As is often the case (its my standard opener for blog posts of this nature): a recent conversation on a Dice Masters Discord channel got me thinking, thinking about the subject of rotation.
As we enter the New Year and look forward to the new release slate many players have started to consider the implications of the scheduled sets: what will the competitive play calendar look like? Will there be Organised Play kits? And, the subject of this post; will there be a rotation this year.
For any newer players to the game… a little back story.
There have been 2 set rotations for Dice Masters since it’s release. The first took place in 2017, taking effect from the 1st June that year. The second was around the same time of the year in 2018. The ever growing card pool was divided into two categories at that point: “Golden” and “Modern”. The “Golden” category included any card (besides those formally banned in all formats) that had been printed. The “Modern” category was to include cards from a list of the most recent sets, with sets prior to an announced cut of point each year no longer legal in Modern play. Modern was also the main focus for competitive events, with Championship titles awarded through those years for the Modern events and Golden events (such as Global Escalation) were used as side-tournaments or for fun, casual formats at a local level.
In 2019 it was a bit different. Wizkids decided not to rotate out sets, citing card synergy between upcoming releases and sets that, following their pattern from the previous 2 years, would have ordinarily been rotated out. You can find the announcement that explains the extremely shallow cut that year HERE, but the long & the short of it was that they felt the meta would benefit from the combo potential between the Batman set & Justice, and the X-Men: First Class set and X-Men: Forever.
Which is why the question of “will there be a rotation in 2020?” exists. Will Wizkids follow suit and choose to not rotate this year, or will we see the cut off point move once again?
Surely there’ll be a rotation though? It’s been two years…
Well… yeah, probably. It’s the most likely of the two options and that seems to be the consensus around & about. Two consecutive years of a frozen rotation feels unlikely. The question for those who believe rotation will happen is more “what set is going to be the cut off point?”
The cut was a bit deeper in 2018 than anticipated, with the Deadpool set included on the list, which many expected would not be. What that means is there just haven’t been enough years of rotation for a pattern to emerge we can judge it by. The original premise was a 2 year thing (sets from the previous 2 years would be legal) but the inclusion of Deadpool in 2018’s Modern legal list was contrary to that. (I seem to recall, I’ve not checked release dates or anything, that’s my best memory of the community chatter at the time)
The most prevalent prediction is that rotation will come, with a May/June-ish start date, and making anything prior to The Mighty Thor set on the ban list. This theory is built upon the assumption that choosing The Mighty Thor set as the cut off starts the Modern sets at the beginning of the Campaign Box sets – making it accessible to new players and a fresh meta for the legacy player base. It would also drive out some wins cons, ramp options and Control pieces that have had a long run on the top tables of events.
It’s generally assumed that the rotation will keep the Campaign boxes from 2019, to maintain an entry point for new players and provide the basic starting requirements to play.
So why even ask the question in the first place, if you’re so sure it’s going to happen?
There’s a couple of points that make me bring it up.
Firstly – the explanation for not rotating last year, that card synergies across sets could be interesting, may hold water this time around too. Specifically – if they cut to The Mighty Thor that will leave a Dungeons & Dragons set standing solo once again. It could also be argued that the X-Men & Justice campaign boxes will lose their place in the meta too without X-Men First Class and Batman respectively, but I suspect there’s stuff in the upcoming releases that will mitigate that concern.
That said; the jankiness of the release schedule and the frequency of delays does give pause for thought – Justice, for example, may be left a little afloat for a few months with ‘Kryptonite Crisis’ not due until October 2020, and if that get’s delayed… well… it’ll be afloat even longer. There might be half of the year’s rotation period passed before a DC-centric combo across those two releases gets its time. Same for X-Men: Forever and Dark Phoenix Saga, but to a lesser extent. I suppose what is worth noting is that the Justice meta-staples aren’t very IP focused so it’ll probably be alright, but it’s something to think about if they’ve called it out before.
Secondly – it’s a reflection of my conflicted feelings about the rotation. While there is absolutely some meta cards that have vastly outstayed their welcome (*cough* Shriek *cough*) there are also some I have fallen in love with, and one of the joys of new cards is seeing if they add a little something else to an established team archetype, but rotation for Dice Masters seems to kill archetypes or change them wholesale rather than evolving them.
You could say that the option to explore this is still available to me with Golden formats, and you’d be right, but while major events generally have a Global Escalation tournament at them, the focus on, and discussion about cards has a habit of sitting in the Modern context quite often.
I’ve also really enjoyed the meta from the sets most predicted to be rotated. I’m a direct damage, wombo combo guy and the meta has catered very well to my tastes. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my competitive performance has been better in this meta. I’m concerned about the movement in the meta that released spoilers seem to be hinting at, particularly in D&D and WWE, so I’m kinda clinging on with a little fear of change and question rotation with a little hope that my comfort blanket stays and with a little hint of “fear of change” in there too. Like I’m trying to convince myself it might not happen so I can play The Geezer in my Collector team LOL
Over to you now folks – how do you feel about rotation? What’s your bet on if it happens? Where do you think the line will lie? Let me know in the comments below…