• Team Brew Switcharoo 8: Distinguished Competition

    Hello again everybody, and welcome to a very special edition of Team Brew Switcharoo! Today, we will be conducting a thought experiment: What if we were to take ten random cards (eight characters and non-basic actions and two basic actions), then make a team that puts the "fun" in "functional" by swapping out only four of those cards for four more of our choice? And, to make things more interesting, what if we did all of that while following a "meta rule" that will also be chosen at random? What would happen? Let's find out!

    One more thing: today, to celebrate the release of World's Finest, we will be using cards only from the DC Comics (or, Detective Comics Comics) Universe! So, really, it is like two rules for the price of one. First, before we start swapping, we need to know what we are working with. Using the fantastic and already up-to-date dm.retrobox.eu team building website, we have randomly chosen our starting team.


    I was all ready to pick the Meta Rule for this week's article, but I got a phone call from my local comic book shop, and place where I play Dice Masters, The Destination. The Destination, the home base of Derby City Dice Masters, and whose website is located at www.destinationcomics.com. I have never claimed to be above a cheap plug.

    Anyway, the owners of the shop called and advised me that they had an Action Comics #1 for sale... and they were holding it for me. I raced down to the store and burst through the door. There, right before my eyes, was the elusive item. The rarest of rarities. I paid the asking price (which included too many zeroes to ever be comfortable with in a price tag for anything short of a house). As I left, I couldn't help but remove the book from its packaging and flip to the first page. I thought to myself "Self, if you are paying that much a comic, you can at least read it one time." Just then, a gust of March wind blew and the comic, much like its subject, took flight. I watched in wordless horror as it fluttered into the sky... and down, squarely, into the hopper of a running woodchipper. As I wept, I heard the noise the piece of comic book history made as it became mulch. It sounded like this: NOGLOBALSONTEAM.... NOGLOBALSONTEAM... NO GLOBALS ON TEAM....

    So, on the bright side, at least we know our rule: the team cannot contain any cards with Global abilities.

    Looking at our starting line-up, we have some strong contenders right away. Black Manta is a great card with his Retaliation ability... but only if we have the Villains to make it work. We certainly have Villains on this team. The BLeen Arrow is one of the new Black Lantern characters, and has a very nice ability on top of its decent stat line. Harley Quinn returns to us again this week, and Bleez is there to help against Action Dice.

    On the other side of things: we have two cards that would have been perfect for this team (Villainous Pact and Superwoman), but they have Global abilities. Kilowog is normally not a very useful card, and with the bad guy bent our team is taking he is even less so. Green Lantern MAY be useful, but I think another Villain in his spot would be better. There are several more Villains I would LOVE to swap in... but this rule has tied our hands. I think our best bet is to go with a tried-and-true team concept, with a few new World's Finest wrinkles.

    For our first swap, we need a cheap character that can establish our purchasing. This character needs to be a villain and, preferably, give us a nice ability that can start swinging the tide in our favor. Our first swap will be Superwoman for Lyssa Drak - Keeper of the Book of Parallax.

    Lyssa does a few nice things for us. First, she only costs two. Second, she is a . Even though WE can't bring Globals, our opponent might. It will be important to take advantage of any that they may bring... and that usually means energy. Lastly, her ability can help clog up a player's bag with Sidekicks (or other less than desirable dice).

    Our second swap should help us address our lack of ramp. Since we cannot use Globals on our team, and since Villains are not usually known for their innate prepping abilities, we have to resort to a tried and true method of buying some dice at a discount. Our second swap will be Villainous Pact for Big Entrance.

    Besides the obvious attraction of this die (shouting "BIG E!" when you play it), we can really benefit from the cost reduction. Having several characters in the four cost range gives us possible purchases if we only roll this and three other dice on a given turn.

    For the next swap, I'd like to put in a card that will be a back up plan to our main win condition (which we'll get to in a moment). I've got my eye on a big brute that has a relatively low cost and a restriction that shouldn't be a big deal for us. Our third swap will be Kilowog for Doomsday - Villainous Monster.

    At that sweet spot of 4 cost, Doomsday can be a very nice puncher of face for our Villain team. In the past, Villains have somewhat lacked for brute force, but that has changed with recent sets. Doomsday does have a caveat, but I think we will usually have two different Villains in play.

    For our fourth, and final, swap... I think we should discuss our main win condition. Last year, after Justice League was released, I had a vision. I saw, and loved, Black Manta's Retaliation ability. At the time, however, there weren't a lot of ways to KO your own characters when needed. But then, I saw a card that might allow me to do this, and do it with style. Our last swap will be Green Lantern for Batarang - From Wayne Enterprises.

    I have a soft spot for Batman themed non-basic actions that appear to be worthless at first blush. This is the card that started that love affair. And, with this final swap, one of the silliest (and most fun to play) teams I've ever used has been reborn. Folks, it's time to talk about the "Batarang Chain Gang"!

    First, let's take a look at our team, with all of the dice in place: http://dm.retrobox.eu/?view&cards=2x...3x29wf;3x25wol

    x4 x3 x2 x4
    x2 x1 x2 x2

    I would like to preface this with the following disclaimer: please note that, above, I said "most fun to play" and not "world beating face eater". This team is a blast, but is NOT to be used in a highly competitive environment. The wheels fall off this party bus with alarming frequency. But, when it works... the look on the face of your friend/enemy/frenemy is priceless.

    First, you want to purchase a Big Entrance. Like any team that uses Big E, you will buy only ONE during the entire game. You may feel compelled at one point to buy a second one... but it is a trap. On the second turn, hopefully you drew Big E and three sidekicks. Ideally, you will get at least one and one and one something else energy. Buy a Lyssa and a Manta.

