Last week, WizKids put out an update for their Watch List with four pieces being added that are going to be closely examined and potentially changed. Let’s talk about these changes and what this means for the game.

If you aren’t aware of what exactly the Watch List is, it’s basically a group of pieces that WizKids feels are potentially abusing the game and break the integrity and fun of matches. Last year, we had an update to the Watch List with a blank slab; nothing was added and it seemed everything was working as intended. While some folks were upset with pieces like Nick Fury and Ultron Drones dodging the bullet so to speak, everything moved forward.

This is our first update to the Watch List in about a year, and needless to say that a lot of players were surprised to see 4 pieces added. They include Jakeem Thunder, Goblin King, Felix Faust, and the Pym Pocket Tank. I want to talk about each of these, what I believe their fate will be, and why I think that way. It’s important to note two things regarding this article:

  1. The Watch List doesn’t mean that pieces are going to be ‘nerfed’. It means that WizKids is reviewing them to see if they actually want to make any changes or erratas. We won’t know what’s happening until an official word comes out.
  2. These are purely my opinion and I’m sure many of you will disagree with my thoughts and that’s totally okay. This is a speculation article, so it’s open to interpretation.

Now then, let’s dig into these pieces and discuss them a little bit.

Jakeem Thunder

Image result for jakeem thunder

Before the Goblin King showed up, Jakeem had been dominating ROC events and WKO’s for months pretty much immediately after his release in the Fall of last year. As we haven’t had any events since World’s, we don’t really know how heavily the Goblin King has spread yet, so judging purely off of past results, Jakeem has been the go-to and number one pick. If you’re curious about which of the two is better, feel free to read my article that breaks each of them down here.

Why He Should Be Changed

As I just mentioned, he’s pretty much been unmatched in competitive play before the last month. When one piece dominates so hard, it’s really tough to say that they’re fair. Something that costs less than half your build, has killer values and powers, and can adapt to whatever he wants is a big deal, so it makes sense that WizKids wants to take a look at him.

Will He Be Changed? If So, What Do I Think Will Happen To Him?

Short and sweet: nope. Jakeem is going to stay right where he is. Well that doesn’t make much sense, does it? Before you jump on me about leaving this guy alone, consider the fact that next month the rules are going to see a massive change and quite a lot of powers will evolve, mainly Outwit. I talked about this a lot in that article I just mentioned and it’s 100% the reasoning as to why Jakeem will stay the way he is. Outwit will soon be able to pick any power in the game, standard or special, and say that a target can’t use it whereas the current ruling says that they have to possess the power. This means that the new version of Outwit will be able to counter anything Jakeem picks or will be able to stop him from picking something. With pieces like the 30 point Black Panther that has Outwit, Jakeem will see a lot of counter play for not many points.

With such a huge counter that will hit so many pieces, Jakeem will see a big dip in his power levels, so there’s no reason to change him. He’s already limited by his own trait, so he should stay the way he is.

Goblin King

Image result for marvel goblin king

While Jakeem has been the dominate force, Goblin King made pretty much everyone reevaluate their teams and points to make sure they could fit this guy in or completely build around him. He’s insane and his power levels are through the roof. With a win at World’s just weeks after his release, it’s easy to see that the Goblin King has a very bright future for the next two years.

Why He Should Be Changed

Sure, he’s 35 more points than Jakeem as a primary attacker and 35 points buys you a LOT in competitive play, but you get so much more utility than Jakeem. The big difference between the two is that Goblin King has Power Cosmic, taking away any counter play aside from Nick Fury and a handful of other pieces that don’t see play. His various point levels make him easy to fit on any team, and we’re about to see the age where virtually every. single. team. has a Goblin King whether he’s 175 points or 75 points. It makes sense that WizKids doesn’t want a piece that strong and mandatory in the pool.

Will He Be Changed? If So, What Do I Think Will Happen To Him?

I think so, but I don’t think it will be a monumental change. A lot of people have talked about giving him restraints on his Infinity Gauntlet trait to where he can’t pick powers that he did in the last turn or it moves to the beginning of the turn rather than a free action. I happen to think something different. I believe that WizKids will simply add a trait that only gives Goblin King Power Cosmic if he’s played at 275 points. Let’s face it, at the 275 point level, he’s still very good, but not fantastic. He can easily be beat by a fully built team whereas he has to stand by himself with only 25 points in support. At 175 with no Power Cosmic to help him, he loses Willpower and is no longer safe from Outwit. This in turn will put him on almost equal footing with Jakeem and while the pair will still be very strong, there will be counter play in smaller figures.

If they don’t go that route, I would side with the idea of moving his power picking to the beginning of the turn. Part of the reason Goblin King is so powerful is that he can get double use from his powers and adapt on the fly, so this would help reign him in more.

