Wednesday, 13 November 2019

3rd edition and the future- a bit of an editorial

Hi again all, thought I'd put up a bit of a more personal post regarding the blog.

When I started this blog in August 2018 I was almost exclusively playing BMG despite some brief flings with other games. Because of this I decided I would start writing about what I was playing and getting excited about which allowed the spread on the blog in terms of content. Since then I have gone back to, and started a lot more, other games which have taken my time and BMG has fallen to the wayside locally. The announcement of 3rd edition has led to a lot of cautious waiting, and I look forward to the full release as I really do like what I see coming, but I haven't played the game for a few months now as other things have taken the focus away.

As well as just not having the time for BMG, the last few months have been my last semester in my degree. This meant that I had less time for gaming but especially writing, so I simply didn't write for a lot of the semester. I am now finished that degree waiting to graduate, so my time for writing has massively increased, but I now aim to create a blog where I can discuss whatever takes my whim at that time and go into my gaming experience in general. All my BMG tactics posts for 2nd edition models will be migrated there once 3rd edition launches and I can revise them with new rules, and this blog will still exist in perpetuity as it currently stands without any changes. So goodbye to the Arkham Convicts, and welcome to the next step in my blogging life!

Thanks to everyone for the support, Rygnan

Monday, 21 October 2019

Swamp Thing- Model Review

Hello again all! For what will be the last of my 2nd edition reviews (now that 3rd edition is confirmed) I'm back to discuss another Magic user for Brave and the Bold, but also for Gotham City Sirens. This was planned to be alongside Jason Blood and Etrigan, with Black Orchid and Deadman to follow, but only Swamp Thing was finished so I decided to just put this out as is.

A big brute of a model available to both Brave and the Bold as well as Gotham City Sirens, Swamp Thing is a very expensive Free Agent that also brings Magic to the table.
Strength 3+ and attack 4 aren't strictly amazing, but they do the job when factoring in his other offensive abilities. Large gives him access to Charge, which is excellent, and with Supernatural to give all his attacks the Magic effect stripping Tough Skin, Invulnerable and Incorporeal off of enemy models that have it (suck it Ghost).
His Spikes are basically the same as a Batling and as such they're ok but not amazing. I think that's all that's worth mentioning here, double stun short range is decent when he can't attack in melee but otherwise you want to be hitting up close.
He also has a Metamorphic Branch as his melee weapon, dealing double stun with Reach and Crushing. Crushing compensates for his attack 4 and means he isn't especially easy to block (halving the effectiveness of successful blocks), while Reach gives him the option of keeping himself safe (or on an objective) and still hitting opponents from 2" away.
Outside of the standard Magic Bolt 2 blood, Green Magic gives him access to a couple of spells that buff him up. One of those is offensively based in giving him +1 strength and Claws for some blood damage in melee (and a very good strength 2+). The Claws are an interesting option, but losing both Reach and Crushing to do blood damage isn't fantastic in my opinion, with them offering far too much versatility to trade off (especially in Brave and the Bold crews where Arrest is easy to find). The spell is well worth using though just for the +1 strength, because not only does it cost only 1MP (of his 5) it is also auto-passed in most cases (unless he is hit with a willpower reduction he passes on double 1s)
Swamp Thing, despite being only defence 3, is a very good tank. Endurance 12 with Tough Skin means he is tough to stack damage on (and auto-passing endurance rolls) and with Regeneration and Elemental Magic he can take the damage right off again, as well as Green Magic giving him a once per game 2 stun heal for the cost of a single Magic Point. Even when he is killed, Immortal denies the VP for the kill and only awards 3VP for KOing him as a Free Agent, which factors in very well with his unique spell. Insert unique spell here Natural Immunities is the last thing to note here, making him immune to Poison, Steal and Blind which is something that really helps him stay useful at his steep points cost.
He does however have Vulnerability to Fire, which means if he gets hit with those weapons he will be taking good amounts of damage quickly. He has to be very careful to avoid them and take them out because of this.
There isn't much left on his card to make note of, but what is there is important. Pollution Hate means he can never enter sewers under any circumstance, slowing him considerably, although he does make up for it with being movement 3 and Large for possible 12" movement even before factoring in Green Wings as a spell and Chlorokinesis. Chlorokinesis requires Plants to be taken, so won't work in a BatB crew, but enables the Plants to move him around a bit more effectively in their own activation area. Green Wings is 3MP but incredibly easy to cast (he needs anything but double 1s to pass) and gives him Flying High and Hover. Flying High is a huge speed buff, although once per game, and Hover is very useful for him against melee heavy crews (see Owls) because of his lower defence.
He has Elite Boss:Plants for when he is in a Gotham City Sirens crew without Ivy (read:very uncommon and only possible with Sirens Harley) which lets him take more than 1 Plant in the crew.
All in all, Swamp Thing is tough to build lists for given his steep points cost and the fact he can no longer lead his own crew (Eternal Swamp Thing was a Sidekick which helped immensely), forcing him to be locked into a leader in 2 crews where they aren't exactly cheap (GCS and BatB with a few exceptions). I personally think the best place for him is alongside Constantine as they both provide solid lynchpins for the crew and the combination is cheap enough to justify taking henchmen afterwards. In Gotham City Sirens I don't feel like he has much of a place, if any, because the playstyle of that crew overall doesn't support the addition of such an expensive piece after paying for the better options in that crew, and with Possession Ivy won't have a huge need of a Large beatstick with access to Borgon, Goro or Quiz 4 for a third of the cost.

Friday, 20 September 2019

John Constantine- Model Review

Hi all! After almost 2 months off writing I've returned to finish off some older posts before I get into some of the newer toys. Starting off with this quick one I had half-finished, but this is a guy who has been the topic of a lot of conversation since his release almost 2 years ago.

The meta boogeyman himself, John Constantine. As is fitting for his character, this model is a right bastard and can be the bane of anyone inexperienced against Magic. Whilst not as obscene of a damage dealer as others, namely Zatanna, he more than makes up for it in sheer reliability and his toolkit being excellent
With only attack 3 John isn't stellar in combat, but his damage potential isn't bad by any means through the use of Magic. As I mentioned with Enchantress, Black Pain is a great spell to put hurt on enemies outside of the classic Magic Bolt, while he also has a couple more esoteric spells to help out in other situations. His unique spell is a quite simple 10" range, double blood and Fire to do some good damage, and at 9+target's defence isn't especially hard to get off. Should you face an opponent with Incorporeal, Ghost, Demon, Vampire, Undead or Entity (read- not often, and what even is Entity? It's not in any book) he has another spell from Exorcism (and this is Exorcise Soul, so the main point of the discipline) at 8+defence instead that deals 2 blood, and they must pass an endurance roll or lose 2 counters. Possible loss of 3 counters is massive and it's good damage for 2 Magic Counters as well, so although it won't come into play often it should absolutely be used when it does.
His regular attacks are ok and have their uses, but aren't excellent. Blessed Knuckles doing double stun damage at strength 4+ is nice, and Magic helps when it's relevant, but he still won't be much of a beater with attack 3 making him so easy to block. The Amulet Lighter is less damage at only a single stun, but it does have the benefit of Fire to add potential stacks of blood damage onto models should he hit. All in all not amazing, but good enough to do the job should a situation call for it
John's Defence 4, endurance 8 is respectable, but only gets better with his trait list. Charm helps him from being hit in melee, forcing willpower rolls to be able to attack him, and Survivor kicks in with a little extra chance to protect him once he actually dies. He can also leech off a bit of damage with Necromancy if he needs to, although being once per game and only a single blood it isn't a massive game changer.
Arcane Protection from the Exorcism Magic discipline is a great useful spell as well. Simply gaining +1 defence is good, but also being able to be immune to spells until the end of the round is well worth using should there be an opposing Magic user on the table. Not quite as amazing as Zatanna's Hover against melee, but it does combo well with Charm and is strictly better against guns.
The big one here is Luck. John will always have 3SC allocated to reroll what he wants, and because of this he can very easily perform when he needs to (spells and punching). Divination is yet another source of rerolls both through spells in the discipline (Guided Hands- it's underrated and amazing) and the trait itself The Devil You Know also plays into this with him being able to palm off potential downsides from failing spells (not that he will often). The usual Magic abilities apply through Elemental, with effect clearing and healing being the big 2, and he also brings along Necromancy and Exorcism for some darker Magic. The spells here have been mentioned previously (above and with Enchantress) and he can do great work with these spells when needed (I've even seen him Resurrect DKR Batman, however unlikely it is). Exorcism also provides him a possible 1 Magic Counter for +1 to Magic tests once per game, which is useful potentially but ultimately not that worth doing instead of another spell.
Detective is nice for reasons I have discussed very often, but BatB don't often tend to make huge use of it as they trend towards a lower model count.
Willpower 8 is excellent for 100 rep, and Constantine tops it off by having the dual rank of Free Agent and Sidekick. This means he can lead a crew or give out Sidekick buffs alongside a Leader, but also has the option of tagging along with another Leader/Sidekick combo (Modern Age Batman and Robin for example) and has a little bit more list versatility as a result.

