WKO Winter Prep – A Quick Guide to Your Team Plan

Last week, I talked about my cancelled WKO team idea and what my thought process was for this team. Today, I want to cover some points to think about as we dive into the Winter WKO starting in just 2 days!

That’s right, just 2 days until the Winter WKO’s start up and things are getting tense! I wanted to take this time to really help you understand what to look out for and what to think about with your team before you run to the races; I want you to have the best shot you can at winning your event. This won’t be a breakdown of the various teams that are out there or pieces to watch for as that’s what I talk about over at Apex Insiders. No, this will be more about perspective, thought process, and team breakdowns.

If you’re going to a WizKids Open and you haven’t read my WKO articles, yet you’re here reading this, I highly recommend you go back and read them. You can find them below:

Of course, if you want general team building help, you can always read my article strictly about team construction. It probably won’t help you at this point for WKO, but who knows.

Anyway, let’s talk about the actual events and your team.

The Events

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Game Empire, my venue in San Diego

The first round starts this weekend, on February 4th. For those of you attending like me, the good news is that TMNT 3: Shredder’s Return won’t be legal for the event, meaning you don’t have to watch out for the insanely deadly Shredder Clone or Mini Shredder. These guys are going to seriously shake things up and it will be hard for the next round of events since it’ll be the first time they will be legal. That means that those of you looking to attend events later in the month, you should really familiarize yourself with TMNT 3. There are some gems in the set, and as soon as we get a complete list of the pieces including the chases, I’ll throw up my review to help you out. In the meantime, have a plan for some of these pieces.

Back to those of you attending this weekend’s events; keep in mind that a lot of the same stuff is going to see play from the last round of WKO back in November. Nothing has been released of major note and with a lack of tournament results, we have no idea what people have thought of. They’ve had more time to explore Joker’s Wild, so I would expect to see more presence from that set.

Hopefully your team is finalized and you know what you’re playing as it’s almost too late to swap out for something different. For those of you attending later events, practice your team!

Lastly, call your venue. Seriously. Find out if they have a seat cap and if you can even attend. I had no idea my venue had a cap and I was lucky enough to get a spot, and promptly messaged my friend to do the same right after. Do you know anyone else going? It would be a great idea to communicate with them and talk about how each of your teams work as cross-examination will help reveal holes that you didn’t see before. Is your venue going to take a lunch break? Do you need to bring food and water? This is something I still have yet to do. The more information you have, the more comfortable you’ll be, which means you’ll stress less and make better decisions during the games.

The Teams

We all know that there are some big players in the competitive environment regarding team comps, and you’re fooling yourself if you don’t plan on how you beat them or at least compete against them. The unknown is impossible to plan against, but if you don’t know how you beat things like Krang, Undying tech, and the Quinjet, you have a problem on your hands.

If you have time, try play testing against these teams with a friend. Proxy the pieces if you have to; print out the dials and cards from HCRealms and sub pieces in their places just so you can develop an actual in-game plan on how to take them down. Some pieces like The Quinjet require a bit of finesse to play, so those might be harder to test against if you don’t know anyone that’s played it before, but at the very least have an idea of how you topple them.

More than any team though, I recommend that you think about how you deal with Krang. He might not see a lot of play as folks might be sick of not taking first with him (as he’s never done it), but the odds are good that you’ll see at least one or two of these guys. The immense threat range and damage output he can put out when he’s with BFF Juston Seyfert is nothing to sneeze at. He’s the Gatekeeper for a reason; if you can’t beat him, your team needs work.

Your Team

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Are you comfortable with it? Have you practiced it? If you haven’t, what are you waiting for? The more you practice your team, the better you get at playing it. The only way to learn all of it’s ins-and-outs is to run it over and over again. This ensures that virtually any situation you find yourself in you know a way to get yourself out, or what moves to avoid.

Do you have versatility in your team? One man armies are pretty much a thing of the past sans Krang because they typically don’t have the option to shift what they’re about. If you have access to ID cards, these are a great way to add versatility and not eat points up. If you aren’t comfortable with them, take the time to learn how they work as they’re a huge boon and I can 99% guarantee that the winning teams will have at least one card on them, save for one or two unique builds.

