How to beat the BMG Batsignal?
The BMG Batsignal has become not only an auto take objective for any crew that can gets their hands on it, but also overrun BMG’s competitive scene.
How does one go about countering this extremely powerful objective? The following are the best BMG batsignal tactics I have either employed or seen used. It’s very strong, but hardly the auto-win some might have you believe.
A little bit of history
The Batsignal has been a staple of the Batman crew since its inception, offering 4 victory points when turned on, but 1 to your opponent when turned off. Crucially not requiring the usually small batman crews to stay camped on an objective. It is also available to Law Forces.
When it came out flyers were a distant dream for the good guys. The fastest option being the Batpod (which in itself was rarely considered a highly competitive option). The detective was really the only way to get it on within the first few turns.
Even then he sat very vulnerably on the floor next to it, awaiting backup.
Then flyers came, Hawkgirl and her ilk. These had the speed to backup the detective, or, with abilities like flying high, turn it on themselves by turn two. However, it could still be turned off with relative ease, being on the ground and accessible to all characters. Thus games with the signal became an intense tactical battle of ensuring getting the final activation, a tactic that is still valid and touched on below.
Then it all changed…
At this point Batman still had arguably the best objective in the game in the hands of a skilled player, and then….. with one fell errata, it was decided it needed a boost.
The Batsignal was now allowed on a rooftops! In fact not just rooftops, more accurately, ANYWHERE in the opponent’s deployment zone. This combined with the
Cyborg Batman Crews’ vast access to a cadre of high powered flyers (Cyborg, Hawkman,Hawkgirl and now the popular Starfire), and variety of batclaw wielding characters alongside our old friend the detective with hidden, meant this previously strong objective became completely OP.
Now the Batman player could turn the Batsignal on as it sat on a rooftop with minimal fear the opponent would be able to turn it off.
We can speculate that in the future other crews will gain a host of more survivable flyers (Firefly and the new Joker bots are so fragile they might as well knock themselves out) or manoeuvrable characters. Until then it’s the situation we have to live with.
Of course, in the hands of a good player, the Batsigal provides an advantage like nothing else in the game. So tactics against it will usually still result in a hard-fought battle. Having beaten it many times, however, this is what I have learned:
BMG Batsignal Tactics
Sewers and Lampposts
Tactical placement of sewers and lampposts can prevent the rooftop deployment of a Batsignal, as it cannot be placed within 5cm of any urban furniture pieces. A common tactic here is to create little triangles of lampposts and a sewer. Taking the maps strategy multiple times is a fun way to zone off rooftops and raised areas in all deployment zones, offering you potentially 7-9 lampposts and 1-3 sewers.
Or, even better, the new road warning signals strategy. Providing you with 4 mini lampposts, giving yourself potentially 12. That, plus your D3 lampposts and D3 sewers should mean it is literally impossible for your opponent to get a Batsignal on a rooftop with the correct deployment.
In fact, with that many pieces of urban furniture to place, you can basically dictate where all objectives go in certain small deployment area scenarios. However, crucially remember that you deploy the urban furniture BEFORE you choose deployment zones. So it is important to try and zone off areas in ALL deployment zones.
On the note of strategies: remember to be very wary with fast advance (add 10 cm to your deployment zone) as this might screw up your carefully placed lamps and sewers denial zones.
The following are some diagrams of typical uses of this tactic in all scenarios (barring chance encounter, as YOU get to place your opponents batsignal in that scenario).
Other BMG Batsignal strategies in general:
Distant distraction (makes an opponent’s henchmen take a willpower role before the first turn and if it fails it cannot move). This can be useful to prevent a turn one detective turning on the signal.
Um…thats about it.
If your opponent has a detective, make sure your crew can see every area of your deployment and all entrances into it. It might seem useless to place a henchmen looking down that back alley at the end of your deployment, or overlooking a rooftop, but you can be sure as hell your opponent will deploy both his detective and Batsignal in that area you thought wasn’t worth defending.
