Last weekend saw the last UK WKO of the Winter season take place at Element Games in Stockport – and to give us a re-cap of the event we have a new Special Guest Contributor – Gareth Thomason.
We had nine players attend in total, a little on the low side, but a fun day was had by those who attended. Sadly, a few sign ups had to drop out at the last minute due to things like illness and car troubles, which, y’know, is just one of those things.
Element Games is my FLGS, so I know the lay of the land well down there, and thanks go to Tim (Element Games Event Manager) for running a tip top event. Some of the games on the day were streamed out over Twitch, and can be still found on the Element Games Twitch channel for thirty days after the 18th March. You can find it here: Twitch.tv/Elementgameswebstore
The day of the event coincided with a RPG Convention at Element Games also – so there was a great atmosphere about the place. I was especially impressed by this dude role playing in full Warrior cosplay!
Onto Gareth’s write up. Enjoy…
I have been playing Dice Masters now since June 15. A friend of mine Andy ‘Spug’ introduced me to the game at the Nationals final at the UK Games Expo. I have known Andy for over five years and we both regularly go to a games club in South West London. I have been a big comic fan, both DC and Marvel, since the early Eighties and the combination of characters I knew well with a two player game seemed fun to try.
I picked up the X-Men starter set from the Expo and Andy taught me the rules as we started playing a couple of games each week. After a month I was hooked and picked up a complete set of X-Men and Avengers vs X-Men off eBay and never looked back.
When I returned from holiday in the summer I suggested to Andy we set up a club and he said he knew a few players in London and so I was introduced to Ben, Dan and Joseph who were regular players of the game. Our London Dice Masters club was born and we play regularly at least 3 out of 4 Thursday’s a month.
Evolution of Team
Since starting Dice Masters I have enjoyed control teams, it tends to be in my nature to stop someone from doing what they want to do. Early on I put together teams that were all control and had no real win condition. Jinzo was a regular favourite along with Zombie Magneto and Cerebro Super Computer.
The problem was my teams were very slow, costly and didn’t win very often although they were fun to play. As time moved on and taking advice from my fellow players my team started to evolve. Lantern Ring seemed to suit my play style as I didn’t enjoy trying to wipe the opposition’s board but instead prefer to do damage outside of the main attack and Lantern Ring suited this perfectly.
So, armed with a Lantern Ring team I ventured to the 2016 Games Expo and although I won a few games, it was not enough to move through to the finals, but I did have a great couple of days. I continued to make changes to the team over the last nine months, changing an odd card here and there, and learning from better players at Regionals. This is a great way to get new ideas seeing how other players use cards. I now have the team distilled down so every card is key to working together to make the whole machine run smoothly and deliver quickly.
Current Mask Ring Team
I will start with Lantern Ring Limited Only By Imagination, probably my favourite card in all the sets. This is my win condition, roll lots of dice and when you attack multiply the number of energy symbols (in my case Masks) by the number of attacking dice with the same symbol. Previously I would try for a 20+ swing usually from four to five Mask character dice multiplied by four to five Mask energy rolled.
My tactics have changed slightly after reading Blink – Transmutation, which works really well with a Ring team; you can attack with fewer dice and, then, as long as you have sufficient Mask energy left in your Reserve Pool, you can pull the attackers back after doing the Ring damage. This means you can take a couple of swipes at you opponent on two subsequent turns with fewer characters.
For ramp I use Professor X, a must for a Mask team. For control I use Elf Thief Lesser Harper and Oracle Master Investigator, these are the first two dice to buy but not at the cost of destroying you ramp.
If you can get these two dice in your bag within the first two turns and keep your ramp going you are halfway to winning the battle. Then, in turn three, try to buy your Lantern Ring, so by turn four you can start doing damage.
The sixth card in my team is Morphing Jar Canopic Jar; a one cost Mask this provides a lot of Masks for a cheap price, which can either be fielded as characters or used as energy for the Lantern Ring.
My next cards are only used for their globals; such as Mr Fantastic The Invincible Man to force characters to attack. I appreciate this can be stopped by Blink but by the time you come to use it Oracle should be on the board meaning they have to use two Masks to use this global.
We then have Parallax Source of Terror, which allows you to re-roll dice for one energy. A dangerous card to have in your team as your opposition can use it. Again Oracle can increase the cost and I find it is essential to ensuring your Ring hits the table by turn four. It also gives you the capability of rerolling you dice to get the damage to win.
Recently I have included Clayface Terror – also just for it’s global. This was suggested to me by Ben Scott (Thanks Ben). For no cost this allows you to spin a Sidekick to a Mask energy. This is really useful in the first round giving you a 50% chance of getting a Mask or Question Mark with each dice. This helps in getting enough Mask energy to ramp and buy an Elf Theif in turn one and it is also great in rounds four and five. When you need to do damage you can field a Sidekick dice in reserve, which will then automatically change to mask energy for extra damage multipliers.My final card in the team is End of Days not really for my use, but just there to stop the Beholder teams.
I find the team fun to play and you get to roll lots of dice, which I enjoy. I have found that although quick, Bard teams can be quicker and there are a few cards out there that can seriously impair this team.
