Geeking Out – A Bat For All Seasons (part 1)
As it’s been a while since we’ve had an updated on Knight Models’ Batman and DC miniature games, brace yourselves for a double-whammy, a Dynamic Duo of articles if you will.
This month, we’re looking at the last set of releases; in October (as well as announcing the winner of our Knightmare/Knightfall contest), we’ll be looking at the 80th Anniversary specials, Team Flash and the Legion of Doom, and of course new Bat-Box starter sets (and might just be giving one of them away…).
To keep you keen and mean, commenting on THIS post will net you an EXTRA entry in our Knightmare/Knightfall contest, which is also having its deadline extended to October 15th (and of course the old like-comment-share tango gets you yet ANOTHER entry).
Joker’s Daughter, Huntress, Batgirl, Talia al-Ghul, Falcone Crime Family
We’re tarting with these this month, which is unusual, but here’s why. The reissues have evolved: we’re starting to see rules changes (for the better in place), and excitingly, unique character equipment cards included in the blisters.
We’ve had hints of this (Lex’s Warsuit, Lobo’s Hawg, the new Clayface’s different forms *ahem*betthatshowtheydobeastboy*ahem*) but these are not just mini-profiles: they’re a completely new card type, and one that players have been howling for forever.
The Metal Batgirl model was notoriously challenging to build and balance, and it’s a much easier prospect in resin (and on the subject of cape balancing, Huntress also benefits from the switch). The details on Joker’s Daughter and Huntress, meanwhile, are noticeably crisper and more defined. Also, the fact that Talia has been made a priority (along with Malcolm Merlyn next month) is interesting, as League of Shadows only have one set of resin henchmen (from Rebirth Ra’s) at the moment; the fact that we’ve still not seen the spoilered AK Nyssa implies that the League may be returning soon.
Finally, the Falcone set – which was always particularly impressive, as one of the last wave of metals – scrubs up nicely, and having Holiday’s hand and Falcone’s rose on the same resin sprue seems poetic, somehow…
If you’ve been enjoying Dan Abnett’s run on Aquaman as much as me, you’ll be thrilled to see His Squamous Magnificence hit the table. But, for most folk, the reason this is really exciting is it heralds the return of the CW to BMG (and to a lesser extent, DCU) – more on that next month.
And as well as being a dynamic and highly characterful sculpt, King Shark brings the pain. The common criticism of villain Free Agents is the paradox of paralysis of choice and lack of variety – in other words, too many, too samey (and, for that matter, too pricey). But King Shark is going to see use in a lot of lists. Coming in at under 100 points is a great place to be: many folk list-build around a 250 faction-specific block and then tack on around 100 of Free Agent – having a few extra points wiggle room is always great.
Good base damage (Blood+Stun) with Devastating, decent Endurance, Strength and Willpower, but above all a whopping 5 Attack. Essentially, he’s a reskin of classic Killer Croc, but with better damage output for slightly less Endurance, which is a fair trade-off. If I have a criticism it’s that he’s not a Central City Villains crew member – but then again that means everyone can run him (CCV are lacking the love, though).
In DCUMG terms, he’s insanely cheap at 7 points for his damage output. There is a school of thought that anything that can’t put out less than 3 unboosted damage isn’t worth running in DCU (which I don’t necessarily subscribe to, but still) so King Shark is a real asset. His attacks do 3, potentially 5 damage on the crit, with a leap ability that means he can cover a surprising amount of table in a turn. A major new player for the villains.
Poison Ivy was my first crew for BMG, way back in the day (ok, Ivy and Penguin, I’ve never been good at choosing), and I am simply bowled over by the latest version of her. A redesign of the classic killer Ivy (Mortal Kiss, the most terrifying ability in BMG), now with a huge base, seductive comic-cover pose and a range of new plants with sculpted bases – what’s not to love here?
It’s a gorgeous model, absolutely one for the collector but really laying out her stall for Sirens players also. I didn’t think the Rebirth Ivy fig could be bettered aesthetically – I freely admit I was wrong; this is my favourite model of the new resins so far. Tactically, she remains utterly brutal in game, though more balanced as her huge base means one can less easily sneak her in through spaces to get that kiss on.
Her new mutated plants are likewise great fun, and bring variety and choice to your garden. Teatime Friday on Radio 4 this is not. Even with a couple of very snappy new plants for close quarters her new, 16 point triffid is the real star. As for DCU, she is just as monstrous. 9 points, with high damage attacks that you can use her plants for? She’s not quite a must have, but pretty much unrivalled at that points value.
