Thursday, 10 June 2010

Tactica: Nuclear Jones

NAME: Nuclear Jones
FUNCTION: Blaster/Support.

BRIEF: Heavy Metal’s premier blaster and radiation-fuelled powerhouse.

POWERS: Nuclear Jones is very attack focused, having 3 combat Exclusive Actions at his disposal. All of these actions play of one of his Trump Traits and have decent range or area of effect; in short he is a real combat powerhouse.

Nuclear Missile is nice and straight-forwards as a mid-range attack; combine with Move* for a 12 inch threat range. To take best advantage of the Action’s special rule to be used again, try to use Nuclear Missile during Nuclear Jones’ first activation each Game Round. With the Trump and Power-Up, this is probably one of the most devastating single-target attacks that any level 2 has.

Atom Heart is what qualifies Nuclear Jones as a support model. Since one of Nuclear Jones’ Exclusive Actions (Nuclear Leak) is very destructive to friend and foe alike, that may be more an end-of-game option, as is Detonation (also below), meaning that Atom Heart is best used in the early stages of a game before your forces disperse, or at least in conjunction with Nuclear Missile. A nice option, to best use this Action encourages a team to be built around Heavy Metal to maximize benefits. At EL 12 this is obvious, but at lower EL’s it means a quite specific line-up selection; Science Origins have a slight advantage in the meta-game right now, so an all Heavy Metal team is no bad thing. Of course strategy should not be based on one Action alone, but the upshot is that Nuclear Jones and Dr. Mercury both have very Heavy Metal-specific abilities in their repertoires, so there is real value in considering an all-Heavy Metal Team even at lower EL’s.

Nuclear Leak – very destructive, especially against targets with high/Trumped defenses (:AGL against Nuclear Missile for example); even the toughest target is going to suffer that Aftershocks Damage. Nuclear Leak is naturally fairly inimical to Atom Heart since it means keeping friendly models at a safe distance. Most Minions will be vaporized by Nuclear Leak, so it can be especially useful for thinning out hordes of Necro GI’s, Zombies or Mysterious Man-created Minions. If the Nuclear Jones player wants to create an area of temporary deterrence, useful against Minions and Supremes alike, then using the damage-inducing Action-payment option gives a 16.66% extra chance of succeeding in staying in place. I would suggest that a cost of 2 Damage from a starting pool of only 11 is too costly for such a precious model like Nuclear Jones unless there are no obvious alternatives. To get to Aftershocks 4+ there is a chance of that happening each round; to get to Aftershocks 7 for example, there is a 2.77% to 11.11% chance of that happening without using Damage to pay the cost of the Action (which will take the course of 4 Rounds; the first in which the Action is used, the second with first Aftershocks, and then two more rounds of increase); if using Damage the best this goes to in order to get to Aftershocks 6 is around 50%, but at that cost of 2 Damage, and of course the need to get the enemy into the right area. So the odds are not dead-on that it will get to massive damage potential. Of course Aftershocks 7, 6 or 5 is plenty, but so is Aftershocks 3 in my view. It is a great Action, I just feel it is just uncommon that it will get to the massive damage thresholds if your opponent knows what to look out for. Also, don’t forget that a Self Blast affects the range from the model, so a Nuclear Leak that stays in place has an effective diameter of just over 7 inches.

Detonation – Nuclear Jones’ ‘pre-emptive revenge’ Action. Keep in mind that while Heavy Metal models (friend or foe, by the way; Heroes can of course fight Heroes…) are Immune/Detonation, Nuclear Jones is still removed on using this action. In games not counting Agenda Points for lost Supremes this is not too costly, except for the loss of the model, but unless Nuclear Jones is on the verge of being taken out then it is wasteful to use this Action too early since in the following Game Round his AP contribution will be lost. If he is down to his last few Damage, then this an attractive and viable option.

Skills: not much to comment on except that Levitate offers some freedom of Movement; his Hatred is very narrow meaning you can forget about it until playing against Mysterious Man. It is Instability and Leave No Trace that are the ones to pay attention to: the more Damage he is exposed to, the more Instability rolls are needed. Thus, lots of low-yield Damage results could still run the risk of triggering that Instability.

Team Power – Weird Affinity: basically Nuke and Nuclear Jones cancel each other out. Neither a disadvantage nor an advantage really, very much a neutral and low-key Team Power.

WEAKNESSES: Nuclear Jones possesses decent defensive Traits, but a mediocre Damage track as far as Level 2 Supremes go. This means he can hold his own, but still needs to be used mindfully, especially if he falls victim to an unlucky Instability roll. Consider equipping Nuclear Jones with a First Aid Kit to mitigate his limited Damage pool. Another weakness is his suite of Exclusive Actions; Detonation is one-use only meaning that in game management terms he is largely limited to 3 Exclusive Actions as well as Universal Actions.

SYNERGIES: Heavy Metal – it should go without saying, but Nuclear Jones can help his team-mates with Atom Heart and they are Immune/Detonation, and so the more Heavy Metal Supremes that are near him the better. Dr. Mercury’s Mercurial Matrix makes Nuclear Jones even tougher for a round so he is a good companion. Chronin can maximize Nuclear Jones’ Nuclear Missile (especially if Trump has already been used) and Detonation attacks with Rewind. Outside of Heavy Metal, Blood Rose may be useful for placing Nuclear Jones in the best place for Nuclear Leak and/or Detonation, Trail can use A Second Ahead to allow Nuclear Jones to unleash a devastating torrent of attacks, and Stoner Hawk can be used to mitigate the limited Damage track that Nuclear Jones has due to his own Team Power, or Vector can do something similar with his Pixels. That said, on balance an all-Heavy Metal Team makes the most sense.


  1. A general question - how tall are these figures? They look larger than than 'typical' 28mm ones, but I can't seem to find a definitive statement anywhere that actually says how tall they are! Thanks.

  2. Some examples from the 'normal' size minis:
    Harrier - 28mm to the eyes, 31-32mm to top of head
    Dead Eye - 34mm to the eyes, 37mm to top of head
    Mysterious Man - 33mm to the eyes, 35mm to top of head
    Vector - 31mm to the eyes, 34mm to top of head
    Sgt. Bale - 31-32mm to the eyes, 35mm to top of head

    Obviously posing affects the heights etc. Tangent is noticably taller than the rest, but she is supposed to be a former basketball player which may account for that.

  3. Excellent - that's really helpful (I wanted to see how they'd measure up with Killer B's GAFDOZ range of retro sci-fi figures as I'm kicking around the idea of a Legion Of Super-Heroes-style game and am always on the look-out for compatible figures). Thank you.


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