The Brit Roller Six coverage of the UK DiceMasters National championship continues with my own re-cap of the qualifying event that took place on Friday 3rd June.
We were to play six rounds forty five minute a piece. There was to be five rounds played at time and then highest life total took the game.
I was playing the team regular readers will be very familiar with – my “Johnny Swarm” I’d been playing and working on for weeks. You can find a summary HERE.
Round One – Tie
My first opponent was Andy, who I had a little bit of a cyber-relationship with as we had bantered back & forth a touch over the “UK DiceMasters Players” Facebook page.
I didn’t see all of Andy’s team hit the field, but what I did see was definitely ‘Black Widow – Tsarina’, ‘Green Goblin – Gobby’, ‘Scarecrow – Legion of Doom’, and ‘Hulk – Jade Giant’.
In the first game Andy bolted the gate with verve; his ‘Tsarina’ die came to hit me hard and fast early game (more on that later…), ans ‘Scarecrow’ came along to keep me from being too aggressive with my weenie horde.
I was slow to get my burn machine going, and just couldn’t time a ‘Dwarf Wizard’ to keep ‘Tsarina’ at bay or shield me from ‘Hulk – Jade Giant’. My ‘Johnny Storm’ die were quite insistent to be energy, and when I finally rolled a character face Andy’s ‘Hulk’ turned him into a disadvantage that kept resulting in my board being cleared.
It was too slow; by the time I had myself in a position to get some good damage in with my Swarming horde the skilfully placed early ‘Tsarina’ damage Andy got through had given him the head start he needed to win the first game of the round. He rode the game through nice and smooth – using my own burn to punish me with the ‘Hulk’, clearing my field down, and then battering me with ‘Tsarina’ die.
My second game went much better – my dice came through the bag much more as intended and both my offensive & defensive set-up were in place stronger and quicker than the first game.
The ‘Dwarf Wizard’ did his job locking out Andy’s ‘Hulk – Jade Giant’ and ‘Constantine’ keeping ‘Gobby’ at bay. This time I was keeping the water at my chin.
I Swarmed up to my own ‘Hulk – Green Goliath’ and got a good board clear manoeuvre pulled leaving an open field for a lethal assault.
My first match at this level ended with a tie.
Round Two – Tie
My second round was against Charlotte, who, like Andy, I had chatted with on Facebook and bought some cards from in the Marketplace.
Charlotte’s team included ‘Guy Gardner – Blinding Rage’ and ‘Mary Jane – MJ’ as the main win condition, with ‘Green Goblin – Gobby’ for a bit of flavour.
Charlotte’s main strategy was to build up a Sidekick presence and either a. Direct damage with ‘Gobby’ or b. Attack with them along with ‘Guy Gardner’ & throw down a ‘Mary Jane’ to turn them into Overcrushing nightmares! (Spelt that with a ‘K’ in the first draft – child of the eighties!)
The first game went to Charlotte. I admit it was a bit of a blur; mostly just chipping away at each other in a bit of a war of attrition. Thanks to a sage comment from The Reserve Pool’s Podcast (“always name Gobby!”) and ‘Blink Transmutation’ Global I had kept some damage at bay to keep a small lead, but that turned out not to mean anything in the end…
…because, what I do remember of that first game was the last round. I had nine life and Charlotte had six. I had ‘Johnny Storm’ out doing his thing and had six character die, along with some sidekick die, in my roll. The game was well within my grasp – all that was needed was six characters to field to go for lethal damage through ‘Human Torch’ burn.
I, of course, only rolled five characters… even after re-roll. Charlotte was down to one life and we had matching character walls and I’d spent all my energy – I couldn’t find a way to sneak an extra point through.
Then things went from tough to worse in Charlotte’s turn. She pulled a ‘Blink Transmutation’ and a few characters from the bag to take her wall of characters just over mine.
The subsequent attack did it: with ‘Blink Transmutation’ waiting in the field zone there was no combination of blocking/not blocking that could result in less than lethal damage coming my way! I lost the game, with my opponent only at one life. (A sidekick, a sidekick, my kingdom for a sidekick!)
The next game of the round went smoother. I got my ‘Constantine – Hellblazer’ out good and handy to lock out Charlotte’s ‘Gobby’ short-term then grabbed my ‘Captain America – Super Soldier’ to mitigate him long term. I then could turn my ‘Hellblazer’ to keeping ‘Mary Jane – MJ’ ineffective. I worked my Swarm mechanic to rush to a ‘Hulk – Green Goliath’ for some Plan B Win Condition action: keep that board clear and go for lethal combat damage.
