Meta Musings Introduction

Tuesday, 25 February 2014 08:00:00 Europe/London

Welcome to a new series of articles focusing on the Heroclix Metagame. In this series of articles I will be looking at current trends and trying to predict what teams or figures will become popular from upcoming sets. As well as this I hope you offer suggestions about how best to use this knowledge to your advantage with a focus firmly on competitive play.
 
For my first article I am going to take a look at what teams are currently doing well in Realms Open Championship events and seeing how this is likely to change with the release of the Superman and Legion of Super-Heroes, (SLOSH). Firstly for those of you that aren't aware The Realms Open Championship (ROC) is an attempt by HCRealms and TCGplayer.com to set up a professional level competition for Heroclix and having the results published makes it a lot easier for players to figure out what teams are competitive at the moment. For this article I am going to focus on those events that are 300pt modern, I know that the ROC events use a rotating format but I believe the 300pt modern is the most commonly used for competitive play.

Looking at the last few results there is no doubt in my mind that the number one team at the moment is Shuma Gorath + Mole Man + Resource. The ability to flurry at 5 range with a 12 attack and 5 damage, and then be mind controlled to do it again is just proving to be too powerful to resist. Shuma's high movement and long reach also means he can cross the map in a single turn meaning he is a threat wherever you are on the map. Other teams doing well are a variety of team bases, including New Mutants, JLA and Hellfire club.  Many people said that the changes to working together would mean the demise of the team base as a competitive mechanic but these results are proving that prediction wrong. It seems to me that what the new rules are encouraging is the use of solo adventure and now successful team base players are spending time solo'ing figures and building up their force before venturing forth on the offensive.

Apart from the big two (Shuma + Team bases) you are also seeing a lot of Silver Centurion, M10 Iron Man, Warstar, Brother Voodoo, Fantomex, Iron Pharoah and a variety of mid-range Book of the Skull teams. Resource wise it is looking like the Power Plant, Book of the Skulls and Utility Belt are being used in equal measures depending upon what is going to work best with your particular team. OK so now we can see what is powerful at the moment, lets turn our attention to what new figures or mechanics exist in SLOSH that are likely to change this.

Although the full set has not been revealed, at the time of writing, for me the figure that is going to have the most impact on the Metagame is surely Highfather. His 'The Pact' trait puts teams that rely on one figure for all of their damage output at a huge disadvatage, so much so that even just the threat of facing Highfather will mean that once SLOSH arrives Shuma and his ilk are going to be a thing of the past. Team bases at least have the ability to solo adventure but any team that does not have at least 2 effective attackers is surely just not going to be viable. As well as his trait Highfather is a great support piece with TK, Leadership, PC and a Support that buffs and he can AE into Takion, whose dial has yet to be revealed but I would expect it would be pretty decent as a Super Rare.

Outside of Highfather then what other figures might make a splash from the new set. Well a lot of people have been talking about Solomon Grundy, good stats, great traits and the ability to just not die. However because of his point cost I am just going to point to Highfather and leave it at that.  The main set Bizarro is surely going to be a star in sealed events with his flexible cost but I just think he is too random to be a truly serious competitive piece in constructed.  The prime Cheetah looks like a close combat version of DC10 Lex Luthor, so expect her to be copying GCPD ATA a lot for a free move and attack. She is a little suspect defensively though and is going to rely on rolling her shape change to keep herself alive. Edward Nigma looks like a good support piece and mind controller but looks a little overshadowed in that department by ASM Brother Voodoo. Emerald Empress, Validus and Darkseid all look good with some very potent powers, but again might just be too high points costs. There are still a lot of figures yet to be previewed though so I am going to wait until release day before I make any firmer predictions.

Lastly then I just want to share my ideas of what the meta might look like post SLOSH keeping in mind the impact that I think Highfather might make. As I said previously I think Shuma and any team that relies totally on one high point figure for damage are going to go the way of the dodo. I expect team bases to still be there or thereabouts as the solo adventure figures are not going to be affected by Highfather's trait. Figures such as Fantomex, Iron Pharoah, Silver Centurion and M10 Iron man will still likely be played but I can see players starting to look at lower point cost figures to fill their shoes. So if you do play Highfather his trait doesn't take out half your team and you have a good chance of being able to damage him to remove the effects of the trait. Expect to see a lot of teams playing 3-4 attacking figures rather than 1-2. Specifically figures such as Shatterstar, Cerise, Sunspot, #037a Magneto, Wolfsbane, Common Iron Fist, Scarlet Spider, Lizard, #041b Hobgoblin, Colleen Wing, Dark Phoenix, Shiva (both of them), Persuader, #100 Ravager, SoG Starfire, #009 Blue Beetle. These figures are all in point range 60 -100 and are pretty potent attackers in their own right but at the moment are considered not quite good enough to win events. However if Highfather manages to remove a lot of the higher point figures they might get their chance to shine.

This change to 3-4 attacking figures is also likely to see a change in the resources that are used. Why would you want to play a Utility Belt to buff one figure when you can play a resource that buffs your entire team? The Power Plant, Book of Skulls and Phoenix Force are therefore going to see more play and I expect the Utility Belt and Infinity Gauntlet to see less and less. Being honest I think these changes are going to be generally positive for the competitive scene, playing a larger team will mean team builders have to focus on finding synergies and building a team that works without heavily relying on one figure for all it's effectiveness. From a personal point of view this is what I like best about Heroclix, building a team that needs to work together as a team to win. Sure it is fun to play with one colossal figure or team base but I believe team building should equally be part of the game as much as placement or the rolling of dice.

Anyway I hope that this article serves as an introduction into what I think competitive play might look like post SLOSH, join me next time when I will do review of the full set and hopefully try and pick out those pieces that competitive players might want to focus on.

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

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Ian King

posted on Saturday, 15 March 2014 20:19:32 Europe/London
I hope your ideas on bigger teams do turn out to be the new 'meta'. Tent pole teams have never seemed as fun to me as the synergy between a bunch of lower cost figs.

Blue Rat Games

posted on Wednesday, 26 February 2014 10:54:37 Europe/London
Thanks for the feedback Vicente, when I wrote the article I didn't have information on all the dials including the chases. That trait look great especially Lydea Mallor, mainly because she is about 100 points cheaper than the other ones, although that will probably make her cost that much more financially. Playing one of the higher point ones makes you fall into the highfather trait area. I just had a look at all the dials this morning and there appears to be a lot of anti-resource and anti-free actions going around, will try and get my next article up soon to try and analyse some of the figures that I think will be making a splash.

Vicente De los Santos

posted on Wednesday, 26 February 2014 09:22:16 Europe/London
My communitty talks a lot about the trait of the SLOSH Chases. Teams playing resources can be damaged with these dudes (They are not invincible but there are a few with low point cost, just for steal Disintegration Beam from Power Plant and later remove that resource with a smile...)... uh ok... they are chases and they will be $$$$ but who knows...

Congrats by your article!

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