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Suicide Squad Part 2- Team Discussion

Continuing on from part 1, here is another part to my Suicide Squad review with a few things that I think are worth mentioning in the team. These are options that facilitate different playstyles to what I have previously mentioned, and will open up new angles of play.

The other standard version of Deadshot, this one trades off the mobility and potential spread of Willshot for pure single target deletion.
As an assassin piece, Deadshot's best role is understandably his damage. His Barret is similar to Sharpshooter from the Bane Batbox but with slightly changed critical effects and without Reload. It is still the amazing 4 blood Scope gun it is on Sharpshooter, but with Bleed:2 and Devastating it can put out an extra 4 blood on crits (something boosted by Holds Breath) and he can do this for a few turns with 3 ammo and lacking Reload.
The Barret alone lets him be a model that is great for simply locking down areas of the board with his sheer threat, but he also has some bonuses to it that make him truly great. Ranged Master gives him a +1 to hit (+2 with Holds Breath), Obsessive gives him a +1 to wound if he targets the same model with all his attacks (which he will always be doing) and although this doesn't help much on the Barret (only against Amazons and Demons really) it is still a good way for him to work against armour or Tough Skin while using his 9mm Twin Cannons.
He also has 9mm Twin Cannons for a ranged attack, and it's a nice piece to give out some little extra damage if he doesn't have Barret ammo (or wants to move that turn).
Defence 3 isn't great on someone of his cost, but he does have endurance 7 and a 50/50 Dodge to make up for it. As someone who will likely be popping between sniping positions anyway, he is decently survivable.
As well as being a great shooting threat, he is also decent at supporting other models. Outlaw Field Commander means he should always have a counter in Special, because it acts as a pseudo-Inspire on one model, and if no one else is around he can use it on himself to put it somewhere useful.

The cheapest option available to Suicide Squad, which is a virtue in it's own right, Electrocutioner is somewhat ok as a filler option.
With his Shock Gloves, he does double stun at strength 4+ at a pretty good attack 4, and with crit:Stunned he can set up some nice vectors for attack (or just stop a beater from hitting him back). He has Electric Storm just like Little Spark and Nightwing, but it still isn't great and especially when he is only willpower 5. EMP is handy to have given the increasing numbers of Cybernetic, Bot and Vehicle models in the game as well, letting him reroll to wound against them. Taunt is a nice little control element, moving counters into attack which can be a nice way to shut things down. It is best used when something has already activated and is sitting on dodges or blocks, or if they are a control based model that needs SC and isn't great in attack (AK Scarecrow, Mad Hatter to an extent)
Just like the Arkham Origins version this is based on, Electrocutioner has a glass jaw. Defence 3 endurance 5 is ok for his cost, although it isn't especially tanky.
Criminal is not bad given his stun output, and will reliably trigger if he decides to hit weaker models (which really, he should do anyway). He also has Expendable so he is worth only 1VP when he dies, with nothing being awarded for KO (which is amazing in a team like Squad where every VP matters). Charismatic is ok in some lists but useless in Squad, as you have no Free Agent limit in a team anyway.

The magic user of the Squad, Enchantress is an absolute powerhouse of a model and a huge boost to the crew despite her very steep cost.
In terms of straight up attacking she has a quite simple Magic Strike that does double stun and has the Magic effect. At attack 4 and strength 3+ she's not a bad beater, but it isn't her best role.
In terms of control capabilities Enchantress is right up there for the best options (and rightfully so for her cost). With Mind Control she can straight up take threatening enemies, and possibly even lock them into a permanent loop by choosing another model with Persuasive (which is excellent otherwise just to counter opponents plans).
Her Magic is the last great thing about her offence, and it plays into her role as a board control piece more than anything else. Magic Power 5 lets her put out a couple of great spells a turn, and with her Magic disciplines she has some really good spells. Curse from Occultism is another great debuff to the opponent, stopping them from spending SC (counters both Magic and opposing SC abilities) and Necromancy has the excellent Black Pain, which is fairly easy to cast makes 2 models take a willpower test or suffer 3 stun and -1 willpower until the next Raise the Plan. This obviously makes her own Mind Control easier to do, but is also good in just making it harder for an opponent to do what they want as they will effectively be down 2 counters next turn.
Another surprisingly tanky Magic user, Enchantress is pretty tough to get damage on unless you manage to play your turn order carefully. Safe Hands is just a basic immunity to Steal shared with most Magic users, but Magic Tatoos also makes her immune to this plus Fire (which is very strange that she would have both). Her real defensive strength comes in just how hard she is to kill, between defence 4 endurance 7, being a movement 3 Acrobat and Invulnerability:2 to top it off. She will take a very big effort to remove, and is definitely a formidable tank, but she also has Occultism to give her a +1 defence when she needs it once per game, on top of all the healing she can do with Magic.
Like Raven she can use Black Shadows as a means of defending herself from ranged attacks (although with Acrobat this is less necessary) as well as moving her around the table,
Outside of the healing from normal Elemental Magic, she can also heal herself once per game through Necromancy, by spending 2MP and dealing a blood damage to another model in contact which heals her 1 damage. Best used as a finisher to take out enemies, but it is useful nonetheless as a means of healing. As a Necromancer she has the Revival spell, which lets her put models back into the game that had died earlier. This spell is excellent, if difficult to get off on the larger models (difficulty increases based on endurance) and can be a great way to turn a game back around with Squad as it can stop them snowballing into a major loss. The only other thing to mention is her Bipolar, which isn't as huge as it may seem. The 50/50 chance to lose or gain a counter isn't major because she is already willpower 8 and a Magic user, so she isn't suffering for counters as much as a pure beater would, and it doesn't affect her actual willpower stat either so she is unaffected for casting. It's a negative for sure, but just not something that will ruin her in a game.

Friday, 19 July 2019

Zatanna- Model Review

The second Brave and the Bold Magic user I've covered (first one being Raven in my Teen Titans review) and this one is hands down my favourite to use. Zatanna is just a blast to play (and that really is her playstyle- blasting) and although she may be a tough model in terms of damage output, the meta has largely caught up to Magic users in general and I feel like Zatanna is now fairly balanced in the greater scheme of things.
Artwork from the great BTAS poster series by George Caltsoudas. Some great art in there and a few will work well scaled down on terrain or on bases