Remember: the detective can’t be deployed where he can be seen. Total Vision on models such as Joker and Catwoman prevent hidden models deploying outside their deployment zone altogether. Night vision is also useful for closing down areas that the detective can be deployed.
If you’ve taken the above advice about locking off rooftops, you should go about countering the floor bound Batsignal in the same way you would any objective. Knowing full well that your opponent needs to get it on ASAP also helps. In many games, playing denial actually works vs the Batsignal, as if you both just run for your own objectives the Batcrew will usually win on VPs automatically (usually 9 a turn for Ammo, Titan and the Batsignal).
However, as you will be scoring VPs from their Batsignal whilst it is off, they HAVE to come to you. In this scenario I recommend taking Riddles (I know, I know, but bear with me), Ammo and Titan as your objectives (or joker gas instead of Riddles if running Joker). Not because you want to score off the riddles, but because the best you opponent can get is 2vps and at worst -2vps. If you took a loot they could stay even on VPs with you.
Turning on/off the bat signal usually comes down to who gets to go last. Try and stack this in your favour as much as possible. Taking (as mentioned above) detectives (the trait, not the model) and informers goes a long way to helping.
Unfortunately, the Batman crew already has plenty of models with those rules pre-included. The good news is: they usually have less models in the crew. So, their detectives (minus one enemy pass) become infinitely less useful than yours.
A tactic I regularly use late game is re-knocking out models that I’ve knocked out before and who are already on a high amount of damage. Even if it provides no real in game advantage. For the simple reason that it robs my opponent of an activation and thus upsets the order in your favour.
BMG Batsignal: Control
This is quite a broad heading for the many ways you can mess with an opponents ability to use the Batsignal.
Possibly the best way is preventing them spending MC counters and thus manipulating the Batsignal. There are several ways of doing this.
Works by simply preventing a model, that the character with halt! can see, spending MC when they attempt to. Importantly, it only works as long you can remain able to see them. If the opponent’s model starts its move in your sight ,but then uses it’s basic move to go to the Batsignal which is out of sight, it will still be able to manipulate it on.
Models which have this rule are Killer Frost and via the whistles available to (ironically) the Batman and Green Arrow crews. Which makes it a far better counter to people trying to turn off the Batsignal.
Thus, if facing whistle wielding cops (usually a pair of stripper cops in my experience), prioritise their deaths as fast as you can.
A whistle in the hands of a skilled player will ruin your day. They are arguably the best equipment in the game in terms of sheer versatility and usefulness. Inversely, if you and your opponent bring Batsignals, use your whistles to prevent them turning on their Batsignal and also turning off yours.
Something I only used the other day at a tournament for the first time is throwing a smoke grenade at the Batsignal. This prevents the models inside the smoke area spending any MC, thanks to the Blind rule they suffer whilst in smoke. Not a be all and end all solution, but very useful to remember. Especially if you’re sitting on their ammo container tossing them over.
Luckily, ALL evil crews have access to them via your friendly neighbourhood Prisoner 5. Scarecrow has access to another via the Military Commander as well. I cannot state enough how useful this usually unused piece of equipment is, not only for preventing MC being spent but also for locking off LoS for shooters and tossing one at just the right point on the floor so it just touches your opponents models and not yours then utilising them blocking on 6s thanks to blind.
This immensely annoying little ability reallocates two of your opponents AC, and has no range other than being able to see them. Usually, if you have this ability, your opponent will counter it by putting three dice into MC. Thus preventing you removing them all, leaving them able to turn the Batsignal on (or back on in later rounds).
You can mess with this by removing enough counters so that they can’t actually reach the Batsignal (all flyers need a SC in order to fly so thats the one that always gets moved out).
Or in the scenario that they’re already beside the Batsignal, try to make the character more vulnerable. Move dice out of defence and then attack them. Usually a model beside the Batsignal wants to activate last in order to turn it back on (assuming you have someone there to turn it off).
This makes them vulnerable before that. Utilise this by either forcing them to activate early meaning you’ll be able to turn the signal off, or taking them out in their vulnerable state.