Do you have the staple support powers? Probability Control, Perplex, and Outwit are huge and leave less to chance which is always good. What about Pulse Wave? Do you have any options for the great equalizer? It’s understandable that your team might not have all these pieces since you’re only playing with 300 points, but the more of these you load up on, the better your odds of adapting to your situation.

Does your team need to win map roll? If so, what’s your theme team bonus? Many teams require a certain type of map to really take advantage of their tactics and a lot of maps can screw other teams over (i.e. WizKids offices versus Brainiac Skull Ship). Maps are a powerful resource that cost nothing and mean everything. Familiarize yourself with them and figure out what map works best for you. Even if you don’t have a theme team, bring one or two maps in case you win map roll. This is a crucial element that people often forget about.

Game Elements & Tips

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Count your squares multiple times and be sure of what you’re doing. Nothing sucks more than to miscalculate, or miss a traited Sidestep on an opposing figure and end up nuked. Remember that Sins form Pandora’s Box all grant Sidestep. Be precise in what you’re doing and don’t be afraid to take your time when making decisions (although don’t stall. No one likes those that purposely stall and it’s very unsportsmanlike).

Take all your options into consideration before you commit to something. What ID characters can you call in and what can they do? If you use one now, will you regret it down the road, or do you absolutely need to burn that character now. A prime example of this is Nick Fury. if you have him on your sideline with the trusty Level 7 ID, you have to time his arrival just right so you get the most bang for your buck. He’s only coming out once, so make the most of it.

Did your opponent make a slight move that confused you, or didn’t do what you were expecting and seemed like the obvious play? Review their pieces and their positioning. It’s possible they’re planning something completely different than what you were expecting. Don’t eat up a bunch of time reading all their cards, but take a moment to think about what they can do on their turn. What can they call in? Can Fury snipe you next turn and put you down?

Develop a plan when you first sit down on how you defeat their team and then stick to it. This isn’t to say that you can’t change your goal or priority based on things that happen in the game, but trust your judgement. If you know that a quick KO on a support piece will win you the game because you can outlast their damage, then do it. Don’t be afraid of what they can do; remember that Heroclix is a game of strategy, but ultimately it relies on dice for large swings and there’s always a chance they could roll snake eyes. The better your plan of defeating them is and the more you stick to it, the better you’ll do. Again, this doesn’t mean don’t adapt your strategy on the fly; it just means to stick to your plan once you make it. Flexibility is key here.

Try and think at least 2 turns ahead of what you’re doing. Players that are purely reaction-based typically don’t do well because they don’t have a goal in mind. It’s tough to get inside your opponent’s head and determine exactly what they’re going to do, but you should have a plan on what you’re going to do and how you’ll execute it.

If you have Probability Control, really think hard about when you want to use it. Does that character with Blades only need a 6 to hit you? Maybe you can take the hit but would prefer to Prob their blades roll to reduce their damage. Don’t be gung-ho on using it the first chance you get. Granted, if your Prob is going to go away from the effects of the roll, then you really don’t have a choice but to burn it, but try and use them sparingly and intelligently.

The Most Important Part

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Have fun. I can’t stress this enough. At the end of the day, you’re playing a game and you’ll be playing against people you probably haven’t ever played against before. Don’t let the stress and pressure get to you. Just have fun and learn from the events of the day, whether you win or lose.

If you win, be gracious. Shake their hand, say “good game”, and highlight some of the moves they made that were really good. Maybe offer up a small piece of information that you noticed could improve their game play. Most folks will be happy to learn something that could help them go farther. Hell, do this even if you lose and notice it.

If you lose, be gracious. Shake their hand, say “good game”, and be positive. No one wants to be around someone who throws a tantrum. I tend to react heavily to a stressful loss, so I’ll be consciously pushing myself to stay in control and relaxed. If your opponent offers information to you to help your game play, be open-minded. They did just beat you, so they might be more experienced. They might have gotten lucky too, but advice is always good.


I hope this article helps you prepare for the Winter WizKids Open. If it did, feel free to talk about it in the comments, or list other tips you have for players that are attending that I didn’t cover. Also, did you like this shift for tournament prep? I could always post this article throughout the year with small tweaks (The Teams section) and folks could use it as a resource to help with tournament planning.

Good luck to those of you playing this weekend. I’m highly looking forward to it myself! See you Tuesday!

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