Zatanna is an offensive blaster, and her kit is based mostly around dealing a stack of damage to enemy models. Between the regular Elemental Bolt and Eldritch Bolt she can choose to put out 6 blood damage onto an enemy with her magic (for 6MP and 2 tests, both now allowing Ping and Dodge which is a pretty fair tradeoff). The low range of these spells is somewhat offset by Distort Magic giving an extra range extension to it (which you can use to make it ignore Ping if placed right) and helps to extend her threat range more.
As a ranged attack Pyrokinesis Bolts are firmly ok, but they do have a lot of potential in their damage spread (5 blood max on one model or 3 each on 2). Like the rest of her tricks it's short ranged, and needing 5s to wound is rough (but manageable) but they just help maximise her offensive potential and spread out tons of damage. They're also Light so she can use them as a pseudo-melee attack if someone closes in, and Throwing so she can move and shoot with no penalties.
Her Eldritch trait not only lets her use the excellent Eldritch spells, it also gives her a once per game +1 to her attack value for the round. This is pretty much useless however as she has no other bonuses to her melee and has everything she needs to just blast away from range.
There's not much to say here, she has a fairly average defence 4 endurance 7, just with Hover to keep her very safe against melee attacks. If guns are locked down, she can very easily rely on Hover plus a few blocks to keep her safe. Safe Hands also leaves her immune to Steal which is nice, but ultimately not all that common to come into play anyway.
Eldritch Magic gives her the Force Field spell which while useful, is probably better spent on just attacking things or healing as it still won't save her from being KO (it does make her immune to Coup de Grace, but the next turn she will still likely die anyway).
Being a Magic user (and at Magical Power:6 a quite impressive one) she has all the healing and effect clearing that is standard. With Divination she can choose once per game to reroll a single die and can choose either result which is great to make her more consistent and reliable in game, while Homo Magi gives her a +1 willpower when she takes Magical tests putting her at effectively willpower 9 for them.
Divination gives her a couple of very good buff spells as well in Precognition and Guided Hands, giving a single reroll and a +1 to hit respectively (great combo with Assault Rifles for example). Both are immensely useful in using Zatanna as a buff piece to add to her offence (casting one of them doesn't prevent her from also doing a Bolt spell as well) so is a great piece in her toolkit.
Unique Spell- Tropelet
Her unique spell is a teleport (the spell name is teleport backwards, reflecting her magic style) that is once per game and costs 4 Magic Points. It lets Zatanna place up to 16" away from her position (which with Distort Magic can be an effective 20", 2" more than if she just spent the MC to move). It's a great way in BatB to easily reach the Batsignal or just any objective, or to get her into the fray alongside other fast models (Nightwing, Green Arrow, Flash for example). It won't be used all the time, but it will still be useful when it needs to be.

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Prisoners- Model Review

Something that will appear in almost every villain crew, the prisoners are a very commonly seen sight in BMG. They're great list fillers and fill gaps better than any other, but also have great roles on their own that isn't really covered by that many other models in the game.

The most expensive prisoner (but also the best overall) High Security Henchman is a versatile and useful model to slot into any villain crew even with his steeper price tag.
He has a single package based all around shanking enemies, but he does this well. Only single blood on the knives, but with 4+ strength and Sharp they're reliably wounding, and attack 4 with Combo means he can throw out a few dice to get as many hits as he can. Brutal lets him fish for crit or Knock Down results on the Collateral Dice which is great, and can set things up for later.
He doesn't have any traits to help him out, but he is defence 3 and endurance 8 which is pretty good for only 40 rep. Really that's all to say.
Like the rest of his brethren, he has Criminal for if he KOs or kills an opponent. Especially nice to bump up to willpower 7, it means if he can bully a weak henchman early he will be able to get a big boost for the rest of the game. Hidden is his biggest boon, as it allows him to easily get into the fray and start challenging the opponent early, both through attacking models and claiming objectives.

The old metal prisoners are all very similar, having similar statlines and only really different weapons and some traits. 
Prisoner 1 has a simple little Tube. Handy/Heavy with single stun damage, it wounds on 4s and at attack 2 he isn't hugely likely to get attacks through. He's 10 rep though, and for that you can't complain that he isn't amazing in combat
Prisoner 2 is an odd model, with his weapon being not that great. The BiggaSticka (seriously, what is that name) does a single blood at strength 5+ with Heavy, meaning it will wound 50% of the time, and it has crit:triple stun which is nice when it triggers but not something to bank on. For such a large weapon though, you would think it would have Reach (it's almost 3 times the size of an Extendable Baton and double Deathstroke's Bo) but it doesn't, and all in all he is just a mediocre model for the big points hike over Prisoner 1.
Prisoner 3 has an axe, which is a quite good weapon, but at only attack 2 he will rarely, if ever, actually deal damage with it. He is ridiculously easy to block and his output isn't really that good given he is almost 20 rep, and there are far better choices for this cost.
Prisoner 4 has Brass Knuckles, which are in effect Reinforced Gloves that can be stolen. It's not his big use in any given list, but it's decent enough that it can be used well.
Prisoner 5 is arguably the best in this regard, with a lot of good tricks that can help in many ways and slot into most crews well. For only $300 in funding he gets 2 ammo on an Automatic Pistol which is fair for the cost and a decent weapon for damage, and 2 Smoke Grenades (amazing as always). He is only attack 2, but with 4 ammo that doesn't matter because he won't be punching things anyway, it's his job to shoot.
Turk is a pure shooting model, and he does it pretty well. Carrying 2 Handguns (Automatic Pistols with 1 less shot) with 2 ammo each, he can put out some good shooting just from that. He does however have Gunman, which means for 2AC and 2SC he can shoot both guns in the same turn, and even though this is 4/5 counters he has and chews through his ammo it can be a great way to take out a threatening model that is closing in on the crew, which is very useful. 
Every single one of these models is defence 2, with endurance of 4 and 5. They're very easy to kill, but they're also ridiculously cheap so it doesn't really matter. 
Prisoner 2 has Elusive, which lets him reroll Ping rolls at the cost of a movement. As a trait it isn't really great, and especially on a model with only willpower 4 it won't often see use as he wants to actually impact the game. Prisoner 3 has Street Guy to get free Crouch, but it only bumps him up to defence 3 anyway and with endurance 4 it won't make much difference in how quickly he dies. Prisoner 4 has 2 Smoke Grenades which are great for keeping the crew safe, and will be a godsend in any crew that can take them because of just how good they are. 
All are Criminal with all that comes with it, and the standard Hates: with all the good guys. Prisoner 4 has the very good Bodyguard trait, and for his 18 rep cost is a great way to tack some extra endurance onto any villain leader for a low investment. Prisoner 1 has Pickpocket, which lets him take other model's weapons when they are KO and use them for himself which is funny but not all that common to see. Prisoner 5 has Lantern, which given his short ranged nature might seem useful, but he is also good at breaking lines of sight to the enemy, not creating them. Lantern with his stats is almost guaranteed to get him killed and isn't useful for this reason. 
The main uses for these guys are their cheap cost to fill points in lists, although now that they are Eternal it is less commonly seen that this will happen and even the mainstays (Prisoners 1, 4 and 5) are now fading away. 

The last of the metal prisoners, Little Spark is a bit different in how he functions.
He has attack 3, strength 5+ which isn't great but his Heavy Electric Baton more than makes up for it. A similar weapon to Nightwing, it does double stun with Mechanical and Handy, with also having Crit:Stun as a nice little extra. It lets him do a good amount of reliable stun damage, and he can hurt a good amount of models with it.
Electric Storm as a special attack is pretty much garbage. It costs 3SC (that he could be using on Unpredictable) for a single explosion template that only does the same damage as his Baton, and he won't really be doing that much valuable damage with it that will have a huge effect on the game.
Little Spark has defence 3, something none of the other metal prisoners have, and endurance 5. This alone is ok but not great for 40 rep, but he does have Catcher Gear to help him against Heavy weapons (quite a lot) and Sturdy which will stop him losing more than one counter from damage. Overall not huge, but not terrible.
He has Handyman, letting him manipulate for free and can potentially heal Vehicles (neat with Bane or Penguin). His biggest draw though is Unpredictable, which turns his average willpower of 5 into an insanely versatile set as he can spend special counters as anything else. This lets him have 5 attacks or blocks which can both be great, or even 5 movement counters for a super fast turn to grab objectives. In terms of sheer versatility this is very much worth it.