    You can then begin to ramp up by buying and fielding as many Villains as you can. We really want one of each Villain in the field, or as close as you can manage. Remember to slow down your opponent whenever possible by naming characters with Lyssa Drak, then attacking with Sidekicks to force a block (and force two dead draws back into your opponent's bag).

    Once you have fielded at least five Villains (preferably two copies of each), go ahead and buy a Batarang. Once you roll the Batarang on an action face, get ready to MATH! It is important that you ricochet the 'Rang off of each of your fielded Villains in such a way that you are only KO'ing one copy of each. If you do this right, the damage will add up quickly. For example: let's assume that you have two copies of Lyssa, Black Manta, Harley, Lex, and Doomsday in the field. If you throw the Batarang correctly, you can deal the first damage to Lyssa (and not KO her if possible), then two to Harley, three to Manta, four to Lex, five to Doomsday... then six to Lyssa, seven to Lex (and so on and so on...) If done correctly, that would be 25 damage to your opponent, and probably the game (assuming damage reducing shenanigans are not in play).

    This team is very susceptible to any kind of team. I find it is best, when playing, to only concentrate on fielding as many copies of characters as possible and reaping what small benefits they give you with their abilities, depending on the situation. As I said above, this team will not work a good chunk of the time... but it is really fun to play around with.

    So, what do you think? Did I bite off more than I can chew with this challenge? Was it wrong of me to resurrect an old favorite idea of mine instead of trying to build something new? Was there a different Villain that could have been lined up against the wall to have a Batarang clang off their skull?

    One great thing about Dice Masters is that you can create a team concept, then put it in mothballs when it doesn't work. Then, several months later when new sets have been released, you can take it out and dust it off. Even under the best of circumstances, this team is a tricky one to use. But, it is a FUN team. Sometimes, winning one game out of four and having a great time is better than merely having a good time and winning three out of four.

    Thank you very much for taking the time to read. Next week, we return to our regular format when nearly 1500 cards will be in the pool to be randomly selected. Until then: keep creating combos, brewing boffo bands of battlers, and throwing things (like Batarangs!) at the wall to see what sticks!
    Comments 6 Comments
    1. Razorback's Avatar
      Razorback -
      It's hard to argue with your choices, but I would want to have Blue Beetle: Jaime Reyes on this team so you get your opponent coming and going with you villains.

      Not sure what I'd drop. Maybe Doomsday? But like you, I really like a plan B in my cards and he's the only real muscle on the team. Possibly Lyssa. Tough call.

      Great article!
    1. Jwannabe's Avatar
      Jwannabe -
      This team actually has some good answers and stall options on it and may not be as bad as you think. Luthor, bleez, and green arrow all will make your opponent really think about their plan of attack.

      But.... the win condition is really slow. I think the team is only missing a cheap attacker that your opponent will want to block. Lyssa can really mess with your opponent, and if you can get them to knock out the attacker your getting a 2 for 1. I guess Bane's force block could be an option .

      Solid build! It doesn't have anything wrong with it that every other trying to be competitive retaliation build has.

      Can we make Harley swarm viable?
    1. StrangeBrew's Avatar
      StrangeBrew -
      Hysterically funny. I know I'm going to play something like this, soon. I have played the Blue Beetle and Villains combo before, using baby villains, Deathstroke, Darkseid, and Villainous Pact, Monument To Evil, and The Outsider in various combinations to good effect. I am salivating to get the BLGA. I didn't even think about Bataranging my own dice for Retaliation damage, or that I could ping my villains and ramp up the damage to theirs, but that is exactly how the cards reads, "all Villains". Cheetah with the 1 pt ping has been one of my go to cards in a villain deck, but now I know I need to look at some of these other options, too. Thank you so much for the funny and tasty food for thought.
    1. OddballNarwhal's Avatar
      OddballNarwhal -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jwannabe View Post
      This team actually has some good answers and stall options on it and may not be as bad as you think. Luthor, bleez, and green arrow all will make your opponent really think about their plan of attack.

      But.... the win condition is really slow. I think the team is only missing a cheap attacker that your opponent will want to block. Lyssa can really mess with your opponent, and if you can get them to knock out the attacker your getting a 2 for 1. I guess Bane's force block could be an option .

      Solid build! It doesn't have anything wrong with it that every other trying to be competitive retaliation build has.

      Can we make Harley swarm viable?
      I would have LOVED to have included Bane, but I was forced to go Sans Globals. N'est Global Pas. Globaless (or, would it be Globalless?).

      The path to victory is extremely slow, but I'm hopeful that I can stave my opponent off while buying those relatively cheap characters. With no real ramp, it's going to be an uphill slog.
    1. Son of 'L's's Avatar
      Son of 'L's -
      Interesting article. Thanks for providing the food for thought.

      As for the team, I have to say I don't care for the inclusion of Big Entrance. If your plan involves buying significant numbers of characters with cost 4 or more, Big E's a poor choice. The ability to put characters straight into the bag usually becomes less and less important the longer the game lasts, and if your using it to get a 1-point discount on the purchase of a single character, wouldn't you have been better off with the die on its generic-2 face?

      Admittedly, the combination of the DC only and No globals restrictions don't leave much in the way of appealing alternatives, but given those, I'd go with Save Civilians myself. And if you're looking to use Basic Action Dice for ramp, don't overlook that you already have Kryptonite Threat on your team, which allows you prep a die on two of its three action faces.
    1. crocko33's Avatar
      crocko33 -
      Great article! (and is has me excited with trying some of these fun creation-scenarios)

      Question: You mentioned getting the Big E die out on your 2nd turn. How is that possible?

      Edit: and ignore my question, just re-read the text of Big E and see how that works now. :-)