I headed down to my most local FLGS, Element Games, last Sunday for an event we had called the ‘Regionals Warm Up’.
Regular play at Element Games is super casual, and with WKO Fall Regionals coming up in November we wanted to get some high level practice in as a “dress rehearsal” of sorts to get a feel for playing more competitive, meta-driven teams. So it was a chance to put together our best teams, try out some ideas in advance of competing Nationally, and, of course, enjoy the chance to get a hard say’s Dice Master-ing in.
We marketed the event widely and it was our hope that, with it being a Weekend event, that some of out-of-town friends could come along. This we managed to do; with 11 players in total from all over the UK coming along to the event.
We were to play five rounds of Swiss, 45 minutes a round, with first to two games winning the round. At time it would be declared highest life wins the game.
I’ve been on a bit of a ‘Lantern Ring – Limited Only by Imagination’ obsession as of late, and so decided to try one of my recent experiments; a Mono Shield Energy Ring team.
Here is the team I played:
- Big Entrance (WOL) – Basic Action Card
- Transfer Power (UXM) – Basic Action Card
- Lantern Ring (WOL) – Limited Only By Imagination, 2
- Constantine (JL) – Hellblazer, 2
- Alfred Pennyworth (WF) – MI-5, 4
- Black Widow (CW) – Mistress of Pain, 3
- Millennium Puzzle (YS1) – The Eternal Dungeon, 1
- Cyborg™ (GATF) – A New Man, 2
- Maria Hill (AOU) – Trained Agent, 4
- Jinzo (YS1) – Trap Destroyer, 2
The plan was pretty simple: load up on Shield die, get the ‘Lantern Ring’ out, and produce a lethal swing of direct damage with a horde of regenerating Alfreds!
Each die had a part to play: ‘Transfer Power’ was there to help me with Overcrushers. ‘Black Widow’ is my solution to hordes of weenies. ‘Constantine’ to mitigate “when fielded” shennanigans. ‘Jinzo’ to tax global usage. And ‘Millenium Puzzle’ to get rid of pests.
As it was a ‘warm up’ for Regionals this was one of the teams I was considering playing at the WKOs. I’ve most definitely decided to go with a ‘Lantern Ring – Limited Only by Imagination’ and wanted to experiment with different energy types to see if there is an interesting build that was fun to play. I had suspicions going into the event that, while the Mono-Shield variant of the Ring archetype was certainly interesting & fun to play, it was going to be too slow when compared to something like a Mono-Bolt variant. The only way to really know was to get it tried out – which was, after all. The spirit of the event.
Here’s how it went…
Round One – Tie
My first round was against Mike, who was playing a team centred around the new ‘Firestorm – Elemental Fury’. He had a selection of low cost characters with different energy types to initiate Firestorm’s game-text, including ‘Guy Gardner – Warrior’s Spirit’, ‘Kuribo – Explosive Body’ and ‘Morphing Jar – All Seeing Eye’.
Check out this video Dice Masters Regional Warm-up Round 1 https://www.twitch.tv/elementgameswebstore/v/93902203
Mike & I both followed similar strategy in the early rounds using ‘Big Entrance’ and ‘Rip Hunter’s Chalkboard’ to great effect with our little weenie hordes.
Mike took control of the board state nice and early with his selection of cheap energy characters to feed his ‘Firestorm’ win con placed himself well to keep me on the back foot. I got off to a bad start with some early rolls that were too light on shield energy for me to get things going (Not what you want with a Mono-Energy team!)
When I finally did get some characters I missed a few rolls and made some bad decisions using ‘Alfred’ die for energy when I should have been getting him into my field to defend, and Mike was not going to let these opportunities to make me pay pass: while my field was weak he delivered an early ten life blow.
I was repeatedly on the back foot. I tried to use ‘Constantine’ & ‘Millennium Puzzle’ to try & take back some control but I was too late: with a weak field & some well placed damage from ‘Slifer’ global Mike broke through for my remaining ten life.
In the second game I got off to a better start with some solid Shield energy rolls in the first handful of rounds to get my strategy going.
I had a good defensive line up nice and early and my ‘Lantern Ring’ was in place sitting tight for the time I was ready to strike. I just had to bide my time until I lined up a strong enough Shield energy roll to go for my lethal swing.
It took a little patience, but my board state was strong enough to keep me well protected, and eventually a cracking Shield roll came along to position me for a lethal Ring Swing.
We finished on one game each at time and scored a tie on the first round.
Round Two – Win
My next round was against Dante, who was playing a tax strategy to bump up my fielding costs and using the OP ‘Spider-man – The Amazing’, with some able assistance from ‘Luke Cage’, to deliver his win con.