The 3 newer prisoners from the resin set, all 3 are useful and can see play, but ultimately some will see more than others as they are overall more useful. 
Gustaf has a cheap Carbine, albeit at $400 instead of the usual $350. That is enough to mention because it is still very good value with his gun, and he's a great take to fill lists. 
Carlo has an Automatic Pistol with 2 ammo, and Rapid Fire. Possible 4 shots a turn is excellent, and he has some game with it but isn't as awesome as Gustaf is. However, he tops out at 8 damage which is very impressive for his cost. 
Tyrone is the melee model of the 3, and packs Reinforced Gloves and Master Fighter at strength 4+. This is definitely good, but outside of some lists that buff him up a ton (namely Ventriloquist) he isn't as great of a choice over most in-faction melee options even with his cheap cost. 
Not quite as glass as the other prisoners, as 2 of the 3 are defence 3 natively and 2 are endurance 5. Tyrone is endurance 4 which isn't great, but defence 3 is a good counter and at his cost doesn't really matter. Gustaf at defence 2 endurance 5 is justifiable for 18 rep, and he has Escape Artist to make him immune to Grab (if he ever will be grabbed, it isn't huge on him) while Carlo just has defence 3 and endurance 5, respectable enough stats. 
Criminal again as is standard for prisoners, but all 3 still have willpower 4 natively so not too many counters to play with. Gustaf also has Pickpocket like Prisoner 1, although with a Carbine he won't always find weapons that are worth taking from an enemy, usually melee weapons or really good guns like Lerida's SMG. 

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Teen Titans- Team Discussion

Welcome everyone, for another Team Discussion! A couple months back we were gifted the Teen Titans again, with not only an update to the team rules but also a full Batbox. I'll be talking about those options here today, except for Donna Troy who I have already covered, and the team rules in general. A quite thematic list, Titans are hampered in what they do by having significant penalties, but they do have quite good options to make up for it

Team Rules
Cooperative Fight Plan and Everything to Prove both support their survivability, boosting the somewhat fragile crew, and also plays into their supportive nature. Cooperative Fight Plan gives them the Resilient rule while they're within 4" of two+ friendly models (and in a team, they're wanting to stay together so as to not get picked apart) although rerolls to Endurance rolls isn't huge when they're mostly endurance 5-6 and on average failing even with a reroll. Everything to Prove however gives them Survivor, which can potentially keep them on the table for longer than they have any right to, and with good rolls will mess up an opponent's plans a lot. A great thing on the more glass cannon pieces, although it's not reliable and will only come into play every so often.
Pack is a nice way to get extra models in the list, and quite simply lets them take an extra 30 rep per 2 models in the crew. The second model counts for their own reduction too (so second, fourth and sixth) and is a great way to get 6 model lists in a team where it wouldn't otherwise be possible.
Youngsters is their big drawback, although it can be played around. It gives the opponent 4 Inexperience Counters they spend at the end of the Raise the Plan phase, and lets them deny a single counter being allocated from a Titans model for each. A model can only be affected once, but at mostly willpower 6 it's still a big loss, and severely restricts what they can do. However, for each Leader or Sidekick present an Inexperience Counter is denied, so a regular Teen Titans list will have 2-3 of these at least in order to deny it, as well as higher willpower models where possible. It has to be considered though that your biggest threat will almost always have one less counter than you would like, and you have to play to this in game. 

Moment of Glory is absolutely autotake for how amazing it is. $350 to give a single model the Living Legend trait for a turn, it massively boosts up the value of that model. 2 activations on something like Donna Troy or Nightwing will define the game, and for that reason it has to always be in consideration. The only downside is that it can be removed by Broken Equipment. 
Handcuffs are slightly more expensive here than in Batfam ($400 vs $300) but are still just as mandatory. The relatively little amount of blood damage in Titans means they need the ways to take models out of play, and Handcuffs is it. 
Magazine is pretty standard apart from being 0-1, it's $300 for an extra ammo. Not bad on the ranged models (particularly Starfire) but cuts into the other, vastly better, equipment

Fast Response is a 2 cost Strategy, that moves 2 Titans d6+2 inches before the game starts. They both move the same distance (ie one roll is made for both) and it's a great way to sling models up the table early, letting them get into position quicker and score VP early. It's almost flat out better than taking Patrol twice, and unless you want the whole crew up further, is a better take than Fast Advance as well because of the average distance moved (d6+2 is on average 5-6", which is obviously better than 4)
Impulsive Team helps offset Inexperience a little bit for a nice 1 cost Strategy, in that it can give 2 models in the team a free attack counter once per game. However, it doesn't go above the normal AC limit, and this means they will really only be having their regular willpower on the biggest hitter, with another possibly having an extra counter to do something else. It's good in that it spreads out counters, and that it affects 2 models (especially good with how easily they can get to only 1 Inexperience Counter) so is probably worth the take more often than not. 

Objective- Trigon Portal
The Trigon Portal is a very strange objective, as it is not deployed by the player who selects it but rather their opponent (unlike any other objective in the game) and they place it up to 12" away from your deployment zone, 6" away from board edges. It can be controlled by Titans within 4" of it instead of the regular base contact, but can only be contested in base contact, and gives 2VP when controlled by the Titans. However, they get bonus VP when they have more than one model controlling to a total of 2 extra (so 2 extra models within 4" for 1 extra VP each). This means they can theoretically get large amounts of VP from this and other objectives, but with the opponent placing it you won't often have the opportunity to do this as they will just place it further away in a bad position. It also has an added downside in that if Titans aren't controlling it,  the opponent gets to give 2 models 1 additional action counter in the next Raise the Plan phase above their normal limit in any stat, which is a huge boost and means Titans need to get to it quickly and hold it. 

Beast Boy himself is a weird model in that he as a standalone card isn't great, and it's in his various Animal Forms that he truly shines.
Attack 3 with nothing else to mention, even at 4+ strength isn't great. It does become significantly better with his upgrades though, so he can do well in a fight (just has to be an animal to do it). All his upgrades are Large as well, meaning they can charge (which is great at their mostly increased strength of 3+)
Movement 3 Acrobat is always very useful, but at defence 3 endurance 4 if he loses his upgrades he's going to cop it. Not especially that tanky outside of Shapeshifting, but with it he can effectively just swap and change every Raise the Plan to keep himself healing, and with the amount of extra endurance on those cards (and defence bump on the Gorilla)
Beast Boy as a character is inherently locked into Shapeshifting as his one saving grace. As a free ability that happens every Raise the Plan he isn't KO, he should always be chopping and changing between forms to keep himself going, and making the most of the free effective healing that it offers. He makes for an ok tank in Titans, and works excellently as an objective grabber/harassment piece alongside a bigger hitter like Nightwing or Donna Troy.
Upgrades- Animal Forms
The Gorilla Form is kind of similar to a Grodd henchman in that it has Large, Acrobat and Reinforced Gloves at strength 3+. It does have 4 endurance to keep it alive, which is great for healing reasons, and becomes defence 4, so is the hardest of all to remove of his forms. Overall this is the best of the forms, and any turn he's swapping from something that isn't this, it should probably go into the gorilla.
The Hawk Form is pure movement based, and is mainly just a way to very quickly reach objectives. It does have Claws for damage, but the best part is Fly, Large and Movement 5 for huge movement potential, being able to cross large sections of the board easily. The downside to this speed is that it only has 2 endurance, and will probably be hit off without much effort.
Tiger Form is the middle ground between fighting and mobility, having good attack and movement stats (strength 3+ Claws, attack 4 and movement 4) while getting Large like the others, and Sneaking for more movement tricks. The upgrade is also 3 endurance, so in between the Gorilla and Hawk in terms of resilience. 

The "cheap beater" of the crew, Hawk is an option that enables a bit more front line combat in the crew while still keeping a higher model count (unlike Nightwing or Donna Troy, who are more awkward to fit in like this)
Attack 4, Reinforced Gloves and strength 3+, he's a punching model. No bonuses to hit so is prone to whiffing, but he has Tension to bump himself up to attack 5 if he has damage on him, so it's not all that mediocre with Hawk, just a little unreliable. 
For 72 rep and as the intended beater of the crew, I find Hawk somewhat lacking in this regard. Endurance 7 with Hardened and movement 3 Acrobat are both very nice, as is Tension once he takes damage, but at defence 3 he isn't all that hard to land a big chunk of damage on in one go before he gets the defence bump. Sturdy is another bonus that is nice, but at willpower 6 in Titans it really is necessary for someone who is supposed to take damage to become better, as otherwise he will just be flopping around uselessly with no counters mid-game. He also has Agile to help him from taking fall damage, and at movement 3 he will be successfully doing this 50% of the time which is a nice bonus (although again- not huge)
Hawk has 2 abilities that are pretty great, but highly dependent on exact positioning. Teamwork:1 (Dove) lets him take a counter off of her and use it for himself, which is nice in this example because Dove won't be needing as many of her counters at any given time and can mean Hawk does more in a turn. Agent of Chaos though gives an effective Trickster to all friendly models in 4", which is a hugely reliable way to make sure the team is able to react to opponents' actions and play to the game flow. 

