• Dice Masters Nationals and Worlds Championships-Origins 2016, Isaac's Experience Part 1

    the squad.

    One year later, I return to the site of the start of this journey into Dice Masters at Origins Game Fair to once again try my best against the top players in the world. For those that do not know, read my original reports from a year ago Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 and see how close I was to qualifying for the worlds event and how determined I was to work hard at improving my skill set as a pilot. Along the way, I have tried to navigate the competitive world of Dice Masters, most notably a few months ago when I won the WKO Regional competition in Detroit (see that write up HERE).

    Over the course of the past few months, I trained and play-tested with a variety of people and teams, most notably with Shadowmeld, Stuart, Jenna, Kelly and JT. I play-tested locally and ran the reps to settle on the team I wanted to take. I really liked the Can Nats team that won the 2016 National title, and settled in on an edited version that subbed in prismatic spray for Kryptonite. This was to focus on ring teams that bring non-targetable pieces that I can't address any other way. Going first, I felt confident. Going second, if I could get them past 8 turns my chances got better overall.


    The first day of the Con found us driving down to Columbus and arriving with our caravan of people around 1:00 pm. My son and I along with my friends Jason and Gene and their families went down the highway and stopped for lunch at Culvers before we checked into our hotel and walked the sky-walk over to the Halls. The construction is heavy for sure this year, making certain areas feel a bit more cramped then they have in the past. We had been reading on Twitter about the long waits, turns out a Windows forced update for over an hour threw them for a loop. The line was at least 200 people deep, and although it moved quickly it took over an hour for the group to get through it.

    crazy long line Wednesday afternoon.

    Hall D is the gaming hall, and this year many companies added large booths to that area for play and demo outside of the sales hall. It was nice to see so many companies, including some new faces to the game. Fantasy Flight had a huge presence along with Pokemon that we had not seen in the recent past. But as expected, Dice Masters and Wizkids had a great spot and was large and ready to roll.

    Gaming Hall D and the WizKids area.

    We entered the area and saw some familiar faces from Detroit and others and my son and I along with our Glass City team members sat down to do some drafting. They had Civil War or Worlds Finest to draft from and we ended up drafting Civil War. My son continued his hot streak and I lost, once again hoping that it would be a start to victories in constructed. We walked around the rest of the area for a while and then returned to the Wizkids area to meet up with some friends for dinner plans. North Market for the first night, and then back to the Hall to play board games until 1am with friends new and old. That was the theme each night and one of our favorite things to do with all the people that came back to play. We played a lot of social games, but there was also an intense game of Spector Ops that may have taken place.

    late-night Codenames

    Intense game of Spector Ops

    I headed back to the room, exhausted and ready for the Nationals event that would happen the next day. My pre event guess was 40 people, and I was curious as to how close that would be.


    We headed down to the hall early Thursday morning and filled out the team sheets for Nats and my son for his Worlds pre-qualifier. As numbers started to come in, it turned out that we had 36 for Nationals and 63 for Worlds qualifier, giving us a total of 99 competitive players in two separate events. The lines to sign up were long at the Wizkids booth, with a scheduled start time of 10 am I think we finally fired off round one close to 11:30 am. I will not be able to give you the full breakdown of every game I played, because frankly (spoiler alert) I ended playing a lot of games over the course of three days. I started strong but quickly stopped taking pictures and names. Let me at least cover the highlights and overall impressions that I had from playing in the Nationals event.

    Charlie's awesome playmat

    The first matchup found me lined up against one of my favorite people in this community and it was the first time the two of us have ever played-Mr. Charlie Cates. We exchange messages and chat often, so it was a pleasure to finally play him. He pulled out his custom mat and his team and we got down to battle. We both had some of the most atrocious rolls I have seen, and while my team had the wheels falling off, his did not seem to fare much better. Eventually his engine started to ping damage with Johnny Storm but mine doesn't take long to do its job once it fell into place. I got the big swing and took the victory. We wished each other luck and lined up for the next round.

    My son doing his thing

    Right after that game, I was told by my son’s first round opponent that he had swung hard for 22 points of damage on a T3 kill. I was so excited for him to start so strong and do well-for a 9 year old lining up against some of the best and skilled players in the country, it was great to see. I don’t know if JT or I was more excited-he was using his TBTI kill team with some modifications.

    I went on to win my next one, drop the one after that and lose to a VS team going second in the fourth round. With a total of 6 rounds, I knew sitting at 2-2 I needed to win out to have a chance.

    For my 5th matchup, I found myself sitting across from one of my late-night playtest crew members and someone I had gotten to know well in the past 6 months online. Kelly was and is a known personality in the Dice Masters world, and you only need to look back to Nationals 2015 to see him sitting in the top 2 and he was also in the top cuts at Worlds last year. He is a remarkable pilot and a great guy. We lined up, rolled a die and I got the first turn advantage which with good early rolls was all I needed. This team, when the cylinders are all firing is so hard to stop going second. This put me at 3-2 and I sat ready to try and power into one of the final spots on the board for Nationals.

