The Realms Open Championship, or ROC, World Cup took place this last weekend and it was quite the spectacle. Today, I’m going to break down some of the interesting things that were played and where the Meta is sitting after the dust has settled.
October is perhaps the most exciting time of the year in Heroclix. We see a lot of ROC events ramping up to the world cup, which is arguably bigger in the community than the Wizkids championship as the ROC is a third party institution. I remember last year that I had just started to play clix again in August and I was somewhat lost with all the changes that had been made. What were resources? How did they work? I wonder what the Meta looks like. However, once I watched last years finals, I felt like my knowledge of the game exploded. These events let us spectate the games of the best of the best players and offer up a great learning tool for those trying to grasp how to think of the game at a competitive level.
For this year’s ROC World Cup, I wanted to watch as much as I could. Unfortunately, living on the West coast means a three-hour time difference, so anything that took place in the morning was strictly out (I love Heroclix, but I love sleeping on the weekend more), so I did happen to miss some of the earlier games. I know I’ll go back and watch them once the streams are up, but I wanted to write about this with the event fresh in everyone’s minds. I did manage to catch a good deal of play on Saturday including all of the Quarterfinals (300 limited) and most of Sunday’s Semi-Finals/Finals (thanks to the nonsense that happened mid-day which allowed me to miss virtually nothing for my TMNT event, but we’ll get to that in a bit). My only regret is I didn’t get to see Isaac play as he was eliminated in the earlier portion of Sunday.
It was a great event and the teams were pretty varied. There were a lot of things I didn’t think I’d see, and the dominating forces were a bit surprising due to what the results have been at ROC events over the past few months.
What I want to do is go over the teams that I mentioned in my State of the Meta and State of the Meta Part II articles that I published a few weeks ago, and briefly discuss whether I personally saw them played and how they did. I’m going to save some of them for last and then I want to talk about something that was a huge surprise this year.
As I talked about in my articles about the Meta, Krang didn’t really have a presences in the main event. When the chips fall and Krang is across the board from resources and ID cards, he just doesn’t have the longevity to deal with all the gimmicks that competitive teams have. Of all the streamed matches I saw (and I saw a good 85% of them), I didn’t see one Krang team in the main event. Does this mean Krang is dead? Heavens no. See, Krang did dominate this weekend in a different aspect; Limited. The 400 point Limited event on Saturday afternoon/evening was chalk-full of Krang builds, and it’s easy to see why. When the big naked dude doesn’t have to worry off-the-board tricks, there’s a very good chance he’ll get the job done and take out an attacker or two in a single turn.
One amazing strategy I saw was Krang with his typical Juston Seyfert support piece, but instead of running Baxter he ran Bat-Mite and Night Nurse. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen this before. Being able to move Krang out and attack for free via Juston, then make his normal attack, and then moving Bat-Mite to shoot Krang back to his starting area was very clever and I was blown away by this team comp. Krang might be somewhat dead in 300 modern, but once limited starts up, he’ll be the big boy on campus.
This was another build that I didn’t see on stream. I know Kevin Afrooz did play a variation of his original team that won the ROC Las Vegas cup, but he was eliminated and unless he was on early Sunday morning, he wasn’t at the featured table. We did see a LOT of Mxyzptlk, but I don’t recall a single Frogman. This seemed like a pretty great team with its aggressive super lock-down, but at the end of the day it just didn’t have what it took.
Like Krang, I have a feeling Mxy + Frogman will make a splash (ugh, insert observation of dad-joke here) in the limited format. He’s already shown that he can take down Fury with a bit of ease, and he can certainly lock Krang in place and pick off the support, so I think it’s safe to say we’ll see these two pop-up post World Cup.
The blast from the past team didn’t have any presence (again, from what I saw) this year. I have a feeling that the reason this team wasn’t played is because the build is pretty expensive to field points-wise which leaves you little room to get creative. Plus, if your opponent does find a way to shut off your shenanigans, you’re going to fall hard. Versatility is something that Koriand’r reams lack in that they do one thing really well, but that’s about it, and you need more than that when you’re at the top of the playing field.