Felix Faust

Image result for felix faust

Boy, I’m sure about 95% of us are sick to death of seeing this Con LE on competitive teams. There has simply never been any piece this low in points that can alter the game the way he does. Surviving one round on the Watch List with a set of nerfs to his Special Powers, Faust is still the go-to piece for absolute control. While the ROC has banned him yet again after his domination last year during the ROC World Cup, it was evident that he still is just too strong when he showed up once again during Worlds.

Why He Should Be Changed

At it’s core, Heroclix is a game. Why do we play games? To have fun. That’s the whole idea. Faust goes against that idea entirely. While everyone wants to win in competitive events, it’s simply not fun when a single piece can sit back at the edge of the map, roll well, and completely stop you from playing your team. Something like that isn’t healthy and it detracts from the experience. Every single time I use Faust (and I rarely do at my LGS), I feel absolutely dirty for doing so. No piece at that point level should have this much power.

Will He Be Changed? If So, What Do I Think Will Happen To Him?

100%, no doubt about it. I think WizKids has finally realized that he’s still too much of a powerhouse and that it’s time for him to be changed again. Like Goblin King, folks have already speculated some ideas with the leading concept of just rotating him early as an immediate ban. I don’t think that’s the case, nor do I think that’s what they’ll do. See, a lot of people still play Golden Age and play the game for fun, and a lot of LGS play opts for Golden Age. Simply rotating Faust early does nothing for those that want to play Golden Age. For that reason, I believe WizKids will alter his powers yet again with the following changes:

  • All powers that have some sort of on-the-map effect will only activate within his range, just like they implemented to his special powers.
  • His Yellow ability, which chooses a square and attacks everyone within 5 squares will require line of fire to his targets making Stealth and terrain a counter.
  • Powers that don’t change how the actual game is played, like his silver ability, will remain as-is as they aren’t that powerful in 95% of the games he’s in.

Of course, WizKids could just take the high road and flat-out ban the piece, but banning is not a good solution as it makes people upset who have spent the money to obtain him. Banning is never an option that game companies should take unless something is absolutely out of hand.

Pym Pocket Tank

Image result for pym tank

Take a look at the top 8 teams from any ROC event since February, Worlds, and Nationals, and I’ll bet that you’ll see more Pym Pocket Tanks than any other piece. While Jakeem and Goblin King are among the most powerful pieces, the Pym Tank is only 8 points and finds its way on just about every single competitive team. With the newest ruling by WizKids that ‘single-click’ characters are technically bystanders, meaning they don’t break theme, these things started popping up like mad.

Why It Should Be Changed

One of the strongest mechanic in Heroclix is being able to deal damage without rolling dice. It’s why Poison is such a great ability if your team can really utilize it. Free damage is king, and the Pym Tank takes that concept and cranks it up to 11. The fact that there is so little stipulations on how the Pym Tank works and that it bypasses pretty much everything on a dial is nuts, and at only 8 points, there’s simply no reason to not run this thing. This in-turn makes it the most sought-after piece in the game at a competitive level. Ask any professional player if their next team has the tank on it and I can pretty much guarantee they’ll say yes.

Will It Be Changed? If So, What Do I Think Will Happen To It?

I think so. 8 points is nothing; it’s less than 3% of a team and the fact that this thing can deal so much damage and displace a team is craziness. While initially I thought maybe WizKids would implement a -2 to attack rather than the -1, that’s a bit much and somewhat makes it useless. Instead, I believe we’ll see a change in the actual mechanics of the tank. For starters, I think you’ll only be able to use it in a close attack, immediately stopping the popular strategy of calling in Cosmic Spider-Man and throwing it through walls. Second, I think WizKids will reverse their ruling on single-click characters and return them to characters rather than bystanders. This will force players into tighter restrictions if they want to play a theme team along with the tank. I honestly believe that’s all that’s necessary to balance the tank. At the end of the day, it’s still pretty easy to KO and once it activates, it’s essentially a free 50 point piece.

While a part of me is a little sad that some neat pieces like Goblin King are potentially on the chopping block, I think this is a good idea on the whole to keep the game healthy. At the same time, changing pieces is a very slippery slope. Whose to say that any piece that wins doesn’t warrant a change? When do you say “these are the pieces we made and we made them for a reason”? Why not include dials that can counter these pieces in common slots rather than simply changing something that you’ve already printed? These are all very valid questions and something that I’m sure WizKids is thinking carefully about.

That wraps up our article for this week. Now that June is over, what are your thoughts on the relaunch? Do you like the content we’re bringing you, or would you like to see something else? Let me know in the comments section. I’ll see you all next week and remember, the real fun begins when you’re Two Clicks From KO!


One thought on “Watch List | New Additions

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