Free Agents: Reverse Flash (TV Show)

This is what you would look like if you were really fast and hated everyone

Oh look! It’s the evil doppelganger trope. Reverse Flash, where do I start. Despite the fact that he’s just hell-bent on systematically destroying the life of Barry Allen, he’s actually responsible for a ton of great content produced by DC. If you’re a fan of the current Doomsday Clock run, you’ll know that The Button was the primer for what is happening currently. There’s also Flashpoint & Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay that was brought on by the devious motivations of Thawne. Whatever your poison might be, I figured we could sit down and look at this time-traveling bully and what he brings to a crew.

If you’re looking to take a speedster in your villain crew, this is the one you’re going to be looking at. Thawne is coming in at 110 rep and no cost to your funding. 110 is steep and this is going to be the main reason you undergo heavy consideration when putting him into your crew, or choose to completely gloss over him every time. He has great stats, and when you couple his stats with his speedforce powers he can do some pretty cool things. The first thing that will jump out to you is that he’s movement 5, making him able to move incredibly far across the table and Dodge with near certainty, on top of that, being defense 5 makes Thawne tough to deal with regardless, and because of his speed it’ll be difficult to outnumber him or catch up well enough to increase his ability to be hit. The likelihood that movement 2 henchmen are going to have the opportunity to outnumber Thawne is slim to none, it would really only apply with unfavorable activation orders or poor planning. Let’s go a bit further into what Thawne actually does in a crew.

At 110 rep you’re going to need to play Reverse Flash so that he’s making a large enough impact to make him worth his cost. Now, he has a lot of tools at his disposal, but I think we should talk about the speedforce first since it will apply before either you or your opponent activates.

Speedforce

I purposefully cropped the chart to display the powers you’ll be using most often. Do keep in mind that because Thawne has I Know I’m Doing that he’ll be able to at least shrug off any adverse effects from the paradox table, should he fail to succeed. A rule of thumb for speedsters in general is to stick to what is consistent and what isn’t going to be detrimental to your game. The only reason you should ever risk using a power that can paradox is if it means the difference between you winning/losing the game. Besides healing every once and while if need be, you’re going to be hitting the same speedforce power combination every turn. At Speedster: 5 that combination will be Muscle Growth, Fast Combo, Super Speed Lvl 1 and Super Speed Lvl 2. This will allow you to move Reverse Flash 12″ before he activates, and if your unfamiliar with speedsters and speedforce powers, this does not count as Reverse Flash’s movement and happens before any model activates. This effectively means you could move into combat, out of combat, into an objective, out of an objective or anything else you can think of with an additional 12″ before activations begin. With Muscle Growth Thawne is effectively at strength 3+ when you decide you want him to beat someone up, with Fast Combo you’re throwing out twice as many attacks for each assigned counter. IF (and that’s a big if) you decide to dump all your attacks into an enemy, that is potentially 8 stun which is good, but keep in mind he does not have any inherit re-roll to hits or damage so he is susceptible to whiffing in combat. Kinetic Tornado is unique to Reverse Flash and it can be very useful given the circumstance. It will Paradox on a 6+, but because he has I Know What I’m Doing he can do it with a bit of a safety net, but because it costs 2 of his speedforce counters, you’ll have to determine what you’ll be giving up for the round. What’s nice about Kinetic Tornado is that it occurs before activations so if you have a small opening to push someone off a building before they activate, or disrupt a henchmen ball then its definitely worth its use. I’d even go so far to say that this is something you could generally use on turns that you don’t need Thawne to go in and punch it out with another model; however, still assess whether or not the paradox effect is worth the associated risk, especially if you’ve already used up I Know What I’m Doing.