All this is based on the theory that you made them place it on the floor with your canny terrain placement. Also to note is that you’ll never regret having this ability in your crew. It’s useful against all opponents and when used well, it can ruin the best laid plans and lock down models.
Models that have access to this ability are Riddler, Harley Quinn AC (all versions of Harley also give access to the sexy clown suit which gives a henchmen the ability as well).
This underused ability forces one of your opponents models to activate next. The only provision being that the character can see them. This can this be used to force a model waiting to turn the Batsignal back on (should you turn it off) to activate too early. Meaning the opponent’s activation order is ruined, allowing you to then turn the signal off without fearing it turning back on.
Also useful is forcing a model such as Green Arrow or Cyborg (or any shooter for that matter) to activate early which then frees up whichever firing lane they were covering for you to move through.
Models with this ability include Benjamin Orchard, free agent Scarecrow, Hugo Strange, Boris, Loeb, Ras Al Ghul (Liam Neeson), The Penguin (tv show) and The Penguin.
This does exactly what it says on the tin: hypnotises a model and let’s you use it as one of your own. I have never actually played with this ability, but could see how it could be theoretically useful vs the Batsignal. However, as most models you’ll be dealing with will be high willpower beatstick characters, they’re unlikely to fail the willpower roll necessary to apply the effect. So, it’s not a consistent counter by any stretch.
The short range of it on Poison Ivy, a meagre 10cm, and only 20cm on Mad Hatter, means that more than likely you would be putting your leader at far more risk from said beatsticks, than the gamble of it working would actually be worth.
BMG Batsignal Tactics: Kill Stuff!
One of the best ways to compete with the Batsignal is by killing the models that want to come and turn it on! Some of the best ways I’ve found to do with are with some of the following models.
Unfortunately most regular big punching models just don’t have the manoeuvrability or survivability (Grundy, Clayface, Swamp Thing, Killer Croc) to realistically take on the Batman crew models (who are some of the best high pointers in the entire game).
Sadly enough, none will stand up to getting ganged up on by any combination of Cyborg, the Hawks, Katana, Azrael etc etc. But, to future proof this article somewhat, what you’re looking for is:
- Re-rolls or bonuses to hit (weapon master etc), as this is best against hero level models.
- Massive manoeuvrability (acrobat, flying or Batclaw) in order to reach a rooftop signal or relocate to where the fighting is thickest, and…
- High defence to ensure you make it through the shooting phase.
The combined beatstick
Alternatively, several smaller characters (Zsasz, Ravager etc) can combine to team up, which can work well.
One thing many of the Bat big hitters lack is martial artist (cannot be outnumbered). This only really works consistently when also combined with some elements of control (see above).
This usually takes the form of debuffs. Models like:
- Riddler, with disarray and confusion (-1 attack and defence and they can’t spend special tokens, you see the obvious correlation with preventing bat claws and flying)
- Joker has his clowns with demented laugh (distract, -1 defence) or bluff (-1 attack).
- Others include White Rabbit (confusion) for Wonderland and Bane, Tweedledee (distract), Poison Ivy classic (confusion).
I’m sure I have missed a couple, but you get the idea. Debuffing, then attacking with more minor characters tends to be more effective than running one high powered hitter.
Many gangs don’t even need to dip into free agents to run the models that can kill a high powered model when supported. Little Spark with someone such as the Militia Brute can happily take down almost any character, providing you’ve weakened them (debuffs, shot them beforehand etc).
However…..There is ONE big hitter for the badguys…..
Deathstroke Arkham Origins. AKA Tankstroke the Terminator
This monster of 145 points can happily take on almost any model in the game. Between Bo, Sword and Gun, he has a toy for all occasions.
Weirdly, vs a Bat crew, he tends to make a better defensive model than offensive one, camping their objectives and making them come to him. Being D5 and an Acrobat also means he isn’t overly scared of shooting from Cyborg (and now Starfire), especially if using scenery for pings.
He isn’t infallible, but he tends to have the best chance against the bat crews big hitters. Especially when backed up by Little Spark or another tough but versatile model. Having Acrobat also means he can relocate very quickly if his presence is needed elsewhere, or up a building thanks to not suffering impaired movement.
What you need to watch out for, though, is the bat crew disassembling the rest of your crew if Deathstroke stays back to babysit. Having that massive price tag usually means the remainder of your crew is relatively small or quite weak.
The way to counter this is to just play a defensive game overall. Maybe send someone tough over to your opponents deployment as the situation permits. But usually a cop tends to be left behind to prevent any such shenanigans.
Batman crews themselves
Also ironically, and I almost feel bad for writing this as it feels counter intuitive to the purpose of the article, is that Batman crews are actually some of the best to counter other Batman crews!
Because most free agents fit all the criteria for countering the Batsignal.
I wont go further as I think its fairly self explanatory, but don’t be sucked into thinking it’ll be easier. You’ll still be fighting to get to your Batsignal and they can counter you in exactly the same way you counter them. That is unless you take a Batcrew and DON’T take a Batsignal in games against other bat crews. Meaning you can play defensive and beat them at their own game by scoring off their Batsignal!
BMG Batsignal Tactics: GUNS!!!
Guns are great vs the usually D4 batman big hitters and even the cops (robbing those precious activations and whistles, remember?).
But DO NOT isolate them.
Something I often see is a lone gunman being deployed on a lonely rooftop, then being flown next to by Hawkgirl or the like and beaten up without ever firing off a useful shot. Simply put, don’t place gunmen on a roof unless you’re 100% sure the Batsignal can’t be placed up there as well.
With Batman crews, as everything is so insanely manoeuvrable, using the usual firing lanes tactics simply doesn’t work. The Batman models will just run rings around you and then fly/batclaw/run over to you before you can get the shots off.
However, you can predict where they will end up….. the Batsignal. Keep your guns protected, but with good line of sight to their objectives (Batsignal included). Make your opponent really decide if they want to go for the Batsignal, or have to come and kill your gunman first.
It usually ends up being the latter. In which case make the models around the gunman as gnarly as possible. That way they really have to pay for coming to try and kill you.
The best at what he does
Now I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a fun little League of Shadows tactic with the game’s best gunman: Mr Dallas.
Trained in the shadows (hidden), plus night vision goggles and some climbing claws. You really want to be deploying him so that he is outside of any flyers or Batclaws turn one movement, but so that you can see their high value targets.
As you deploy with hidden after everyone has deployed, you can set up in the perfect place for a turn one hit on a high value target (Starfire, one of the Hawks, Batman himself etc etc). Ideally two, so that if you go second your opponent has to decide which one to save.
Your opponent losing or having a model maimed turn one is also a gigantic psychological advantage for you! Be sure to mention their loss often, an angry player is a stupid player (mwuahahaha j/k, one should always be sporting when trouncing people).
Then use your climbing claws to climb halfway up a wall and watch in amusement as your opponent cannot come and hit you. Watch out for shooting from Cyborgs beam weapons or Green Arrow though, that will ruin your day. If you’re lucky, and he does shoot you, that means you can shoot him back!
Your best bets
Great shooters for deterrent are Deadshot (not the classic one though, his reload makes him rather bad), anything with an assault rifle and then even more broadly anything with high rate of fire and decent damage (several of the beam weapons around). Single shot weapons or spray weapons are much less useful, as all the Batman models have relatively high defence and rarely appear in groups.
BMG Batsignal: Closing words
Wow, that was much longer than I expected it to be. Thanks for sticking around if you reached this far, I really hope some of my experiences can help you, even if just a tiny point you had never thought of before.
I attended a tournament recently (a write up by the organiser and friend of mine can be found here), it was a relatively large twelve man event. Four Bat crews were present and one Green Arrow using the BMG Batsignal, meaning almost half the crews present were using Batsignals.
None made it into the top three, and only two made it to the top half. This goes shows to show that skilled play and tactics can trump it.
Happy gaming Gothamites.