The UK Nationals event 2017 took place this weekend just gone (5th – 7th May) at Fanboy 3, Manchester. There were three events held over the three days – an additional qualifier each on the Friday & Saturday, and the Nationals final on the Sunday. There was also numerous side drafts taking place across the weekend.
We’ve got re-caps galore coming down the pipeline from a number of attendees to give you a sense of how the weekends events went (some, I’m sure, you’ll be more interested in reading than mine), but for now, to get us started, here is my re-cap of my matches in the Sunday Finals event.
It was a rare sunny day for Manchester; the sun had officially put his hat on to mark our event – hidden away in the back playroom of a city centre based FLGS. LOL. After much deliberation I decided to play my ‘Colossus/Swarm’ team, despite a sense it was really a tier two list in comparison to some of the meta teams I was going to be facing. I already knew many of the players and how I stacked up against them, and figured I’d stick to what I know well (I’ve played ‘Colossus – Piotr Rasputin’ A LOT lately), have fun with the Control tech on the team (I love going down swinging!), and aim to at least not lose all my games.
The team lists are already up – so please go and take a look HERE to see the teams that were played on the day.
Onto my matches…
Round One – Andy England
I didn’t know it at this point, but my first round was facing off against the eventual Champion of the day; Andy England.
Andy was playing a pretty typical SR ‘Ultraman’ list – he was loaded up with tech to help ramp & maximise his rolls (BEWD, PXG, RHCB, ‘Parallax’), some ramp control in the classic (and hugely oppressive – possibly my least favourite high level combo) ‘Oracle’/’Elf Thief’ , and the big man himself with his ‘Kryptonite’. His aim was to use ‘Imprisoned’ to clear the field, then ‘The Front Line’ to walk through a big hit.
I grabbed dice from ‘Constantine – Hellblazer’ and ‘Captain Cold’s Cold Gun’ to run interference, and picked up a ‘Kobold’ to get some ramp of my own going. I actually managed to ‘Rip’ over an early ‘Colossus’ to get some damage of my own going through, and figured maybe I could just about get by with a defensive strategy through ‘Constantine’, ‘Cold Gun’ and Masks for my ‘Blink – Transmutation’ global, and chip away with my early ‘Colossus’.
I couldn’t. Andy responded by loading up on ‘Kryptonite’ die and ‘Elf Thief’ die, and proceeded to pilfer my saved Masks for ‘Blink – Transmutation’, and stacked his ‘Kryptonite’ to circumvent ‘Constantine’ and deal an extraordinary blow in the fourth turn.
The second game of the round went little better. I managed to slow Andy down a little bit more than in the first game with my same shenanigans but it was a stay of execution as Andy was able to work his way around my interference.
It quickly came apparent that my strategy for dealing with the ‘Ultraman’ team just wasn’t enough – it’s just so challenging to to use ‘Blink – Transmutation’ Global when the ‘Oracle’/’Elf Thief’ are working their magic and ‘Constantine’ can be worked around by lining up two ‘Kryptonite’ die.
I held on for an extra turn, but once again got mullered, this time in the fifth turn.
I had lost my first round.
Round Two – Dante Moss
My next pairing was against Dante, who was playing a really interesting team built around ‘Luke Cage – Knuckle Up!’ and the ‘Hypervelocity’ Basic Action.
This combo was a tricky one to work around as they both directly messed with my strategy – ‘Luke Cage’ was going to interfere with my direct damage plans and ‘Hypervelocity’ was problematic as I had no intention of initiating any attacks.
Still – I managed to work around it. In the first game my team did its work – I ramped up to an early ‘Colossus’ and fielded a load of ‘Kobold’ die to minimise the impact of ‘Luke Cage’ to my direct damage. I also picked up a ‘Captain Cold’s Cold Gun’ too to help by blanking ‘Luke Cage’s’ game-text.
My ‘Blink – Transmutate’ global was the saving grace against ‘Hypervelocity’ as I proceeded to initiate attacks to satisfy its game-text then pulled my own guys back. Although, to be fair, my ‘Blink – Transmutate’ also proved useful for Dante too.
After three turns of ‘Colossus’ burn I was able to deliver lethal damage and take the first game.
The second game went in a strange direction – I can’t claim any strategy of my own as the deciding factor here: it was mostly dreadful dice rolls on Dante’s part that did it.
