Interview with the 2015 U.S. HeroClix National Champion: Kennie Pena

Published on April 16th, 2015

Thank you to everyone who joined us for an exciting weekend of tabletop gaming at the 2015 WizKids U.S. National Championships. Hundreds of players attended the events in Glen Burnie, Maryland to battle it out for the right to call themselves a WizKids U.S. National Champion and win an invitation to the World Championship, taking place in June at Origins Game Fair.  With HeroClix, Dice Masters, Star Trek: Attack Wing and D&D Attack Wing tournaments taking over the Baltimore area, there was never a dull moment.

We would like to give a special shout out to our hosts from Games & Stuff. The success of these events would have never been possible without your help.

Congratulations to our new 2015 U.S. HeroClix National Champion: Kennie Pena.

Kennie Pena HeroClix U.S. National Champion

To learn from the best, we interviewed the new Champ. Check out what he had to say:


Name: Kennie Pena

WES ID: Longdistanceswimmer

Location: Bogota, NJ

Favorite Local Venues: Highlander Games and Comics in Boonton, NJ; Dragon’s Den in Poughkeepsie, NY; and Gamer’s Gambit in Danbury, CT

Q: What was it like to win the 2015 WizKids U.S. National Championship?

A: Incredible!  Simply incredible.  Back to back 3rd place finishes at Worlds 2012 and 2013 and getting knocked out in Top 16 in both Nationals and Worlds last year made me hungrier for it.  Being able to win Nationals this year with many of my teammates present, as well as many friends I made along the way through many games of HeroClix, made it that much sweeter.  Being able to share that joy with others just enhances that feeling.


Q: Did you enjoy the competition?

A: Absolutely.  I wish I could say I saw all 32 teams, but I would be lying.  However, I did see a lot of diversity among the teams that were played.  The thrill of single elimination is pretty intense as you advance on.  All the players I played against played extremely well and did not make it easy for me.


Q: How did you come up with your winning build and what was your main strategy?

A: Last year I used Doop with the Book of the Skulls at Worlds and came in 12th, while my teammate Kenji Kaneshiro, was able to get 1 round further with the same team, placing 7th.  I knew Doop was still worth playing, but had to explore new options.  Once Gluttony came out and had almost identical defense abilities and some anti-resource/healing love, I knew I was onto something.  In most cases, forcing your opponent to hit your team at minimum 9 times for a win is a tall order. Add in some healing, Hammer boosts, Mystics damage, Entity bonuses, and bonuses from the Book, my plan was to just simply outlast my opponent while being able to hit hard enough back.

Marvel HeroClix: Doop


Q: What were the teams you went up against like?

A: Creative.  Red Battery Deadman/Gluttony combo was a very clever team.  I played against two Orange Battery Teams, one concentrated on Defense, while the other concentrated on Board Control, which goes to show even the same resource can be utilized differently and still be effective in high level play.  Also, a Zombie Team Base, which goes to show you Team Bases aren’t dead….get it…Zombies…Team Bases…..dead…..I’ll stop now.


Q: How long have you been playing HeroClix?

A: I have been playing for 4.5 years now as Web of Spider-Man was my first set.  I dabbled a bit before then, but it was very inconsistent.


Q: What first brought you to the world of HeroClix?

A: In my younger years I was big on VS. System TCG and played a lot.  At my local venue back then, I would always see HeroClix being played and being very intrigued with the DC and Marvel crossover, but never took the time to look into it further.  After VS. System died out, I had plenty of time for a new hobby.  A close friend of mine told me that he was into HeroClix and was moving back to New Jersey from Florida and I thought it was a perfect time to learn.


Q: How often do you play, and where do you play HeroClix?

A: At least once a week, at most three times a week.  My home store is Highlander Games and Comics in Boonton, NJ and it is, in my opinion, the best place in New Jersey for HeroClix.


Q: What is your favorite things about HeroClix?

A: I love the strategy of Chess. I love the lore of Marvel and DC comic book characters.  Put them both together and you have HeroClix.  On top of that, you get to meet great people who turn into friends, who share your passion and love for the game.


Q: As a Nationals Champion, you get to design your own ATA. Do you have any ideas for it yet?

A: Sadly, no.  Not the greatest answer, but it is the truth.  I will give it some thought and have to get back to you on that one.


Q: Anything else you would like to add?

A: Shoutouts to Abdul Manickram, Bradley Wilson, Tedd Jasiczek, Kenji Kaneshiro, Jayson Kuehm, Timothy Traister, Bryan Santana, Brian Galley, Alex DeVictoria, and Joshua Cannon, my teammates, my good friends, Team Pusheen!  Also a shout out to Derek Thompson, my rival and friend.  According to our tradition, it is your turn to win next.  You know I can’t let that happen, haha.

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