• Reading the Rainbow - RDW Prep (Battle For Faerun Edition)



    The time is almost upon us... Dungeons and Dragons Rainbow Draft Weekend is coming! Known as the Strahd Rainbow Draft Weekend on the WizKids Info Network, the DNDRDW (as I like to refer to it as when blabbing about this game to random people on the street) will be the first time that many players get a chance to draft with the Battle For Faerun set, and the first time (in a few months at least) that several people will be pulling cards and dice from Faerun Under Siege. And, with this set, that old vampyre has raised the stakes... while trying to avoid having them then be plunged into his heart. As if you didn't already know, the prizes for this event are crazy/wacky/nutty/insane. There are alternate art versions of the Kobold - Greater Humanoid, Human Paladin - Lesser Emerald Enclave and, for the big winner, Magic Missile (now with improved and clarified double burst text).


    Look at them prizes! Daddy needs a Kobold, Paladin, and Magic Missile!

    At the risk of making winning one of these events just a little more difficult for anyone who wants to claim these beautiful first-run Alt Arts, and as my first D&D Rainbow Draft Weekend (at Heroes Comics & Gaming here in Louisville, KY) will be featuring it, I'm going to go through and highlight some of the best cards and combos to be on the look out for in the Battle For Faerun (BFF) set. As always, I won't be able to talk about every single good card, and my strategies/observations are merely my opinion... so follow my advice at your own peril. I'm just one Narwhal but, between this article and all of the information in the community (and hopefully on the comments below), we should be able to raise our D&D Rainbow Draft games a little.

    [top]See It? Snag It!


    Since this set was released in early 2015, we can be forgiven for being a little rusty as to what our draft priorities should be. Here are a few cards that should be taken as soon as you see them.

    Human Paladin - Lesser Emerald Enclave


    Let's go down the checklist and tick things off: Good Adventurer? Check. Amazing While Active ability (your characters cannot be affected by Global abilities used by your opponent)? Check. Good Global? Check. Starter Character so will be very rare in draft? Check...

    You cannot pass this card if it comes around in Draft. If I pull this card and, say, a Super Rare Mind Flayer in the same six packs, I'm hard pressed to pass this common... at least in a Rainbow Draft Weekend setting. Your characters can't be Magic Missiled or Distracted... and this is important.

    Kobold - Paragon Humanoid


    With Kobold dice themselves going for between two and five dollars each on eBay, we know that there will be some people panning for these golden cubes. Their value in draft is... high. I've listed the Rare Kobold, but the Uncommon Kobold is also important. Swarm is an amazing one-sided ramp ability and, while you can live without it, it should not be overlooked. Be careful with the Uncommon, as you will have to attack with it if your opponent has a Good Adventurer. Of course, it'll tie up that Adventurer as one will be forced to block your Kobold. Still, in order to get maximum payoff from the Swarm ability, try to grab the Rare.

    Unicorn - Paragon Beast


    I know, I know... another Rare character. For some reason, I feel an affiliation with the Unicorn. And the Unicorn feels an affiliation with all of your Good aligned characters, giving them +2A/+2D. Since there may also be Experience added in, your Good Adventurers are going to get scary big very quickly. Honorable mention to the Common 'Corn, as life gain in Draft can be useful. With her, you will gain 1 life the first time you field a Good character. That's not bad, but a stat bonus for each of your Haloed Heroes is probably better.

    Umber Hulk - Paragon Beast


    Another Rare! I know, I know. This one, however, is too good to pass up. A long standing favorite of various TRP staffers, this guy is no joke. Field him, and your opponent has to re-roll all of their Level 1 and 2 Characters. Anything that shows energy goes to Used. Bye bye Sidekicks (probably). For two-thirds of their non-sidekick characters, there is a one-in-two chance you'll be saying "See ya later alligator, after while crocodile, don't forget to write!" Then, you can swing through with Big Papa Umby for some damage.

    Invisible Stalker - Lesser Elemental


    Finally, a card you are likely to see! Sure, Invisible Stalker costs Five to purchase, and always has a fielding cost on all three of its faces... but it is worth it. Assuming no Global nonsense is taking place (or if you have Human Paladin in play), you can be assured of at least three, four, or five damage every turn that you have a Stalker in the field. It won't take long to win with that going on. I am not sure I can count exactly how many times a certain "nemesis" of mine used this to great effect against me. I would recommend it in an BFF draft.

    Dem Worms!


    As we've recently (re)discovered with Gorilla Grodd and King Shark, Overcrush is amazing in draft play. The ability to crash through your opponent's wall with reckless abandon is not only satisfying, it's a game winning strategy. Myself, I prefer the Common Purple Worm for a relatively low cost big trampler. The Uncommon is also pretty fantastic, as it'll let you get rid of a blocker and deal a bit of chip damage to your opponent before swinging in. Be careful using the Rare version (not listed), as it will KO all characters with a purchase cost of 4 or less. Use at your own risk. The grey and green stripes are the way to go here.

    Half of the Super Rares


    If you want to WIN your draft, there are two Super Rares that should be considered.

