Special Guest Post; Michael Power, Midland UK Regional WKO Winner

Here we have the next post in the Brit Roller Six blog’s coverage of the UK WKO season; a Special Guest post from  Michael Power, winner of the UK Midlands Region WKO that took place at Chimera Games last Sunday. 

Read on for Mike’s breakdown of his chosen team, the strategy to playing it, and an overview of the highlights of the event.

I’ll hand you over to Mike…

____________

Who are ya?

I should start by saying although I find the slower game and drafting far more fun, when it comes to WKOs I am unashamedly a competitive player. My tournament deck includes Bard and Imprisoned as well as all the other regular top tier cards because I fully believe it’s about bringing you’re ‘A’ game to a WKO. That said I also fully subscribe to the view that a good player will do well with what ‘internet meta’ might consider to be a lesser team as was demonstrated by the top 8 at the event.

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I played in the Southampton regional WKO with my Bard deck the week before and came 5th, narrowly missing out qualifying for Nationals. In hind sight, I should have switched out a Miri and Morphing Jar combo for Breaker and Elf Thief but fortunately there was another WKO event on my doorstep the week after so I had another shot at qualifying.

So, when my regular opponent Andy England suggested maybe running the Beholder combo mentioned on the Reserve Pool last week (50.3?) I was not massively enamoured with the idea of trying something totally new just 6 days away from the next regional WKO. Not take Bard!?!  Are you mad!?!

I got to practicing and played more than 30 games on VASSAL (some solo, some against Andy who was a proper trooper) that week and, to my surprise, against all the top teams I was finding a better than average win ratio (arguably pushing 80%+ in some cases) so I figured what the hell, let’s give it a whirl.

Behold the Beholder

  1. Elf Thief – Lesser Harper x4
  2. Constantine – Hellblazer x4
  3. Breaker the Magical Warrior – Mana Break x4
  4. Beholder – Master Aberration x4
  5. Rip Hunter’s Chalkboard – “Only Zatara Can Reach the POINT” x1
  6. Professor X – Trainer x1
  7. Parallax – Source of Terror x1
  8. Blue-Eyes White Dragon – Monstrous Dragon x1
  9. Imprisoned
  10. The Front Line

As mentioned we heard about this combo on the Reserve Pool and the goal of this deck is to get Beholder out fast using elf Thief & Rip Hunter. Then, with only 3-5 characters in the field; swing, trigger Imprisoned to clear the field, then Front Line to buff your characters to lethal. I started thinking what can make this happen fast and with the most reliability I can muster?

My overall approach to top tier play is to focus my deck to do one or two things well and try not to get distracted by too many characters.  As such I have quite a few spaces for globals, which normally consists of PXG, and BEWD to get that all important ramp and Parallax to help protect against bad rolls.  I’ve always liked the idea of a deck with 4 globals so adding Rip Hunters Chalk Board appealed to me as I’ve been looking at it for a while but was unsure how to incorporate it.

That left me 4 slots for characters.  Beholder Master Aberration was, of course, one of them.  Elf Thief took up slot number two so that I  could try to steal even more ramp or at worst PXG a bit to control my bag.  Now slots three and four were up for grabs.  I play tested a few like Bard, Oracle and Morphing Jar but settled on Constantine – Hellblazer and Breaker the Magical Warrior – Mana Break.

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I chose Constantine because he can hold off a Bard strike or Oracle mana drain for that all important extra turn, but mainly because he really messes with Dwarf Wizard and Elf Thief. He also really helps me hold off my opponents’ Beholder in mirror games so that I could then Imprison and push for a win.

Breaker, is a relatively new card to me , although I have been playing against him for a while in Andy’s team.  My theory was he saves me from my own Imprisoned dice and more recently the Rare Cold Gun which could potentially ruin my day if I can’t get rid of it.  I felt it focussed my team to do one thing well rather than take Bard as a backup win con.

Buy high, sell low!