His Role/General Strategy

Reverse Flash is a nuisance, much like any other speedster in the game. Their ability to move across the board and disrupting activations and outcomes is key. Because speedsters have the ability to basically move at two different times during the game round, you’ll want to focus that on achieving goals related to movement and positioning. For example, a bread and butter trick is starting the round on a controlled objective, and using the speedforce to walk Reverse flash into combat with an enemy. After he is successful or unsuccessful at knocking out the enemy model, he can then use his basic movement (8″ from base of 4″ plus another 4″ from Fast and Speedster: 5) to move back into another objective or the same objective. In addition at movement 5, he can move a total of 18″ if needed. This something I like to do if a model is close enough to do a hit and run. The example is as follows: Reverse Flash who had scored by controlling a Medical Supplies objective in the round previous uses his speedforce powers to travel 12″ to Bouffon who is ready to unload his nail gun into Grotti who is already injured. Reverse Flash assigns 3 counters into attack and with Muscle Growth and Fast Combo Thawne is dishing out 6 unblockable attacks (speedsters can only be blocked by other speedsters), 4 of which are successful knocking out Bouffon. Reverse Flash then uses 2 movement counters to return to the Medical Supplies and scores it again when the round ends. Maybe in this scenario you’ve assigned another into movement and 1 into defense, for the chance to Dodge a ranged attack or to attempt to block an attack. Speedsters are also great at producing a threat. By this I mean that I can essentially lumber up the board with a henchmen ball while Reverse Flash heads up the other side of the board to score an objective, or maybe two with Change of Plans. This makes it so my opponent has to make a decision to stop Reverse Flash from scoring, or deal with my threat that will soon be at his doorstep. I would argue that a successful tactic in tabletop miniatures games usually involves creating problems that your opponent needs to solve; furthermore, the tougher that decision is for your opponent the more successful you’ll be. This brings me to my main argument with speedsters and Reverse Flash they/he are a nuisance and cause issues for your opponent, which can be incredibly valuable. I would say that a more skilled opponent will render Reverse Flash as not nearly of a threat than the havoc he can wreak on a newer opponent, since the veteran player will understand the long term effects of his/her choices more so than the newer player. Speedsters can also prove to a be a great resource to help take out a tough opponent should you need to change the balance of the game drastically. Speedsters are unblockable by other models without the speedster trait, therefore if you’re dealing with a meat-shield who has high defense and assigned defense counters you may be able to strip some of those counters or finish a model who is looking to hang-on by the skin of their teeth. This is especially effective if you’re able to enter combat with Reverse Flash in a preexisting combat between two other models. For example, Reverse Flash enters combat with AA Batman who is injured and failed to put High Security Henchman down at the end of the last round. Now that Batman is outnumbered he will be hit on 4+ instead of 5+ and though he has 3 counters in defense to block, he will be unable to block Reverse Flash’s incoming hits due to the speedster trait. If the result is at least 2 or 4 stun and Batman is not KO’d, he has now lost counters and may make it easier for another melee model to come in and get the damage through. Finally, any model in any miniatures game that has the ability to travel the board efficiently is a good model by default, greatness is when that ability is coupled by other powerful traits.

Further Card Evaluation

We know what Speedster: 5, Fast and I Know What I’m Doing does from what was discussed previously. Dodge simply allows for Reverse flash to dodge ranged attacks without having it built in through the Acrobat trait. Scientific gives him +1 special and he awards 1 more VP when he is casualty’d; however, due to Survivor, on a 5+ Thawne can continue to prevent himself from dying, therefore the drawbacks of scientific will be slightly less regular. Tachyon Device is worthless unless you’re playing in a game with another speedster, friend or foe.

Overall I think he’s solid, he’s incredibly fun to play with, but he’s expensive and that’s why you may hear that speedsters in general are not worth taking in your lists. He may not be an easy choice to make and he’s definitely not a key component when min/max’ing, but I think he has his place and can be very impactful. Tell me what you think when you give this angst-filled butt-hurt ginger a whirl.

At First Glance: Batwoman

Everyone’s favorite crime-fighting, wig-wearing, lesbian red-head vigilante

Where do we begin with Kate Kane? She’s one tough cookie with daddy issues and she’s rocking the mantle of her rich emo cousin Bruce. If you’re a comic book fan you’ve seen that she’s been integral in the latest detective comics run featuring the current bat-family. Well let’s dive in and see what her 2nd edition counterpart has to offer.

