Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Batman Arkham Origins HeroClix Review part 1: The common heroes

The Batman Arkham Origins HeroClix set releases this week, and with it we get a flood of figures (21 to be precise) that will be making their way on to maps soon. Who do you need to own? Who should you fear on the map? Let's take a look and see if we can't pick the wheat from the chaff starting today with the common Heroes

001 - Batman

The titular hero starts off the set and as a common should be easily available. He's also the only version of Batman in the set (hopes for alternate costumes like Gotham by Gaslight have been shot down!). With about 40 versions of Batman in Modern Age, how does the video-Bats compare?

He's 140 points and 7 clicks deep - an expensive investment for a shallow dial. Indomitable gives him a dial full of Willpower to keep attacking, which he'll need at nearly 1/2 of a 300 point build. 

He opens with Running Shot and with 11 attack and 7 range (2 targets) he marks himself as a ranged attacker. 3 damage and some Perplex will help him dish out a lot of damage. His biggest foil in the set will be opposing character's Stealth.

Traited with Incap, that becomes a "Stunning Blow" if he KO's an opponent, Batman can hold his own in the offense department, but his defense leaves a lot to be desired. Strait up Toughness and a 17 defense is easy pickings in this set, especially because he can't rely on Stealth from his TA to back him up as many opponents are packing the new IMPROVED TARGETING: IGNORES HINDERING TERRAIN ON LINES OF FIRE.

Remote Batarang will help him shoot around corners, so Blocking terrain and walls are probably going to be more important for Bruce to hide behind than Shrubs and Hot Dog Carts. One hit in, and his effectiveness drops immensely - there's a big difference between a natural 3 damage and a printed 2. Precision Strike helps mitigate the damage dealing (especially with 2 targets).

His Explosive Gel should be a fun visual - blow a hole in a wall and then Charge in (ignoring hindering with improved movement). Still, once he's mid dial he's really got to be careful, because he looses almost all of his tricks on his last two clicks, finally picking up Outwit to help him handle the toughest of opponents.

Overall, this batman feels very much average because he's so easy to tap off the top dial. If that Toughness were packaged with Super Senses or Combat Reflexes it might be another story. 

I also can't help but feel there was a missed opportunity to put a spin on the ASSASSIN trait that proliferates the set. For instance: if Batman were to KO an opponent that had him marked as their Assassin trait target, Batman should then get to heal a click or two (perhaps depending on the number of tokens on him). That little bit might make up for a glass jaw, inflated cost, and add a bit of "video game mechanics" into the mix. 

Rating: 3/5

005 Robin

If Batman was considered somewhat Fragile, Robin is doubly so - opening with a 17 defense and Willpower, the Boy Wonder will want to avoid close combat and stick strictly to a run and gun game.

It's a good thing he comes equipped for airborne attacks - 6 range and 2 targets with a variety of supporting powers (Incap, EE) should help. Improved Movement, Sidestep, and a 10 speed will help the Flying Grayson get into position, but doesn't necessarily compliment this set's Batman.

Consider - Batman is already a ranged oriented attacker, so what he needs to compliment him is a strong tie up piece that can also flush opponents out of Stealth. Robin doesn't become a tie up until click 3 where he picks up Combat Reflexes and that printed 17 defense, and he's not going to be Stealth Busting without some kind of knockback power. 

He can bounce all over the board - using improved movement and sidestep to maneuver effectively, but is a more of a clay pigeon than a bird of prey. 

Rating: 2/5  

007 Anarky

Okay, okay - Anarky is neither Hero nor villain, yet for this set loaded with antagonists he better fills out the hero quotient. In his second clix appearance, Anarky is very short lived and has little in the way of defenses to keep him safe, but can prove to be an effective foil and annoyance.

With no Stealth to protect him from ranged attacks, and a small range of 4 (5 if he self Perplexes), this Guy Fawkes wannabe is going to need to get up close and personal to any battle. It's a good thing then, that he can lob firebombs over the edge of buildings - and the Improved Targeting should help flush characters out of hiding. 

A 10 attack and printed 3 damage are impressive, even if he only has 5 clicks. He's not very pushable, and unfortunately with Precision Strike in play Super Senses just isn't the bastion of chance and foil it once was, so he may not be an effective tie up piece.

The key to using him effectively will be to keep him on the edge of the battle where he can be an annoyance to your opponent distracting him from attacking your main forces. 

Once he gets based and hit, he picks up Leap Climb, so hop out of the way to a position where his Probability Control will come in the most useful. Not a winning piece on his own, he certainly makes almost any team better just from support powers alone.

Rating: 3/5

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