The perfect player one game goes like this…

  1. (3Sk) Rip in an Elf Thief
  2. (4Sk, 1EF) Buy another Elf Thief (BEWD the first if necessary) and PGX everything
  3. (8Sk, 2EF) Hopefully field both Elf Thief’s and BEWD them off to buy or Rip in a Beholder and PXG everything. I need to be fielding the Beholder next turn almost at all costs so Parallax helps here (but don’t fall into the Parallax trap!)
  4. (4+Sk, 2 EF, 1Bh) Field the Beholder and 3-5 other characters and swing for the win

image

As player two the perfect game is the same but with more ramp and can get a turn 3 win if you want to take a bit more risk on turn 2 and go for a beholder rather than an Elf Thief. Other than things like Elf Thief, Oracle, Constantine and Imprisoned slowing me down as mentioned above, I found this won against all the top meta teams pretty regularly.

Won’t somebody think of the children?!?!

In play testing this team I found some weaknesses…

Use the Beholder Global!  No one does this but I think he has one of the best globals in the game: Pay 1 generic energy to put an Action die into Prep and don’t roll it next turn.  That is just awesome!  Stall your Imprisoned or Polymorph to best effect.  Watch out though as we found it was a bit of an energy drain.

The Mr Fantastic Global seemed like an obvious choice initially but we found the beholder deck either has an empty field or is trying to attack anyway so it wasn’t as effective as we had thought, but still one to consider.

If you are running a Bard team the trick was to get Constantine and Oracle out to slow me down.  Then Imprisoned and Bard (order dictated by how close Beholder is to being fielded).  My team is susceptible to a Bard wrap around as I’m not trying to build a wall.

With Ring teams, again slowing me down and Imprisoning me was the key but they were very sensitive to the buying order and really needed to have Ring out early to stand a chance. But I think there are better Ring teams than the ones we tried (we only had 6 days!).

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Top tier Vicious Struggle teams just suck (by far the most boring meta IMHO).  As ever you just have to hope to go first and play them at their own game or if second, hope they fluff their rolls and don’t remember to use Parallax.

Whatever you run the key is to be slowing me down while building towards your own win con.  Watch out for me Breaking out of Imprisoned so don’t be afraid to rip in a second Constantine if I buy Imprisoned to get your first so you can nullify Breaker.

I gots your counter, counter measures

Do not fear you can counter the counters…

Against a Beholder deck get Constantine out first (Chalk Board him in if possible to nerf Elf Thief early on).  Then Imprison his Beholder so you can get your own out and win.  If your opponent does the same thing to you try to get Breaker out before they win (good luck!).

Against Bard teams buy Imprisoned to get Constantine out of the field then win.  Buy breaker if he buys Imprisoned.  If defending against a Bard push then keep beholder in the field at all costs but don’t be afraid to let a load of it through because chances are you’ll be winning next turn.

Against Ring and swarm teams again Imprisoned is handy if your rolls are bad because your opponent will normally be trying to get their dice in the field.

Against Vicious Struggle just go first and play Vicious Struggle using Rip and Parallax to teach them why they shouldn’t play Vicious Struggle 😉

The trick is the Constantine and Imprisoned/Breaker combo and looking for the triggers for when to buy them.  I rarely used my own Beholder Global as I am normally wanting to play things as they land.

Let’s get it on!

Chimera in Beeston, Nottingham hosted the event and did a great job with a very professional approach to managing the pairings and scoring. 32 tickets were sold with 27 people turning up, many of whom had met at previous events so there was a great friendly atmosphere. Big thanks to Andy, Tim and Tim for all their hard work and hospitality.

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I would be lying if the number of players was not intimidating especially as I know how good many of them are.  I was really worried I might not qualify for nationals and with the next WKO on the 3rd December clashing with a family fixture, the pressure was on!

Games one through four

I was shaking like a leaf but everything went to plan and I think I got straight wins largely because folks just weren’t ready for how nasty Beholder is with those two BACs. The Beholder deck was working largely as planned and I was super chuffed with making it to the final 8. That Nationals qualification was in sight. All I could think was ‘Please don’t let me down now!’.

