Sunday, October 13, 2013

Batman (and the Outsiders...)

Last Fall's Batman HeroClix set

updated DCU upstarts The Outsiders. Not seen since 2006's Collateral Damage, the original fringe team of antiheroes gave fans their fill of the B-listers in all their glory - 16 defenses with attack values topping out at 8 and 9. Maybe that's why Batman eventually kicked them to the curb.

This ragtag band of second and third tier heroes full of clashing colors, that makes you wonder why stealthy Batman would ever team up with them anyway (especially since Halo glows in the dark just like her name implies).
Aside from HeroClix dials, one of the most appealing features of a character to me is their costume. Colorful synergy between a team looks good on the field - the Fantastic Four's blue jumpsuits, or X-Force's "stealth" suits.

And then there's the (classic) Outsiders -

From Katana's bright yellows and reds to Black Lightning's brilliant blues to Geo-Force's greens the Outsiders are a walking box of crayolas. Metamorpho alone is like all the colors in a 64 pack that are never worn to the nub.

 The Outsiders return bringing their four color costumes back to maps, but are they more effective than their original incarnations? In terms of comic accuracy the Outsiders have never been team players - Batman set the stage when he formed the team, turning his back on his other team - the Justice League.

Batman's not the only one either - Metamorpho turned down league membership in issue 42,

while Black Lightning rejected the jive turkeys in #173.

With all these loners teaming up, it's hard to believe there can be any synergy. Taking a look at the team we see a number of different roles filled for a HeroClix battle force.

Halo acts as a TK/Taxi with some minor ranged support. She's definitely not a front line attacker, but more or less meant to get her allies where they need to be.

Rear dial Pulse Wave makes up for low damage values and guarantees she can hurt just about anyone, but it's that mid dial special power that will have opponents seeing stars with the new changes to Energy Explosion. Of course, this kid is soft, so she demands a blocker - someone to stand in between her and her targets.

That's where Metamorpho comes in. Know as a pliable, bendy guy, Rex Mason brings Plasticity to the table, holding down foes while letting the other teammates attack safely at range.

This new version of Rex Mason is not just a sticky wicket, but a veritable grab bag of tricks, starting with Barrier and a special Pulse Wave power he can act as more than a tie-up piece, though Plasticity, Poison and Shape Change make him good at that too.

The team's mystical sword wielding Samurai makes another good blocker as well. With no range Katana demands to be thrust into battle quickly and is a bit of a dangerous wild card on the board, whether she's Exploiting Weakness, or Outwitting defenses.

Blades, Claws and Fangs stacked with Flurry and Exploit could force a tough decision, but she's got options, and while her defense is Collateral Damage level low, she can self heal with some Steal Energy to stay in the fight.

Like Metamorpho, Katana's purpose is to lock down the opposition so that Halo, and Black Lightning can get the most of their ranged attacks.

Black Lightning will especially not want to be tied down as his greatest strength comes from his ranged attacks, using Incapacitate with 3 targets and the Sharpshooter ability.

Rear dial he picks up some threat in close combat with Exploit, though Jefferson is a fragile a target as ever - Willpower and ES/D make him very squishy.

Rounding out the team is the Outsider's leader, Geo-Force. GF acts as a Quarterback who can run and throw - he's good in close combat or at range, and pulls double duty as a tie up piece with his removable stone fist.

The best attribute that all of these figures share is perhaps their team ability, which can dampen a lot of powers on an opponent's force - take that Prep Time!

Together they make a decent, fun team to field, without being min/maxed to the point of brokenness. A competitive player can do well with them using strategy and tactics, but those used to the GenCon style of cutthroat play will be leaving this fun group of heroes - like their name - Outside of the tackle box.

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