• Is Hybrid Constructed Still Relevant?

    Oftentimes, when an article title asks a question, they also attempt to answer it. I can't do that in this case because I don't know what is being played everywhere. However, I can make some guesses - no one talks about it and despite having played Dice Masters since the beginning, I've played in one total event that used that format. That leads me to believe that it hasn't been relevant, but that doesn't mean that it shouldn't be!

    For those who are less familiar, Hybrid Constructed is a format that is part constructed, part sealed. It involved bringing four cards and two basic action cards, and then using booster packs to fill out the rest of the deck. It definitely had some plusses and minuses to it.

    [top]Strengths and weaknesses


    Hybrid attempted to fill a void that other games might fill with sealed. In sealed, players take several packs (often six) and make the best deck they can (40 cards in Magic, including lands, as opposed to the usual 60 card deck). Sealed in Dice Masters is difficult, something Lauren and I know from experience. To use Magic's format as an example, players get 90 cards to build a deck that will probably use around 23 of them. That's a lot of cards to put into a smaller deck, but the small deck size helps mitigate the fact that everything is random. That kind of mitigation probably doesn't work as well in Dice Masters. A smaller team means you have fewer dice that you can buy. In general, you'd need to have around $20 worth of packs in Dice Masters to have the workings of a viable team - and that's just for packs, that doesn't include an extra few dollars for prize support. And so we have hybrid as a cheaper way to accomplish a similar limited format.

    The trouble presented by Hybrid is that many winning strategies can be put together with just the four constructed cards. This is true in-set as well as in unlimited. In DC Hybrid, for example, you really only need four cards to make the Bolt combo work - Firestorm, Cheetah, Red Tornado, and Hawkman. Blue Beetle could fit in there as an alternative. It almost doesn't matter what other cards you get. This problem is likely why Hybrid fell off.

    Once rainbow draft was introduced, hybrid ceased being talked about. In fact, it had such a short life span that some people may never have used it even once. But I think it could still have a place, albeit in a modified form.


    [top]Set Releases


    This could become an interesting format now that sets no longer have starters associated with them. Let's take the Doctor Strange team pack as an example. On release day, have an event using a modified hybrid format. Use four cards from the team pack, any two basic actions that you'd like, and have the other four cards come from, say, eight booster packs.

    The same thing could be done with any starter release for the game, whether it is tied to a set or not. This moves product for the store, gets interest in the team pack, and provides a unique challenge for players.

    [top]Full Sealed


    One strength of sealed is that it works exactly the same regardless of player count, so pursuing a pure sealed format might still be worthwhile. Draft, conversely, plays out a bit differently depending on the amount of players. It does, though, still have the same problem as above. Unless players spend more than usual, this can have trouble working within the rules. Let's modify that. I've talked about this before, and here's the format I've tried.

    12 packs - 10 characters maximum (instead of 8) - 20 dice maximum - 20 life. Yes, your characters won't fit on your playmat. That's ok.

    Each player comes to the event with eight sidekick dice, 12 basic action dice, four indicator cards, and two basic action cards. Players may choose which basic actions they'd like to play after constructing their deck, but must use the same basic actions throughout the event.

    Each player in the draft opens twelve booster backs and will therefore end up with 24 cards and dice.

    Once you've opened up your packs, you must create the best team of no more than ten characters and no more than 20 dice that you can out of the pool available to you at a set time limit enforced by the tournament organizer. At this time, you should also select your two basic actions from the ones that you own.

    If you don't like using ten, there are other things to try. You could play this with just eight characters, but you may have as few as eight dice and that seems to be no fun. You could also play a method where you augment dice numbers with your collection. Stick with eight characters, but you get to configure the dice however you want. Then you actually are playing the team and not fighting against a lack of dice.

    * * *

    Do you play hybrid? Do you have an alternative limited-style format that you've used in your local scene? Share in the comments!
    Comments 9 Comments
    1. ccm00007's Avatar
      ccm00007 -
      Well, there's no hybrid in my local store. Sealed, however, is played once when a new set is released.

      Having played both Sealed and Rainbow draft, I definitely prefer the latter. However, Sealed has the advantage of evening the playing field for newer players. We do it typically with 10 packs and 8 characters + 2 basic actions.