I empathised – I had been there many times myself. Dante had bought up an early ‘Hupervelocity’ and a small force of ‘Hal Jordan – Green Lantern’s Light’ to serve as his attacking characters. He put a ‘Hypervelocity’ in the field with a Sidekick who I quickly took out – I think with my ‘Wasp’ global, or it might have been my ‘Cold Gun’ – and left him without attackers to satisfy ‘Hypervelocity’. Dante then proceeded to repeatedly fail to roll a single ‘Hal Jordan die on its character face or a Sidekick. I mean – he must have rolled ‘Hal Jordan’… like… twelve times between two die over three turns and didn’t get him once. His own Basic Action burned him several times and, with the ground well softened, when ‘Colossus’ arrived it was game over.
I had won my second round.
Round Three – Paul Fullwood
My next match up was against Paul, fellow Mancunian and regular play buddy of mine. Paul was playing a team centred around using ‘Beholder – Master Aberration’, ‘End of Days’, ‘Anger Issues’ and ‘X-23 – Blades of Glory’.
Paul’s strategy was interesting. Anticipating the ‘End of Days’ tech against the ‘Beholder’ Paul planned on turning it to his favour by keeping an Overcrush-ing ‘X-23’ in field, monstrously pumped up by all the characters recently added to prep and ready to swing big.
Sheesh – this was a slog of a match. We ended up in five turns at time having only completed a single game in the round over the entire 55 mins or so we played.
Paul largely had the upper-hand through most of the match, but I wasn’t going to make it easy for him. Paul knew this at the start – we play together a lot and, while he regularly beats me, he knew I was going to make him work for it. (LOL ain’t that right Paul? *teehee*)
He forged forward with his plan ramping up to buy his ‘Beholder’ and ‘X-23’ while trying to slow me down with ‘Oracle’, ‘Elf Thief’ and ‘Dwarf Wizard’ in the meantime.
I shot his ‘X-23’ with my ‘Cold Gun’, kept his ‘Dwarf Wizard’ & ‘Elf Thief’ at bay with ‘Constantine’, and even fired a few cheeky shots across the field with my ‘Wasp – Founding Avenger’ to belligerently spend energy to keep his filthy ‘Elf Thief’ mits of my spends.
I had kept the wolves at the door for an entire 45 minutes (or should that be more aptly: “kept the wolverine at the door”?) but what I hadn’t been doing is working on my own Win Con and got around to buying ‘Colossus’ far too late.
We went to time, and by the time of only the five rounds I had no ‘Cold Gun’ fielded, tough choices one way or another with’Constantine’, and ‘Colossus’ buried too deep in my bag to be useful.
In the fourth round Paul steamed over with one hell of an attacking force and finished me in one shot.
I had lost round three.
One thing is definitely for sure – Paul & I have decided that ‘Constantine’/’Dwarf Wizard’ interactions can twist your melon.
Round Four – Charlotte Snowden
Next up I was playing Charlotte, who had brought along her version of a mono energy Mask/Lantern Ring team.
I shot out the gate in the first game with an early purchase of ‘Captain America – Super Soldier’ and then moved onto my standard routine picking up ‘Constantine’ and some ‘Kobold’ die to get some Swarm ramp going.
I also managed to squeeze in some early PXG from Charlotte’s global before her ‘Oracle’ hit the field, which hyper-accelerated my ramp and Put me in a position to purchase ‘Colossus’ super-quick.
This worked perfectly – and early on I had ‘Captain America’ holding the line reducing Charlotte’s damage with a couple of mates in the field to contribute to the ‘Colossus’ burn when he landed. After two decent hits from ‘Colossus’ I had managed to deliver lethal damage.
The second game went a little differently. I followed the same strategy, up to a point, but ballsed things up with a stupid decision – at one point I rolled a ‘Captain America’ as energy and elected, in my haste to buy ‘Colossus’, to spend him rather than attempt to re-roll the character face.
Charlotte was not going to let that slip up pass and swiftly got her ‘Lantern Ring’ out. It became a race to see who could get the most direct damage through.
