Friend & contributor to the blog Ben Said Scott was at the Southampton Fall WKO last Sunday, and has kindly written us a tournament report of his day.
So, without further ado, for your reading pleasure, I’ll hand you over to Ben…
The first rounds of WKO’s are always both exciting and daunting. With there having been so long since any kind of real competitive level games being played it’s always a bit of a crap shoot as to what teams are good in the current meta. This was particularly prevalent going into this weekend.
What would everyone run? Was there a meta defining card you missed? Is your team actually a load of rubbish? Is DoopWorld a place that all Doops live?
The Blackbird – Under The Radar – Uncommon
Cosmo, Space Dog – Bozhe Moi! Security Alert – Rare
Storm – Morlock Champion – Rare
Scarlet Spider – Former Villain – Common
The Hellfire Club – Members Only – Uncommon
X-23 – Blades of Rage – Super Rare
Mysterio – Dr Ludwig Reinhart – Common
Parallax – Source of Terror – Common
So this team is built specifically in order to clear the field using the Hellfire Club and to swing through using the X-23, rolling all those KO’d characters to buff her, and win. The rest of the team is specifically geared to deal with as many threats as I possibly could.
What I really liked about this team was that Shriek and Dwarf Wizards are essentially dead dice against X-23, in fact, most things are dead dice. Because of Hellfire Club any character control you try and establish is wasted, because they are all sent to the prep area.
So, I knew that if I could trigger the combo it would be very difficult to stop me. With that in mind I started thinking about how people could stop the combo going off. The first thing was that X-23 needed to have the highest attack. I played around with several pump Globals, but found that Haymaker’s potential +3 and Overcrush could be an alternate way of doing damage, so that was in. I also liked the idea of Mutation, in order to get X-23 to its’ top level, 7 attack with possible pump is hard to top. The other way of stopping this going off was stopping my use of the Hellfire Club with Scarlet Witch. The easiest way around this? Parallax. So that was in as well.
Now I had the means to get my combo to go off I focused on what could stop it afterwards. The obvious answer? Blink Transmutation & Mera global. To stop this I would normally go with Nefarious Broadcast but, because I was so reliant on one action going off already, I really didn’t want to work out how to line up two actions to go off at the same time, so decided to try the new Blackbird global. The other thing I worried about was Cold Gun. A blank X-23 is good, but not a one turn kill. I wanted to use Scarlet Witch but with Parallax in my team already Scarlet Witch wouldn’t really have done me any good. Because I was already including Mutation I settled on trying to use Storm to roll out Cold Gun.
After that, I had three slots left. I liked the idea of the Mysterio global to fill up both Prep areas for X-23, and I needed ramp, so that was in. I also included Cosmo because I wanted a way to protect myself against a rush combat team. Lastly, I was determined not to use Shriek, but wanted a little bit of extra protection. I initially wanted to include the Doop that captures when it Awakens, but this doesn’t work with X-23 as once the Hellfire Club goes off I would release his captive and they would have a blocker. I eventually went with Intimidate, using Scarlet Spider in particular, because I like Spider-Family stuff and his stats gave me something else to target with Haymaker.
I was paired up against Philip Ball. Philip is currently killing it in the latest “Virtual Worlds” competition going into the top 16 cut, and was using a very similar team to the one he was using in that.
He did have a Cold Gun, but focused on his normal purchase order. Getting Shriek and Dwiz out, then using a Scarlet Witch to try and disrupt my Hellfire Club. None of this was too much of a problem, as this was the sort of team I wanted to come up against. The first game I took really easily, even with SWitch in the field, by using Parallax once and rolling Hellfire Club. The second game went just as smoothly. I think Phillip realised that his Cold Gun could have stopped me, but on the couple of chances he had to roll a bolt and a fist he just didn’t get it, and couldn’t really stop me from rolling really well.
I won my first round.
I faced off against Matthew Haley. Matt has always been a regular player at WKO events, but I had never actually been drawn to play against him, and he hadn’t ever been able to really pull a string of results together in a constructed tournament that I had been at. But I’ve got to say I was very impressed by how easily Matt was able to see through my plan.
