The BritRollerSix coverage of Dice Masters at the Wizkid’s European Open 2019 continues, this time with my own tournament report.
I’ve decided, for now, just to do the run down of my matches in the core, Modern Constructed event. I’ll see how much time I can get to write up the others, but as time goes on my memory has been getting hazier on the Global Escalation and 10/10 events.
The Modern Constructed took place over the whole weekend: we held the Swiss rounds and Top 8 cut on the Saturday and then held the Top 4 and Final on the Sunday. This came with its advantages and disadvantages – it reduced the possibility of total burn out in the competitors by providing a bit of a break (y’know, providing they didn’t start smashing the Polinka until 3am) and gave the rest of the players less downtime and a chance to remain involved. It did, however, mean that the “rhythm” & flow was a bit broken for the quarter finalists, and Spug confessed that he had sat up late over night playing purchase orders through in his head – so possibly not as rested as intended.
With all the ice broken over Friday everyone was in good spirits and set to go on the Saturday morning. The atmosphere was jovial and pockets of players were hanging out and chatting as we all gathered to get the show on the road.
Peter & Patrick hustled about and made sure everything was all set and perfect for us – getting the film rig prepared, getting table numbers out, registering everyone and helping out those who did not have WIN IDs.
We had 20 players registered for the main event, and once all was good to go Peter gave the briefing for play – 45 minute rounds, “best of three” format, with 5 rounds when time called to conclude the match.
And with that – we took our tables for round one…
Round One – Xavier
My first opponent of the day was Xavier, who was playing a really interesting list centred around ‘Morph – Change of Heart’ and the Basic Action ‘Shockwave’. His aim was clear – to line up ‘Morph’ with Shockwave, get his ‘Boom Boom – Time Bomb’ out, and deliver 5 points of damage to me every time ‘Morph’ attacked.
I was very aware of the ‘When Fielded’ aspect to the ‘Morph’ game text, and his fairly low defence stats, so went through the motions of my ‘Steve Trevor’/’Wonder Woman’ combo to lock down ‘Morph’ and leaned into my ‘Magic Missile’ global to knock him out before the Attack Step while working on getting ‘Wonder Woman’ out.
Xavier was no pushover though, and proceeded to chess it out himself, picking up his ‘Billy Club – Tool of Justice’ as a means of pushing my ‘Wonder Woman’ out the field to put his ‘Morph’ back in play and picked up ‘Shriek – Sonic Beam’ to handle my ‘Iceman’. It worked too – and in both games of our round I saw my ‘Wonder Woman’ disappear to the Used Pile and ‘Morph’ re-appear ready to hit me next turn. We definitely chess-ed back & forth removing key pieces from each other’s fields to gain the competitive upper hand.
I elected to take the damage a few times and use my Bolts with ‘Iceman’ rather than hold them back to murder ‘Morph’, in the first game in particular my ‘Iceman’ rolled in at lvl 3 so I had the capacity to deal 10 points of damage in one turn after locking out ‘Shriek’ with ‘Wonder Woman’. I knew for every 5 point hit Xavier could deliver I could do 6 minimum, so tried not to sweat the ‘Morph’ damage and make sure I came back with at least one more hit. I wasn’t short of Bolts – between ‘Chwinga’ swarm and ‘Clayface’ global I was able to always hit my ‘Iceman’ at least 3 times.
The “back & forth’ control strategy eventually paid off for me, and in both games I was able to deliver lethal. I had to do a few smaller hits with ‘Iceman’ and re-allocate a few Bolts from my Reserve Pool to take out ‘Shriek’ to free him up, but staying the course payed off in the end.
A hard fought first game – and indicative of the day ahead.
Round Two – Spug
Onto round two and my next opponent was to be Spug. Spug was playing a ‘Collector – Taneleer Tivan’ team using the classic combo of ‘Danger Room – Flame Throwers and Throwing Knives’ with a Collector’d in ‘Norman Osborn – Don’t Call Me Nobby!’ for the win con.
We are both very capable Control players, and both used the Control pieces on our teams to really slow the other down. Spug had ‘Songbird – Melissa Gold’ that he was able to use the Intimidate game-text on ‘Iceman’ to take my win con out the way and I had ‘Wonder Woman – Reflections’ to mitigate any fielding of ‘Norman Osborn’.
We duked it out for turn after turn trying to eke out a way through for our damage, with neither quite taking the lead for some time as we whiffed rolls or found ourselves short on energy to quite shake loose an advantage.
Spug pulled a canny move at one point by using my own tools against me that shifted the life lead in his favour though: by using the ‘Collector’ to grab my ‘Iceman’ and drop a few ‘Magic Missile’ pings on to it to get a bit of damage through, but the life lead didn’t make lethal and I was swimming in unused bolt energy that I held back every turn after my ‘Iceman’ got intimidated to plough into the Dice whenever he Collector’d it over.
