Meta Musings - ROC preview

Thursday, 3 April 2014 08:00:00 Europe/London

Just before the big ROC event I thought it would be helpful to run through some of the more competitive teams/characters that you might see being played at the constructed event and also look at some simple ideas on how to beat them. Starting with the results of the feeder events it looks like team bases are still a big part of the UK scene, even following the errata to Working Together it looks like players still think they are good enough to hang with the best of them. The newly arrived SLOSH set might spice up the competition somewhat but there are some figures that you should see and be prepared for.

Hellfire Team Base, the winner of 2 out of the 3 feeders seems to be the 300pt team base of choice in the UK at the moment. The main selling point of this base is it's defensive capabilities, being able to mastermind, normally on to Black King, as well as having stealth and being immune to psychic blast from it's asset dial abilities. On the right map the base can hide in stealth for almost the entire game protecting itself against Outwit. Even if it loses the mastermind it has very good damage reduction and a long dial.

How to beat it? Play a themed team to give yourself a chance of winning map and make sure it can't hide in hindering all game. Pack some outwit to make sure sure you can counter it's asset dial abilities or  include some pulse wave and/or precision strike into your team to make sure you can get past it's reduction and mastermind. Remember that Black King has 11 clicks of life so don't underestimate how much damage they can mastermind on to him. If you really want to mess up it's day play a character that can limit or punish the use of working together: White Witch, Science Police Officer,  Agent 13 or Professor X.

Bizarro, seems like everyone's favourite figure from SLOSH is surely going to see a lot of play from 25pts to 300pts. Expect to see a lot of him in the sealed event as well. Similar to the Hellfire base, he is more defensive than offensive in nature and can absorb just a ton of damage. He also has a lot of defensive powers that means whatever click he is on he has a good chance of avoiding taking damage from attacks.

How to beat it? Pulse wave or precision strike again work well to avoid his defensive powers. If anyone is brave enough to play a capture team then a high point value Bizarro is pretty much your ultimate target. Playing a team with at least a couple of attackers or certainly ways of hitting multiple times a turn is a must against him.  

Shuma Gorath + Mole Man, this team is pretty much the opposite of Hellfire and Bizarro in that they are all offense. With his long reach and high movement Shuma can pretty much hit you where ever you are on the map.

How to beat it? Winning map and playing an indoor map with lots of walls and blocking looks like a sound tactic against him for a lot of teams. Watch your positioning, if Shuma is going to get the first attack in don't let him take out more than one of your team. Remember Shuma's long reach isn't hampered by stealth so look for powers such as barrier to protect you. They generally use a lot of free actions (mind control, flurry) so White Witch, Science Police Officer,  Agent 13 or Professor X might come in handy here.

Iron Pharaoh/Fantomex, these 2 play a similar game in that they are likely to hang back in their starting areas and shoot through either the EVA or the Falcon special terrain. They are likely to pack support to protect themselves or boost their attacks.

How to beat them? Unless you have some way of preventing lines of fire being drawn to your characters then you can't really hang around when facing these guys. Stealth is often not enough as Iron Pharaoh ignores a lot of terrain through the Falcon and serious Fantomex players will use night vision googles on the Utility Belt. Map is going to be pretty useful here, an indoor map will help against Pharaoh as he can't ignore indoor blocking. You really need to move up to engage them as soon as possible so a mobile force that can cut down the range advantage as quickly as possible works well against them.

Highfather, stops some teams dead in their tracks and can be very difficult to play around if you have the wrong team. Makes playing teams with only one attacker a high risk proposition.

How to beat it? Make sure that you have at least the ability to attack with one figure that is not your highest point character. In my opinion a Highfather team is unlikely to win the event but it would be wise to keep him in mind when building your team, you don't want to lose without having to roll any dice.

Silver Centurion, defensively very sound because he doesn't take damage from Pulse Wave or Psy Blast. Is often played with Infinity Gauntlet and barrier team so that he builds up his acceleration tokens on his torpedo, spins the gauntlet and is protected behind his barrier.

How to beat it? If he is being played with barrier then make sure you bring the Pacific Ocean map from Fear Itself, as the water terrain stops barrier being placed. Exploit weakness is his defensive weakness (ironically enough), so if possible pack some of that and close the distance. If played with the gauntlet then Lydea Mallor is a good way of messing with him as without a full set of gems he loses the pseudo power cosmic.  Otherwise try to pick off his support and get to him before he is able to spin the gauntlet to the stat mods.  

Tellus, played for his linked telepathically trait, he basically extends the range and line of fire of his team mates. There are bound to be some powerful combos that players will come up for him, e.g. Science police officer, but even just played with a strong ranged attacker and something like an astral Dr Strange it can give them a ridiculous increase in their range and line of fire in a similar fashion to Fantomex and Iron Pharaoh.

