Me moved into the DC leg of our Rainbow Draft Weekend 2 event at Fanboy 3 in Manchester after taking a short break to decompress, grab a bite, and relax a little together.
The warm & jovial tone of event continued and there was much reflective discussion around how our Marvel draft teams had performed. One of the guys who had participated in the Marvel draft had to get going so we said our goodbyes and wished him a safe journey.
I’ll admit to tilting a little bit after failing to win a single game in the first draft, especially as I sat with my notebook to jot down few reminders for when I come to write these blog posts. It was OK though – I picked up after having a word with myself and re-focused on the simple goal of just finishing the day with at least one win.
The parameters of the draft were set out: With a bit of time to spare we were going to play four forty minute single game rounds. We were going to draft with the Justice League set with all Basic Actions permitted. A tie was to be called at time.
With these well communicated by the TO we began drafting…
I found this draft to be quite the challenge. It was quickly apparent from my initial pulls that purchase & fielding costs were going to be a challenge when forming the team. I had pulled quite a few Villains, and could see from the dice there was more beside, so quickly decided I was going to source Villains and use ‘The Outsider’ and ‘Villainous Pact’ as my ramp solutions.
My first pull was ‘The Joker – Clown Prince of Crime’. It was in some part a tactical draft decision as, as useful as he would be for me, I knew facing him may prove super-difficult and wanted to keep him from the other players. I could also see an abundance of ‘Harley Quinn’ die in the Rainbow at the centre of the table, so made a mental note to keep an eye out for ‘Harley Quinn – Dr Harleen Quinzel’ for some added cost advantage. She indeed came round.
I stuck it out with my Villain plan and grabbed up as many as I could from the next few stacks. It wasn’t going great though: I noticed that Villains I had to choose from had the aforementioned purchase/fielding cost issue and I was struggling to get a solid win con in place. I had my eye on the ‘Black Manta’ and ‘Cheetah’ die in the Rainbow pool (they would have been ideal, cheaper cost, high impact Villains to compliment my choices so far) but was disappointed to find that by the time all the stacks had gone around they had all been snapped up before hand.
A ‘Blue Beetle – Jaime Reyes’ came my way, so I picked him up to support my Villain strategy. The synergy wasn’t great with the high cost Villains but I figured it could help soften the ground a little. I also got a hold of a ‘Deathstroke – Weapons Master’ which, while it was on the costly side once again, also was an option to drive a bit of direct damage through.
So… in the end I cobbled together the best build I could from my bundle of accrued Villains. HERE is the team I made on the DicemastersDB.
Round One – Loss
I was first up against Shaun, who had built a pretty solid Justice League team that was to centre around the strategy if using ‘Wonder Woman – Princess Diana’ to create an army of indestructible Sidekicks.
And he did just that – with a ‘Wonder Woman’, ‘Aquaman’, and ‘The Flash’ die in the field with an army of Sidekicks Shaun had a impenetrable line of defense. To top it off – Shaun had fielded a ‘Lex Luthor – Power Suit’ die which was locking out my ‘The Outsider’ ramp and ‘Villainous Pact’ as a tactical advantage: I just could not afford the cost to play my actions.
I worked hard to get ramped up for ‘Deathstroke’ and got a few pings of damage in with ‘Blue Beetle’ when fielding ‘Harley Quinn’ die. I could not figure out a good idea to get around the ‘Wonder Woman’ game-text to drive some good combat damage through though.
I was so wrapped up in figuring out how to get ‘Wonder Woman’ out of the field to shake loose the wall of un-kill-able Sidekicks that I failed to fully register the ‘Power Bolt’ die Shaun was buying.
This was the key to my downfall – unable to get any damage past the wall, and with Shaun’s bag nice and light of chaff, the ‘Power Bolt’ die came around thick & fast and was smashing my life total down.
Before I knew it – all three ‘Power Bolt’ die were rolled to deliver a killer blow of six damage. I had lost my first round.
Round Two – Loss
My next opponent was Joseph, who had built a Bolt themed team that had such cards as ‘Cheetah – Cursed Archeologist’ (that’s where she went!), ‘Firestorm – Jason & Ronnie’ and ‘Green Arrow – Former Mayor’.
I used my ‘Harley Quinn’/’The Joker’ combo to rush to an early ‘The Joker’ but was too slow to lock out ‘The Cheetah’ so I chose Joe’s other early purchase, ‘Firestorm’ as my named die to stop the direct damage from that source.
In an attempt to slow Joe down further I grabbed up my ‘Captain Cold’ in an attempt to tax his attacks and potentially slow down the ‘Cheetah’ attacks, but with my ‘Villainous Pact’ and Joe’s ‘Ressurection’ Basic Actions there was enough ramp that this only slowed him down a wee touch, and the ‘Cheetah’ attacks kept coming.