We went a full 45 mins and 5 rounds at time on one game with neither ending on a lethal turn. Spug was damn close – in the last turn I was on 3 life and he had enough to maybe squeeze another 2 damage through, but there was just no way we could see for him to get that last life off me.
We ended on a tie, with 9 life to 1 life and the conclusion.
I was kicking myself a bit after the game – it occurred to me that I had had a number of opportunities to buy more ‘Iceman’ dice but just didn’t – he was going to struggle getting 2 intimidated out of the field. In a classic True Mister Six move I played too tentatively and defensively and picked up an extra ‘Wonder Woman’ and a ‘Scarlet Witch’. Every day is a learning day, but I would ask the question: when will I ever learn?
Round Three – Jezko
In round 3 I faced my longstanding online rival, the Lord of the Fish slap, the legend that is Jezko. (I love him really)
Jezko was playing a weenie-ish combat deck with a sprinkling of Attune for some extra damage. The key cornerstones of the team were ‘Parasite – Maxwell Jensen’, ‘Avengers ID Card – Making it Official’ and ‘Yuan-Ti – Lesser Humanoid’. The strategy was straight forward enough – make ‘Yuan-Ti’ an Avenger with the ID card’s global, give it a nice stat bump with ‘Parasite’ and the ID Card’s core text, then steam over for big unblockable thumps. (With a wee bit of Attune damage in the mix for good measure too)
I set about lining up my ‘Iceman’ and then shifted over to a bit of control to keep Jezko at bay. ‘Scarlet Witch’ was an excellent piece to keep the Actions out of the picture (and the ‘Yuan-Ti’ good & blockable) and I got lucky a fair few times when Jezko’s attempts to ‘Acererak’ Global whiffed the actions too. With ‘Yuan-Ti’ carrying pretty low defence numbers on her first two levels the combination of ‘Scarlet Witch’ and ‘Magic Missile’ global was enough to keep myself well protected from harm.
Then it was all just about the business of getting on with things with ‘Iceman’. I made sure to field some Sidekicks to have some attackers to kick off the Attack Step and smashed away until I had lethal.
The second game went much the same way to my recollection, the only key difference was the Jezko picked up a ‘Wasp’ and swung a couple of beefy, early hits my way before I’d set up my control – his actions giving her a lovely little stat bump. Sadly though, once my control dice were out I just needed to weather the onslaught of ‘Wasp’ while chipping away until I delivered a lethal blow.
Super fun games, with so much lovely back & fourth.
Round Four – Balazs
Onto round four and my opponent now was to be Balazs. He was running a very X-Men heavy team that had ‘Jubilee – Mallrat’, copied by ‘Hope Summers – Pluripotent Echpraxia’ as the main win condition. Balazs had ‘Professor X – No More, Magnus!’ on the team to generate sidekicks, ‘Rachel Summers – Prestige’ as a beat stick (with an added nuke effect) for a cheeky ‘Mutation’ switcheroo, and, to my dismay, a ‘Bishop – Butterfly Effect’.
Not to worry though – I had come prepared for the likes of ‘Bishop’, and once I had finished the business of buying some ‘Chwinga’ dice for Bolts and picked up my ‘Iceman’ I proceeded to grab myself some ‘Yellow Lantern Rings’ to do some intimidating.
In the meantime; Balazs lined up his ‘Mimic’ ramp and moved on to getting his win condition dice together.
It was little surprise that Balazs used that ‘Mimic’ ramp to grab a ‘Bishop’ die, and so began our game of a couple of turns me: Intimidate ‘Bishop’, KO ‘Jubilee’ and ‘Shriek’ (with ‘Magic Missile’ global), then ping for 2, Balazs turn: re-field ‘Jubilee’, re-field ‘Shriek’, PXG a Sidekick, give me some ping.
It was an epic single game round, but the turning point came at the 3rd turn of rounds. Balazs has bought ‘Mutation’, and for much of the game I had been playing a careful game of saving my ‘Chwinga’ Bolts in the Reserve Pool to keep my Used Pile clear of characters: I DID NOT want my ‘Iceman’ getting lost in the Used Pile before my last go. (Should clear up why I was only chipping low numbers away with ‘Iceman’ for anyone who thought it was odd I mentioned only 2 ping a turn earlier)
Then, at turn 3 of rounds, I took a gamble on the dice count in his Used Pile (the likelihood of drawing the ‘Mutation’ was low) and use all my Swarmed ‘Chwinga’ dice to drop a large 8 point hit and bring Balazs down to an easily chippable life count for my 5th & final go.