I did see a Koriand’r during limited, and it was during that Krang/Bat-Mite team, so it was kind of a bummer since she got smacked pretty hard. Will she have some potential in limited? I really don’t know. I think we may have seen the last showings of Koriand’r, but only time will tell.
Okay, enough of the teams that we didn’t see; Devil certainly made a showing this year. His domination of recent ROC events certainly wasn’t a fad, and not only was he in quite a few of the featured stream games, a few of the pro’s talked about how there were a lot of Dino’s on the tables. The big two Devil teams we saw were Kennie Pena and Paris Gordon, and they actually were matched against each other during the semi-finals. I like both these dudes a lot, but I was rooting for Paris strictly because I had played a version of his team in a no-resource game and it was an absolute blast.
We did see some variation of the Devil builds. Kennie played the Morphing Hank Pym for even more pieces to turn his round table along with a brutal three colossal retaliators in the form of 2 Brimstones and The Atom. Devil did really well, but he succumbed to the overall dominating force that was present.
Have we seen the last of Devil? Will he go extinct and start to flood the secondary market? Not by a long shot. This guy is going to be a force in limited. Even though the Round Table/Teleporter won’t be available, Devil’s pogs are still a pain to deal with and he’s great at changing the board to suit his team and engage when he wants to. I think he’s just too dominate of a piece and incredibly versatile for the measly 100 points.
Yet another team that we didn’t see any of, and I believe I heard Kennie Pena say that he was surprised that not a single Lex was seen this weekend. I’m not certain that’s what he said of that it was true, but I’m pretty confident that he did. Regardless, Lex wasn’t a factor this weekend.
We can pretty much stick a fork in Lex. With the end of the ROC World Cup, we’re moving on to limited and by the time we get back to regular 300 points modern, Trinity War will have either rotated out or it will be right around the corner. Again, the dominating force is just so much better at what Lex does.
Here’s a team that I was pretty blown away by the lack of showing. Not only did I not see an Ultron swarm team, I don’t recall anyone saying that there was one at the event. In the last few months, Ultrons seemed to be a big presence and the swarm team seemed like a great alternative with lots of potential and the ability to stop people from popping their call-in characters.
Much like Koriand’r, I think the Swarm team didn’t see play because of the lack of versatility. Sure, you could be versatile with your ID cards, but the Ultron Swam had the fear that if they played against a certain kind of force that could handle their shenanigans, there was no way they would come out on top. We did see an ass-load of Ultron drones as I knew we would, but the swarm team in particular just didn’t have a presence.
The Syndicate had a nice lead-in with their ease of use and high damage potential, but we didn’t see this team show up. More importantly, we really didn’t see the LE Doc Oc show up (again, at the featured table from the matches I saw).
These guys are fun, but I don’t think the professional players were looking for a fun team to win the grand prize. Syndicate has a lot of strength, but a lot of weakness as well. They’re somewhat like Krang in that they can dish a lot of damage quickly, but they don’t really have an end-game. I think we’ll see these guys return for the limited format is LE Doc Oc is so incredibly strong and when you take away tools to deal with him, he just gets more brutal. My spider-sense tells me we haven’t seen the last of these guys.
Here’s another team that we did see this year, and it actually did incredibly well. Although it wasn’t really a Midnight Sons team (One character with the keyword so you can use the ATA doesn’t qualify as that kind of team in my book, but I digress), it was very very strong. 4th place-strong to be precise.
The MS team we witnessed was a 2-man team of D20 Doctor Strange with Eclipso along with Faust and a full Round Table. That’s it. That was the whole team. It was pretty nasty and we should absolutely take note that this team took such a high placing in the overall event. When most teams consisted of a bin-full of characters, two Mystical characters were able to dethrone a LOT of competition, including Phil Jr.’s nasty undying team (although it did come down to a 0-0 roll-off).
Those are a majority of the builds I talked about, but I left the biggest one for last. If you watched any of this weekend, you already know what’s coming. Hell, if you looked at the header image for more than 2 seconds, you know what’s coming.
