Team Talk - ROC review part 2

Tuesday, 29 April 2014 08:00:00 Europe/London

Welcome back to Team Talk, last time I spent a little time describing my experiences at the first UK Realms Open Championship Super Qualifier in Burton Upon Trent. This time out I'm going to get a bit more focussed on the game itself and list the top 8 teams and look at how they work and how to handle them if you should come up against them.

We'll start from the top with my winning team of Shuma-Gorath (WKM-G01r), Mole Man (GG 026), Splitlip (FI 301), Camera Man (FI B016) and the Book Of The Skull. This is a pretty straightforward team and there's no real need for an in-depth discussion on how it works. The things to know and bare in mind if you're not familiar with Shuma or as follows
- He heals at the start of every turn whilst your highest point character is still alive
- Paired with Mole Man he's getting extra actions thanks to Mind Control
- Given Angrir's Hammer he can be healing via Steal Energy multiple times per turn
- His close combat attacks all have a range of five making Steal Energy/Quake for free with a hammer drop an easy way for him to heal.

How to beat Shuma? Quite frankly it's hard, it's damn hard. Shuma has become the thing to beat right now and so far in my own play testing I've come close but not been successful. You need to hit him hard and try to get it all done within one turn. If you can get 7 clicks of damage through his reducers then the job is done and you've won the game, if you don't then you're relying on him missing his attacks and healing, but with his values and number of potential attacks per turn it's unlikely. White Witch (SLOSH 047a) will limit his free actions per turn, Lydea Mallor (SLOSH 057) can prevent him from using Angrir's Hammer and slow his healing, Science Police Officer (SLOSH 004) can deal him one unavoidable (although with Steal Energy that is quickly negated), Agent 13 (CATWS 013) can switch his reducers off and limit his free actions if within a themed team (SHIELD or Spy), you could even Handcuff (tentaclecuff?) him via the Utility Belt. There are ways to beat him, three teams did over the weekend at ROC, but it's not easy.

If you're heading to Nationals you had better have an answer for Shuma because the likelihood of getting through four rounds without having to deal with one seems low. He's damn powerful right now and with more and more of them getting handed out at Nationals Qualifying events you can bet on seeing plenty of tentacle monsters in Birmingham.

Second place saw Kelvin Makepeace's Armor team (although I'm still taking all the credit) made up of Iron Man (M10A 009e), Blue Beetle (D10A 009), Skadi's Warbot (FI B002), Splitlip and the Book Of The Skull. This team dishes out high amounts of penetrating damage and has a few nifty ways of dodging damage dealt to it. Iron Man has been a staple part in the meta for some time now thanks to his ability to lower the threat of all pieces with a relic or resource to a 50/50 chance to take one unavoidable; he is however susceptible to Mystics which can cause him two unavoidable damage or characters without a relic/resource only need hit him once to seriously dampen his threat. Blue Beetle is again a source of penetrating damage whilst having a trait that allows him to take an action token to ignore the first hit that deals him 3 damage or above. The Warbot is everybody's favourite 30pt filler (pre-SLOSH Bizarro) and has an 18 defence with Super Senses.

This team relies on hitting you from range so being able to base them and tie them down is a serious bonus, particularly if you have some Plasticity to keep them adjacent to you. If you're using a resource that is assigned to your entire force (Book Of The Skull, Power Plant, Penguin) or have only one big attacker it makes for a war of attrition against Iron Man that could lengthen the game greatly and potentially even take you to the time limit. Beetle is easily dealt with after he's used his trait although the Mystics TA will make you consider how you go about dispatching him and at what point in the game. Outwit on the Warbot's Super Senses should be enough to see it dealt with and a simple hit for one will finish it off if you hit it before it equips a hammer.

In third place was Elliott Weights with Fantomex (WXM 042) assigned the Utility Belt, Shatterstar (WXM 010) Scarlet Witch (CWFF 006r) and the GCPD Motorcycle (SOG V003a). Fantomex is the daddy of range in the game right now thanks to his ability to pop out EVA and draw lines of fire through her from anywhere on the map. Couple that with Shatterstar's ability to teleport anywhere on the map with EVA in tow and it's practically impossible to get the first strike against this team. Once Shatterstar and EVA are in place Fantomex can begin shooting whilst staying safe at the back of the map behind Barrier provided by Scarlet Witch and the Motorcycle. Shatterstar is also an extremely solid piece himself for 72pts with an 11attack and 17defence with combat reflexes.