At this point I realised I’d made another fatal error – in my giddiness to drive damage through with ‘Colossus’ I had fielded my ‘Kobold’ die to get some more bodies at lvl two, and hadn’t been managing my dice well; so my bag was full of eight Sidekicks and my much needed ‘Captain America’. There was no chance of using Charlotte’s PXG – that dirty ‘Oracle’/’Elf Thief’ combo had seen to that.
It came down to one round. We were both whittled down a bit on life. I could do lethal with ‘Colossus’ over two turns with what was currently fielded, and a draw of ‘Captain America’ out my bag would have kept me just about alive through Charlotte’s next turn.
I pulled my dice, looked in my hand, and saw four Sidekicks looking at me. It was all over. Charlotte finished me off with a ‘Lantern Ring’ blast in her turn.
We were at time and ended the round at a tie with one game each.
Round Five – Andy Nielsen
My final round of Swiss was against Andy Nielsen, who was playing a team built around ‘Gorilla Grodd – Force of Mind’, ‘Venom – Angelo Fortunato’ and a selection weenies.
Andy’s plan was as follows – load up on ‘Kobold’ weenies, field a ‘Grodd’ and ‘Venom’ to pump them up, and use a handful of Control elements to run interference with his opponent’s strategy.
‘Venom’ was a BIG problem for me. His global spins down Fist characters, which was going to make it hard to rely on my ‘Kobold’ die for ‘Colossus’ damage (and ‘Colossus’ himself) and his stat subtraction was going to make it hard to keep my non-Fist guys alive.
To make matters worse; Andy was buying up ‘Captain Cold’s Cold Gun – Frozen Firearm’ die to keep the pressure on.
I picked up my ‘Wasp’ and an ‘Oni’ and got my head down towards my Win Con. Both worked out ideally – ‘Wasp’ did her job and taxed each PXG ramp and ‘Venom’ spin down Andy did while ‘Oni’ dealt with the ‘Cold Gun’ whenever he could. I also made good use of Andy’s PXG to ramp up to an early ‘Colossus’ of my own.
With the ground softened from ‘Wasp’ ping damage ‘Colossus’ was still able to do a job for me and even though my level 2 die count was kept low he managed to keep chipping away.
Andy had also spent so much energy buying up ‘Venom’ and ‘Cold Gun’ die to slow me down he hadn’t got around to buying a ‘Grodd’ for his own big swing, and eventually the ‘Colossus’ burn caught up with him.
The second game of the round went much the same way; once again I used ‘Oni’ and ‘Wasp’ to manage Andy’s interference (with some ‘Constantine’ for good measure – I’m sure going to miss that guy in Modern) and I ramped to any early ‘Colossus’ die. Andy followed suit; buying up his ‘Captain Cold’s Cold Gun’ and sharply ramping up to a ‘Venom’ purchase.
The ‘Cold Gun’ was a nuisance. Andy was managing his churn well with PXG and quite often had not one, but two rolled and fielded turn after turn. I kept using BEWD global to prep my ‘Oni’ for another pass at the gun, but I had only bought one at this point. Andy, naturally, was repeatedly using the ‘Cold Gun’ to shoot my ‘Wasp’ so he could painlessly maintain his PXG ramp and blank the game-text on ‘Colossus’.
Thankfully though, despite the ‘Cold a Gun’ jiggers pokery, it all worked out as ‘Colossus’ wasn’t what brought me the killer blow. One of the main differences this time around was Andy struggled to roll any character faces and I was able build a field of attackers that exceeded his blocker count. This meant that at the right moment I was able drive a strong surplus of characters through with enough damage to meet Andy’s life count. I did it with a good, old fashioned, straight up attack – old skool.
I had one my fifth round.
I had finished the Swiss rounds with 2W – 2L – 1T, which placed me at 11th position in the Swiss section of the event.
It had been a tremendous day’s Dice Master-ing and I had enjoyed myself immensely. I hung around for a while for a casual game with my man Joseph (who I didn’t get a chance to play in the event) and generally see how the Top 8/Top 4 cuts were going.
As time ticked on I got on the road going while Top 4 was being played to get myself home before the Mini Roller Six’s bedtime (I live only a short distance from the event location).
We will have some more re-cap goodness coming in the next few days from our new UK National Champion Andy England in the next few days and some more coverage of the qualifier events and our 2016 Champion Ben Scott too, so remember to come back soon for all your UK Nationals info.
Thanks for reading 🙂