Yes, the Quinjet was the dominating force once again this year. We saw it dominate at the Wizkids Championships and it came back around to make a pass around Atlanta. From Patrick Yapjoco’s 3rd place team to Easton Brock’s 2nd place team, and all the way to Ed’s winning team, the Quinjet was everywhere and proved why it’s such a dominating force.
Wait a minute. For months, the Quinjet hasn’t made a large showing in ROC’s top-8 and when it did, it wasn’t winning. Now the thing sweeps ROC Worlds? You got it. See, the pros already knew the Quinjet was good; they knew what it was capable of and how powerful it was so there really wasn’t any point in them continuing to play it once they already had enough points to make it into the event. They took the time to test other builds and pieces and try something new, and it would appear that the top players created a false-Meta. That doesn’t mean the teams that have been winning for some time aren’t good; they are. But when people are winning events with other random elements that change almost month-to-month, it changes everyone’s perception of what the Meta is doing.
The Quinjet is a prime example of how we thought that the Meta was healthy and changing when in reality, it was all a facade. Once it came time and the huge prize payout was on the line, a good majority of the pros resorted to the jet, and it shows. 3 of the top 4 players were running the Quinjet. Devil was eliminated in top 8.
Thankfully, with the limited format, we won’t see the jet since it’s larger than a peanut base. However, there was an interesting discussion that took place in the chat during the event on whether or not the jet will rotate out in July. It’s only seen one Wizkids World’s as it released in August of 2015 and Wizkids will typically let things have at least 2 years before retiring which means one of two things. Either we’re keeping AoU (which also means Nick Fury is here until 2018), or they’ll do a GotG-esque rotation where the Jet, AoU, and Nick Fury are legal until the first week in July. Only time will tell.
The Quinjet was a huge factor, but I’m going to say that it wasn’t the force behind the win at ROC Worlds. The Quinjet was the instrument and the core of the team, but there was one piece that was more of a dominating force than anything else. One piece that every. single. pro that sat in on the webcam during the event made mention of. One piece that they all stated needs a second round of nerfing from Wizkids. Who is this entity?
If you’ve been reading up on the ROC at all, you know that they made the decision to unban Faust due to the fact that Guardians of the Galaxy rotated and took Rocket Raccoon with it. His special damage power allowed him to re-roll Faust’ D20:
TACTICAL GENIUS SUPREME, THAT’S ME: Once per turn, when Rocket Raccoon is within range and line of fire of a character for which a roll is made, you may ignore the roll and have it rerolled.
Due to him bailing out of modern, I suppose the guys at the Realms felt it would be okay for Faust to come out from under the Banhammer and boy were they wrong. Not only was Faust in a majority of the teams that won and did exceedingly well in each leg of the event, Faust was the main reason Ed’s team won. His unpredictability and board-tampering plays gave Ed and others that played Faust unparalleled power for a mere 80 points. Playing his jet at 70 points when everyone else was playing at full was a gamble, but Faust made it work. He’s a broken piece, and it’s absolutely apparent from this last weekend that he either needs to be completely banned by Wizkids, he needs another nerf, and there should never, ever be another piece like him.
Kevin Afrooz made a comment late Sunday that he believes the ROC unbanned Faust so Wizkids could see just how broken he still is, but I don’t know if I agree with that. There is some merit there and it could be a possibility, but it seems like that would be a cruel trick to play on the folks competing for a $4,000 grand prize. At this time, we don’t know the ROC’s true intentions of unbanning the sorcerer; we can only hope they reverse this decision and throw him back on the list.
As I mentioned at the top of the article, I learned a lot last year from the ROC, and I learned some new tricks this year as well. Although I wasn’t in the ‘primal clay’ form I was last year, there’s always something to gain from watching high-tier play. here’s a quick list of the things I noticed/learned that really spoke to me:
- Bat-Mite is a really dumb piece and combined with Krang gives that team even more bite than it already had before. Now I want this little jerk even more.
- Proteus is AWESOME on Resurrection Man. Since he never truly is KO’d, you get a permanent +1 to all your combat values and never have to worry about giving points to your opponent unless they have the Firestrom LE, and still that’s only 35 points.
