A couple weeks ago, I talked about how WizKids had updated their Watch List with some new pieces after World’s and the insane amount of repetition that the teams had. We finally have answers on what the fate of these pieces are, and I want to talk about them and how this will impact the Meta.
If you read my post a couple weeks ago on our sister site, Two Clicks From KO, you’ll know what I’m talking about. If you watched the stream from World’s, or payed any attention to the results, you’ll know what I’m talking about. We went from a list with no pieces at all to four being added at once. Those pieces were:
-Felix Faust Con LE
-Pym Pocket Tank
What you may not know about the watch list is that it doesn’t mean that all things listed there are changed or nerfed (which you’ll see from this post). Rather, the watch list is a place where WizKids puts game elements that need a second look based on the impact they’re having on the meta-game. Notice I said meta-game, not the game in general or the meta in general. While meta-game and the meta can be argued to mean the same thing, one could also argue they’re different from each other. Let’s look at what the definition of metagaming is.
Metagaming is any strategy, action or method used in a game which transcends a prescribed ruleset, uses external factors to affect the game, or goes beyond the supposed limits or environment set by the game. Another definition refers to the game universe outside of the game itself.
The point I’m trying to make is that to me, the difference between the meta-game and what folks call ‘the meta’ is that the former describes the game health in general and how players are using pieces/how pieces are affecting the game whereas the later is the grouping of pieces that are successful and often find themselves at the higher end of the price spectrum and have multiple top-8 finishes or total wins under their belts.
Holy crap, get back to the topic at hand, will ya?!
Anyway, back to the topic at hand. The point of the watch list is to look at pieces that are overall affecting the game in a poor manner and look at potentially changing or tweaking those game pieces. After a couple weeks, we got a response from WizKids in terms of what these changes were. Before we can discuss what this means to the meta, we need to know what these changes are. For full wording, you can read the announcement and the reasoning behind each change here.
Jakeem Thunder – No changes.
Goblin King – Power Cosmic is only available at 275 points. Powers chosen from Infinity Gauntlet now only last until your next turn, just like Jakeem.
Felix Faust Con LE – has been retired from modern early.
Pym Pocket Tank – replaces damage dealt from the character using the tank. Characters displaced are dealt 2 damage after actions resolve.
There has been a lot of talk in the community about these changes. A lot of folks are extremely happy with what WizKids has done and of course we have some folk out there that are quite upset. Regardless, these are our changes so there’s no point discussing what my personal thoughts are on the matter.
What do these changes ultimately mean for the overall health of the game, or more importantly, the meta?
Ouch. That really hurt, WizKids!
For overall game health, it’s kind of split. At your typical LGS, not many people are cruel enough to bust out the pieces that are on the watch list. Personally, I only use these game elements when it’s a competitive situation and something big is on the line. Otherwise, I tend to steer clear of these pieces as they’re somewhat anti-fun (although they are not unbeatable). While the nerfs are certainly better for casual players/LGS players, the lack of actual change on Faust is concerning. Many LGS’s play Golden Age or Oreo Age events, meaning Faust will still rule those scenes completely. However, he is just one piece and once start allowing almost everything in the game to be played, he probably won’t be as big of a problem. Of course, LGS’s also have the ability to just outright ban him if he’s still a major problem.
The Meta sees a much bigger change from these nerfs. Most importantly, you might notice that this next round of ROC events in August will probably end up being the same thing as before with big bad Jakeem taking the victory all over the place. With the crippling of Goblin King’s offense line in competitive, there’s simply no reason not to run Jakeem if that’s the route you want to go. However, once the new rules come into play at the end of August, this will shift things quite a bit. With no Power Cosmic on Goblin King and Outwit being able to counter any power it wants, regardless of where it’s coming from, Jakeem will see a lot more counter-play. Suddenly those 30 point Black Panther’s from Avengers Defenders War look a lot more appetizing.
K THNX, BYE!
Faust going away doesn’t do much for competitive in the short run as the ROC did the right thing of re-banning him. Where you’ll see a difference here is at WKO’s where the old sorcerer was still dominating. Still, it’s not too difficult to sub in a new 80 point piece onto your force, and it seems like the general consensus by competitive players is that frankly, they’re all happy to see him go. I get the feeling that no one truly liked playing Faust.
The Pym Tank is perhaps the biggest shake up to the meta, and I can speak about this first hand. No piece has been introduced into the game since I’ve returned back in 2015 that shook things up like this little 8 point wonder did. The Tank was on literally every single team as there was no reason not to run it. The sheer damage and board control it presented for such a low investment made it a must-have item for any competitive team. What was toxic about the tank is that many games became a race of “can I get my tank out before my opponent?”. While testing for ROC states, my buddy and I ran into this exact problem, and it seemed that whomever landed that first crucial strike would clean house and take the game in either that same turn or the turn immediately after. While our experience might not be exactly the same as everyone else’s, it did show us by example that the Pocket Tank, an 8 point piece, was the real dominating piece of the meta. With the lack of the tank, there’s a sharp decline in damage on teams, and players will have to fill that hole. It won’t be too difficult as the tank is only a few months old, and an ID card is about as perfect as a replacement as you can get, but this will be an interesting time compared to the last 4-5 months.
Uh… did you want this? Total crap, amirite?
We’re at a very interesting time, perhaps the most interesting time in Heroclix in the last 10 years. Not only do we see a very stagnant meta (which has happened many times before), we’re about to see a major rule revision to how the game is played (and don’t worry, once the new rules are official I’ll be doing an article on them for you all!). While Jakeem might be the king once more, we’re a little over a month out before a unique element of expedition and wonder as many of the big pieces will no longer be juggernauts to take down. We’re entering a new frontier for Heroclix, and whether you like it or not, it’s happening so you might as well prepare.
For those of you like me that are planning on attending an ROC in the next month, do yourselves a favor; plan on fighting Jakeem. It’s going to happen – I guarantee it. Plan on seeing Goblin King. He’s still an insanely good 75 point secondary attacker/support piece. While most may think the tank is now completely useless, it’s still a very strong displacement device, so don’t count it out completely. Of course, I wish you all the luck and hope that members of the Clix Fix community take home the wins!
What are your thoughts on the changes to these game elements? Do you think WizKids went too far, not far enough, or were the changes just right? How do you think the meta will shift? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter!
I know that I missed last week on Two Clicks From KO, and I’m aiming to get something finished for the site this week, so keep your eyes peeled over there. It might not be grand as I’m quickly running out of time to get everything ready for the big convention, but I will do my best to at least have something for you all to read. I’ll see you all next week as we close out the month and (hopefully) have an Elseworlds set review for you. Take care!