I took my first road trip out to an event outside of the two FLGS’ I usually frequent; this time to an Unlimited Constructed event at Young’s Hobbies & Games in Coventry.
I was glad to get out & meet some of the guys I had been chatting with on the UK DiceMasters Facebook page. I love getting the chance to play with new people and try out my team builds in a different meta than my locals to see how I measure up on the wider scene.
There were six players in total and I was not the only one who had traveled – one guy had trekked up from the South Coast on the train for 4 hours. That’s dedication.
We had three rounds of Swiss with some AvX promos up for grabs. I took along my attempt at a ‘Johnny Swarm’ team (you can read the write up of the team build HERE). We played quite casual and just went for “most wins at time”. This is how it went:
Round One – Win
My first opponent was Dave (Or Mike? Or Phil?) and he was playing a Dragon-centric deck that went for big PXG ramp early to get out ‘Half Dragon – Paragon Humanoid’ and ‘Red Eyes B.Dragon – Plated Body’ to secure cheaper dragons for the rest of the match.
I also remember ‘Curse of Dragon – Skeletal Structure’ knocking around in the team.
I got real lucky in this round – my opponent could not roll anything but energy time & time again with his big scary Dragons. I took avantage of Mike’s unfortunate rolls and stuck to my strategy of getting ‘Human Torch’ out and fielding my low cost weenies for some early burn damage.
By the time his Dragons saw the field I had amassed enough of my army of swarming weenies. A well placed ‘Millenium Puzzle’ and a cheeky couple of ‘Relentless’ globals (which he brought as his BAC) allowed the horde to march through and overwhelm for the finishing kill.
I liked the look of the team and made a mental note for myself in the future – a Dragon build like this would definitely be one to try myself.
Round Two – Tie
In this round I was facing Jordan with a ‘Retaliation’ villain team that had an added focus on gaining advantage through blocking with cards like ‘Jocasta – Patterned after Janet’ and ‘Beast – Nefarious Geneticist’.
Jordan also had a super-cool custom mat with an awesome design based on Brian K. Vaughan’s “Saga”. It was very eye catching and looked the business, at least, that’s what this big comic book nerd thought.
The Dice Gods remained with me and I rolled a perfect couple of turns. ‘Human Torch’ was out early and a bag full of ‘Kobolds’ and ‘Goblins’ we’re ready to field and ping away some early burn damage.
I also took full advantage of a PXG on Jordan’s side of the table to ramp up to my ‘Hulk – Green Goliath’ quite swift too. This pretty soon led to a ‘Hulk’ driven board clear and I delivered the finishing blow, as I had done in my first round, with a horde of weenies marching through an empty field.
It was a top feeling seeing the team now work almost exactly as intended twice in a row. It was also super-nice to receive some feedback from Jordan that I was possibly one of the most polite & gracious players she had ever played (Thanks Jordan – you were a wonderful opponent in that respect too).
With time to spare in the round we racked up another game.
This time around it was a different story. I was slow to get going and Jordan had got some ‘Lyssa Drak – Keeper of the Book of Parallax’ and ‘Ultron Drone – 1 of a Million’ dice out and filled my bag enough times with sidekick dice that I struggled to get to my ‘Hulk’ (or pretty much anything else for that matter) to go for the win.
There was some early ‘Retaliation’ damage I took from Jordan as she BEWD global’d her own Villains and, for a reason that escapes my memory, I took a hit of three points of damage or so from ‘Jocasta’. It all adds up. Eventually Jordan’s forces were big enough to make a push across the field and me & my handful of ‘Goblins’ were done for.
One all tie.
Round Three – Win
This young chap (Dean) was also fielding a Villain team.
He clocked the ‘Human Torch’ strategy straight away and bought up his ‘Black Lantern – Green Arrow Dark Archer’ (enough subtitles there?) which essentially took my ‘Human Torch’ strategy off the table in the grand scheme.
I still bought him up though, I just had to play careful. I played him (always second) and fabricated him a few times to keep him out the field until I was ready. Getting the ‘Golem’ would be handy too to mitigate the issue of the ‘Black Lantern – Green Arrow’.
With my ‘Human Torch’ no longer a disadvantage a race began. Dean bought up his ‘The Joker – clown Prince of Crime’ die as I bought up my ‘Hulk – Green Goliath’ die with the intention of locking down my impending board clear strategy.