Regionals Element Games
I managed to qualify for Nationals in the Norwich WKO at Athena Games by being runner up to Ben Scott and wanted to get in some more practice with my team before the Nationals. So on Saturday 18th I got up at 5.00am and travelled up to Stockport to play in the Regional qualifier at Element Games. My time would be limited, as I needed to get a 6.00pm train back, which meant I wouldn’t be able to play in the later stages of the competition but was hoping to get in at least five games.
The club is great, much larger than our club lots of games going on a great selection of games for sale. The competition was really well organised by Tim with Lunch provided. We managed nine players so had four rounds of Swiss before going to a cut of the top eight. I recognised quite a few of the faces from the Regionals last summer at the UK Games Expo in Birmingham and it was great to catch up and discuss banned cards and the rotation of sets.
Round 1 Swiss
My First game was against Chris P. His team was predominantly Masks including Beholder, Oracle, Elf Theif, Psylocke, a Golem and Rip Hunter.
My End of Days closed down the threat of the Beholder and we both used the Rip Hunter global to get out Elf Thief and Oracle early on. It wasn’t long before my Lantern Ring was fielded and then with the cheap Morphing Jars allowed me to do over thirty damage. The second game took a similar vein and I was one game up.
Round 2 Swiss
The second round was against James H. He was playing a great themed Teen Titans team, with Wonder Girl, Robin, Raven, Static and Starfire. His win condition was to get Starfire out and then do direct damage to the other player from the other Teen titans characters.
I do like themed teams and have been looking at an X-Men one myself with Multiple Man, Professor X and Cerebro. The problem seems to be, although they can be very powerful they are not that quick. So again; once I had my Elf Theif and Oracle fielded I quickly moved onto the Ring and then started dealing damage in two bursts to reduce his life to zero. James went with Wonder Girl, Static and Raven but was not able to slow me down.
Round 3 Swiss
I was looking forward to the third round against Paul, which was a Bolt Ring team. This was something I have meaning to put together but had not found the time. He had Foot Ninjas and PXG for ramp, Kryptonite, Oni, Dwarf Wizard for control and Iceman & Shield Agents to feed Lantern Ring.
Paul felt he was always one round behind me. My Oracle and Elf Theif were destroying his ramp, I would force his Ninja’s to attack and also his Dwarf Wizard and because I was producing a lot more Masks it gave me greater control. In the second game he went for Oni early on to stop my ring but I bought a second one and both got fielded at the same time so it still allowed me to attack and do direct damage.
Again two wins.
Round 4 Swiss
My fourth round was against Simon M. He was playing an all Fiends team with Kobolds for ramp.
All of the cards; Hell Hound, Glabrezu, Erinyes, Balor and Orcus were interlinked and either boosted each others powers or allowed new dice be fielded. I had played a similar team about twelve months ago and they can be deadly once they get going. So I needed to get out my win condition as soon as I could. I didn’t worry as much with Oracle this time as early on as Simon wasn’t looking for mask energy to buy his dice so wasn’t using PXG. He bought Big Entrance and then started buying Kobolds &,Hellhounds. Whenever a Kobold was fielded I forced it to attack and although Simon was getting out some of his bigger dice, Lantern Ring managed to do it’s attack reducing his health and giving me the win. The second game was similar.
So I was now on four wins going into the quarterfinals as top seed. This meant I had won the original art Batman and Blue and Red Dragon cards that Chris had brought along – We weren’t sure if the artwork was Chris’ own work or his daughter’s?
(Editor’s note; we’ll let the readers decide!)
I now got to play Chris with his Colossus team. His win condition was to get out Colossus, which did two damage for every level two and three character and combine this with his Multiple Man to do 10+ damage to his opponent.
He had played a similar team at the last Regional and had come second to qualify for the Nationals. Chris was having trouble getting his team going. He had some great cards such as The Oppression Begins and Colossus that just didn’t hit the table. From the first roll it was a race to get Oracle on the table and then once fielded keep it there and running. In one turn; Chris had the dilemma of using his Constantine to stop the Elf Theif or Oracle both of which were damaging his ramp. He also got sucked into to the lure of Parallax paying two energy to try and roll Oracle (editor’s note; could not roll that Oracle – four separate rolls in one turn and still just energy! I feel some Dice hitting the bin!).
Although my two games were slower than the previous opponents, mainly down to Chris’ Constantine and Oracle, The Ring and cheap fielding costs of Elf Theif and Morphing Jar gave me sufficient energy to win both games.
It was now getting close to 5.30pm and my train was leaving at 6.00pm. I was kind of regretting that I had bought my return train ticket for 6.00pm as I may have gone on further in the competition.
Element Games had been a great venue and I would certainly make the trip up again in the future. I thoroughly enjoyed my day’s gaming and collected my fourth place prizes; the Wonder Girl and Ronin foil cards. I subsequently learnt that Paul’s Bolt Ring team was a well-deserved winner of the competition with Chris P coming in as Runner Up (but still getting a place at Nationals as Paul has already qualified). I will look forward to meeting up with the both of them in May for some more Dicemasters duelling. Many Thanks for reading this and any comments more than welcome. Cheers Gareth.
There we are folks, I hope you enjoyed Gareth’s insights on his day.
Congratulations to Paul on taking the top spot and well done to Chris P for securing his Nationals Qualification spot. Here’s the obligatory shot of Paul on the Element Games winner’s throne:
Thanks for reading…