The Clinic: Season 4 Retrospective

Hello and welcome to the Clinic! In lieu of the normal Wednesday episode of Roster Doctor (back to normal next week), we’re going to be breaking down the results of the regular season of TTS League Season 4. A whopping 502 games were played and recorded for this, and beautifully compiled by Discord user Sz4r1ej here. And with that massive dataset there is a lot to dig into. So without any further ado lets dive in!

Looking at the aggregate data we see some big outliers here. Wakanda showed up BIG with a 60% winrate across the league, showing that old affiliations can brawl with the new. Web Warriors surprisingly came in 2nd in winrate while being the 3rd most popular affiliation to play which bodes well for the spider-folks.

On the bottom end we have Guardians at 38%, Defenders at ~36% and Spider-Foes at an abysmal 26%, only winning 1 in 4 games is not a good look. I have no defense for the Defenders numbers but Spider-Foes is no surprise, more on that when we get into them.

Outside of the big winners and losers though most affiliations stick to a band of ~55%-45% which is what we should reasonably expect from a “healthy meta”. So while I’ll be watching the over- and under-performers of this tournament going forwards, I’m happy with where the bulk of affiliations are. But with that lets hop down into individual affiliation stats to get a better picture!

A-Force was slept on in the first half of the league but came back with a vengeance to be the third most played affiliation across the entire season. Admittedly it has had a bit of a rough debut, earning a 47% winrate overall, but the fact that 3 of the top cut members are rocking A-Force should tell you that in the hands of a capable pilot they are more than fine.

The key matchups I want to touch on here for them are Asgard Brotherhood and Criminal Syndicate though. A 6-4 record vs Syndicate while not statistically significant is still promising and speaks to their ability to fight CS on fast secures. Similarly Brotherhoods 8-7 shows the capacity to go toe to toe with them on attrition. A 7-11 record vs Asgard is a lot more concerning though. Its a far more significant gap than either of the other two matchups, and while its probably incredibly sensitive to who gets prio, it shows volatility against the most popular affiliation by a mile. For any A-Force players out there looking to tighten up their roster, get some games into Asgard and tune against them. Be prepared for them having priority but also know how they’ll respond when they don’t.

Asgardians are the current meta boogeyman thanks to the Dashgard archetype popularized by UtilityCookie. They have great matchups against a ton of stuff so I want to focus on their outstandingly bad matchups here – Brotherhood and Wakanda.

Both are 33% or worse, implying that the extreme attrition damage and mobility of Asteroid M is more than enough for Magneto to hunt down Loki or any other Hired Muscle piece. Wakanda is a bit more interesting to me because Wakanda is built around pushing away while Dashgard is all about running away, so it doesn’t seem to fit my understanding of the matchup that Wakanda is winning > 70% of the time. Best guess, Wakanda w/ priority is incredibly good into Asgard without which is skewing things in their favor. This is definitely a key matchup I’m going to be looking at in all future shows with Asgard or Wakanda players.

Earths mightiest heroes aren’t looking so mighty right now. They’re the sixth least popular affiliation so I expect a lot of volatility in these stats as there are nowhere near enough games to come to secure conclusions. The Brotherhood 3-5 record is a bit concerning though, as the hallmark of Avengers is incredibly good physical defenses, and literally every Brotherhood attack is physical excepting Toad’s ultimate, and they supplement that with throws. The 80% winrate against Web Warriors is also probably not statistically significant but if there’s any truth to the noise that bodes well for Avengers, as Spidey & Friends look to be on the up-and-up.

The Children of Thanos are even more unpopular than Avengers so again very little to glean here. Even to winning winrates against A-Force, Asgard, and Brotherhood are all promising. Syndicate and Wakanda being 4-0 and 3-1 seems not a strong indicator, especially considering Esmond’s heroic victory with Wakanda over Morgan Reid’s Black Order in the Season 3 finals, but still nice to see. The 0-5 record versus Web Warriors is a bit concerning though. Black Order is a low model count affiliation with a bit of a focus on physical damage attrition, and Web Warriors has great physical defenses combined with powerful control aspects, which sounds like a recipe for disaster. I’m cautiously optimistic for the Black Order with options included with the Inhumans so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them make a comeback in season 5, but any Black Order players should put a lot of thought into their Web Warriors matchup when dojoing.

Mutant supremacy is here in season 4, but probably not as strong as Magneto would like. 52% against the field is a percentage to be happy about, especially with the second highest amount of games played at 109. The 14-7 record against Asgard is promising, the 7-8 record against A-Force is close enough to 50% to feel comfortable, and the 6-3 vs Web Warriors is promising. The 1-3 matchup into Wakanda is the most concerning of the “meta” matchups to look out for, and while nowhere near a significant enough body of games it would be where I’d focus my dojoing to feel safe and secure in playing Brotherhood.

Cabal is hard to discuss there. A lot of Cabal’s popularity has been cannibalized by the fact that M.O.D.O.K. is in Criminal Syndicate (I’m guilty of making the leap) which has led to the meta staple affiliation drop to the third least popular affiliation this season. There are some insignificant but promising numbers against Web Warriors and Syndicate but they were literally so unpopular they don’t have a single game into Wakanda! The Asgard matchup is significant with a 3-8 record which concerns me. An attrition based affiliation very naturally has a bad time into a strategy built around running away, who would have thought? The takeaway – if you’re going to play Cabal, make sure to have an Asgard strategy otherwise you’re going to have a real bad time.