    What happened next is no one in particular’s fault-but mistakes happen and this one was potentially costly for me. When we lined up at the tables, I noticed that I was sitting lower than my last opponent, but they had not posted records and had not passed out our slips for who was at what record yet, so I ignored what I thought may have been wrong and assumed pairings were getting shifted around. In fact, I was told that there were a lot of us with around the same record, so I assumed things were ok. Once we started into our game and the slips came around, they had my record at 2-3 instead of 3-2. This threw me off so much I didn’t know what to do. I knew I had gotten paired too far down, and even with a win and correction to my standings I would be the lowest 4-2, and that on would not make the cut. I had been thrown into tilt, and was trying to figure that out along with trying to play my opponent and I got distracted and tilted hard. I misplayed a few turns, left my guys out to get imprisoned instead of attacking or fabricating, and it cost me the game. I finished at 3-3, 15th overall in the standings.

    I was disappointed in my final game and the confusion that occurred, feeling that I probably had a shot at top 8 if I would have spoken up soon enough before the round started. Lesson learned-do not assume anything in the future, even if they confirm a win for you. Mistakes happen, human error is a thing and double checking is never a bad idea. I left the area feeling slightly frustrated and really hoped this would not be the trend of Dice Masters for me for the full Con.

    I got a picture with my favorite Dice Master player

    Top 8 in Nats

    I did however get a chance to go explore with my son, and we checked out some demos and bought some new games as a form of retail therapy. We went over to Barley’s to have dinner and refocus. My 13 year old friend Josh had just missed cuts for World’s as well and he was ready to give it another shot. My son finished 3-3 and did great for his play, and he was ready to try a new team for Friday. I made it back in time to watch Stuart commentate JT's rise to the top to take the US National title belt. Congrats to him and to all the other players in the top 8 of that event!

    Shaw and Stuart on the finals match play-by-play

    your 2016 US National Champ, JT!

    I went back to our room, grabbed some cards and board games and started to think about what I had seen and what I needed to try to switch if anything. The only piece I never saw myself needing to buy was prismatic spray, so I played around with idea of using Hellblazer,Vibranium Shield, Kryptonite, Anti-Hero, Gobby, Jars, Kobolds and a few others in that spot, which were all pieces we had tested with. Also looked at switching in resurrection for magic missile. But in the end, the only switch I felt comfortable making was for Hellblazer, forcing a lockdown and then allowing for both DWiz and Hellblazer to lock parts of my opponents team down and forcing a hard choice for them on who take of the board.

    More late-night gaming

    After playing some board games with all these cool people, I eventually settled in for a few hours of sleep, ready to try my luck against what I expected to be a large turnout for the second day of qualifiers. Next week, I will discuss the second day of qualifiers and the World competition that followed, how I fared, what I learned and where I see things going from here.
    Comments 7 Comments
    1. TheConductr's Avatar
      TheConductr -
      Awesome write-up of Thursday! Had so much fun. Thanks for remembering to take so many photos! I'm bad about that.....
    1. CeeQue's Avatar
      CeeQue -
      Great write up! I'm really looking forward to parts 2 and 3.
      You did not cover several very important topics that I will be expecting to hear about:
      Where's Trubie's TRP t-shirt. (Where's my TRP t-shirt).
      Shadowmeld's triumphant entrance via mortorcycle (or chaps).
      Blow by blow on broken teeth.
      Confirmation that TheConductr, as predicted, took one or less showers during his entire time at the con (no lame excuses).
    1. pk2317's Avatar
      pk2317 -
      Quote Originally Posted by CeeQue View Post
      Confirmation that TheConductr, as predicted, took one or less showers during his entire time at the con (no lame excuses).
      His "entire time at the con" was Thursday :P
    1. IsaacBV's Avatar
      IsaacBV -
      @TheConductr smelled like he had followed the "1"
      @Flexei doesn't wear grey
      @Shadowmeld had no chaps, one MLP scooter, and no broken teeth occurred
    1. IsaacBV's Avatar
      IsaacBV -
      in general, the matches were all free of stink, which was nice
    1. CeeQue's Avatar
      CeeQue -
      Quote Originally Posted by pk2317 View Post
      His "entire time at the con" was Thursday :P
      Clearly falls under lame excuses.
    1. CeeQue's Avatar
      CeeQue -
      Quote Originally Posted by IsaacBV View Post
      @TheConductr smelled like he had followed the "1"
      @Flexei doesn't wear grey
      @Shadowmeld had no chaps, one MLP scooter, and no broken teeth occurred
      Awesome thanks!
      MLP scooter, close enough.
      Can't wait for the next write up and the next podcast.