GET ACROSS THE MAP QUICK! Close the space on Fantomex and put some pressure on him. If you can get rid of the first EVA that's a bonus and Shatterstar is only going to need two good hits to dispose of him. Dealing with double barrier can be annoying and it's likely that you'll need to take out one or both of the support pieces before finally getting to pound on Fantomex. Take note of what Fantomex decides to place on his Utility Belt at the beginning of the game, you don't want to find your only character in Handcuffs and tied down for a period of the game whilst Fantomex and Shatterstar rip you to pieces. Don't be fooled into thinking that Stealth will help you either as any serious player is likely to be packing Night Vision Goggles on the belt.

Fourth place went to Alex Crow who was using White Witch, Lydea Mallor, Brother Voodoo (ASM 017b), Splitlip, Superfan and the Book Of The Skull. The first thing to note is that at the start of the game Lydea is going to be stealing something from your resource and assigning it to herself as a relic so if there's something you rely on (Angrir's Hammer, Black Light Ring) be sure to have a backup plan. Lydea is also a pain to deal with thanks to her top dial 17 defence with Combat Reflexes and traited Stealth. She also has a stop click at the end of her dial that grants her Phasing/Teleport followed by free action Regeneration. White Witch is a frustrating piece who you'll be looking to dispose of as quickly as possible each turn she's going to be either taking a free action to restrict all your characters to one free action per turn or a power action to prevent all your characters combat values from being modified. It's only when somebody restricts your free actions that you begin to realise how many you actually use per turn. Finally we have Brother Voodoo who is still the best prime we've seen since their introduction in Batman. He's going to be using Mind Control every turn in most games to ruin your positioning or turn your team against themselves, he's also a pain to deal with thanks to his 18 defence with Super Senses and Probability Control.

Dealing with White Witch is a relatively straight forward practice, hit her for three damage and she loses the ability to restrict your team and her defence is only a 17 with E/S/D so shouldn't be an issue from close range or with a little Outwit from range. This leaves her on Precision Strike with a 9 attack which shouldn't be too much to worry about unless she's equipped with a hammer. Lydea is a pain thanks to her Stealth, stop click and Combat Reflexes. When you do hit her hard make sure you've got somebody close by to deliver the finishing blow before she can Phase away or do it when she's double tokened and needs to rest. Also be sure to bear in mind her added mobility from being able to zap around between hindering terrain on the map. Dealing with Brother Voodoo is interesting as you're likely to knock him onto Stealth and Combat Reflexes so you'll want to make sure that you're ready to deal with that by saving a character who ignores hindering terrain to deal the killing blow. Don't underestimate Brother Voodoo's ability to use Smoke Cloud as a free action to keep himself hidden either, dealing with a 19 defence can be frustrating even with hammers.

In fifth place for the weekend was Darren Sampson with his Hellfire teambase (WXM T006). This secret society deals plenty of penetrating damage at the top of their dial thanks to Psychic Blast followed by Pulse Wave. The real secret to this team though is their longevity and staying power. Their sixteen click dial is easily extended to 25+ clicks of damage required to KO them thanks to a plethora of damage reducers and Mastermind which they can use to pass damage off to Black King if he's sent on a solo adventure (and boy does he soak up damage with his 11 click dial).

Dealing with these guys is really a case of just piling on the damage, keep hitting them and hitting them. You will also need to be aware of the special power on some of their defensive clicks (12-16) which increase all of their combat values by the amount of damage they took until the end of their next turn. This will make them hard to hit a second time and hard to evade during their turn, be prepared for this and don't get caught surprised! White King is also a potential choice of solo adventure so make sure you're familiar with how his trait works.

Sixth place saw Tino Cazzato's tentpole team of Solomon Grundy (SLOSH 049) with Infinity Gauntlet and Mole Man. Grundy on attack is a pretty straight forward close combat beater with 11 attack and 4 damage top dial coupled with Super Strength to pick up an Ultra Heavy and hit you for 7. Each time he does hit you he's also gaining an extra click of life when he returns from the dead thanks to this RETURN OF SOLOMON GRUNDY trait. Mole Man will be using Mind Control to grant Grundy extra attacks and get plenty of resurrection tokens on his card.

Hit him early and hit him hard, preferably from range. He has opening Impervious followed by three clicks of Invincible so you'll want to hit him for four with some form of penetrating damage to skip those pesky Invincible clicks. You'll want to KO him at a time when you either have another attacker waiting to hit him again or he has two action tokens, alternatively keep at him from range so he struggles to get resurrection tokens. Also keep in mind that at the start of his turns he can heal one click when in printed hindering or water terrain. Don't give him time to spin the Gauntlet round to godhood as that really will cause you problems.