I got a bit of direct damage in of my own with ‘Blue Beetle’ but the high purchase & fielding cost of my characters was a challenge & Joe was able to establish a higher character count than me to keep pushing damage across with.
My main downfall came from one good turn of Joe’s – thinking I was being a smarty pants I elected to let a couple of ‘Cheetah’ die through, thinking a bit of damage now was a worthwhile cost to get them back to the Used Pile and out of my face for a bit. My own unattentive-ness came to bite me on the ass: Joe had the ‘Enrage’ BAC out and a Reserve full of Bolt energy to use the attack pumping global. Joe was initially taken aback by my move, but swiftly realised my mistake and took full advantage of it to drive 12 points of damage through. This was a near lethal blow with my life total already diminished from earlier ‘Cheetah’ ping and the pressure was on. Once again; my own tunnel vision had cost me.
With what little life I had left I fought hard to keep myself in the game but eventually the ‘Cheetah’ die came back around ready to punish me with some lethal damage.
I’d lost round two.
Round Three – Win
In round three I was up against Tommy, who had built a Justice League team with cards like ‘Cyborg – Exceptionally Gifted’ and ‘The Flash – Barry Allen’.
Tommy got going and bought up a ‘Big Entrance’ and his ‘Cyborg’ die as I followed my ‘Harley Quinn’/’The Joker’ ramp combo, as well as picking up a ‘Blue Beetle’.I was fortunate enough to get my ‘The Joker’ die out first and so successfully locked out Tommy’s ‘Cyborg’ die he had been buying up and slowed him down significantly – essentially negating three turns of purchasing.
Having the ‘Blue Beetle’ die out early helped me get some “ground softening” direct damage in as I followed up with more Villain dice in the form of ‘Captain Cold’. By this point Tommy was having a pretty tough time; he had bought up some other character die in lieu of his Joker’d ‘Cyborg’ nod then became suddenly afflicted by “dodgy roll” syndrome and just couldn’t get them on a character face.
There was also a bit of a distraction mid-game when an incident with a shop-lifter came to our attention. It was swiftly & ably dealt with by the store’s employee, but I think that bit of drama affected Tommy’s concentration a little bit.
On the back foot, cursed by the dice roll gods, Tommy was playing catch up and, with a relatively open field before me, I swung for lethal damage.
I had, finally, won my first game of the day.
Round Four – Loss
My final match up was against Ben Said Scott, who had built a team with cards like ‘Green Lantern – Willpower’ , ‘Blue Beetle – Jaine Reyes’, and ‘Cloudkill’ as a Basic Action.
This match up flew by quickly – my piloting skills were not up to Ben’s at all. (There’s a reason why he’s the UK National Champ, after all)
I moved quickly to grab my ‘The Joker’ die and locked out Ben’s copy of ‘Blue Beetle’ ASAP so the fielding of my own Villains didn’t come back to punish me. In the meantime; Ben got his win con good and set up by buying a ‘Cloudkill’ die and getting some Sidekicks in the field.
As had happened all day: we walled up with a handful of characters and Sidekicks and waited for an opportunity to get some damage in. The pressure soon got laid on though once Ben got ramped up and was able to purchase a ‘Green Lantern’ die.
From there-on-in it was a waiting game for the inevitable: once ‘Green Lantern’ hit the field all Ben had to do was wait for his ‘Cloudkill’ to come around and take advantage of the ‘Green Lantern’ pump game-text to make a lethal assault. We were both evenly matched in fielded character count and so I had no way to break the gridlock to go for lethal first.
And that’s exactly how it played out – I pretty much knew it was over when ‘Cloudkill’ came out of Ben’s bag and my survival was entirely based crossing my fingers it didn’t roll. It did – and it was all over.
Another loss on the board.
So – not my finest hour this one. Definitely a lot of lessons learnt about Drafting. Ultimately: it boils down to over-complicating things.I’d done reasonably well in drafts before, even top spotted some, but I need to go back to the simple & comprehensive strategies that served me so well in the past.
It’s also a lesson in humility. The aforementioned previous success in my early days of Rainbow Draft tournaments had left me over-confident. In those early days I would read Reserve Pool blog posts like Necromanticer’s “In With the New”, research sets I was less familiar with, and listen to Podcasts for hints, tips & inspiration.
I’ve got a Rainbow Draft coming up this weekend so I’ll see how it goes with going “back to basics” and see if I can rustle up a bit more success there. In the meantime – comment below with any of your observations of the FanBoy 3 event or with any useful tips you may have to offer for me going into this weekends events.