In the first game, not really knowing the team he went to blank my X-23 with his Shriek and got a Ronin and Cold Gun out for protection. This slowed me down dramatically, and enabled Matt to start swinging with his Two-Face, regardless I eventually got Storm out and started trying to roll out his Cold Gun. I must have tried it 4 or 5 times, but Matt kept rolling it on its’ action face. Eventually I managed to get him to use Cold Gun and clear his field. I swung with X-23 but the rolls didn’t give me enough energy, and with my field clear Matt managed to hit me back for enough.
Game two went even worse for me. At this point Matt had worked out that if he Shrieked my Storm I had very little answer to his Cold Gun. I tried to pivot and buy a Scarlet Spider, but it was too late. Matt had his force block and his two pump globals, he had managed to buy three of his Two-Faces and I couldn’t do anything. Matt read my team and worked out how to beat it quickly.
Round two was a loss.
Andy Ricketts is someone I play against regularly and he had already seen my team in testing so had done me the favour of including both Blink Transmutation and Cold Gun in order to stop my X-23 team.
On top of that Andy also knew that Storm was the thing to blank. So in the first game I tried using the X-23 combo, while also going for an early Scarlet Spider. It worked okay enough, and I managed to get him down a good amount to the point at which I was able to give my Scarlet Spider a Haymaker and clear his field with Hellfire Club, pushing his life down to 4. Unfortunately, on the next turn, he was able to get out his own Storm, the one that does damage when you use action dice, a couple of Cosmic Cubes and was able to swing through for the last few points of damage.
Game two, much like against Matt, went even worse. Cold Gun kept me at bay, and Andy had so many Sidekicks out that he was churning through his bag, using common Mimic. I tried buying some of Andy’s Shocking Grasps, in order to thin his field, but he already had two of them and with a wall of Sidekick he was able to burn through me with Cube and Shocking Grasp damage easily.
Going into round four, I was complaining loudly at how disappointed I was with my team. It had completely folded in both round two and three, once my opponents had realised what I was doing, and if they had the tools to stop me, there wasn’t anywhere else for the team to go. I hate a lack of adaptability within my teams, and this one really suffered. It was with this moodiness that I sat down to play Paul Robertson.
Paul is another player at one of my local scenes, though he is player who is pretty new to playing Dice Masters. That said; he already has a good knowledge of the cards, and has a good feel for what cards are good. He quickly established sources of damage and started hitting me with Norman Osborne and Firefly fielding them for damage, then swinging through with a pump from The Outside BAC. I thought that Cosmo may have been a good solution to this, but it didn’t ever really work. The problem for Paul though, was that he didn’t really have an answer to my X-23, and as much as I was complaining about how terrible my team was, if you don’t have an answer to it you can do a lot of damage in one big swing. In the first game I was able to get him down to three life with an X-23 swing, and Paul didn’t quite have enough to kill me, so on the next turn I was able to sneak a Sidekick through. The second game followed a similar pattern, with Paul hitting me with a nice unblockable Merlyn, but I got lucky with a big X-23 swing, which hit him for 21 after X-23s buff.
After that I was convinced that I was out. 6 of us were on 2-0-2 and with only once space available I thought that my Strength of Schedule wouldn’t have been enough, especially seeing as I had gone into the final bracket of games not being at the top table. With at least two of the passengers in my car going into the top four, I was preparing myself for a few hours of sitting around doing nothing. Until…
I was as surprised as anyone to hear my name being read out as the person who snuck in at fourth placed, and I was kind of annoyed about it in all honesty. It felt unjustified, particularly when the person we had thought would be in fourth was my friend Dan, whose team had performed really well during the day, and who had lost to the two people that I had, he joked that it was based on the alphabet, and really I don’t see how else I could have been ahead of him.
It was also annoying because both Matt and Andy had been placed in the other semi-final and I just felt like I didn’t belong in the same bracket as those guys on the day, and I knew that if I managed to get through to the final I wouldn’t really be able to produce a challenge for those games. It was stupid that someone who was pretty unhappy with how their team was performing got in ahead of other people who had done really well with their teams.