Quarter Finals – Andrew Neilsen

I went into the quarter finals against a brutal Johnny Storm/Storm deck which, with a masterful display of Parallaxing by Andrew, took me apart in the first game… Eeek! Fortunately, with going first in the second game I could pull off the planned buying order for a win.

The final game was so close!  Andy manged to get a massive ramp and was one Parallax away from doing me with a final Johnny Storm/Storm strike.  His misfortune though allowed me to swing for a win.  He was an awesome player and totally nailed his non-Bard deck which I think will surprise a few folks.  But… Yes! I had qualified for Nationals!

  1. Parallax – Source of Terror x1
  2. Professor X – Recruiting Young Mutants x1
  3. Blue-Eyes White Dragon – Monstrous Dragon x1
  4. Elf Thief – Lesser Harper x4
  5. Storm – Wind Rider x4
  6. Human Torch – Johnny Storm x3
  7. Constantine – Hellblazer x3
  8. Prismatic Spray – Lesser Spell x3
  9. Resurrection
  10. Selective Shield

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Semi Finals – Ben Scott (Only the National Champ… Oh crap!)

Anyone who has played Ben will know what a great guy he is and even better Dice Masters player, deserving of the National Champion title. Fortunately for me he had won the Southampton WKO so had brought something a little different this time round…  A modern take on a Gobby rush deck no less.  Now don’t forget: this is the semi-finals from 27 players and yet another non-Bard deck.

Ben is a super sharp player and twigged the Constantine/Imprisoned combo straight away and with the threat of Blink Global he messed with my routine and nearly won the first game, but against my deck there wasn’t a lot he could do to stop me.  The second game also went in my favour. Holy moly I’m only in the bloody final!

  1. Constantine – Hellblazer x3
  2. T.A.R. Labs – Advanced Research x1
  3. Green Goblin – Gobby x3
  4. Oni – Greater Giant x2
  5. Beholder – Lesser Aberation x3
  6. Prismatic Spray – Lesser Spell x3
  7. Storm – Wind Rider x3
  8. Blue-Eyes White Dragon – Monstrous Dragon x2
  9. Blink – Transmutation
  10. Monster Reborn

(We have subsequently discussed the first game and we’re pretty sure I was a sidekick away from actually winning but I had several dice in reserve for Parallax so chances are it wouldn’t have been an issue.  I find counting is half the battle by this point in the day!)

The Final – Jonathan Ellis

I have not played Jonathan before but could see he was a good player by the speed of some of his earlier games.  I was speaking to him after the event and he mentioned he was fairly new to the game but you couldn’t tell.  He totally knew his deck and was super analytical and I can see he will be a force to be reckoned with at Nationals!

He had a Bard deck so I was fairly confident I knew what to do. I felt it was going to be down to the dice.  I’ll be honest my nerves were so shredded by this point I don’t remember how the games played out but I remember Jonathan ripping Elf Thief’s in which nailed my ramp then he nullified my Imprisoned by constructing Golems to get his Bard, Constantine and Elf Thief’s out of the field.   He got characters out and nearly had me but my deck did what it does and I won the WKO!!!

  1. Oracle – Master Investigator x2
  2. Elf Thief – Lesser Harper x4
  3. Half-Elf Bard – Master Lords’ Alliance x3
  4. Flesh Golem – Greater Construct x3
  5. Dwarf Wizard – Paragon Zhentarim x2
  6. Constantine – Hellblazer x3
  7. Rip Hunter’s Chalkboard – When Am I? x1
  8. Gnome Ranger – Lesser Harper x2
  9. Polymorph
  10. Imprisoned

No way!

Well I was pretty elated as you can probably imagine. I had qualified for Nationals, which was the main thing I wanted to achieve, but getting all the shiny cards too was just the icing on the cake.

Everyone were great sports and I can’t wait to meet up with these awesome contenders again to play more top tier Dice Masters. Until then I look forward to playing other games again for a while.  At least until it’s time to start practicing again with whatever the new meta is J

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One response to “Special Guest Post; Michael Power, Midland UK Regional WKO Winner

  1. Pingback: Playing Dice Masters Online – Guest Post with Michael Power | True Mister Six: British Dice Roller...·

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