BUT… guess what? He drew ‘Mutation’, rolled ‘Mutation’, swapped out my ‘Iceman’ for a ‘Chwinga’ and proceeded to ‘Magic Missile’ away my field of scrubs.
In his last go he killed me with ‘Bishop’ and an army of sidekicks. I died in the 4th Round of turns with victory in my grasp.
That’ll teach me to play the odds.
At this point we took a short break and waited to see how things shook down for the Top 8 cut. There was only one individual undefeated by the close of Swiss (our eventual Champ – Peter VDV) and through all the general chit chat of “how are you getting on?” it seemed pretty certain I’d made the top 8 with my Swiss record.
The results were called, and I had indeed placed in the top 8. There was more to the journey yet…
Top 8 Cut – James
My Top 8 match was the Bloreanator himself, who was running a more aggro-centric version of an ‘Iceman’ list to mine.
And boy, did he move much faster with the team than me. James followed a pretty straightforward strategy of buying a ‘Shriek’ first turn, using my ‘Clayface’ on turn 2 to buy ‘Iceman’ and prep with ‘Resurrection’, field ‘Iceman’ turn 3, field ‘Shriek’ turn 4.
I had been dealing with ‘Shriek’ all day, but this was the first instance where I faced a ‘Shriek’ that needed dealing with that had a win con that could push damage my way like ‘Iceman’. It became quickly apparent that I was drastically under-prepared for another ‘Iceman’ team and my removal & anti-‘When Fielded’ tech wasn’t going to cut it this time.
Honestly; I was tired, Salty about ‘Shriek’, Salty about my own under-preparedness for playing other ‘Iceman’ teams, and had a heightened awareness that 2 of my possible opponents in Top 4 would be re-matches from Swiss I wasn’t eager to repeat, AND another 2 ‘Iceman’ teams (which wasn’t going so well against James at the time of these thoughts).
So… I sorta lost focus and choked it. James was more than capable of taking full advantage of my distraction and basically annihilated me while I played like a noob and got grumpier and grumpier with myself. That’s where the top competitive players are at their best – the minute there’s an opening they can leap on it and make the most of it.
And so there it was – I had been knocked out in the top 8.
The Modern was done…
My final standing once all was said and done was 7th, which I was happy with as it resulted in the majority of the swag I coveted coming my way (Except the alt-art ‘Jubilee’, she eluded me). There was loads of additional prizing in the pool that had been added by Ultrapro too – so a big community thank you to those guys – I got some really cool gear, the least of which was a lovely set of D20 die that look mega-fancy and will be the envy of players down my FLGS for sure. Big thumbs up Ultrapro, really appreciate the support – you’re the best!
AND – as a real special treat I was awarded the Fellowship Award for the main event based on a player vote. (Incidentally: my second Fellowship Award of the weekend). I know it’s generally a gesture, but I was actually really proud to be given it, even though I have some scepticism about the voting system and the reasons for my award. (I’m pretty certain I got the Pauper one for getting so miserably trashed through it!)
I know I’ve mentioned it a few times, in a number places round & about, but I’ve got nothing but the utmost love & respect for Peter & Patrick at iHRYsko. The whole weekend was run so well – but in addition to keeping things efficient and organised it was done with such joy & passion that it was entirely infectious and added an X Factor to the whole event above and beyond the usual, already high, level of enjoyment an event like this brings. A sincere ‘Thank You’ to Peter & Patrick for all their efforts – I am blessed to be able to call you friends now that we have finally met f2f.
Peter VDV went on to win the main event, and if you’d like to see his perspective you can check his tournament report out HERE.
‘Iceman’ is a pretty strong win condition and was obviously a popular meta-choice in the European meta this year, as it featured on 4 of the 8 teams in the Top 8. The team lists are interesting – there are a few cards one could have anticipated facing over the Modern event that were largely under-represented (‘Atlantis’ builds, no ‘Venerable Dreadnaught’, only one ‘Green Lantern – Human’ team, for example) but there was definitely some clear attempts to be a little creative and try to forge our own meta over here: our World Champ Ben Said Scott observed that Euro-players are much more keen on consistency & steady wins compared to a willingness to “go big or go home” approach more prevalent in North America. Interesting stuff.
It is my heartfelt hope that Wizkids consider the event a success because it was really something special and created a sense of value in a number of the European players. I don’t think that it’s any secret that the player base on the Continent feel a little neglected sometimes because they are the smaller market and made to feel as such too. There was some indication that the attendance was under the desired level from Wizkids but it is absolutely my hope that we can see something structured next year for Dice Masters competitive play – I know the players would love a set of country-based regionals across the hot spots then that culminate in a European Open… or something like that.
I hope you enjoyed my report. Let me know in the comments below any thoughts. Thanks for reading 😎