What do Joker players need more of? CLOWNS, of course! Said no-one. Except, actually, these are rather good. The original swarm list gains a couple of interesting new variations. The new, large-based Borgon overcomes the problem that the previous, hammer-wielding incarnation suffered (lack of speed) as the physical base size equates to bigger movement. Oh and he’s now endurance 10, which is bonkers and wonderful.
His new companion Rastaclown (not to be confused with Rastamouse) brings another gun to the Joker’s deck, which is no bad thing: Joker crews are fast, in your face and bloody, but it’s good to have a back-up plan. 21/$600 is a good balance, especially for a 3 Blood rifle with Accurate and Handyman (hitting on a 3+).
The Dynamic B-luo, the Brave and the G-old … Yup, it’s everyone’s favourite also-rans, Blue Beetle and Booster Gold. If you think villain crews are hit with Free Agent overload, B&B are practically in meltdown.
So why should you take either, or both, of these? Let’s be clear, you’re not going to run both of them in a Batman-led crew – they’re 200 points together – but, with Teamwork, you want to run them together. Where these two excel is in a low-point leader or sidekick crew: Rick Flag, Lt Branden, Gordon… in other words, cop crews.
Booster Gold is good, but expensive: Fly is always a premium, and whilst he doesn’t have the damage output of Cyborg, his 5 attacks, 2+ Strength, Energy Field and Power Armour are pretty nasty together, especially with Teamwork for action enhancement. Blue Beetle is decent with or without his chum: plenty of Stun damage output that can be laid down in an expansive template attack, a Batclaw, oh and the ability to arrive anywhere on the table.
And likewise in DCU, it’s Blue Beetle who really jumps off the page. So let’s talk about Booster Gold first. He’s not bad, actually: very hard to kill between his Resistances and Time Travel (teleport and Endurance recovery), gets a free grab/throw or overload of his superpunch (so effectively at least one 3 Damage attack a turn), and getting a free second attack when he hits with his blasts. Good action economy, reasonable damage, healing. The only niggle is at 13 points there is a lot of competition for those big ticket characters – this is Green Lantern territory, who’s still the MVP at that level.
So why is Blue Beetle so good? He’s 6 points, which is a great gap to fill, he’s got a stun and a push attack, which are handy debuffs… and he’s got a friendly Damage Buff, with the ability to appear anywhere on the battlefield. This is an astonishingly powerful pair of abilities: put him with literally any character in the game and they’re just better. Suddenly, those 2-damage characters with neat abilities you just couldn’t justify running became a whole lot more attractive.
This is exactly what I want from a new character in a game, one that responds to the game’s evolution whilst bringing classic stuff back into use. It’s too easy just to have power creep – this is responsive, effective game design. Ted Kord is my new bestie.
This is a new semi-regular bit for Geeking Out, just to keep y’all aware of the demos, tournaments and the wider gaming scene.
As some of you may know, and will be discussed next time in more detail, the BMG event formats are evolving. But if you’re free either day this weekend (and not at MCM Glasgow or Thought Bubble in Leeds) why not get yourself down to Crisis on Infinite Tables, a 2-day event at Dark Sphere in London (BMG Saturday, DCUMG Sunday).
And, if that doesn’t grab you, rumour has it that there’s going to be a Harry Potter Miniature Game event next weekend at Tabletop Gaming Live on Sunday 30th, so get along to that if you’re local!
If you’re more one of these people that likes to live life online, get yourself over to my blog on dakkadakka.com where you can win yourself another BMG prize, the Falcone Crime Family (out of the pages of The Long Hallowe’en, which is when the contest ends – funny that, it’s almost like we’re planning a whole lot of Hallowe’en stuff…). Don’t say I’m not good to you lot.
So that’s us for another month, but with the October update coming around early, get liking, commenting and sharing for that extra shot at the two lovely Knight promos!
The Writer of this piece was: Sam Graven
Article Archive: Geeking Out
You can follow Sam on Twitter
He’s a fricking shark! His damage output potential is crazy. So when the stars are aligned he gets 9 attacks with +1 to hit, wounding on 2+ dealing 1 blood & 1 stun per strike. He also rolls two collateral damage with rerolls dealing bleed 1. Chomp chomp!
Great models from Knights once again!!!
The new minatures are amazing, the keep getting better and better.
King shark is amazing looking
I’m very excited about getting to play with blue beetle and booster gold. I’m a fan of the teamwork trait, it can lead to some interesting combos in the game