The first big event after the seismic shifts in the game is happening in Las Vegas this weekend. The first heat has wrapped up and we have some insight in to the rosters and what’s doing well.
The first heat had 39 players – a decent size, but I expect that to grow for the second heat on the Saturday. I’ll be doing this exercise again for that heat too.
We might be starting to see a shift away from mono-affiliated rosters – as a reminder in Season 6 of the TTS league was 68% mono going up to 77% at the mid-season roster change.
|Guardians of the Galaxy||8%|
|Brotherhood of Mutants||5%|
Avengers continue to be popular: characters people love and powerful synergies – they will be a staple in tournaments for a long while to come. Criminal Syndicate was widely anticipated for a surge in popularity, but Midnight Sons might be more of a surprise – its worth contextualising that Blade (and Moon Knight) haven’t been out that long in the US so they may still be riding the “New, Shiny” wave. Personally, I was expecting more Black Order than we saw, as they are such an easy splash affiliation. X-force and Defenders were higher than I expected, but small(er) samples will tend to skew a bit.
|Captain America (Sam Wilson)||15%|
|Captain America (Steve Rogers)||15%|
|Loki God of Mischief||13%|
|Spider-Man (Miles Morales)||13%|
|Bob Agent of Hydra||8%|
|Kraven the Hunter||8%|
|Doctor Strange Sorcerer Supreme||5%|
|Drax the Destroyer||5%|
|Spider-Man (Peter Parker)||5%|
|Thor Prince of Asgard||3%|
|Black Widow Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.||0%|
|Ronan the Accuser||0%|
We’ve been used to certain characters really dominating the rankings here with Okoye topping out at 66% of the field and 88% of top cut lists in season 6. Now we are seeing signs of a much more liberal spread of characters. A cluster of 5 characters being taken more than 30% of the time and then only the top 12 making it more than 20%.
There were some surprises to me near the top. Ghost Rider has two great homes in Midnight Sons and Guardians of the Galaxy, so maybe on reflection I shouldn’t have been as surprised as I was to see him near the top. Core set Black Widow was another one that has two good homes in popular affiliations to allow them to access wide builds: Avengers and Criminal Syndicate.
Outside of those two, it shook out pretty much as I had expected. Bullseye helps a load of affiliations and Black Cat and Voodoo have powerful VP controlling mechanics – expect to see them rise in popularity rather than fall.
Despite Avengers being taken 28% of the time, each Cap only clocks in at 15% making it seem that Avengers players are picking one leader to focus on – particularly if they are part of a dual affiliation roster.
Only 9 characters didn’t get taken at all, and of those War Machine is the surprise to me. He had a great home in Sam Wilson lists, but maybe with the removal of All You’ve Got along with Iron Man coming up and having great tactics cards his isn’t as compelling as other great 3 threats that are available.
|Fear Grips World as “Worthy” Terrorize Cities||59%|
|Struggle for the Cube Continues||41%|
|Spider-Infected Invade Manhattan||38%|
|Research Station Attacked!||36%|
|Alien Ship Crashes in Downtown!||28%|
|Skrulls Infiltrate World Leadership||28%|
|Deadly Legacy Virus Cured?||21%|
|Mystic Wakanda Herbs: Fact or Fiction?||18%|
|The Montesi Formula Found||18%|
|Mutant Extremists Target U.S. Senators!||13%|
As predicted by many, Hammers remains popular as a “priority neutral” extract, that nobody hates. I think some teams are more advantaged than other on Hammers, but that might be a subject for another time. Cubes and Spiders are popular choices, in spite of their asymmetry for round 1. Research station has dropped a few places, but overall the spread of extracts is pretty similar to the season 6 field.
|Infinity Formula Goes Missing!||49%|
|Riots Spark Over Extremis 3.0||38%|
|Gamma Wave Sweeps Across Midwest||36%|
|Mutant Madman Turns City Center Into Lethal Amusment Park||36%|
|Demons Downtown! Has Our Comeuppance Come Due?||31%|
|Cosmic Invasion! Black Order Sweeps Across Earth||18%|
|Intrusions Open Across City as Seals Collapse||18%|
|Portals Overrun City with Spider-People!||18%|
|Terrigen Cloud Sweeps Over City||18%|
|S.W.O.R.D. Establishes Base on Moon’s Blue Area||15%|
|Deadly Meteors Mutate Civilians||13%|
|Mayor Fisk Vows to Find Missing Witnessess||10%|
The big changes we’ve seen here is the rise of Infinity Formula and Extremis. This may be being seen as safe secures – you are unlikely to lose hard on it based on priority. Demons has sunk a lot, as have gamma and S.W.O.R.D. base – the inability to not choose them based on matchup has definitely had an effect here.
|Brace for Impact (R)||51%|
|Field Dressing (R)||44%|
|Heroes for Hire||36%|
|Deal with the Devil||28%|
|Marked for Death||28%|
|Patch Up (R)||23%|
|Bitter Rivals (R)||21%|
|Siege of Darkness||18%|
|All Webbed Up||13%|
|Monkey Brain is Lizard Home||13%|
|All According to Plan||10%|
|Cat and Mouse||10%|
|Helios Laser Bombardment||10%|
|Aunt May’s Wheat Cakes||8%|
|Bats the Ghost Hound||8%|
|Crew of the Milano||8%|
|Eyes on the Prize||8%|
|No Matter the Cost||8%|
|The Age of Ultron||8%|
|The Grand Illusion||8%|
|Usurp the Throne||8%|
|We are Groot||8%|
|Birds of Prey||5%|
|Can I Borrow That?||5%|
|Escort to Safety||5%|
|Highway to Hell||5%|
|No More Mutants||5%|
|Pentagram of Farallah||5%|
|Pretty Sneaky Sis||5%|
|The Cat and the Spider||5%|
|The Whims of Chaos||5%|
|Bar with no Doors||3%|
|Book of Cagliostro||3%|
|Iron Bound Books of Shuma-Gorath||3%|
|Orb of Agamotto||3%|
|Plane of Polhldahk||3%|
|Seven Suns of Cinnibis||3%|
|To Me My X-Men||3%|
|Weapon X Program||3%|
There are 65 cards that have not been taken, not listed for the sake of brevity.
