Thursday, 8 October 2015

Crew Building 101: The Joker

One of the massive draws of the Batman Miniature Game is the massive variety of crews and characters drawn from the Arkham series of video games, as well as all manner of DC properties. If you have a favourite mainstream Batman hero or villain, chances are, there's a miniature for it (sorry, Condiment King...).

However, this can pose a problem when it comes to deciding what crew or miniatures to buy, paint and collect. So, over the next few weeks, I'll be taking a look at some of the crews available in the game, and talk about the best ways to start these crews, and what make good additions to each crew. In my personal collection, I have about 7 painted crews at the 350 reputation level, so I have lots to choose from to feature here.

I'll be looking at building crews to various reputation points, starting at roughly 150 rep, then on to 200, 300 and finally 350 rep, which is currently the reputation costs of most tournaments and official events. Don't forget too, that BMG uses a dual cost system, using a combination of a reputation cost and a funding ($) cost. For every 150 rep or part thereof, you can spend $500 in funding.

Today, I'm going to be taking a look at everyone's favourite Clown Prince of Crime, The Joker!

The first and most obvious purchase to consider is the Joker crew starter set. This set comes with Mista J himself, and 3 clowns, the Ringmaster, Contra-Auguste, and a Clown. This is a really solid way to start a Joker crew. The Joker himself is a veritable villains toolbox of special rules and traits, making for a very flavourful, and forgiving style of play. Kaos Agent allows you to remove one of your opponents turn counters from the pot, meaning your crew gets to see more action. Trickster allows your henchmen to re-arrange their actions counters as they activate, and then you have the dreaded One Shot Gun, an auto hit, 3 blood damage attack that has CRT: Casualty. Nasty stuff.

Of course, there are other Joker variants as well. Heath Ledger's Joker brings all of the above, plus the ability to blow up your henchmen, and Titan Joker is there if you basically want to scare the pants of your opponent. I've gone for the Arkham City version of Joker that comes in the crew box, just because he's my all time favourite rendition of the Joker (Mark Hamill ftw!).

Don't forget, the Joker's crew can now also be led by the Arkham Knight version of Harley Quinn, and she has her own tasty variety of special rules to bring to the crew. I won't go into them now, but it's something I'll look into in a later article.

The Henchmen that come in the box are a good starting point, with the Ringmaster being particularly tough. The Clown with the knife is also repeatable, meaning you can take multiple copies of him in your crew, should you be able to pick up extra miniatures of him.

The whole starter box set come to a total of 158 Reputation and $0 funding:

So, now that you have a solid start, it's time to expand the crew. One thing that I haven't spoken about so far is Sidekicks. The Joker crew is blessed (or cursed, depending on your point of view) in having the most amount of releases so far in the BMG range, meaning theres loads to choose from, for both Sidekicks and Henchmen. I've not picked any Sidekicks up for my crew yet (or rather, not painted any yet), so it's not something I'm going to talk about in this article, but the choice is out there. Two version of Harley, Joker's Daughter, and Mr Hammer make up his Sidekicks.

For Henchmen, once again, we have loads of choice. For my crew, I went for the Joker Thugs set II, Triston and August:

Triston is armed with a Shotgun, and clocks in at 26 rep and $300 (most Firearm armed miniatures will come with a $ cost which helps with balancing). August is armed with an Axe, and costs 25 rep, $0. Triston adds some much needed firepower to the crew, and due to the Shotgun being Rate of Fire 1, he's very mobile, and can move and fire without losing RoF. August is a bit of a beast with his Axe, having both the Handy and Heavy rules, meaning you can reroll hits and add +1 Strength.

There are other Henchmen sets out there, with Joker Thugs set I being particularly awesome, as it includes the clown Sniggering, armed with a deadly Assault Rifle. I've not picked these guys up yet however (to my shame!). With these guys added, we're now in the 200 rep bracket, namely 209 rep, $300:

So, we've got bodies, and some pretty awesome special rules, but we're missing out on some heavy close combat punch. If you've elected to use Titan Joker for your leader, then you don't really need to worry about this. However, if like me, you've gone for a more classic version of Mista J, you need to add something a little heavier. That's where this guy comes in:

Joker's Titan Clown was featured in the Arkham City video game, and adds some much need heaving hitting power to Joker's crew. Clocking in at 59 rep and $0, he's not cheap, but he packs a punch. With a 3+ Strength and 8 Endurance, he's going to be doing a far bit of damage. He also has the trait Stupid, so he's not going to be doing any good on the Objectives front, but then, that's not what he's here for. Point him at the enemy, and wrack up the casualty count. With him in our crew, we're now at 268 rep, $300:

The latest additions to my Joker crew really caught my eye when they were released, as I think they are some of the best Joker minis produced, having featured in the Arkham Origins game, Asker and Borgon, Joker's Elite Clowns:

At 38 and 42 rep respectively, these guys add more punch to Joker's crew. Asker brings more ranged firepower with his hand gun, and is not too shabby in CC with his Meat cleaver either. Borgon is just a monster in CC, with his Heavy hammer and endurance 7. If I'm honest, there are probably better (read: more competitive) choices out there for Joker's henchmen, particularly now that Knight Models have released the AK Harley Quinn box set (who doesn't love a Henchman with a chainsaw, amirite?), but I just love the character of these miniatures.

So, this brings my crew up to 348 rep, $500 funding. Plenty of room for extra equipment and ammo for my henchmen as well:

350 rep, $1500 funding is the standard for official Knight Model tournaments, so I always try and build crews to that. Looking back at the crew, I'll likely add more to it in the near future, probably dropping the titan clown in favour of Sniggering and his assault rifle (because, assault rifle), and the shield clown.

I hope you've enjoyed this look at the Joker and his bunch of clowns. They really are a fun crew to play, and quite forgiving for the beginner. Next time, I'll take a look at one of my other crews, and go through the building process for them. If you have any crew requests that you'd like me to feature, just leave a comment.



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