Criminal Syndicate, my current main squeeze for MCP games. They are a brutally effective attrition affiliation that can still beat down teams that wither under the baleful gaze of M.O.D.O.K.. Unfortunately, I only piloted them to a 4-2 record this season and just barely missed the cut in the West Bracket. And with their winrate I can confidently say if I hadn’t played them in the tournament they would have dipped below 50% winrate (admittedly anyone playing them with a positive record could make that claim but I’m too shameless to actually acknowledge that). Asgard in particular is a tricky matchup as evidenced by the numbers. I was lucky enough to have one of the 5 wins into Asgard (with them having prio no less) but dice were definitely a factor. The 60% winrate vs wakanda is understated here, a round 2 Shadow Organization just shuts off their entire game plan and M.O.D.O.K. will reliably run the table priority or no. Web Warriors is rough too, if they get priority to force you into a D shape you need a good game plan or you’ll crumble (I’m one of the WW losses here, getting slapped by Hellcannon’s 6-0 roster). A-Force I can’t speak to conclusively but I have to believe there is a good game there as A-Force will also try and force an E shape into you which is your comfort zone. If I were to run CS back for the next season, I’d dump all my time into figuring out the Asgard and Web Warriors matchups.

Man, defenders had a rough time. No major meta matchup above 40% winrate, Asgard at 20% winrate, Web Warrios at 30%. And no games vs Wakanda. Frankly I’m a bit shocked by this, Portals is basically the most powerful tactics card right now Hired Muscle aside, and as evidenced by Jacob’s Pentathaletes roster, you can have a solid game plan regardless of having prio or not. I honestly do not know how to approach these numbers other than to say that I think they have game if you’re willing to sufficiently prep them. Portal plays are very fragile to positioning mistakes, so make sure you have them perfect. And do a lot of dojoing into the major affiliations to make sure you know how they can abuse you.

Another (slight) surprise here, Guardians were not only one of the least popular affiliations they also achieved a 38.8% winrate against the field, with particularly bad A-Force Syndicate and Web Warriors matchups. Personally I had assumed Lovable Misfits plus Angela primed them to make a statement this season, but I guess the statement was “nobody likes us and we’re bad”. I have a hard time accepting that as true, and might spend a decent bit of offseason dojo trying to get a better understanding of current Guardians to figure out why A-Force, Syndicate and Web Warriors are such a nightmare for them. Woof!

I’m not going to spend a lot of time on Spider-Foes here because there’s not a lot to say between their lowest game count and lowest winrate. As far as I can tell, all Spider-Foes rosters being played were Thanos Spider-Foes lists. Commendably they managed a 2-1 record vs Asgard and a 1-1 vs Web Warriors but the data tells a tale of a highly volatile list living or dying on dice (and their opponents occasionally making plays independent of dice to give them a leg up). Until more of the characters on the Spider-Foes affiliation card get released its hard to evaluate them as a fully functional faction. If you like jamming Spider-Foes Thanos power to you but “standard” Spider-Foes is months away at the earliest.

Oh man, Wakanda. I remember my first (and only) convention for MCP, Las Vegas Open 2020. Literally weeks before lockdown started one of the only MCP conventions to happen in realspace convened, right as Wakanda and Venom had been released. Virtually every game was Cabal vs Wakanda or Wakanda mirrors with the occasional Avengers matchup. Gamma was ubiquitous, with every matchup either being a Gamma attrition slugfest or a control mirror. And somehow twelve months later, Wakanda is still viable in the exact same way in an entirely different meta. 3-0 vs A-Force, 8-3 vs Asgard, 3-1 vs Brotherhood, 2-1 vs Web Warriors. The only “meta” affiliation they dropped below 50% winrate on is Syndicate, and with a 4-6 record that could be up to variance (though as I state in the CS section, I think its actually worse for Wakanda than people realize). If there was any doubt before, it is now clear that Wakanda is here to stay as the premier control affiliation.

Oh man, I’m super stoked for this Web Warriors comeback. In Season 3 they had a bit of a lukewarm run as a lot of competitive players opted out of them in favor of Wakanda or dedicated attrition rosters, leaving the remainder to get slaughtered. But in season 4 they have triumphantly reset their reputation with the third highest amount of games, a 57.7% winrate against the field, and some impressive feathers in their cap – 5-1 vs A-Force, 8-7 vs Asgard, 5-1 vs Syndicate. The 1-2 vs Wakanda is slightly concerning but not a significant enough body of games to truly indicate anything. 4 of the top 16 this season will be playing them either solo or dual affiliated.

What’s the secret to this turnaround? In part, I point at Enchantress. She highlights and accentuates the extract and control aspects of Web Warriors while being a 4 threat splash for an affiliation that LOVES unaffiliated 4s and 3s. Medusa’s inclusion will probably help going forwards as well. Admittedly I’m a bit surprised by how they thrive in a meta focused on round 1 big plays when their most outstanding weakness is their early power issues. But I guess their control effects more than outweigh their round 1 downsides. If they’re able to perform in a meta that should be so theoretically hostile to them, I can’t wait to see what the wall crawlers will do when the meta inevitable shifts.

And finally, the uncanny X-Men. Quietly performant with their 54% winrate, there was not a lot of talk about them in the blogosphere. They managed to put up winning records vs Asgard and Brotherhood as well as dunking on some less popular affiliations. That said, their 2-4 record vs A-Force and 6-8 vs Web Warriors is where I’d focus my time right now if I wanted to play X-Men competitively. Storm’s Leadership along with First Class and To Me My X-Men can make some nasty round 1 extract plays, and Wolverine is a quality 4 threat beater, overall I’d say that they’re a more than fine way to get into competitive MCP right now. I’m excited to see what they do in Season 5 and beyond!

That’s going to be it for the Season 4 wrap-up! Let me know in the comments which affiliations you thought overperformed or underperformed the most relative to expectations, or what you expect to make a splash in season 5!

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