And that’s exactly what happened – I pinged my own ‘Hulk’ with my ‘Wasp – Founding Avenger’ Global in Charlotte’s turn and kept the character count nice and low to walk my ‘Kobolds’ and ‘Goblins’ through for the final kill once my attack value was high enough.
Charlotte had been a pleasure to play, she had shown me exceptional sportsmanship and been warm & friendly throughout.
We ended on a Tie with one game each.
Round Three – Loss
My next opponent was Phil, who I had played before for funsies after an event we both attended in Coventry. In fact; this was a re-match of sorts – when we played previous we were both using earlier incarnations of each of these teams.
Essentially, Phil had the golden answer to grind a chunk of my team to a desperate halt: ‘Magneto – Magnetic Monster’, and boy, did he do just that. Phil ramped up painfully quick to the Zombie terror using the ‘Superhero Registration Act’ BAC (bought up with some early burn from RDG) and rolled that bad boy into play on a “hard to get rid of” level three.
No Swarm, no ‘Constantine’, no ‘Wasp’, no ‘Dwarf Wizard’… I was most definitely on the back foot with no way out. The level three roll meant that ‘Magneto’ had a big, muscle-y eight Defense, and with my Swarm mechanic locked out I was struggling to ramp up to my ‘Hulk’ to even start considering clearing him.
The ‘Tsarnia’ shenanigans (I’ll not use Phil’s terminology – rhymes with “Bulls hit”😜) started and it was too much for my weakly, de-powered weenies to handle. I got a few hits in but it was not enough. Phil took game one.
I was feeling a bit disheartened and I let it affect the second game of the round. I played awfully. With RDG so prevalent in Phil’s strategy I should have got my ‘Wasp – Founding Avenger’ ASAP, or bought up his ‘Superhero Registration Act’ BAC from under him to slow his ramp, but I did neither of these things and the better player won. Phil stuck to his strategy and got his early ‘Tsarina’ pressure up in my face while getting some early burn in with RDG BACs purchases. It was over too soon and Phil took the second game and the round.
At the end of the round Phil asked me a curious question: why hadn’t I been spinning down dice to mitigate the ‘Black Widow – Tsarina’ attack burn? “God” I thought “why HADN’T I been spinning down to stop the Tsarina burn?” It was at this point I realised I had faced Tsarina in in two of my rounds so far and had been foolishly taking the two points of damage every time, no questions asked, when I probably had an abundance of characters at my disposal (‘Kobolds’ & ‘Goblins’) to spin down for each instance.
What. An. Idiot.
It was too late, I had clearly let my nerves & excitement get in the way, and just had to move on with my head better in the game. I’d paid the price for my own muppetry, and had learnt a hard lesson about actually reading cards properly, no matter how familiar I believed I was with them.
Round Four – Win
My fourth round was against Justin, another fellow Element Games alum (and the technical support for the day!). Justin had stepped up like superstar and solved the wifi issue on the laptop AND worked hard with Steve to beat the event system into some kind of useable state: great job Justin!
*sorry – no photo of Justin, I forgot to take one at the time.
Justin was playing an all DC Control team that used cards like ‘Kryptonite – Green Death’, ‘Wonder Woman – Protector’, ans ‘Oracle – Hacker’ to prohibitively restrict your play then use cards like ‘Nightwing – Flying Grayson’, and ‘Catwoman – Acrobat’ to KO anything you do manage to put on the table.
This was a real thinker of a match up. Justin’s Control was working hard in both the games of the round: ‘Kryptonite’ was regularly slowing me down by blanking my ‘Human Torch’, ‘Nightwing’, was killing ‘Kobold’ die like a Boss and keeping my Swarm ramp Tough to utilise, and ‘Catwoman’ was knocking out my ‘Dwarf Wizard’ over & over.
I turned to my ‘Goblins’ for some better resilience to ‘Nightwing’ and had to play a careful and steady game to chip away with ‘Human Torch’ whenever I could. I had prepared well for “when fielded” and “when attacks” game texts, but only if my solutions stay on the table and/or don’t get their own game-texts blanked!
Thankfully – I was able to wall up enough to not be entirely defenseless after a ‘Catwoman’ & ‘Nightwing’ assault. My fielding costs were just cheap enough that even the cost increase of ‘Oracle – Hacker’, while painful & impeding, did not completely lock me out.