In the first game Dante moved swiftly in setting up his defensive position before setting up his ‘Spider-man’ swing. He bought up some ‘Kobold’ die for some fist ramp to buy ‘Spider-man’ and used his fists on the ‘Luke Cage’ global in the meantime to soften up the field, while lining up an ‘Oracle – Hacker’ for some tax and some regenerating ‘Mindless One’ die for blocking meat.
I stayed the course with my own strategy. I got an early ‘Constantine’ out to run a little bit of interference and loaded up on ‘Alfred’ and ‘Maria Hill’ to start filling up on Shield energy.
Dante’s defensive tax strategy was certainly slowing me down. An early ‘Oracle – Hacker’ from Dante was cutting into my spending power and making my weenie shields hard to field while trying to continue shopping for more shields.
One good swing with ‘Spider-man’ put the pressure on and took me down to six life, but fortunately I was well on my way to a good, lethal Ring blow and so played defensively until the time was right. ‘Black Widow’ held Dante’s ‘Kobold’ and ‘Mindless One’ die at bay until a turn of good shield rolls came and I delivered my killing blow.
The second game when much more smoothly, mostly because Dante was feeling the pain of the bad die roll curse. Dante bought up some ‘Oracle’ and ‘Cerebro’ in an attempt to slow my strategy down as much as possible but just could not roll them and so I cracked on quite comfortably lining up my Win condition.
By the time Dante got some dice through I was well on my way and managed to drive a lethal ‘Lantern Ring’ blow through before Dante was lining his own Win condition up.
I had won my second round.
Round Three – Loss
My third round was against Paul, who was playing a control list with OP ‘Apocalypse – Earth-295’ as his Win Condition mechanism. I saw cards like ‘Dwarf Wizard – Paragon Zhentarim’, ‘Ronin – and ‘Constantine – Hellblazer’ as some defensive control and ‘Superhero Registration Act’ and ‘Kobold’ for the ramp needed to get that seven cost ‘Apocalypse’ purchased.
The first game was a real thinker.I won the toss for the first turn so I snapped up Paul’s ‘Superhero Registration Act’ die out from under him in an attempt to slow down his access to ‘Apocalypse’. I also grabbed up ‘Constantine’ to keep ‘Apocalypse’ at bay when he came but Paul was on the ball and picked up his ‘Dwarf Wizard’ to take care of that particular defensive measure.
I still kept an eye on lining up my Win condition up but was very conscious of the impending ‘Apocalypse’; a field full of ‘Alfred’ and ‘Black Widow’ die was only going to increase Paul’s damage potential with the big mutant.
Then – I struck it lucky. When ‘Apocalypse’ finally arrived and I was forced to re-roll my field I managed to roll all my characters back in as characters! To make matters worse for Paul: he used the ‘Parallax’ global a number of times in an attempt to re-field ‘Apocalypse’ only to fail a handful of times.
It didn’t matter in the end: Paul kept chipping away until I was done for and took his deserved win.
Time was tight going into the second game of the round so we both bolted out the gate conscious that our strategy was to tailor to the “highest life wins” format of the event.
Paul drove forward with some speedy ramp and secured his ‘Apocalypse’ nice & early with an aim to generate as much direct damage as possible in the limited time-scale. I too tried to get something together in the short window of time but it was simply not to be: a small, gentle pat with ‘Apocalypse’ did four points of damage and cleared my field.
Time was called and we were into our five rounds. I scrambled to try and just get an edge of a life lead but could not do it.
We finished with two games to Paul and I closed on a loss.
Round Four – Tie
My next round was against Ben, who was playing a really interesting brew centred around ‘Krang – Utrom Warrior’ that was designed to ramp quick, get him fielded, and force all your Sidekicks back to your bag and trap your purchases in the Used Pile.
Ben’s ‘Krang’ strategy was nicely supported by BEWD and ‘Warth – Hope Burns Bright’ to maximise his opportunities to force the Used Pile trap. There was an ‘Umber Hulk – Paragon Beast’ in there too: serving a dual purpose of contributing to the Used Pile trap while also clearing the field to walk combat damage through.
In the first game: Ben ramped up super quick with his PXG to buy up his seven cost ‘Krang’ while I used my ‘Big Entrance’ in an attempt to rush through some of my characters before Ben could trap them in Used.
The simply truth here is that I won the first round because my opponent was, once again, struck my the curse of the bad dice rolls. (Lady Luck had been looking down on me quite favourably this particular day) Ben had everything he needed to snare his trap and deliver lethal damage but he could not roll his ‘Krang’ nor his ‘Umber Hulk’. Repeatedly. To make matters worse: when Ben’s ‘Umber Hulk’ finally did arrive the dice in my field were at their third level! (This is also the reason for the sad face in the piccie)
This meant I could crack on with my Win Con relatively unmolested and lined up my strategy at a good pace. When I had a solid Shield energy roll it was time to strike and deliver a lethal blow through the ‘Lantern Ring’.
