I ran this the other day for Infinity and I think that it can be pretty helpful when you’re beginning to just be told which abilities are considered the best. Now, these don’t necessarily mean that these are the best. There are strong models, they might even be overwhelming models in your meta but the goal here is to make decisions simple. Less text is good in many ways, but not even understanding the words makes purchasing decisions difficult. When you want to play Batman, it’s important to understand the distinction between one or another.
The first thing that you should pay attention to the Rank. Leader is pretty obvious, most of the time. Sidekick is where things get interesting. These models can be your Boss which means you can get another Sidekick. Two Sidekicks sounds great but they’re expensive and not usable if you have a Leader. Furthermore, buying a third Sidekick for a faction is probably inadvisable. Free Agents have limits of one per every 150 points. If you’re just starting out, be selective with which Free Agents to buy. You’ll be torn on who to use in 150, 200 and 250 point games, it is only when you get to 300 plus games where they start coming out in force. Lastly, the Affinity Special Trait turns a model into a Free Agent as long as they’re working with their Affinity. Even Leaders can suddenly become Free Agents.
The next thing to look for with Characters is Strength and Damage. Luckily, Strength is a nice easy to understand number at the top of the Principal Characteristics. 4+ is where damage begins, having a 5+ is not the most reliable. Some models have weapons that augment their Damage. Firearm, Beam and Mechanical replace the characters’ Strength with another number, this is usually for Ranged Weapons but could be for Melee Weapons too. Sharp is another Weapon Trait you should keep your eye on, as it lets you reroll failed Damage rolls. The amount of damage your looking for is at least Two Stars (Stun Damage) or one Blood (Blood Damage), ideally as much Blood Damage as possible. Stun Damage knocks a character out but Blood is required to make sure they stay down with deadly strikes. The reason why you want a minimum of two Damage is that for every two Damage done to most Characters, they lose Willpower Dice and are unable to just tank the damage. Finally, Reinforced Gloves, Claws and Retractable Claws allow characters to do more than basic damage, those are Special Traits and not Item Traits – something else to look for.
As in all fighting games, it is speed that normally determines the victor. Batman is objective-based, you gain VP for getting there before your opponent and holding that spot. That’s why movement is important in Batman. In tabletop games that translates to a model’s Movement. With 10cm being the base move of models, Big and Acrobat begin their showing with 12cm. These are two key Special Traits that deserve a paragraph unto themselves, just keep them in mind. A Character’s MC determines how far models may move when spending dice. Batclaw (aka Grapple Gun on some characters) and Fly are two skills that let a model move incredibly efficiently with 30cm moves. More basic moves are Fast for MC rerolls and Tireless for taking less dice to perform a Run.
Acrobat and Big are so important they both go their own articles: Size Matters on Big and The Dancer on Acrobats. The value of Acrobat is that gives you the rule Dodge, which allows you to spend 1 MC to roll a Defence against Ranged Attacks. This means most models are unable to Defend against Ranged Attacks, making Dodge and Acrobats (who gain Dodge) incredibly valuable against poke and zoning from your opponent. What makes Big useful is that they’re immune to a Knock Down from non-Big models, the fact that they’re a Bruiser is a bonus. A Bruiser is a type of model that can take damage and dish it out; they’re important to clearing the way to grab objectives.
As for the fighting, the first obvious tactic is mobbing up and just trying to dogpile an opponent. There is the weight of attacks where they can’t block everything, but more importantly it is to take advantage of the Outnumbered rule. If you’re outnumbered, your Defence drops by 1. Martial Artist ignores this rule, which makes them great at taking on swarms. Other combat abilities to keep an eye out for are Handy and Combo (with Weapon). Handy lets you reroll missed Attacks. Combo gives you an additional die for Attacks whenever you spend two dice, meaning an Attack 4 model can launch 6 Attacks.
On the Defence side, there’s the Bane trademark: Insensitive. Normally, models generate less Willpower the more damaged they are. For every two damage on models, they lose 1 Willpower die during Raise the Plan. Insensitive ignores all damage to Willpower; there are only three modes of operation: alive, asleep or dead. Sturdy is the discount version with every 3 damage causes Willpower dice loss instead of two. Lastly, there’s Batman’s Trademark defence his Bat Armor. Mk1 has a 5+ while Mk2 is a 6+ to ignore damage. That’s right, any time Batman takes any damage from anywhere, you still get one save to shrug off all of the damage.
As a recap, here are the important keywords to look for when starting Batman:
- Firearm – 2+ to Damage
- Beam – 2+ to Damage
- Mechanical – 3+ to Damage
- Sharp – Reroll failed Wounds
- Reinforced Gloves – Unarmed Strikes do 2 Stun
- Claws – Unarmed Strikes do one Stun and one Blood
- Retractable Claws – Unarmed Strikes do one Stun and one Blood; they are also considered Sharp
- Fly – Move 30cm with 1 Special and 1 Move
- Batclaw – Move 30cm in a straight line with 1 Special and 1 Move
- Fast – Reroll Movement Dice
- Tireless – Run with 1 Special instead of 1 Special and 1 Move
- Big – 12cm move, immune to Knock Down
- Acrobat – 12cm move, can Dodge
- Martial Artist – Ignore Outnumbered -1 Defence
- Handy – Reroll missed Attacks
- Combo – Gain 1 Attack die for every 2 Attack dice spent
- Insensitive – Ignore Willpower penalties from damage
- Sturdy – Lose one Willpower die during Raise the Plan for every 3 damage, instead of regular 2 damage
- Bat Armor – Ignore Damage on a 5+ or 6+