Restricted cards are high again, and nobody will be surprised to see Brace, Med Pack and Field Dressing at the top, especially with All You’ve Got moving to the banned list. Bitter rivals has been hit by being added to the Restricted list, but is still seeing a decent amount of play.
Good wide applicability cards are high up with Sacrifice, Marked for Death, Disarm and Climbing Gear being popular, along with strong character tactics cards like Deal with the Devil and Lethal Protector.
Overall, the shape of the rosters looks much more evenly spread than before the changes.
What got played
|Fear Grips World As Worthy Terrorize Cities||19%|
|Alien Ship Crashes in Downtown!||15%|
|Struggle for the Cube Continues||15%|
|Mystic Wakandan Herbs: Fact or Fiction?||12%|
|Skrulls Infiltrate World Leadership||12%|
|Spider-Infected Invade Manhattan||12%|
|Research Station Attacked!||7%|
|Deadly Legacy Virus Cured?||3%|
|The Montesi Formula Found||3%|
|Mutant Extremists Target U.S. Senators!||3%|
It’s difficult to read too much in to these choices, as they are now random, but Alien Ship seems a little high compared to the spread in rosters. This is portably natural random variation, but I can see a picture where those running those slower brawlier crises are actively choosing extract when they see secures opposite them.
|Infinity Formula Goes Missing!||24%|
|Riots Spark Over Extremis 3.0||18%|
|Gamma Wave Sweeps Across Midwest||10%|
|Mutant Madman Turns City Center Into Lethal Amusement Park||9%|
|Demons Downtown! Has Our Comeuppance Come Due?||7%|
|Portals Overrun City With Spider-People!||7%|
|Terrigen Clouds Sweep Over City||6%|
|Cosmic Invasion! Black Order Descends on Earth||4%|
|Intrusions Open Across City as Seals Collapse||4%|
|S.W.O.R.D. Establishes Base on Moons Blue Area||4%|
|Deadly Meteors Mutate Civilians||3%|
|Mayor Fisk Vows to Find Missing Witnesses||3%|
A lot of infinity formula and Extremis. Again, due to the random nature it isn’t surprising to see a spread similar to that in the roster selection.
With a lot of core box crises being popular, it isn’t surprising to see a lot of 17 threat being played. When roster building, making sure you 17 threat squad is solid is going to be a big consideration if this continues.
What was wining?
One stat that jumped out at me was priority: 65% of games were won by the player without priority. Now this is a small sample size of 68, but assuming that priority is a 50% win:loss, this has a 1% chance of randomly happening. Even with this small sample size that might indicate there is at least some, and potentially significant, advantage to losing priority. I’ll be keen to monitor this across LVO and in to season 7.
Three players went undefeated across four rounds:
Hyper Viper: Avengers
|Black Cat||Advanced R&D||Fear Grips World as “Worthy” Terrorize Cities|
|Black Widow||Avengers Assemble||Mystic Wakanda Herbs: Fact or Fiction?|
|Captain America (Sam Wilson)||Brace for Impact (R)||Spider-Infected Invade Manhattan|
|Captain America (Steve Rogers)||Disarm|
|Doctor Voodoo||Escort to Safety||Secures|
|Hulk||Field Dressing (R)||Gamma Wave Sweeps Across Midwest|
|Iron Fist||Follow Me||Mutant Madman Turns City Center Into Lethal Amusment Park|
|Iron Man||Heroes for Hire||Portals Overrun City with Spider-People!|
|Luke Cage||Ricochet Blast|
Joseph Hanson: X-force, Avengers, Dark Dimension
|Cable||Avengers Assemble||Fear Grips World as “Worthy” Terrorize Cities|
|Deadpool||Blind Obsession||Research Station Attacked!|
|Domino||Brace for Impact (R)||Mutant Extremists Target U.S. Senators!|
|Baron Zemo||Cat and Mouse|
|Captain America (Steve Rogers)||Dark Restoration||Secures|
|Dormammu||Heroes for Hire||S.W.O.R.D. Establishes Base on Moon’s Blue Area|
|Hood||Hood’s Gang||Gamma Wave Sweeps Across Midwest|
|Luke Cage||Medpack (R)||Mayor Fisk Vows to Find Missing Witnessess|
Kevin Cruz: Midnight Sons, Avengers
|Blade||Bats the Ghost Hound||Fear Grips World as “Worthy” Terrorize Cities|
|Moon Knight||Blind Obsession||Alien Ship Crashes in Downtown!|
|Iron Fist||Helios Laser Bombardment||Research Station Attacked!|
|Doctor Voodoo||Heroes for Hire||Secures|
|Baron Zemo||Grievous Wounds||Intrusions Open Across City as Seals Collapse|
|Hulkbuster||Deal with the Devil||Demons Downtown! Has Our Comeuppance Come Due?|
|Black Dwarf||Brace for Impact (R)||Infinity Formula Goes Missing!|
|Okoye||Patch Up (R)|
|Rocket Raccoon||Siege of Darkness|
So Avengers claim the spoils in this first heat: will that continue for Day 2? You won’t have to wait long to find out.