Also – Justin’s want to keep the game texts of ‘Human Torch’, ‘Dwarf Wizard’, ‘Constantine’, and my Swarm anchors off the field that led him to keep Ko’ing them became a double-edged sword as it was just filling my Prep Area with a new batch of characters to field and fuel my ‘Human Torch’ Burn machine over & over.
The control attrition from Justin’s team wasn’t enough to keep me from whittling him down. In both games I managed to eke out a concentration intensive, patient win.
Round Five – Win
My fifth round was against Kieran, a cheerful Yorkshire who played a really interesting team.
Kieran’s build had loads of interesting flavour. It centered around cycling ‘Vicious Struggle’ die with his ‘Elf Wizard’ to control incoming damage while fielding ‘Black Widow – Tsarina’ and ‘Natalia Romanov – Black Widow and Thor of Earth 23223’ for offensive clout.
There was also some cool board clear strategy in the team with ‘Cloudkill’ and ‘Punisher – War Journal’.
‘Vicious Struggle’ was definitely going to be a problem for me – it was going to make my ‘Human Torch’ strategy backfire – so I rushed my ‘Dwarf Wizard’ out to blank the ‘Elf Wizard’ and slow things down.
I was also better prepared for ‘Tsarina’ this time, and remembered to spin down with my abundance of ‘Kobold’ and ‘Goblin’ die to mitigate the pain.
The first game was a chuckle, as we both had ‘Kobold’ die in the field that had to attack (the adventurers) and we were ‘Blink Transmutate’ Global’ing our own little dudes back.
‘Punisher – War Journal’ with ‘Kobolds’ is an interesting combo, one that I may pilfer off Kieran and have a play with myself. There were a number of times Kieran pulled off some nice spot removal with the combo: if I had been playing anything other than a Weenie horde that always had an abundance of dice in the field, Kieran could well have cleared the board for a lethal assault a number of times.
The second game came to an interesting finish. I had my ‘Hulk’ out but couldn’t quite chess the moves out enough to clear Kieran’s board enough to get the lethal damage through. I was running low on life points myself (around five or six, if memory serves) and needed to keep a hold of my board advantage as much as possible.
Turn after turn went by where I could get eighteen or nineteen points of damage together, whittling Kieran’s characters down bit by bit in the hope of getting a lethal kill swing through.
And then it hit me – I could use ‘Wasp’ Global in Kieran’s turn to thin the field in advance of my go and use ‘Hulk’ to finish off anyone still standing.
It worked, and after a long fought second game I took the round.
Round Six – Win
In both of my games against Johnny I mostly saw ‘Black Widow – Stinger’, ‘Giant Man – Dr Hank Pym’ and ‘Beast – Bouncing Blue Beast’.
The first game of the round taught me something. I’d never really given that ‘Giant Man’ much attention before but when Johnny pointed out he was fielding some 7/7 muscle in turn three I soon woke up to the card!
All was OK though – my ‘Kobold’ die was coming down the pipeline and I was flush with cannon fodder to throw in front of the cheap, gigantic pest.
This was perhaps the first time all day the ‘Johnny Storm’ strategy worked without any sort of hitch. Johnny’s strategy relied on me attacking to KO his characters and I sat tight and let ‘Human Torch’ do his thing.It was a slow, patient game, but he did his work admirably and gave me the win.
We went into the second game with limited time but knowing we were playing for the highest life total.
Johnny went in hard & fast attacking with his ‘Giant Man’ and ‘Black Widow’ die, but this ultimately led to his downfall as I kept a steady stream of ‘Kobold’ and ‘Goblin’ die to block with that came back from the prep area to fuel the ‘Johnny Storm’ burn.
It was another win for me, and Johnny will undoubtedly be back stronger next year.
So there it was – I ended the qualifier going 3 wins, 2 ties, and 1 loss.
This put me in at 10th position: just one spot outside of the qualifying position. (At least I had no personal dilemma to face about going on holiday the following day now! No uncomfortable phone calls to the current Mrs Six!)
I had had enormous fun on the day and enjoyed immeasurably the chance to play non-stop DiceMasters all day long. All the guys were great and I was definitely riding high off the feeling of a wider DiceMasters UK community coming together. It was tremendous having the chance to hang out with a great bunch of people that I can’t wait to hang out with when the opportunity presents itself in the future.
Once again – my massive congratulations to the top 16 and especially to Charlotte for winning the Draft event on day two and to Ben for securing the UK National Champion 2016.
I was pleased as punch to come in the top third and know that with more practice I’m in a great position to come back stronger in the wave of Regionals due to happen August – December.
I can’t wait!