- With the reintroduction of Faust, we saw more Mystics. A lot of pros would use this Mystics damage to trigger their own Colossal Retaliation which was clutch. I like being able to turn on your under-priced and over-powered ability when YOU want.
- Scott Crampton played a nice move of calling in Batman with the Bomb convention LE and handing his bomb off to his Atom Colossal so when he retaliated, he could hand over the bomb for even more damage. Nice synergy!
- The S.H.I.E.L.D. team ability should never be taken lightly and can be a huge factor in alpha strikes when using pieces like Nick Fury.
- A great strategy against Devil Dinosaur is KO’ing two of his tokens and leaving the third for them to deal with. It slows his production and forces him to push that last pog.
Before I end this rather long article, I want to cover that other thing I nodded to at the start about the nonsense that happened this year. There was certainly a shroud of bitterness around this event that stemmed not just from the Faust devastation, but from what happened during the event itself.
At the start of round 3 of the semi-finals, before the match begun, it was announced that 3 players had been disqualified. Apparently someone was using a Cosmic theme team and had a Thug on their force. As you may or may not know, Thug can only take on Named keywords, and Cosmic is generic. During the first two rounds of the semi’s, the player’s opponents had signed off on their build as is required without noticing this mistake, and the player’s third opponent noticed and brought this to the judges. As the other opponents had signed off on an illegal build, they disqualified all three people (the player and his round 1 and round 2 opponents), leaving an awkward state for a short while, but play resumed with the commentators touching on the rather sore subject.
At the start of the next round, we had Easton Brock sitting down to play at the featured table, and it was announced that he was being disqualified as well. I had to leave for my TMNT event, so I didn’t get to hear why, and left my house wondering what had happened. When I came back home, I was shocked that I missed only one game and Easton was back in the event, and I learned why he was DQ’d. Apparently he played someone who was running Pandora’s Box and lost one of their relics. They had asked a friend to borrow one, but they took the wrong one, so their build was illegal, and Easton signed off on it. This is minuscule (as was the Thug deal, but it could have affected previous games due to initiative roll), and through whatever means, the ROC staff reversed their ruling. Not only did Easton get back into the event, they called a few of the people they had DQ’d earlier (I don’t know how many or who) and asked them to return, with some of them 2 hours away. This in turn delayed the entire event and I think bumped two people out of the top 32. I’m not sure if I’m exact on these details, but that isn’t the point.
During the final match, we all knew that time was extremely close and Easton was down on points… barely and he had a shot to take the win at the very last second. He called in Nightwing and double Perplexed his attack, ready to Flurry Ed’s Superman Blue that he had called in the turn before. They were sharing dice for this game to ensure fairness and as Easton scrambled for the dice, ‘Last Action’ was called. Now, at the ROC World Cup, when Last Action is called, you finish whatever action you are currently doing or last did and the game is over. There aren’t any final turns or rounds, it’s just over. The judges ruled rather hastily that Easton’s last action was the Perplex, even though he had already declared that he was going to use Flurry and just didn’t have the dice to get a roll in. They stuck with the ruling and it left another sour taste in everyone’s mouth. Still, Easton shook Ed’s hand multiple times and it seems that he took it in stride.
The point of mentioning this is to promote change. Wizkids gets blasted a lot for things they do and decisions they make, but it’s never anything like this. The ROC is great, but it’s by no-means perfect. There are things that can be done to help correct these issues and steps can be put into place to take the onus off the players and make the staff responsible for portions of the event, especially when people are paying hundreds if not thousands of dollars to get to this event. Is Last Action healthy for these events? In my opinion, absolutely not. Hopefully we can come together as a player base and request the ROC to change some of their policies so these issues can be avoided.
That wraps up my coverage of the ROC World Cup and where the various pieces fell. Once the teams are released, I’m aiming at looking over the top 4 teams and writing an article about why they did so well and what their strengths were. I know this was rather long, but it’s one of two main events we get all year, and it was an exciting weekend.
Have an opinion of what went down? Thoughts on the teams and games? Sound off below! Join me Thursday as we dig into another DC team build. Coming (very) soon will be my review of TMNT 2 as well.