Fortune favours the bold and I rolled a ‘Hulk’, along with a couple of weenies, and dealt two sets of three damage to all his characters. With an open field I went in with all for the finishing blow – my win con had worked perfectly as planned once again.
I’m going to pause the re-cap for a moment for a little sidebar.
Often, when writing a blog post, it’s not unusual for me to look up cards – most often to check I’ve got card subtitles right.
Doing that just now with the ‘Black Lantern – Green Arrow’ I realise that the game text on him is “…lose one life” and not “…deals one damage”. This means we played the ‘Clay Golem’ wrong and I would not have been able to mitigate the ping back from ‘Human Torch’ the way I did in the match.
What does this mean? Well – it’s hard to say really. I definitely recall around four points of damage I dealt with ‘Human Torch’ after I’d got ‘Clay Golem’ out that the ‘Black Lantern’ would have “returned fire” on, but needed ‘Human Torch’ out to secure my board clear strategy and that’s what I did.
I wasn’t short of life. I had taken a handful of ‘Retaliation’ hits mid-game as Dean BEWD global’d a few of his guys but the ‘Clay Golem’ had soaked some of that up for me entirely above board. I may well have chosen to take a handful of hits to drive towards my win con strategy but I can’t guarantee these would be the choices I would have made in the moment.
So, anyway, I’ve made a Facebook post and tagged Dean to highlight the error as I came top spot in the event overall. I’ve no real idea what the etiquette is in these types of circumstance but I’ve called it out for what it is there because it’s a learning experience for both of us.
The tournament concluded and with two wins and a draw I took the top spot!
I stuck around for a bit to have a casual game with Phil, who I had not had an opportunity to play through the Swiss rounds in the tournament. It was a good fun game to play – Phil was fielding a pretty hardcore control team that I learnt loads from playing against it. Phil had cards I rarely get a chance to face off against (specifically – ‘Zombie Magneto’ and ‘John Constantine – Hellblazer’) and I really enjoyed the challenge of playing against them. Long story short – Phil won, and I had picked up some ideas towards my team build for Nationals.
Also – wanted to give a shout out to Ian, who had also traveled down to compete. A pleasure meeting you Ian – hopefully we’ll get a chance to play sometime soon.
Any reflections or learns?
Read cards properly. the whole ‘Black Lantern – Green Arrow’ debacle has taught me a hard lesson about reading cards properly, that’s for sure.
Simplify for success. a couple of posts ago I committed to simplifying my teams & play style. There was, I observed at the time, too many moving parts and it was getting ridiculous. I totally feel like I put in some good practice with both the team I made and the way I played it under this new approach.
I had a clear plan a & plan b win con, practical solutions to foreseeable challenges, and clarity in my own head around how to pilot it. It felt real good and I hope to keep it up.
‘Millenium Puzzle’. It’s an elegant, solid action card for sure, and I’ve got a lot of love for it, but it’s got two flaws that mean I’m considering replacing it. One; it’s ‘max die: 1’ sucks, especially when you consider flaw number two; it goes to ‘used’ itself.
I’m thinking about swapping it out for ‘Storm – Wind Rider’. She’s less of a guarantee for removal, but has the added advantage of being a ‘when fielded’ effect that I can manage better (perhaps with my fabricating ‘Golem’) to call up on demand a bit more. Plus – she has the potential to remove two die and deal a little burn of her own.
One to consider, but I am open to suggestions?
‘Jinzo – Trap Destroyer’. This is a curious one to reflect upon, but I didn’t field ‘Jinzo’ once in all four games. I just didn’t feel particularly threatened by any of the globals or BACs I was facing (My opponent’s characters, on the other hand, had me plenty nervous) so wasn’t hugely concerned with dis-incentivising their use.
Don’t get me wrong; the added life loss for my opponent would have been nice, but at a six purchase cost I just didn’t get around to it. I’ll be keeping an eye on how often this happens.
I really enjoyed the chance to get out & about and meet face to face some individuals I had been chatting with over Facebook. I was made to feel very welcome and the atmosphere was warm, relaxed and jovial (Mike especially took some banter in a friendly & good spirited way)
Everyone has been real chill and respectful in response to my Facebook post regarding the ‘Clay Golem’/’BL – Green Arrow’ faux pas and I’m also extremely grateful for the positive attitude about it.
‘Young’s Hobbies’ is planning on doing more events on a Saturday so, providing family circumstances permit, I will most definitely be heading down again to hang with a solid crowd.