I haven't really done a PvP-related post in a while, and with them dinking about with the way things work I didn't really figure I'd have much to say about it until we saw the final revision with the appearance of Karnak. But then again, I thought that the Royals had a chance of winning the World Series, too, so I'll freely admit when I'm wrong.
The last two pre-season events have brought about bugs, glitches, and no clear winner when it comes to attack and defense teams in the level 300 range. I have noticed several trends, though, which bear mentioning.
Unbalancing your armory and heroes
Up until the last full season most of the players I had run into tended to keep their armory in a fairly balanced state, or at least close to it, with the hero stats being the main way of bending your attack and defense bonus to fit the bill of combat. Sure, there was the occasional oddball or whale that had spent a chunk of change to skew it all-attack or all-defense on their D team, but they were the exception and not the rule.
All that changed, and with the advent of Pesti-Beast and Rulk as a defacto defense team I started seeing more and more defensive teams that I wasn't able to just totally roll in with my typical attack team of X-Force Psylocke and HAIF. A check of their armory showed that they had skewed their defensive armory totally toward the defense side, with next to no attack bonus. Their attacking armory had been weighted toward boosting attack and sacrificing defense. A look at their heroes showed that they had specced them toward health, defense, and evasion. The end result of this was a defensive team that took less damage over-all from attacks, and with Rulk in play with his Bulwark he would typically end up sapping the attacking team to death unless they had methods of removing his buffs or stealthy attacks. The meta that I'm seeing on defense now has moved on from Peast/Rulk, but it still heavily features an unbalanced armory, and with the hero bonus making up for the lack of defense on the Attacking side, I'd say it's a valid strategy, albeit an expensive one to maintain in the long run.
More focus on defense
Typically it would be a fool's errand to even think about trying to put up a defensive team and hope for it to produce wins. With the previously noted unbalanced armory and hero settings and certain heroes on your team, it makes it easier to field a defensive team that can actually pull out a win. There are a few keys to this that one has to think about, though. You have to have a high enough health and defense bonus to be able to weather the onslaught of the opposing team. You also have to be able to deal damage that they either can't come back from, or use DoTs that will not be able to be cleared by debuff removal (thanks, Peast). Aside from the previously mentioned team, another one that I've seen that has been a bit of a beast to work around is Groot/Gamora, with both of them in their GotG outfits (Generalist for Groot, Tac for Gamora) and the agent packing the Guardian insignia. With Groot playing blocker and the passives from the suits and the gadget, it makes the defensive team a royal beast to kill.
As it stands right now, I'm rocking the following on D and it's jacking my AFK win rate through the roof. The team went 8-for-8 since I put them in, and until someone finds a counter-team, I see no reason to take them out:
- Generalist GotG
- Inspiring EISO
- L1: Powerful AISO
- L2: n/a
- L6: Powerful AISO
- L9: Erupting AISO (not really necessary, as I've never seen the AI use it as an attack, but I had it and figured, "eh, why not?")
- Tactician GotG
- Protective EISO
- L1: Vorpal EISO
- L2: n/a
- L6: Vorpal EISO
- L9: n/a (If I had a spare Vorpal, I'd probably stick in on this one, too)
- Tactician's Empo Armor
- Quick EISO
- Guardian Insignia
- Rocket Pistol
- Synthetic Cube
Hopefully the AI has enough brains to pop off the Signpost every turn before firing off the pistol or using the cube, but I'm not counting on it. Also, with any luck it's burning the Guardian Insignia as a freebie every chance it gets. Survival Training + Well Rooted = minimal damage at the beginning of the life bar, minimal damage at the end of the life bar, and with Gamora's Knowhere to Hide the rocket pistol should be stacking debuffs every chance it gets.
I'm halfway tempted to try the same team on offense and see what it does. I'm also tempted to do that just to test a theory that I formed a few seasons back regarding matchups and the pooling system. Right now I'm running Inf XFPsylocke/Scrap HAIF, and I keep running into Rulk/Peast teams like there was a fire sale on bad character designs. I'm curious to see if I change my team, what the matching results will shift to.