The second half of the Hawk and Dove pair, Dove is a healing and support model to go with Hawk's damage dealer, and she is a very useful piece in Titans crews.
At only attack 3 and with nothing to boost her close combat attacks she definitely shouldn't be punching, but she does have a useful ranged attack in her Light Projection. A Medium Range Beam weapon, it does 2 stun and a blood at RoF1 and has 3 ammo, meaning she can reliably move and shoot with it. Despite this it is still only a single shot and is prone to whiffing, which means it is best suited to being shot at lower defence enemies to guarantee the damage (and with Beam, Ping is unlikely)
Defence 4 Endurance 6 is fairly average given her cost and can't be discounted, but she does have a few traits that make her a bit more defensive. Agile helps prevent her from taking fall damage, and with Fly even if she fails this roll she will be reducing fall damage by a step which is a nice thing if she happens to be on rooftops. Native Resilient is good, but only in BatB where she won't have it from the team rules, as she really wants to be as close as possible to friendly models for her various buffs to go off. She also has Safe Hands to make her immune to the Steal effect which is very situational but not bad, and Agent of Order prevents both her and every other friendly model in 4" from having their counters reallocated by opponents, completely denying that kind of crew control.
Her Teamwork:2 with Hawk is less useful than Hawk's Teamwork with her but it is there so it can be nice. Fly means she is very quick when combined with movement 3, and as such she is a great model to put Handcuffs on to use as a finisher piece.
Her main gimmick however is in her healing potential, and boy is it good. She has the standard Medic, but with her Light Radiance can pay an extra SC to affect every character within 2" when she uses Medic (which actually includes herself given how the trait works) which allows her to very quickly get the crew back into shape, something that is invaluable in a team with such low endurance as standard.
The magic model in the team, Raven is a pure debuff piece that will be an absolute terror to an enemy crew, and is invaluable in how she can shut down opposing henchmen.
Not the greatest in direct damage, but Raven makes up for it in sheer control potential. She can very reliably shut down enemy models and stop them from doing a lot, which is very helpful in Titans as it means they're getting hit less.
Her only attack outside of doing single stun damage, her Dark Blasts are a decent Short Range attack, only doing 1 blood but having RoF2, 3 ammo, Throwing, Magic and Terror:2. It means when the fighting is most tense she will be spreading around her shots to maximise Terror, stripping willpower from models (henchmen are crippled by this). The Terror effect is a -2 to willpower until the next Raise the Plan, so those models hit are losing 2 counters next turn (possibly more given her other traits) and thus the Teen Titans crew can gain an advantage far easier. It also removes counters when they're hit, so again restricts what the opponent can do.
Raven has 2 abilities that require special counters that both play into her control/debuff role, and both are crippling to almost anything. Discourage is a pretty easy -2 to willpower, meaning 2 less counters for the opponent next turn, and Intimidation stops them from rerolling willpower rolls and from making close combat attacks altogether.
Her magic also allows her to play offensively, with the standard spell Magic Bolt for damage, but her spells are far more suited to denial and debuffing. Curse is a great way to shut down other Magic or any Hypnotise ability which can be nightmares for Teen Titans, but also a great debuff to set up attacks from the rest of the crew while they are easier to take out.
Raven is deceptively tanky, boasting a bunch of healing potential but also just sheer defence. Natural Immunities protects her from Blind, Poison and Steal, while the Demon trait means she is at -1 to be wounded always (nothing cancels Demon like it does Tough Skin or Armour) and has a permanent Desensitised-esque ability to never lose counters (which is especially amazing in Titans given Inexperience). With Occultism as well she can choose to give herself a +1 defence for that turn when she activates, putting her at defence 5 (possibly 6 through Painful Empathy) and thus very hard to combat.
Black Shadows as a spell can be used to put her into awkward positions, but most importantly prevent enemies from attacking her at range. This combined with Intimidation means she can theoretically be all but impossible to target, which is great but all around unlikely (and if she does, just attack the rest of the crew)
Raven has the highest willpower of any model in the team list at a whopping 8, making her a great caddy for Handcuffs (as does special 4, so she can still do her control stuff at the same time). She also has a lot of ways to heal the crew and herself, through Elemental Magic, Painful Empathy (pull up to 2 blood damage off friendlies and onto herself, gaining +1 attack and defence if she does) and Regeneration. She can pretty reliably put 3-4 counters in special and have uses for them with what she does, and she is definitely a versatile piece in the crew.
Raven's Magic is strong, but she is still only Magic User:3 and will only be able to cast a single spell a turn other than her unique, meaning she isn't as much of a powerhouse as some others in this regard. Her unique spell is also quite excellent, costing only 1MP and needing a 5 or more to go off on 2d6 (quite easy). The penalty is -1 defence until the end of the round if she fails, but with 2 ways to easily increase it on top of the ease in casting the downside is virtually meaningless. It gives her 2 rerolls during her next activation, which is a very effective way to increase her reliability as it works on anything (except blocks, because that's not in her activation).

The main leader of the crew, this Robin is a more offensive and synergistic version of Dick Grayson as compared to Boy Wonder Robin, and he has a ton of very useful traits in this crew.
Getting it out of the way early, he has Batlings as a ranged attack. They're ok, but not great, and he won't get too much out of it, but he does have a higher than normal 3 ammo for it which is nice.
His Bo is his primary weapon though, doing a single blood with Reach, Handy and Devastating. It's not bad by itself, but when you add in Cooperative Fighting he becomes blood/stun on it which is great. Cooperative Fighting says that when Robin is fighting an opponent already engaged by a friendly, he adds an extra stun to every dice that deals damage (which means he doesn't actually have to be touching them with his Reach). Rerolls to hit on Dick is pretty standard, while Devastating lets him fish for knockdowns and hope for extra damage, and with his attack 4 strength 4+ he's not bad at doing damage himself. He is definitely a lot worse than Nightwing in combat, but he's still no slouch.
One other nice trait Robin has in this regard is Always on the Move, which means he can interrupt his movement with attacks at any point. This allows him to very easily trigger Cooperative Fighting (especially with Stay in Formation which I will get into later) and can mean he can move to objectives while still threatening models on the way and not sacrificing his own movement.
He's a Nightwing with 1 less endurance stat-wise, and defence 4 movement 4 Acrobat is decently tough even at endurance 6 considering his rep cost. He does lack Martial Artist (although in Batfam or BatB this can be purchased) and that should be carefully considered, but overall he is ok enough for his points. A bit of a fragile Boss, but that has to be played around in Titans.
His dual rank is irrelevant in Titans, because you'll always be choosing him as a Sidekick to cancel Inexperience. The rank is overall not that useful in Brave and the Bold or Bat-Family either, as it changes nothing in Batfam except order of when VP is awarded (which goes in favour of Sidekick still), while in BatB he only loses access to a piece of equipment he wouldn't buy anyway (Hidden Magazine) unless you take another model as a Sidekick (Harvey Dent or Batwoman for example). Most of the time, he will be seen as a Sidekick for these reasons and more, and he's better off as that anyway.
This version of Robin is intended to be highly synergistic with his crew, and this shows in his trait list. Leadership is a nice way to give the crew better chances at passing willpower rolls, Charismatic allows him to bring an extra Free Agent (meaningless in Titans and Batfam but good in BatB) and Detective helps cancel any passes an opponent may have (unlikely unless they also bring a team, but possible with Informer and the like). His big draw in every list though is Stay in Formation, which lets him pull a model with him once per game. It has an 8" range, and the model moves 6", the only downside being that the model moves directly towards him and this can be blocked by obstacles (although this can be played around too as he can trigger it mid-movement for a line of least resistance). Overall a very good ability, especially in Batfam where it will speed up the slower Batmen immensely, although in general it's a great way to trigger Cooperative Fighting.
True Love: Starfire is a nice thematic ability that will probably trigger in games, and bumps him up to a pretty great attack 5 and willpower 7. That's about all that can be said about it, I wouldn't hire Starfire with the sole intention of triggering it (or vice versa) but it is useful when it comes into play.

