Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Superman: What did you pull, what did you play?

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
and sorry I could not travel both - Robert Frost

The Road Less Traveled is one of my favorite poems, and a great metaphor for HeroClix sealed events, where one must calculate the odds and opportunity costs of running with one particular team formation.

Because players never get to field everything they get from a booster there's a question that follows them after an event - What If I had used something else? I'm not the only one to think this as Northblade writes in response to my last post about the Superman Sealed events:

Forget Darkseid in your pulls, what would you have played if he wasn't there? What else did you get and what would you have built?
It's a tough question, especially because I have a hard time remembering what my force choices were. I'll break it down figure by figure, for both 300 and 400 point builds.

Setting Darkseid aside, I think these were my choices. I confess that I may be remembering wrong on Bizarro, but for the purposes of this exercise they work.

Here's my pulls:

  • 78 Kryptonian Infiltrator
  • 153 All-Star Bizarro
  • 99 Maxwell Lord
  • 67 Element Woman
  • 90 Bruno Mannheim
  • 125 Superboy
  • 40 Hope Taya
  • 92 Libra
  • 70 Princess Projectra

Maxwell Lord was immediately dismissed as a choice thanks to his low damage values. He was a possible ally of Darkseid (they share a ruler keyword) but in my opinion can't really compete in this format without some kind of beatstick backing him up. Black Adam for instance would double the Outwit, and help shut down a 300 point Superman.

Also dismissed? Princess Projectra. I confess that I've used her in constructed to great affect where her "loaner" Super Senses helped Wildfire out of a jamb. Like Max, I didn't see her Mind Control being of much use.

Libra was kind of a dud pull for me too. He's not bad, per se - he just can't do much that I would considering using Mastermind for. I want to get to that PC, and by that time he's lost his best combat values. I think it's telling that he was the only figure on my force to be KO'd in every game.

Bruno Mannheim, like the 3 above - just didn't seem like a viable choice for the first half of his dial. Sure, I could have some LoSH team synergy with the SE TA, but then I'm forced to use another figure that I didn't want, just to get some Outwit.

So I kind of immediately set those four figures to the side of my figure pool and took a look at the remainder. I can always go back to them if I need to.

Of all the figures I have here, Superboy stands out as the MUST play. Opening TK and Perplex seal the deal, but the Superman TA and strong damage output don't hurt either.

In a 400 point battle, I'd back him with:

Bizarro - Superboy's TK and Perplex would help me get an opening strike with the big brute.
Hope - again, TK and Perplex lends itself to a nice alpha atrike with a disposable piece
Kryptonian Infiltrator - a great dial for some sets this figure is just outclased here. Still, not a bad attack piece. I didn't read the fine print on the SP and thought it only worked with Kryptonian Keyword figures, but it also works with Superman Allies.

I'd play that 400 point team with Superboy starting as a TK cannon, coming into the fight fresh, later in the game after his teammates had softened up the opponent. I think it would do fairly well given average dice rolls (7's) and sheer damage output. My hope would be that opponents would have such a hard time pegging down Bizarro that Hope and Infiltrator would get less attention on the map.

In 300 points, the decision of what to play is a lot less clear. I WANT to use both Bizarro and Superboy but have no filler. In 300 I can't even guarantee that Superboy will survive an alpha strike, so I'd steer towards Bizarro. At that point it boils down to who else I can fit on a team with him.

Element Woman and the Kryptonian are possibilities, but I don't like how they play (no move and attack!). I'd probably go back to my "cast offs" and sort through, picking up Maxwell Lord to play with Hope Taya and Bizarro.

Maxwell Lord might have a decent shot at surviving because of Super Senses and the inability to be targeted. Most importantly, he brings Outwit to the board, something Bizarro might need to stick damage to opponents.

In 300 points, I can see where my team would have fared poorly against Imperirex, but may have been average (or a little below average) otherwise. I think the key to winning with my 300 point team would be Mind Control/Incapacitate from Maxwell Lord as often as possible. I expect Max would get some serious nosebleeds from feedback damage and pushing, but to win he MUST use the opponents figures to deal damage.

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