      It definitely makes for a more luck-based experience, but it allows us all to learn about the new cards together in a casual format.
    1. Jwannabe's Avatar
      Jwannabe -
      I think hybrid would have to be limited to be viable. All Starter set/team packs only or a single set would work. Possibly two sets could work. It stops being fun when everyone plays the same team.

      I've been doing AOU/CW, WF/JL, and ASM/UXM and they are all fun. Hybrid would fit into those fairly well. 2 sets to fill out the teams would vary the team builds and then players would have to choose which set to draft.

      Do you risk drafting heroic characters to try to snag PXG?
    1. Scum's Avatar
      Scum -
      Hybrid always felt like a clunky way to open a few packs while playing half a team.
    1. SlapsterMcFlash's Avatar
      SlapsterMcFlash -
      I run unlimited hybrid events of all types all the time, and people enjoy it. Bring 4 cards and 1 basic action chosen ahead of time, bring 2 cards, bring 2 and 1 BAC, bring 3, etc...

      Really, it's best to only bring two cards with max 3 each, and then sealed/draft 12 packs otherwise. It worked really well for ASM, which needed some extra ramp of some sort.
      Also, with two cards brought and 12 boosters purchased, you can actually get the benefits of a draft and hybrid, which has a little strategy as opposed to only sealed and hybrid, which is just whatever is opened.

      Yes, four cards can be silly - but only if your playgroup is a bunch of jerks that bring the same high powered cards every single time, which can be stopped before it ever starts by cultivating a stand-up group of players, a group which doesn't want to play with the same powerful cards every event and just enjoys playing the game.
    1. SirFrankus's Avatar
      SirFrankus -
      I did hybrid once during the AVX days...everyone brought (if they had it) in this order....1. Gobby 2. Tsarina 3.Johnny Storm 4.Wind Rider...after that other storms, beast mutate 666, taunt global, magneto global. It was still fun, but all of the top finishers had Gobby and/or Tsarina.

      My FLGS does "sealed" every other week. Buy 4 packs, play with what you get. It's a fun way to make the most out of a bad situation, although games can drag and get stale. We make sure to bring Ramp BACs. We've done things like switch to 15 life, or buy 4 more packs and augment the team however you want and play again. Some people don't want to spend money on packs, they prefer buying what they want as singles (or prefer to not spend $ period), so asking anyone to invest more than 10$ is a deterrent at my store sometimes.
    1. Razorback's Avatar
      Razorback -
      I've found hybrid a good format in my FLGS because:

      1. It move product for the store. Playing fully constructed would impact their sales.
      2. It allows players to use some cards and combos they really want to play with.
      3. It allows players to focus on the IP or set they are interested in. We have D&D only and Marvel only players. If we drafted a DC set, they wouldn't show up.

      It has some drawbacks, mainly you end up playing a four card team and the other four cards are superfluous. Another is some players might bring in high power combos over and over again. That said, I've found it a fun way to experiment with certain combos and approaches to the game.

      It's certainly not the most popular format, but it is fun.
    1. chalos13's Avatar
      chalos13 -
      I love Hybrid and we play it at least once a quarter in Tyler. This week we actually are doing a Daredevil Hybrid, players drew their four dice for the constructed half of their team before hand from a bag that only had Marvel and DC starter characters, and then will have ten packs to build from the day of the event. Hybrid needs some help to be fun I think, because it's true that four cards can make lots of good combos that you basically ignore the other four cards on your team. We try to keep our events rotating: Unlimited constructed, some form of sealed (draft, hybrid), then a limited constructed. No one wants to see Bard every week, so I try to structure our formats to encourage creativity and make people try some new things.
    1. Yort's Avatar
      Yort -
      I like to do the Hybrid Starter/Sealed at least once for a set - i.e., pick four from the starter, then the other four from the 10 packs you open of the same set. I love Rainbow Drafting, but you never get a chance to use any of the characters in the Starter! There's usually only one or two in a Starter that ever see the light of unlimited constructed play, so this gives me a chance to actually use them. Of course, you do have to watch out for some starters (like those that may have a certain Bard in them), but overall I think the format adds to the variety of what do with a new release.

      Of course now that may not be as viable for every release, but I would also say it makes it even more fun for the fewer releases that do have both starters and gravity feeds.
    1. djcannonmi's Avatar
      djcannonmi -
      The last new set we did an event where you bought the starter and 10 packs. You then used those to build your team for the day. This went over pretty well, well enough for the players to want to do it again, however, with no new starters for a while...I have some ideas related to the team packs though.