How to beat it? If you see Tellus at the opposite side of the map take some time at the beginning of the game to see if your opponent is planning any shenanigans by increasing the range of aura style affects. In general though you need to move up on your opponent as soon as possible, at close range Tellus's trait is much less useful as it is if you hang back.

These are just a few of the more popular figures at the moment and is not in anyway an exhaustive list of what you might face. Keeping this in mind just what has this short review taught us about what powers, figures or strategies are going to be useful against the top teams. The likes of Bizarro and Hellfire are not vulnerable to alpha strikes so thinking of a way to get a first devastating attack in is not going to guarantee you the win. You may however run into the likes of Shuma so the ability to survive being hit hard is still important. Iron Pharaoh, Fantomex and Tellus allow your opponent to sit back and shoot you from distance so your team needs to be mobile to be able to close that distance fast. Lastly there are a few figures that are immune to some particular powers so don't rely too heavily on one way of inflicting damage.

Do not underestimate the use of Maps in your strategy, take some time choosing 2-3 maps that give you options against a variety of teams. With the changes in how Theme teams work we might see a reduction in players feeling the need to play theme so if you can get an advantage on the initiative roll you may be likely to be able to choose map and put your opponent at an immediate disadvantage. Keep in mind as well that for the ROC tournaments orange terrain on maps in classed as clear terrain and orange text is ignored.

In summary then my ideal team would be highly mobile, have a good defense, is themed to give me a good chance at map choice and has options when it comes to offensive powers and in case you are interested I am going to tell you the team that I would be playing if I wasn't judging this weekend.

SOG006 Dove 86pts
GG014A Astral Dr Strange 13pts
SLOSH47A White Witch 87pts
JL52016R Enchantress 50 pts
FIB002 Skadi's Warbot 30pts
Power Plant (complete) 30pts
Birds of Prey ATA 1pt
Total 297 pts

This is a mystical themed team so I would be getting +4 to the dice roll for first player. I would be playing White Witch because I believe she does quite a lot against several top teams at the moment, especially 300pt team bases. Skadi's Warbot is a cheap long range attacker with the power plant and Enchantress is a secondary attacker/support piece who in my opinion outshines CWFF Scarlet Witch in a lot of teams. The Astral Dr Strange is a great figure with the Power Plant and is made for the black light ring to keep the team continually in stealth. He can be pretty scary with the Impact Ring as his free phasing gets him into position fast. Dove is my last figure and is the one I am least sure about, on paper Brother Voodoo looks a better option and I think it would work OK with TT008 Wonder Girl as well.

In the end I went for Dove mainly because she gives me what I was talking earlier: mobility with the flight symbol, exploit weakness to give me offensive options, without which I might struggle against Hellfire Team Base and Silver Centurion, and defend so that positioned correctly my whole team benefits from her opening 18D, this may be especially useful if I use White Witch to shut down opponent's combat modifiers. She also gives me access to the great Birds of Prey ATA that can be copied by White Witch, when she isn't copying Mystics or the Batman TA.  Free action support each turn might work out well if my characters can stay alive long enough to benefit from it. Finally by playing Dove instead of Brother Voodoo it allows me to play Black Witch on the sidelines and gives me a chance to promote into her.

As I mentioned I won't be playing in the main event but I will be bringing this team along and we are running some Judge Challenge events so you might get the chance to try your hand against it.

As well as playing and reading about Heroclix, Chris also listens to Heroclix podcasts and enjoys nothing better than to curl up in front of the fire and dream about Heroclix. In this spare time he runs Blue Rat Games which is the number one specialist retailer of Heroclix in the UK, but you knew that already.
Posted in Meta Musings By

Chris Dunn

Post Comments

2 Item(s)

per page
Set Descending Direction

Samual Grieve

posted on Monday, 7 April 2014 01:49:38 Europe/London
The team is themed on Mystical so why is the ATA illegal Jacob? I see no issue here.

Jacob Collins

posted on Friday, 4 April 2014 06:32:46 Europe/London
A couple of small things:

The ROC rules ignore orange text on maps, so the Pacific Ocean map doesn't actually have any water terrain on it. The most watery is the AvX Wakanda map.

The new ATA rules also mean that your birds of prey ATA isn't legal.

I won the South qualifier with the Hellfire Club, but it was by no means the best team there on the day: my opponents had bad luck and/or made few small but important mistakes that cost them the game.

Another big plus of the Hellfire club is the immunity to mind control. One more trick to watch out for is if you manage to kill Black King, don't stall for the win. This would allow the remaining team base to spin their asset dial around to white king and stealth, allowing them to act every turn with stealth to avoid outwit.

It's really nice to see such a varied Meta though, and one where theme teams are becoming increasingly important.

2 Item(s)

per page
Set Descending Direction

You must be logged in to post a comment.

click here to log in