Kate is a Leader or Sidekick for Brave and the Bold, and if you noticed there was some slight updates made for teams that includes Batwoman in Bat-Family. She’s coming in at 111 rep and no cost to your funding. Her stat-line is solid, not great for her cost, but solid nonetheless. Stat-line wise she’s exactly the same as she was in 1st edition with an additional willpower.

Batwoman has her same old weapon profiles with the R. Controlled Batarangs and the Shock Gloves. The real changes come in the form of her special rules and the fact that she is now a Leader/Sidekick hybrid instead of just a Sidekick.

Let’s see what she’s gained and lost in the updated model release.

Gained:Lost:
Air CombatTechnique
Interrogation
Military Teamwork
Batcape

Losing Technique is rough. It is a strong ability that can completely render a model useless if it is affected by the paralyze effect; however, Kate gains a lot as you can see above. Air Combat is easily the most exciting of the bunch, but Interrogation is interesting as well. What’s nice about Air Combat is it is very easy to ensure combat bonuses on the turns that Kate’s Batclaw is active; zipping into combat with a Batclaw/Grapple Gun is often something you’ll have seen by various Batman models, Robins, equipped High security Henchmans and Borgons (not to mention the various other models and combinations). My point is that this is something familiar, but Batwoman is gaining a huge advantage by entering combat with her Batclaw since she’ll be +1 to hit and +1 to damage rolls. The great part is she effectively gains Martial Expert. The reason this is important is that Kate’s gloves have CRT: Stunned which gives Batwoman a lesser Technique in that it prevents the affected model from spending counters of any kind (it does not award -2 to defense though). There is a direct trade-off, yes Batwoman no longer has the reliability of technique; however, it is now supplemented that her crit effect on her gloves are much more likely to activate. Now Air Combat can also be activated by leaping down, and since you can only use her Batclaw every other round, she can still benefit from Air Combat by essentially jumping down and putting her hands on another model. This is why I believe that Knight decided to also give her the Batcape rule, preventing her from taking fall damage by trying to active Air Combat through a leap down movement (if the distance down is significant). Interrogation is another new one for her; the rule is a little wordy, but as far as I understand it is that if she is able to successfully grab or push an enemy model — she or another friendly model may move up to 4″ or reallocate 2 action counters. I see this being more beneficial for friendly models since Batwoman can try and move a friendly model out of harms way, or move them into an objective by beating someone up despite the location of her and said friendly model. For example, Kate successfully pushes High Security Henchman off of a roof, and on the other side of the board, Arkham guard moves 4″ into the player’s medical supplies effectively scoring it at the end of the round. It could also be used to pull a model or herself away from a lamppost, out of range of a gun etc… I really think this is a great rule, it’s just going to require some finesse and positioning. I could also see this being a way of moving her or a friendly’s counters around to either help with attacking, or to save someone by dumping more counters into defense, moving it into movement for dodging, moving unused counters into special to recover more effectively at the end of the round etc… Military Teamwork is another solid rule, but because Kate is going to be zipping around beating models up, it’s really only going to come into play when she makes her way into a situation where she’s saving another model or attempting to outnumber an enemy model.

Overall I think that Batwoman is solid, her main drawback is her cost, she’s expensive, but if you compare her to someone like AA Batman I think she’s much better and cheaper. I would say you probably won’t be running her with any of the really expensive Batman models or other Brave and Bold costly pieces. I think she does well in Bat-Family since she can Arrest and will be dealing stun damage anyway, so paired with someone like Damian who will gain the Boy Wonder trait, Damian could knock someone out and she could easily remove that model, especially with Criminology preventing Runaway, but she really pairs well with any high stun list which is the majority of the Brave and Bold/Bat-Family options anyway. She’s going to want to run around and pick people off since she’ll be pretty quick with her Batclaw. She’ll definitely want to zip into combat with enemy models camping objectives especially if she has back up to make use of Military Teamwork, but that will be more of a mid to late game scenario. Try to take advantage of height with her. Simply standing on a van and dropping down to punch someone can activate Air Combat, or dropping down from a building if you’re trying to keep her safe. She’s pretty survivable at Defense 4 and Endurance 7, and the icing on top is her Bat-Armor MK1. Just be careful when throwing her into a mob, since she does not have Martial Artist and guns can tear her apart if she’s not making use of Stealth.

