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H.Q. Dispatches Pt. 4
Changes to Heroes
Justin Webb

First things first. Here are the changes:

  • 100-pt Constructed — One Hero per army
  • 150-pt Constructed — One Hero per army
  • 200-pt Constructed — One Hero per army
  • Limited (80-pt Sealed) — No changes

What does this mean for Constructed?
For DCI-sanctioned Constructed tournaments (100pt, 150pt, or 200pt), each army can contain up to one Hero.

What does this mean for Limited?
In DCI-sanctioned Limited tournaments, each player builds an army from either one Starter Set and one Booster Pack; or from two Booster Packs. We don’t want to tell players that they can’t play with minis they just pulled. The chances of getting an overpowered build from such a small pool of miniatures is small enough that “if it falls out of the box, you can play with it.” So, potentially, in Limited an army could contain two Heroes.

What does this mean for Casual?
The official rules of the game in the AAM Advanced Rulebook apply to 100pt Constructed games. When using these rules, in a 100pt game, each army can contain up to one Hero. We recommend also applying this rule to casual 150pt and 200pt games.

We realize that some players enjoy recreating battles at a much larger scale than those covered in the AAM Advanced Rulebook. It’s totally up to you what limitations you apply to Heroes in these cases, but we recommend one Hero per 500pt.

We also realize that, as the number of points increase in a battle, so do scaling irregularities. In a truly humongous game, it might make sense to limit the types of Soldiers a Hero can spawn from, or the number of times a Hero can spawn from the same Soldier. As always with games that don’t use the official 100pt rules, feel free to come up with your own house rules to enhance your play experience.

Why did we do this?
We don’t want to make drastic changes to the rules of the game. We want it to be as intuitive as possible for new players to play Heroes straight out of the box.

We didn’t want to introduce new rules for spawning Heroes. We’re happy with their current flavor (a single Soldier becomes distinct from his squad by doing something “above and beyond”), just not the frequency at which they’ve been appearing. A “sacrificial” replacement spawning ability goes against the Heroes current flavor.

We’re also pretty happy with the power levels of the Heroes—we don’t want to errata them. Here’s Mons Johnson’s (AAM R&D lead) reasoning behind the changes:

I don’t think that heroes are degenerate. They were designed and developed to be at the “top of the curve” in terms of power—equal to the best of the other units in the game.

There was a lot of early discussion over limiting Heroes. The discussed choices included limiting the heroes by making them unique (one per nationality); have an absolute cap (one per army); or to not put any limit on the heroes. For game and flavor balance, it made a lot of sense to make them unique—in fact, they originally were unique. Since Heroes are uncommon, players can easily get multiple copies of any given Hero, so making them unique was a significant limitation. (We don’t want you to not be able to play with your minis.) It was decided to make them as playable and accessible as possible, so no limitations were put on Heroes.

In playtesting, it was shown that Heroes were very strong, but did have limitations. There were many occasions when a multi-Hero army was thwarted by an accurate long-range shot that destroyed (or disrupted) a key Cavalry, Commander or Motorcycle unit, rendering the Hero army much less effective.

Experience has shown that Heroes play better as a small element of a combined army rather than the central focus. The armies where Heroes outnumber the regulars feel wrong to us. Hence we’ve decided to limit Heroes to 1 per army in Constructed play.

Thanks again for everyone’s feedback on this matter. See you on the boards.

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