable.

Mid dial the Duo gets 4 clicks of Incapacitate, just one more than E Mr. Miracle. Also present here, but not found on the individual figure's dials is Barrier and Close Combat Expert, as well as the Miracle Construct SP. The SP may not be real useful with 1 damage, but it's there. Just think of it as a Barrier that grants a free attack. If the attack hits - bonus! If it misses, well, it was only 1 damage anyway.

Big Barda And Mister Miracle's losses over Barda/Miracle
Barda and Miracle have a better speed value than Barda by herself, but are outclassed by Mister Miracle, who has higher numbers across the dial, and a full spectrum of powers to use including Plasticity and Phasing/Teleport.

Also missing from the Duo's dial: Energy Explosion, Smoke Cloud, Force Blast, Support, Regenerate and Earthbound. Again, their presence and position make some of them of questionable use. Is it better for Miracle to use Support or Regenerate? Should Barda attack outright, or use Force Blast? Only the roll of the dice and course of the battle will dictate the answer.

The Duo's defense follows the trend set by Barda's solo figure, dropping out of view faster than. Individually, Mister Miracle is a pain to take down, with 3 clicks of 18 defense protecting his hide. Barda's defense may be low, but she picks up 5 clicks of toughness, which may be better than 1 click of Invulnerability.

If I had to chose.
It's a tough call, and a lot like comparing a hammer with a Swiss Army Knife. Of the two, Mister Miracle is clearly the knife - a precision support piece, useful for harassing and tying up an opponent 2 damage won't get him far but should net a kill or two by the time the dust clears from the rest of the fight.

If Barda is the hammer... well let's face it, Barda's a messed up hammer. Her dial layout just doesn't gel. Front Loaded TK would have increased her utility 100%. Force Blast is a power better suited for when her AV is in the toilet. As it stands, she's graced with toploaded EE - at a 4 range! Barda's likely never going to use the EE. She'll just as soon get shot out of the sky at which point she'll pick up an object to increase her damage value (by very little) and try to hit anything with that miserable 6 AV. Barda is glorified Mastermind Fodder (note the capital F), and we all know it.

Neither Big Barda or Mister Miracle can hold their own in a fight the way the Duo can. Big Barda and Mister Miracle are not only a very big hammer, but a Swiss Army Knife as well - comfortable directing the fight from the back row, using Outwit to foil the enemy and TK to direct traffic. Additionally the Green Lantern of Sector 796 is just as well suited to lead the charge against the opposition. The Duo gets my vote when I'm looking for a multi-functional attack piece.

In the meantime, when I want to use the characters individually, I'll stick with the E (or R!) Miracle, and will have to scrounge up an extra Kalibak U to transplant Big Barda's sculpt to. Kalibak's dial is what non-lantern Barda's should have looked like.

Feat recommendations

I hesitate using feats on these guys because they're 151 points, and nothing really strikes me as a "ZOMG!!!!1!" combo. 4 clicks of Incap are normally a signal to use Stunning Blow, but their damage value is so meager that it's not worth it. That said, here's some feat suggestions:

Aside from the obvious Protected, keep them on their top click and use OUTSMART or push them off the top click and they're a BRILLIANT TACTICIAN for the GLC or New Gods.

CONSTRUCT is always useful with Barrier.

In the "Strange but True" department, Maneuver works on this duo and extends to their Barrier SP. Put a Barrier up, make a close combat attack as a free action through the barrier, and then move the target adjacent to you. It defeats the purpose of the Hypertime TA, and you may not want an enemy adjacent when BB & MM are weakened at that point they get CCE - but it's an option.

Likewise LUNGE works on those CCE clicks too, but I wouldn't recommend it.


While BB&MM excel at damage output up close, I'd play this figure strictly as a ranged piece. Stay in hindering to get a +1 DV bump at range and hold onto a Tombstone or 3D Desk and dare someone to base you. Even if they do get past the HT TA, they're looking at a mess of damage should they miss that mighty defense.

Here's a fun team 800 point build idea:

Alternate Universe Justice League!

Keyword: Warrior

223 CJ "Son of Darkseid" Superman
90 CR "Knightfall" Batman
94 JL "Artemis" Wonder Woman

151 JL "The nail" Big Barda & Mr. Miracle (Green Lantern)

90 AA White Martian (Martian Manhunter)

51 UN Hawkgirl
48 JL Shining Knight (filler)
25 UN006 HDC Trooper (Snapper Carr?)

Total = 772. Plenty of room for some feats!

Thanks for reading!

No comments: