Legacy Lore 001: Duo Symbol
Legacy Lore is an article series that hopes to talk about Golden Age game effects and how they do (or don't) work under the current rules. This is meant to be informational and helpful and as such should not be taken as any “official” word on anything. If you'd like to reference any of this information for yourself, you can head over to Documents and look at the Legacy documents.
The Duo symbol has returned to Heroclix players' lives via some really fun Legacy cards recently. And while the Legacy cards have scrubbed the Duo symbol, newer players may wonder what it is and how it worked. Especially if they play in Golden Age games.
For those that don't know, that's what the Duo symbol looks like. It granted two Keyphrase Abilities: Duo Attack and Split. It was also not a “standard” symbol, if a figure had the Duo Symbol it could not become a pilot or (in Modern) be equipped. All characters also had an inherent ability that interacted with Split, known as Merge.
Duo Attack is fairly straight forward, as far as abilities go. Current wording would be along the lines of “POWER: Maximum 1 Target. Make two attacks. After the first attack, modify damage -1 (minimium: 1).“ So, a character is given a POWER action and only has one Target (or bolt) for the action. Then it gets to make two attacks (close or range), modifying damage -1 for the second attack. Fairly simple, right?
Split and Merge is where things get a little dicey...
SPLIT - “If this character has no action tokens, it has “POWER: Replace this character with one or more characters that each represent a distinct qualifying character listed on this character's card. These characters are placed the same number of clicks from their starting click as this character.” The combined point value of the qualifying characters must be equal to or less than the point value of the Duo character, unless those qualifying characters began the game on the map.“
And let's just cover MERGE - “If two characters that each represent a qualifying character listed on a Duo Character's character card have no action tokens and began the turn on the map, they have “FREE: Replace this and the adjacent character(s) with the qualifying Duo Character the same number of clicks from its starting line as this character.” The combined point value of the qualifying characters must be equal to or greater than the point value of the Duo Character, unless that Duo Character began the game on the map.”
Now, I want to preface this with: these elements predate the Sideline. So there was technically no limit to how many replacement characters you could have for Split/Merge and you could pull a lot of shenanigans with them. The only real limit, that I remember, was you couldn't replace a character with a figure from your KO area.
But, in the current rules you would be limited to six characters on your Sideline. They would have to be on the chart of Replacement characters that can be used in Split/Merge. So, to “split” Lex Luthor & Joker, you would need to have a character named Lex Luthor, Joker, or both on your Sideline (as long as their combined point value is less than the Duo's). And yes, you could “split” into a single character.
Another note is that the current rules do not use Real Names for anything and even game elements that reference Real Names have been errata'd/clarified not to use them. So, it's not a stretch to say that Real Names no longer interact with Split/Merge.
While Split/Merge was a cool idea, it ultimately was too complicated for too little return. In my personal opinion, the traits on the Duo Legacy Cards are a more fun/”cleaner” version of Split. So I'm happy to see them in play and hope it continues going forward.
And who knows? Maybe we'll even get the Duo symbol back some day...
Or maybe just a trait that does something similar.
Thanks for reading. If you have an older effect that you're curious about feel free to write into email@example.com and maybe we'll cover it in a future Legacy Lore.