Other things to note would be that Night Vision pairs well with the fact that her Batarangs are R. Controlled, making it so you can throw them from around a corner or weave them through obstacles. Searcher is always nice to have, in fact anything that removes strategy points or removes an enemy strategy is huge. I would also go as far to say that models that have an impact on the pre-game are always an option to consider and are generally useful for that reason alone. In addition to all that I just mentioned, Kate also has access to her Officer Training equipment which gives her the Follow Me! rule, something worth taking if you have the extra rep and funding.

Overall I think the new Batwoman is pretty awesome. What do you all think? Is she good? Bad? Will there be a Birds of Prey team coming? Does the carpet match the drapes? You tell me!

At First Glance: Archie & Joker’s Bikers Pt. 2

You may not be cool enough to ride a motorcycle, but these clowns sure are. If you’re not getting Road rash (1994) vibes then I feel bad for you. Let’s continue on with these jocular speed demons.

gotta…
go…
fast…

Here’s the deal… these guys are good. I’m still toying with them and thinking about how they fit exactly into lists, but at first glance they’re solid and in easy contention for top Joker henchmen. Firs things first they have a decent henchmen stat-line with a slightly above average endurance stat. because of Fast and Special Base the bikers are going to move at a base of 8″, and with full movement allocation they’re threat range is 12″, 13″ and 15″ (because of reach) for Biker 2 who has Anxiety.

Let’s chat about the weapons each biker has. The short of it is that the weapons are great. Biker 1 has a double blood short range gun with Assault 3, making his moving and shooting an easy choice, effectively only losing 1 rate of fire for accomplishing exactly what he wants to. Biker 2 is sporting a 1 blood 1 stun weapon with Handy and Reach, making his threat range insane for a henchman and he’s re-rolling his failed hits. Finally Biker 3 is donning a blade, a double blood weapon that is Heavy and Overwhelming. This effectively makes him a base strength of 4+ with a -1 for anyone attempting to block him. The rules associated with each weapon are great, and make each one them valuable coupled with their other rules and stats.

We know that they’re fast, but lets take a look at their other rules and how they affect their potential. Death Pack just got a whole lot more dangerous. Biker 2 and 3 have it and together the enemy model is going to significantly easier to hit. On top of the hit chance going up, these guys are getting free attack dice, for an even easier time to put the hurt on someone. Always on Move (I think they a word) is a new rule and it’s a doozy. This makes it so that each biker can effectively cruise up to an enemy model, attack it, and then keep on moving. It’s a really nice rule when the biker is wanting to do a hit and run so to speak, but because of Death Pack it’s not going to be utilized when the biker’s are ready to jump on someone for reliable damage. I think that the gun toting biker (1) and the hockey stick biker (2) benefit from this the most.

Special Base allows for all the benefits and slight drawbacks of being a Large model, most importantly Charge. With Charge, Death Pack and Biker 3’s Bloodthirsty, this is one scary trio. If you’re also running Bud and Lou in your list you have fast moving, hard hitting death-ball zooming around the table. This is something I’d be eager to try and I could see being a gimmicky, yet effective list.

I think that these guys are definitely an option to consider, in fact as it currently stands I would try to fit them in any Joker list that I’m kicking around. As mentioned before, I’m curious to see how they function with Bud and Lou, and just to go Crazy throw roller-skate Harley in there to zoom around with the rest of Joker’s athletes.

At First Glance: Archie & Joker’s Bikers Pt. 1

Emo Dwarf and the Sons of Anarky

If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen that I posted these pictures the moment they hit the web. This is an exciting release for Joker since he’s needing more options in standard currently. This box set contains Archie, a new sidekick for Joker and 3 Biker henchmen. Let’s take a look and I’ll give you my 2 cents just from a first look at their rules.