As an interesting aside: Ben drew my attention to the fact that ‘Maria Hill – Trained Agent’ was a card of much debate and that I may well have been mis-using her. Ben pointed out that, fundamentally, there is a solid argument that I would need a ‘Maria Hill’ active in the field to initiate her game-text, whereas I had interpreted the card as not needing one in the field. (A “when drawn” effect, if you will)
For the rules nerds out there: there has been no definitive answer on this, however, many players in the community have largely decided to err on the side of caution and play it as a ‘when active’ text to meet a fundamental condition of the game, despite what is largely recognised as the real intent on the card. I’ve put it on the Rules Forum, so expect an answer sometime in 2020. 😉
Back to the match: the second game of the round did not go as smoothly as the first. Ben’s roll curse lifted and his strategy took shape.
Far too quickly did Ben line up ‘Krang’ and then used ‘Warth’ to great effect to repeatedly snare his Used Pile trap. I couldn’t get to any of my characters and my field was weak. I couldn’t line up my ‘Lantern Ring’ strategy at all… in fact… I couldn’t line up anything at all!
Ben’s team worked perfectly, and by the point of time being called we ended the round at one game each.
Round Five – Tie
My final round was against Seth, who was playing a ‘Half Elf Bard’ team with a strong defensive unit of support characters like ‘Oracle – Master Investigator’, ‘Constantine – Hellblazer’, ‘Dwarf Wizard – Paragon Zhentarim’, and ‘Hulk – Green Goliath’.
In the first game Seth ramped quickly with SuperHero Registration Act and moved to purchase an early, third turn ‘Hulk’ – which really put the pressure on. I had lined up a ‘Constantine’ and a ‘Millennium Puzzle’ as my early turn purchase as my own reactive measures to keep the big green menace at bay.
It worked – between those two die (and, once again, good fortune with rolls) I was able to keep Seth’s ‘Hulk’ at bay and managed to work on my own strategy with ‘Alfred’ and the ‘Lantern Ring’.
The heat was on, I knew that any minute ‘Bard’ could be bought and in my face with just a horde of sidekicks, or the ‘Hulk’ would arrive while my ‘Millennium Puzzle’ was cycling through, so I lined up a calculated ‘Big Entrance’turn to get my bag brimming with Shields for a strong swing the next turn.
And that’s exactly what happened – a three character attack, with seven shields in reserve, dealt a twenty one point lethal blow.
The second game of the round, like so many others on the day, did not go as smoothly. Seth had learnt his lesson from the burn of the Ring in the first game and focussed on his Bard strategy in the second game.
I watched Seth’s field wall up with sidekicks (forming ranks while they awaited instruction from their lute wielding champion) so grabbed up my ‘Black Widow – Mistress of Pain’ die for protection.
Which she did, for a turn or two, one single die facing a Bard and six sidekicks, all on her lonesome. Seth had a plan though, and was just biding his time. The moment ‘Black Widow’ came back from prep at level one and he had a Bolt chilling in his Reserve, he ‘Magic Missile’ global’d her ass out of his way to deliver the lethal swing.
Once again: my round had ended in a tie at one game each.
The hard day’s Dice Master-ing ended and I had ranked 9th with ‘strength of schedule’. Visiting player Dan Lloyd came in the top spot with 4W – 1L: well done & congrats to Dan, who took his rightful seat on the Element Game’s winners throne:
In the spirit of the event as a Regionals Warm Up I took a team I was experimenting with to get a very real feel for it, and the question I ended with was: is the Mono-Shield Ring the team for the upcoming WKO’s?
It didn’t really perform that well. Reflecting back over my games to write this post it became super-clear that in nearly all of the games I won I took there was an element of my opponent’s bad luck that was a defining factor. Although I believe I seized upon those moments of my opponent’s bad luck to my advantage, there was just a little too much achieved off it.
I also found it a bit slow in comparison to my other Mono-Energy Ring teams, especially the Bolt or Fist. So I either need to tune the Shield team with limited time to practice it some more or go back to my other, more tried & tested (but less innovative & interesting to play), Mono-Energy Ring teams. I’ll make my mind up in November.
It was great to get a chance to play with some guys from the wider UK community and get a whole day’s rolling in. I was pleased to have a strong attendance for a weekend event (we usually play casual events on a Tuesday night) and am already working with Tim over at Element Games to line up another Regionals Warm Up in January for next year.
If anyone would like to check out the Twitch feed for the other participant games that were broadcast you can find them here (for approx another 20 days from the date of this post):
Thanks for reading! Please leave a comment below. 🙂