One of the heavier hitters in the crew, Starfire does a lot of damage but is pretty fragile. She's a great mobile threat though, and can do good work in the crew.
Starfire has 2 ways of damaging opponents, both very good.
Her ranged attack is a RoF2 Beam, that does 2 blood at Medium Range which is quite good. The fact she has 2 ammo and a -2 to Ping with this damage is insane for $0, and Crit Fire is a nice effect when it happens (although that won't be often)
In melee she is attack 4 strength 2+ which already smacks of punching, but then you add Steel Hands. Triple stun damage and built in Push on her hits she will pretty easily stack damage on things, but with no bonuses to hit she isn't super reliable in what she does outside of nuking lower defence models.
She is similar to Damian Wayne in her glass cannon statline, but she replaces Acrobat with Invulnerability:1. Being immune to Casualty effects is good, but the 1 damage each turn she prevents doesn't offset the loss of Dodge in terms of staying alive, and she takes 3 double blood hits and she will be dead straight through Invulnerability anyway.
Starfire is quick, at movement 3 with Fly she can get where she needs to be. True Love: Dick Grayson is something that is actually relevant with Dick being an excellent choice in the team, and if he does die (something not unlikely) Starfire becomes a willpower 7 attack 5 monster. Safe Hands is ok on her, but largely not that relevant because of the general lack of steal in the game. Willpower 6 is fairly standard in Titans, and she is a worthy target for Inexperience, but she has good enough uses for her counters that it's not a huge loss when she does get hit with it (and there are certainly stronger options you want to take counters off)
Starfire is also special 4 for whatever reason. She will never use more than 2 in any given turn (Fly and Arrest, because she has Push built in and Grab is useless on her) so having an extra one is really not useful, but it's there.

Other options
Titans have a lot of other things to play around with, namely the Robins (many of whom I have already covered specifically in Titans or just elsewhere) who are very good options. Boy Wonder Robin is largely overshadowed by the newer Grayson Robin, but is still much better control, while Nightwing is always excellent and Damian, despite severely suffering from Inexperience in this list, is still a good cheap damage dealer same as in Batfam. The 2 Batgirls in Standard (Rebirth and New 52) are both also good options in the team, but Rebirth suffers a lot by being a Free Agent and thus New 52 Batgirl is the better option being a Sidekick (and both cheap and survivable on top of that). Like in Batfam, Batgirl makes a great Arrest piece with her stats.

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Bane Crew Review part 2- Eternal

Welcome back to part 2 of my Bane crew review. This time I will be discussing the Eternal models in the crew, with a lot more models that can also be used in League of Assassins when DKR Bane is taken. Like their Standard counterparts, these models are beefy and offensive, focused around dealing damage to the opponent quickly.

The old "Big Bane" before Rebirth came along, Arkham City Bane is also the original Bane in BMG. Because of this, he has been largely overtaken in terms of newer options, and is really a thematic play above all else
Same as Rebirth Bane, except he replaces Rebirth's Venom use with Titan. Increasing himself to attack 7 is not really that big of a deal considering he is no harder to block, but regardless he puts out a world of hurt when he hits his opponents, and with Master Fighter he gets +1 to hit. He is the equal worst Bane in terms of consistency in his attacks (and the other one is almost 60 rep less) and it has to be noted that he isn't that reliable of a hitter when compared to almost anything else in his price range.
He's exactly the same as Rebirth Bane in this regard, except replaces Venom Enrage with Titan Berserk. This is better, because not only does Titan increase his defence and endurance it also gives him Invulnerability:3 instead of 2, meaning he has a swing of 2 extra damage for those turns. It's also more versatile because he can pick up extra mid-game and keep himself juiced up.
It is here that the comparison to Rebirth becomes unfavourable. Scheming:1 absolutely does not compare to Mastermind, I Will Break You and Cool Under Fire (nor should it for 11 rep less) but Primary Target:Titan is a nice bonus, especially with the Bane strategy. It's a good extra bit of VP that can help out sometimes, but isn't game breaking. Rebirth Bane also has one higher willpower baked in, which is very important to note for certain interactions and means he will usually have an extra counter to make use of.
Affinity:Batman is a funny little possibility, although with the quality stable of Free Agents natively in Brave and the Bold it's not huge, and he will almost always be replaced with another option

The cheapest version of Bane, Arkham Origins Bane still has a place in the game but is overshadowed by DKR Bane. While still a good option, he isn't necessarily great at this point in the game's evolution
Attack 5 with Reinforced Gloves, Master Fighter and strength 3+ makes him a decent beater for his cost, and on Venom he will definitely punch above his weight. 
This Bane is also the only one to have a choice of special attacks he can do, with Large giving him access to the great Charge attack but also having Lethal Blow. With how easy it is for him to damage models, the ability to slap Stunned on something is very worthwhile, and can be useful in shutting down larger threats he can't KO outright and lock them out of the game for a time. 
Same defence 3 as Rebirth and Arkham City Bane, but with a lower endurance of 8. He still has Venom Enrage to protect himself when on Venom, but with less doses and less endurance than Rebirth he is significantly more fragile (and so he should be for the huge price drop). No Desensitised like the other Banes, but he does have Sturdy so he will only ever be losing 2 counters in a game
Origins Bane has Scheming:2, which can be ok but isn't really all that useful, and that's about all that's worth mentioning here. He is pretty fast like all Banes are, but at willpower 7 he has the lowest willpower of them all, which given he is the cheapest makes sense. 

As far as Bane henchmen go, TNT has always been the worst. Even as an Assault Rifle henchman he is the worst option for Bane, and his expensive cost isn't really offset by having anything of huge use compared to the others. I would always go for Elite Op over him now.
His Assault Rifle is great damage, as always, but it isn't enough to justify his use when there are 3 others in the Bane crew all offering more useful kit otherwise (Dallas, Barsad and Elite Op).
TNT has 2 traits that help him out defensively, and he has 1 higher endurance than normal for Bane henchmen. Flak Armour protects him against almost all of Mr Freeze's crew which is great, and makes him immune to Expansive and Explosive in general, but it's not as commonly valuable as Bulletproof Vest or even the Light Armour on the newer models, and for being more expensive than most of the other Assault Rifles it isn't really that great. He also has Hardened to reduce a little bit of damage each turn, but it isn't hugely worthwhile given how much of a priority target he will be and not being any better than the other gun options
Like the rest, he's got Veteran. He does also have Order to change around his allies' counters, but in a crew where they're all Veteran anyway it isn't hugely valuable.

A "mini-Bane" for the crew, Venom Soldier is a secondary bruiser that is functionally just a punching model/bodyguard.
Attack 3 on a combat model hurts, but he does have Reinforced Gloves and 2 Titan Doses to amp up his output. With attack 4 and strength 3+ all of a sudden he hits like a cheaper beater, and with Brutal can fish for collateral results he wants (usually knock down). All in all he's a nice piece but not massive for his cost, and there are better melee henchmen in Bane.
Having the same defensive stats as usual, but with endurance 7 and Large (so Ping penalties, rerolls to recovery) to compensate for not having Bulletproof Vest. He also has Hardened to reduce a bit of damage he takes, which is ok but not huge on him given he doesn't have much else.
The only henchman in Bane to not have Veteran, but he does make up for this by having 1 higher willpower of 6 and Bodyguard to keep Bane or Bird safer while they're on the front lines. He's no faster than the rest, losing a movement but gaining the extra 2" to his BMD from Large, but he can easily keep up with the crew anyway.

Mercenary- all of the remaining henchmen have the Mercenary trait, and thus can go in League of Assassins lists if DKR Bane is present. They can also take the Tumbler because of this trait. 
A model that has pretty much been replaced by the newer Barsad, Dallas was once the terror of Gotham in 1st edition. Still a solid piece, but Barsad is a standard version of the same thing.
He's an Assault Rifle. Long ranged triple blood and RoF3, he can nuke whatever he hits, but lacks the hit bonuses Barsad can get.
With regular Bane stats and a Bulletproof Vest, Dallas is pretty ordinary in this regard
Like almost all Bane henchmen, he has Veteran to move his counters around a bit when he activates.