John Barber was in seventh place with his New Mutants team consisting of the complete New Mutants teambase (WXM T004r) on 100pts, Magik (WXM 034) and Wolfsbane (WXM 072) with the Phoenix Force resource assigned to the two individual figures with the Cyclops, Namor and Colossus fragments included. The teambase is able to create a massive Pulse Wave threat to your team as they can pop off Sunspot on a solo adventure with Running Shot, Pulse Wave with an 11 attack and 3 damage. Magik has Pulse Wave and Probability Control top dial whilst also being able to carry multiple friendly characters over crazy long distances, not only that but she can also carry friendly characters regardless of their combat symbols on this team. Wolfsbane is ridiculously efficient for the points, there is a slightly annoying activation click but Magik is able to take care of that by dealing 1 unavoidable damage to Wolfsbane after carrying. Wolfsbane then becomes a Charge, Flurry, Blades/Claws/Fangs monster with an 11 attack for just 63pts.

Sunspot is a massive threat and it would be easy to think that he's easy to take care of with only 3 clicks of damage needed to KO him, but the teambase has a trait that allows them to simply remove a character from the teambase out of the game and bring Sunspot straight back on that nasty Pulse Wave click. To call that annoying is an understatement and you need to keep this in mind before spending time focussing on Sunspot when it's preferable to try and dispatch the teambase first to prevent that from happening. Wolfsbane has Super Senses and Toughness on a defensive special power so Precision Strike or Outwit would be nice to limit the chance of your attacks being wasted. Hit her for 4 damage and she'll be on a Regeneration click so bear that in mind when choosing whether to spend a perplex on damage and have done with her. Magik has the Mystics TA so be mindful of how you go about dealing with her, if one of your piece relies on staying on their top click you're going to need to find another way round her. Hitting Magik for 2 or 3 damage will grant her B/C/F and Exploit Weakness coupled with Charge and that could be something you'll come to regret. This is, in my opinion, one of the hardest teams in this list to play against purely due to the tough choices involved in choosing the right target.

Eight place saw a rather unusual keyword popping up as Ralph Redfern fielded his Deity team of Takion (SLOSH 051) and Dark Phoenix (M10A 021r) with the Power Plant and seven rings. Lets first look at Takion who does something completely unique in the game and caused me some real problems in my game against him. Takion can use Pulse Wave during Hypersonic Speed, that means that top dial Takion has a 12 square swing for 3 damage Pulse Wave with an 11 attack, something you'll have to bear in mind through the game. Takion can also use his trait to prevent himself from being targeted with one of Perplex or Probability Control for the game. He also benefits from having Prob himself and the ability to place down blocking terrain whenever he is hit with a ranged attack. Phoenix has top dial Pulse Wave and Telekinesis (increasing Takion's swing to 20 squares!) along with traited Super Senses that only work on the roll of a 6.

Taking down Takion is made frustrating by top dial Invincible which immediately blunts your initial attack (he's protected from Outwit via Quintessence unless you've bought your Utility Belt) but once those two clicks are out of the way he should fall fast with only two clicks of Toughness followed by three clicks of E/S/D to deal with. His Prob and superior manoeuvrability make him hard to hit but once you've can smash him he should quickly go down. It's probably preferable to take Takion down first as Dark Phoenix has a stop click at the end of her dial which means when she is KOd she heals all friendly characters of two clicks of damage. Four penetrating damage or a hit for 6 damage will be enough to put her on to her stop click which removes her Super Senses, from there it's just a case of dealing a single click of damage.

So that's a look at the top 8 teams and a few strategy ideas and tips on how to deal with them. We're just over a month away now from the UK Nationals so it's time to get studying those dials and finding the perfect team that stands out in this current meta. At the very least you need to have an answer for Shuma-Gorath, Lydea Mallor and White Witch as all of these characters are going to show up and will cause problems for your team, get play testing and I look forward to meeting you all face to face in Birmingham.
 

Sam hails from the Isle Of Wight and has been playing Heroclix since early 2012. His most prized piece is the Dr. Fate convention exclusive he finally got his hands on after two lustful years. He is the current UK ROC Champion. Sam judges weekly at Cheap Thrills (http://www.facebook.com/groups/iowheroclix/)"

Posted in Team Talk By

Sam Grieve

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Ian King

posted on Monday, 19 May 2014 20:36:45 Europe/London
Really comprehensive, thanks for taking the time to do this. I need to watch out for my mate who has a Grundy obsession picking up a GG Mole Man!!! He's already too tough for me to beat!

elliott weights

posted on Wednesday, 7 May 2014 13:16:46 Europe/London
Actually a nice well rounded sumary of our teams at the ROC. Shuma has become the basis for building teams in that "can this beat shuma?".

I was suprised that no one plated a highfather at our ROC. I would like to see highfather do well.

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