Insert Rorschach Pagliacci quote here

Archie is a brand new Sidekick and model in the game. You may also recognize him as the drunk clown at your 5th birthday who was crying in his car prior to blowing up some multicolored balloon swords. As you may or may not know, several of the models in the game have various versions or sculpts, and this is first iteration of Archie we’re getting. Let me preface this by saying options are always appreciated in this game, especially new options. Let’s take a look at his rules and get right into it.


Looking at his basic stats, we see he’s a Joker Sidekick, he’s cheap at 35 rep, no funding cost and a henchman-like stat line, with a solid willpower stat for his cost. The only reason you take Archie is because his special rules are very unique and can cause your opponent some serious problems. We’re familiar with half of his rules. Small gives Archie a +1 to his ping rolls, making it harder for him to be shot at by firearms, and Luck allows him to re-roll any failed dice roll for a special. I’ll make the argument that this trait will mostly be used to re-roll failed blocks. Sad Life is a new rule to the game, Archie being the only model to possess it so far. Any enemy model within 6″ of Archie has to spend an additional counter to perform actions or use traits that require counters. Finally Truly Immortal (another new rule unique to Archie) makes it so that he cannot be knocked out or casualty’d in any way, this includes being arrested or affected by cruel/take down. Instead of being knocked out or removed as a casualty, he removes one damage marker and Archie’s opponent moves him up to 4″ away from his previous location.

Archie as is, is a solid choice and is going to be very annoying to deal with, there is no way to remove him and because he can easily contest your objectives, or camp his own without penalty, you’re going to want to attack him after he’s activated that round. If you attack him before he activates he’ll be able to easily move back to wherever he wants to be. Archie’s main downfall is that he’s going to be hired in place of either Harley (unless taking the Free Agent roller-skate Harley) or Joker, which is a tough sell. If he’s take in lieu of Harley, you’re losing a strong model that does a lot of work in your Joker crew. Harley is very fast and can affect the outcome of many situations. Losing a versatile model that has a ton of impact is something to mull over. If you decide to take him instead of Joker then you’re mainly losing Kaos Agent which is somewhat detrimental to a Joker crew. Can it be done without? Absolutely, but giving all of your henchmen Trickster through the inclusion of Joker is reason enough to play a Joker crew.

His rank is Archie’s only downside (and he’s a little slow at movement 2), I would argue that the rest of what he does is extremely positive. He’s not going to run around and crush henchmen or other Free Agent’s/ Sidekicks/Leaders, but he’s going to interrupt what your opponent will want to do for the majority of the game, which is extremely valuable. Since Archie is so cheap you won’t really need to justify his point cost and wonder if a model with no combat potential is worth taking, he’s easily the cheapest support piece in the game, and to top everything off, he awards no VP’s to your opponent since he cannot be KO’d or casualty’d. This is huge, one of the reasons why players are reluctant to take cheaper squishy sidekicks like Quelle for example, is because she’s easy to remove and gives up 4 VP’s. Archie gives up nothing and can be an incredible nuisance for your opponent. If Archie was a henchmen he would be an auto-include, and even at his current rank I could easily see him included in many Joker lists.

Keep in mind that if Archie is hired as the Leader, that you won’t ever need a bodyguard, you won’t have to worry about keeping him safe, you will completely invalidate the use of any model with the Assassin X rule. Although the assassin rule isn’t a big deal, the other points I mentioned can make a significant change in play style and crew building. I would want to sewer him up the board turn 1, so that he can make use of Sad Life and Truly Immortal. Archie is slow at movement 2, so using the sewers is going to be key to move him around effectively. You’re going to want to use him to camp you’re own objectives or to contest your opponent’s, saving Luck to re-roll failed blocks when your opponent decides he/she wants to move Archie off of something will also be important. With Luck on blocks, you can really irritate your opponent who may need to throw multiple models into him in order to move him (can’t say remove, because he can’t be removed). Archie will easily earn his rep cost if you tunnel him between sewers to interrupt both sides of the board. Countering him will be tough. You’ll have to deal with him AFTER he activates and not before, and you’ll also need to figure out a way to play around him, whether that means you’re including elements that help you remove sewers, or possibly using effects that strip him of counters, and even then he can still get a lot of value in your crew.

See Pt. 2 where I take a look at the Bikers…