The 3 regular melee models in the Bane crew, they are all fairly similar. Identical statlines, they only differ in their weapons and traits.
All 3 of them are attack 3 (so somewhat easy to block) and strength 5+ (so somewhat hard to wound). All 3 have Heavy though, bumping them up to wounding on 4s which is not bad in any regard.
McGregor has a single blood Machete as his weapon, which has Heavy and Sharp. Unlike the others, he rerolls wounds instead of hits, making him the most reliable at damaging (but also the least gain from Venom) while he has Weapon Master for a +1 to hit instead.
Mohawk has 2 single blood Ice Axes, which have crit blood, Handy and Heavy to make him a decently reliable model in combat. He also has Combo with these weapons, boosting his efficiency only slightly (or significantly under DKR Bane) but extra damage is always nice.
Smash is the only one with no traits to boost his offence, but he has the best weapon to make up for it. He has a standard Knife in case of steals (which are very rare) and his Maul is a very good weapon in a Bane crew, because it has Handy and Heavy. Like an axe but with blood/stun, he is boosted seriously by using Venom Doses because of this.
All 3 have Bane stats and Bulletproof Vests, that's about it. Decently survivable, but also not too tanky.
Veteran helps them move counters around, but that's about it. Movement 3 means they're quick enough as well, they can get good work done for their 30 rep or less cost.

A sort of midfield model, Ted Hunter has both shooting and melee but isn't amazing at either. A decent objective piece, but there are a few options in Bane now that are just better for the cost.
Ted has 2 weapons, a Shotgun and a Knife. For his cost the Knife isn't great (single blood Sharp at 5+ and attack 3) but it's there if he needs it, while the Shotgun is a weapon that is up for a lot of debate. Personally I don't rate it, as even though it can move and shoot with no penalty, that is because it's a single shot and without high damage to offset that, it's quite literally hit or miss for his usefulness. 2 blood and a stun at Medium Range isn't bad, especially with Firearm, but if you miss that's him wasted, and Sharpshooter or even Schoolboy do significantly more for only slightly more funding.
He has Bane stats and Bulletproof Vest, that's about it.
Veteran, that's it. He's a run of the mill Bane henchman with all that entails.

Sunday, 30 June 2019

Bane Crew Review part 1- Batbox and Bird set

Up next for crew reviews, we've got the big guy himself- Bane. A fairly elite crew, Bane and his henchmen are a mix between very solid combat and great shooting, and are a truly versatile crew in terms of what they can do. I've already discussed his quite good models in the Dark Knight Rises starter set, and the rest of the crew are no slouches either.

The big boy of the Bane crew, Rebirth Bane is the Leader in the Batbox, and a large threat. He isn't hugely efficient for his points compared to other options, but he has some very useful utility and is a force to be feared.
With Master Fighter and attack 6 his Reinforced Gloves are pretty reliably knocking out most things, but it only gets tuned up by his other traits. 3 Venom Doses lets him become strength 2+ with rerolls to wound, which basically means there is a very very slim chance he will fail to wound, and he can also gain Close Combat Master from I Will Break You for absolute consistency. Being Large, he also gets to make Charge attacks which are very handy and reliable with his strength.
Defence 3 is pretty low for 161 rep, but he does have endurance 10, and with Desensitised and Venom Enrage he will still keep in the fight for longer. He is especially prone to shooting with Large giving him Ping penalties, but this is something the rest of the crew can shore up with their own abilities (and really has to happen). Bane will go down to a dedicated attack, but unless he is killed or arrested he will be reliably getting back up and having his full counter spread anyway.
Like his henchmen, Bane is a Veteran to move around counters a bit and play reactively in game. He has willpower 9 which is awesome, and Mastermind to add an extra counter to the bag, while Cool Under Fire adds an extra strategy point to the crew and gives him a nice buff for his henchmen. When a model with Veteran activates within 8" of Bane (see- all the Bane affiliate models) they can remove a single effect from themselves. This could be as simple as Knocked Down, but removing things like Freeze, Cooled, Fire or Poison will be a huge benefit for the crew and a great mark for his value. Elite Boss: Soldier of Fortune lets him legally run the Batbox, and adds more value to the crew overall in getting some very good Elite henchmen.
I Will Break You
A trait that deserves it's own separate section, his unique I Will Break You is a sort of nested trait that gives him an option of a few different things. All 3 have their uses, and it really just depends on playstyle for what you pick.
The first option is +2 Venom Doses and Military Tradition. This is an increase in his survivability and wound output, but also gives him the movement bonus that Bird has, a great thing with this Bane given his steep cost (as you don't need to hire Bird as well).
The second option of Exhaustive Planner and Boss's Orders doubles down on his support role, giving him excellent pre-game and an in-game hit buff for his henchmen. This is good for Bane as a front-line leader, and can boost up the henchmen (many of whom already have Handy) to great heights.
Lastly he can choose Close Combat Master and One of the Boys, letting him use Let's Go as if he was a henchman and rerolling his misses in melee. This option turns him into a combat monster and can put out huge amounts of damage (or just a KO followed up by immediate Arrest) and is a good choice in general

Bane's sidekick from Arkham Origins (and the comics, just in a different form), Bird is largely a support piece that buffs the henchmen in different ways.
Attack 3 isn't that great, especially in such a combat-heavy crew, but he compensates in other matters. Blood/Stun at 4+ with rerolls to wound is nothing to overlook, and he also has +1 to hit with it so if he needs to, he will put out some damage.
Defence 3 and Bulletproof Vest is pretty standard in Bane, but he adds endurance 7 to this to be decently tanky, and Self-Discipline makes him immune to the Hypnotise effect which is great. As mentioned above he also has a smoke grenade, which is amazing in how it can protect the crew as well as offensively.
Like Rebirth Bane, Bird has One of the Boys to utilise Let's Go!, and Veteran to move around 2 counters when he activates (which is great at willpower 6). Batcape helps him in moving around the table, and protects him from being pushed off buildings (although why he would be on a building is a question you should ask yourself).
Being a support piece above all else, he has Military Tradition to support his crew. For 2SC he can move friendly models with Veteran 2" immediately(not himself, but this even includes Rebirth Bane). The big thing about it is that things like Aim and losing RoF on guns only specify movement in their own activation, meaning Bird can move around Rocket Launchers, Sniper Rifles and Assault Rifles for no drop in their capabilities, and although it isn't huge movement it's still something which is nice.

Quick note on "Bane stats"
Something quite apparent in this crew is just how much of it shares an identical statline. Pretty much every model in this crew has 3s across the board, willpower and endurance 5 and strength 5+, and most of these have Bulletproof Vests. There are some exceptions, but in general Bane subscribes to this as a general policy.
Both from Bird's box, these 2 are fairly similar. The cheaper henchmen in a Bane crew, but both of them are great value for what they do
Clover is a cheaper gun piece, having an Automatic Gun for short ranged shooting. He also has Rapid Fire to bump up the RoF on the gun, and allowing him to move and shoot for a bit more versatility. While he has ammo he is more efficient than Mercenary 2 with the pistol, but once the ammo is used Mercenary 2 is better with his Reinforced Gloves and higher strength, so they are fairly comparable overall.
Cuchillo doesn't have much in the way of damage, with only a Knife to offer. He has Sneak Attack to help stop blocks, but he won't be doing huge amounts of damage with his kit.
Other than their standard Bane loadout, Cuchillo has Stealth to further protect him against guns.
Bane stats on both again, but Cuchillo has Tireless for a nice speed boost. That, combined with Stealth, makes him a great piece to put Bane's Handcuffs on for a finisher piece, as he can get where he needs to and Arrest in relative safety.

