Despite playing Heroclix for close to 9 years now, I’ve never finished 1st in any tournament. That changed last December, when my playgroup held an event for the Web of Spider-Man Daken Limited Edition figure. It was the most sought after out of the limited edition figures of that set, so our judge decided to hold a special format for the event.
The format is limited to 500 point Modern Age armies but with a twist – an army must have at least three figures that have the following symbols/abilities: the Transporter Speed symbol, the Duo Attack symbol, the Sharpshooter Attack symbol, the Indomitable Defense symbol, the Giant Damage symbol, the Colossal Damage symbol, and the Trait symbol. A symbol can only be represented once, e.g. a team with three figures that have the Sharpshooter symbol isn’t qualified. Also, a figure can only represent one symbol, even if it has two or more, e.g. Cloak and Dagger, who has both the Transporter symbol and the Duo symbol counts as just one in meeting the requirement.
While building my army, I wanted to adhere to comic accuracy, so I stuck with Named Keywords. I almost chose Marvel Knights (ironic, as you’ll see later) but I ended up choosing an army centered around the Justice League of America keyword. In order to meet the specified format, I selected The Atom and Hawkman (Duo symbol, 120 points) from The Brave and the Bold set, Green Arrow (Sharpshooter symbol, 80 points) and Aquaman (Transporter symbol, 106 points) from the DC 75th Anniversary set. I selected the three figures because they added up to just 306 points, leaving me with 194 points – definitely a lot of room for including strong figures.
To round out the team, I selected Batman from the Justice League set (75 points), and Barry Allen (the second Flash) from the DC 75th Anniversary set (119 points). Barry Allen would serve as my main attacker – with his Hypersonic Speed of 14 and 3 Damage, he could attack and penetrate Invulnerability, then evade. Meanwhile, Batman was my strategic piece, allowing me to counter any problematic powers on the opposing team.
The event involved eight players, which needed three rounds to determine an overall winner. In the first round, I faced against our judge (arguably one of the better players in the group) and it was almost a mirror match – he had selected the same three figures to qualify for the format. Instead of having Batman and Barry Allen, he included Superman from the DC 75th Anniversary set. It was a difficult match, but when time ran out, I had eliminated more figures and ended up the winner – Barry Allen was too hard to contain and his Superman didn’t do enough damage against my army to matter.
In the second round, I faced against another veteran who was semi-retired. He played an Animal-themed team that had Gorilla Grodd (from Arkham Asylum), Beast Boy, Solovar, Detective Chimp, and a Gorilla City Warrior (all from DC 75th Anniversary). It was a good team with a lot of offensive options – Mind Control, Outwit, Telekinesis, Willpower, you name, he had it. I thought I was going to lose, but a few bad rolls on his part gave me the advantage. Again, time ran out and I emerged victorious simply because I had eliminated more figures than he did.
In the third and final round, I got a little nervous. I had gone 2-0 without completely eliminating the opposing teams, winning solely on point advantage. When I saw the opposing team, I calmed down a bit. My opponent, another veteran and former judge, called it a “Shadowland” team, but it really wasn’t. It was the Marvel Knights team that I initially considered (see the irony) and I was going against it in the final round. The team was composed of Daredevil (81 points, from the Hammer of Thor set), Cloak and Dagger (Transporter symbol, 109 points), Elektra (Indomitable symbol, 80 points), Power Man and Iron Fist (Duo symbol, 136 points) and Punisher (83 points). To fill out his team, he also included the Amadeus Cho bystander token (11 points) from the Mutations and Monster set.
It was a Stealth-heavy team, so I used a map that didn’t have a lot of hindering terrain – the Arkham Asylum map. What I failed to realise was Power Man and Iron Fist’s Wall Buster Special Power would greatly benefit from this map. After the first two turns, I knew that the map that I had chosen would be beneficial for my opponent. He moved his team around the map closely, with Power Man and Iron Fist boosting everyone’s defense values to 18 while at the same time smashing walls to provide the hindering terrain that the team needed.
I had placed an Open Hydrant Special Object in the middle of the map to impede his mobility and increase Aquaman’s effectiveness. Because of this, my only offensive option was to send Barry Allen around the map, eventually taking out the Amadeus Cho token. Facing an 11 point deficit, my opponent sent the entire team after Barry, who retreated to one of the corners of the map. This was, for me, the turning point of the match. Chasing after Barry, my opponent placed all of his figures on one corner of the map. I tried making hit-and-run attacks with Barry, and he responded by smashing the surrounding walls to litter the ground with debris (which would stop Barry in his tracks). While he was busy dealing with Barry Allen in the corner, I destroyed the Open Hydrant and advanced my team to control the center of the map. Cornered, he was forced to take the offensive, sending Daredevil, Cloak and Dagger, and Elektra against The Atom and Hawkman. All the debris that my opponent created trapped the Punisher and Power Man and Iron Fist, resulting in a five-on-three battle in the middle. Holding the numbers advantage, I quickly disposed of Elektra and landed a good hit on Daredevil. Realizing that the odds of winning were low, my opponent conceded the match.
I’ve been playing Heroclix for years, and I’ve never gone undefeated in any event, so I’m very happy when I ended up with a 3-0 win/loss record without any byes. And this win was full of ironies – aside from facing the team that I initially came up with before switching to the Justice League, a almost exclusively Marvel player won an event playing an all-DC team. I wonder if there will be other tournament wins for me in the future?