But I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, and I was ready to play against one of my best friends in the semi-finals. Joseph Kingsley-Nyinah is an awesome Dice Masters player and had done super great with a fully Villains team, and, along with Andy, was an undefeated player – Villains are a thing! But he was convinced as we sat down that X-23 would beat him.
In game one there wasn’t too much I could do wrong. I went about setting up my team like normal. Took a few hits from Norman Osborne, but with X-23 on the board I knew I just had to hold on until Hellfire Club came out, or so I thought.
From his bag Joseph pulled the uncommon Blob. His intention? To capture my top level X-23 leaving me with only a level one Cosmo in my field, and with him having a top level Emma Frost on the field getting Hellfire to go off would have been virtually impossible. However, rather comically, Joseph rolled Blob, got two Shields, rolled Blob, got one Shield. He was sad, I was… happy. He saw Parallax. I was sad, he was happy. So he rolled Blob, got one Shield, he rolled Blob, got two Shields, my forehead began to perspire, he rolled Blob, got two Shields, he had spend all his energy but one, he had fallen down the Parallax hole with only one way to get out. He rolled Blob… one Shield. Next turn I used Hellfire and won. Well that was lame.
Game two Joseph actually did manage to capture one of my X-23s but this time I had a Cosmo out at level 3 and was able to pump him enough to KO all of Joseph’s dice, get my X-23 back and swing for enough to win.
I went from complaining about my team into the top two. What a weird situation. I just hoped that my luck wouldn’t run out in the final.
Andy had managed to sneak past Matt into the final by virtue of having done the most damage after turns, and so, as it was in the previous year’s Southampton WKO, the final was me vs Andy.
I knew that what I had done in the first match vs Andy was no good, and so I completely disregarded buying both X-23 and Hellfire Club. Instead I went for Scarlet Spider and Haymaker. I fielded as many sidekicks as possible and brought two of Andy’s shocking grasps to keep his side of the field thin. It went well and I put him under a good amount of pressure. Shocking Grasp worked great, because both Storm and Mimic KO have really low defence so I was able to force Andy to put energy into re-fielding and in some cases Parallaxing his dice, but Andy’s team is so cheap that he was still able to buy what he needed, it was just a race to see if he could keep everything he needed on the field before I could get enough pumped up Scarlet Spider’s or Sidekicks through. I managed to swing again getting Andy down to one life, but clearing my field in the process. Just like in Round Three Andy took his opportunity and was able to get me back for lethal.
Game two I focused in. If I wasn’t buying X-23 Andy wasn’t buying Shriek in order to blank my Storm, so I got Storm out rather than Scarlet Spider. I went for Haymaker and Shocking Grasps. I kept his bag thin and kept hitting him with Storms. Spinning her up and rolling dice out of his field. The luck that I had had early was still prevalent, Andy Parallaxed 5 times trying to get out a Mimic, in order to churn more, but it didn’t work and I managed to get in a surprise win just by sheer weight of aggression.
Unfortunately for me Andy isn’t someone to be beaten by the same strategy twice. His Cold Gun came out early, and knowing he didn’t have to save it for X-23 he could use it to get rid of whatever I was swinging with. His Mimic and Storm were firing again and he managed to slow down my early aggression while chipping away at my life. I hadn’t got the bigger hits in that I had in the previous two games and as the time ran out on our round I was feeling like defeat was just around the corner. Luckily for me Andy made a mistake and forgot to use the Blackbird global in order to stop my Mutation global, and the turn before he was about to draw three Cosmic Cubes I was able to roll out his Storm into the Used Pile. I had given myself a reprise as we went in to turns… but it was too little too late. On turn three Andy used the Blackbird to say I couldn’t use the Blackbird global and saved masks for Blink. On turn four I swung but it wasn’t enough. He let everything through which took him down to 2 life. Then on the return he swung back taking me down to one life.
My luck had done me well, and I managed to make the final a lot closer than it had any right to be. Andy was a well deserved winner.
Congratulations to Andy on his WKO win & Nationals qualification, and well done to Ben for a hard fought second spot.
Be sure to come back the the BritRollerSix blog in the coming weeks for more UK WKO reports & info.