The 2 most expensive of Bane's Standard henchmen, Elite and Dreadnought Op are both beefy and can dish out a lot of damage. Sharing very similar statlines and traits, they change with their specifications.
Dreadnought Op is the premiere melee henchman of the crew, and given his high cost probably should be. He carries blood/stun Tomahawks which reroll to hit and roll 2 crit die, and has strength 4+ so wounds a clean 50% of the time. Attack 4 is the highest of all Bane's henchmen, and he also has Devastating Blow to boost up his damage. This special attack costs 1SC to use, and gives him +1 strength and crit blood on his melee attacks (and he still rolls 2, so potential 2 extra blood). With this and Venom he will be a damage monster, and can easily get work done when he needs to.
Elite Op has the always great Assault Rifle for high damage shooting potential, but he also has Shooter to boost up his short range capabilities. When in 8" the target will not benefit from Ping! which means he is likely to do a ton of damage whenever he hits, which is needed at his cost.
Neither of these 2 have Bulletproof Vests, which makes them the most vulnerable to guns in the crew. They do have Light Armour though to always be -1 to wound, and have a higher endurance than most with Elite having 6 and Dreadnought at 7, meaning they are still pretty tanky.
Elite (Soldier of Fortune) means that if you want to take more than one, you need Bird or Rebirth Bane first (which only really effects DKR Bane). Both have Veteran as can be expected, and they're both fairly standard in stats for Bane models.

2 of the more gun focused Soldiers of Fortune, Schoolboy and Sharp Shooter both deal a stack of damage in a single shot. They're high damage spiking models, although not guaranteed to always be consistent.
Schoolboy has the same Rocket Launcher weapon as the Militia Soldier 3 only lacking Good Aim to make it truly amazing. Schoolboy is good damage, and can ruin clumped together enemies, but is at the whim of the dice as he needs to make sure he can hit, and must stay still to shoot. It's a valuable weapon, but it has to be played around to be truly effective (being moved by Rebirth Bane or Bird is a good option here)
Simply put, the Sniper Rifle is amazing. Unlimited range with a Scope and Anti-Tank, it is a great way to put damage onto enemy models with it's single shot. It also has Bleed:3 for potential 7 blood, but the fact it already one shots most henchmen (and severely wounds most others) is enough to justify this gun for $300 rep. It does have Reload, so will be able to be played around in the turns it isn't firing, but the sheer threat from it is huge, with cover and Ping! not meaning anything. Holds Breath is another great trait on him, shared with his fellow sniper Deadshot, that means he can spend the same 2AC he would fire with to instead get a +1 to hit and to collateral die next round. This not only means he has +1 to hit, but also gets his crit of 3 blood on a 5+, which is amazing.
Regular Bane stats, but these 2 have neither Bulletproof Vest nor any armour. This makes them pretty fragile for Bane, but being shooting models that don't really want to be on the front line, it's acceptable.
Both have Veteran as can be expected, and both are Elite:Soldier of Fortune. Schoolboy has a Gas Mask for those times when it comes into play (having it base is ok, just buying it is crap) while Sharp Shooter has Undercover. This is huge, because it allows him to get into great sniper nests early on and potentially shoot from turn 1 nuking henchmen.

A sort of Bane/League hybrid, Stealth Op is very similar to the Ninjas of the League but with a Bane flair.
He has standard stats for a League ninja in attack 3, strength 5+ with a Katana, but in Bane has great easy access to both Titan and Venom. Both of these jack up his power, and can make him great at killing, but in general he is just as effective as League models are in combat.
As can be expected for Bane, Kabuto has a Bulletproof Vest for gun protection, but being a ninja also has defence 4 and Stealth. This lets him get up the table pretty easily, and makes him both a great objective runner and protects him on the way into combat.
Veteran and Elite (Soldier of Fortune) like most of the others, but he does have Undercover as well, meaning he deploys further up the table and gets to wait until after objectives are placed.

A really cool addition in the Batbox, Support Op is as his alias says- a support piece. He is best suited sitting behind the combat, and with his grenade launcher can dictate where he is putting damage pretty easily. 
With 2 very good weapon profiles, his grenade launcher is a great weapon to have and is pretty damn cheap. 4 ammo total, he is Medium Range on both profiles (double that of other grenades) and only ever needs a 3+ to hit because of Grenade on both weapons. 
The regular grenade profile is blood/stun and Firearm with Explosive, letting him put out some great area damage at a long distance. 
His other profile is a 16" range smoke grenade. The versatility of being able to put it further out in the field is a great bonus, and as always it lets him protect the crew from being shot at by the opponent. 
Bane stats and Bulletproof, but with Hardened added in. It's a nice bonus, but won't really protect him from too much given most blood weapons do double damage anyway (eg 3 hits from a sword or axe will still do 5 blood and kill him)
Elite: Soldier of Fortune and Veteran again, that's about it. 

Objective- Osito
Bane's Batbox objective is his teddy bear Osito, which works fairly similar to a Loot objective that can't be affected by Strategies. Bane himself doesn't need to spend MC to move with it though, and gains an additional VP from holding it, while he gets 2 free MC if an enemy is holding it, and +1 to hit vs that model so he can very easily take it off them. It ends up being a game of chicken with this objective, as the opponent can score from it, but runs the risk of Bane being super fast and very angry in the process, meaning he will absolutely be in combat. In the end, it's a nice way of having a very useful Bane buff, and if they don't take the bait it becomes a 2VP objective on Bane which is also useful.

Strategy- Titan Container Located!
This Strategy is 1 cost, so cheap to take, but requires you to take a Titan objective to use it. It moves this objective 4" ignoring usual objective rules, so can be useful to pull it into positions where it will work in your favour. It is an especially fun combo with Change of Plans to pull around multiple objectives and cluster them together where they normally would not be allowed. This strategy is also of note in that DKR Bane in a League list can take it, as it fulfils all the requirements of crew strategies (Bane is Boss, so Bane's strategy can be taken)

Bane has a lot of equipment options, and many of them now differ from the rulebook as they were updated in the Batbox. They are geared towards his elite/combat focused crew, and there are some really great takes.
Titan Dose is fairly standard in terms of it's use (being good) and at $100 is a steal. Bane should take this fairly often in his crew, even at 0-1 it will make your biggest melee henchman a lot better for one turn.
Handcuffs are a huge way of mitigating Bane himself only doing stun damage, and for $100 is near autotake. Just the ability to remove models from play quicker is such a big boon, and the equipment is very cheap.
Backpack isn't that great, because you have to take Loot to make use of it (and why take that when you can take Osito) and it costs the same as Titan or Venom which are just more useful.
Venom Dose I've already discussed in what it does, but it's use as equipment is slightly debatable. When Venom Lab is taken and they cost $50 you should always take at least 2 (probably the maximum of 3) but at $100 it's much more of a thought as to what other equipment you're taking and how Venom fits in.
Gas Mask is the same as always- not worth it. Gas isn't overly common and paying $150 to ignore it on one model isn't a great way to spend funding.
Antidote like Gas Mask, it isn't worth it to pay $150 on the chance you might be against Poison.
Night Vision Goggles is such a good upgrade I can't find the words to express it. Putting it on an Assault Rifle bumps it's cost up to $800 (NVG is $200) but giving such a good gun Night Vision is invaluable, and will be amazingly useful all of the time.
Grapple-Gun as a 0-2 option is pretty rare, and at $300 is moderately cheap. You'll probably only ever take 1 though with the huge amount of great guns and equipment available to Bane, a single Grapple is enough.
Bane Options
Venom Applicator is a 0 funding upgrade that costs 2 rep, and allows the model to give Doses that they have to a model in base contact. It's not bad filler if you have rep spare, and it's 0-2 so can be spread out, but usually the model with it will want the Doses themselves so it isn't an always use. 
Venom Laboratory is an equipment option only for Leaders and Sidekicks, and it costs $100 but a big 5 rep. It lets models use more than one Titan Dose per game, which is a nice bonus to have and may come in handy (although more useful in Eternal games) and reduces the cost of Venom Doses to a dirt cheap $50, which is great to have. The best part is, the bonus remains even if the model is removed from play, so the crew will always benefit from the extra Titan use. It's a great equipment to take, especially if you're already taking Venom, and even more so if you take Titan as an objective. 
Bird Options
Military Progress is mostly for those few henchmen in the crew that don't have Veteran, because that's what this equipment gives. 0-2 $150 it's decent, and helps Bird synergise with more models, but is at the expense of other equipment so it's usually something that gets added in later.