    Stirge - This amazing card has Swarm AND has a cannot be blocked when attacking alone ability. While its attack stats are pretty low (1/2/3), it can certainly be pumped up with a Global. If you can manage to score a few more dice with this guy, you'll be in good shape.

    Red Dragon
    - We'll talk about Dragons a bit more in a minute, but you should always grab this card if possible. The Global, first off, is always fun (pay a bolt to buy an Action for two less and deal a damage to your opponent). The card itself, while expensive, is worth it. Great stats, and the ability to duplicate an Action effect when the Action is played can be very interesting.

    [top]Here There Be Dragons


    Me from twenty years ago was not sitting in a friend's basement playing a game called "Just Dungeons". Oh no. No way. Nuh-uh. It's Dungeons AND Dragons. Let's take a look at the big boys (and gigantic girls) that bring their breath weapons to bear.

    The Starter Dragons


    These are the two dragons that have cards in the Starter and, as such, only have one card each that is draftable.

    Blue Dragon - This guy can potentially be purchased on turn one. He's got a Breath Weapon 1, which is nice. Pay one energy when attacking to deal one to your opponent and all of their characters. The thing I don't love about him is his ability (deal one damage to each character on the board each time you use an Action die). If you are planning on playing with almost zero actions, then this will be fine. Otherwise, make sure you don't KO your blockers on your own turn... unless you can win right then.

    Green Dragon - This five cost behemoth is one of my favorite dragons in the set. Hit your opponent with the breath weapon to deal one damage, then force them to make a choice: Do I pay a point of life, or will all my characters that were damaged by the breath weapon be unable to block this turn? So, you know, they'll likely pay the one life.

    The Copper Dragon


    The Copper Dragon is all about messing with the Gear and having a huge defense. The Rare especially is a defensive monster. Field her, and watch her KO all attackers that she blocked. Also, any Gear attached to characters that take damage this turn is rerolled, and anything that rolls energy goes to the Used Pile. This dragon has gained infamy for being great in Constructed play with a way to swap her A and D values. But, in the more limited format of Rainbow Draft, she's a great blocker that can mess with gear. Also, she has the Good Alignment, which can help if you have drafted the Common Unicorn featured above.

    The Dracolich


    This guy is all about Action love and that Breath Weapon. The Common version is the "weakest", allowing you to draw two dice from your bag, spin any Actions to their burstless action face. This version is sporting a Breath Weapon 2. The Uncommon only has a Breath Weapon 1, but allows you to purchase an Action die FOR FREE when fielded. If you roll an Action face, it can be used. Otherwise, it goes to the bag. The Rare, of course, is the heavy hitter. With a 3 on its Breath Weapon, entire fields can be cleared when it attacks. Also, when either player rolls an Action die, your opponent takes damage. With all three versions having a purchase cost of seven, there are really no wrong choices here. He's a bad dude in draft.

    The Red Dragon


    We've already talked about the Super Rare version above in "SI?SI!". The Common and Uncommon are just as good... and potentially better. The Uncommon especially with her "You may pay 2 life instead of energy to pay the Breath Weapon cost" ability. Sure, you are giving up 1/10th of your life total, but dealing that damage back to your opponent and potentially clearing their Field is totes worth it. Totes.

    [top]Gearing Up (Get It?)


    One of the new mechanics introduced in the D&D sets is the concept of "Gear". This allows you to attach an special type of Action die to your characters that have the fancy Gear symbol. In BFF, there are two types of Gear.

    Shiny Hats


    So, you want to send your character to the Militant Millinery to pick up a fancy fighting hat eh? You have three choices when it comes to outfitting your Adventurers (and other Gear wearing dice). The Common gives your character the ability to only be blocked by two or more defenders. Not bad. The Rare gives them the ability to take no damage during the attack step. Also pretty nice (even it costs one more than the Grey or Green stripes). The Uncommon here is the winner, though. Your character wearing that hat cannot be affected by your opponent's Action Dice or Character Abilities. Protect your Elf Wizard from Cloudkill! Thrill as your Paladin stands up to a Breath Weapon! At two generic energy, this is a steal.

    Metal Pointies


    The Common and Uncommon versions of the Magic Sword do basically the same thing: boost stats. The Common gives your equipped character +1A/+1D, while the Uncommon gives them +2A. Pretty nice stuff... but the Rare is where the Magic Sword shines. With the Rare, any character damaged by the character wielding the weapon is KO'd at the end of the attack step. If you can arrange a blocking Monster when you attack with this character, that's an easy way to pick up some quick XP. Speaking of which...

    [top]Experience


    We've all been there. Just try try try to remember that, on your turn, if you knock out a Monster, then all of your active Adventurers (the ones with the Experience keyword) get a +1A/+1D token. This can only be gained once per turn, but it can add up over time and be the difference between a decent attack and a RAAAAAAAAAAHHH one.

    [top]Globals Domination

    There are a few important Globals in Battle For Faerun. Make sure you are keeping an eye out for them (or eleven eyes, if you are a Beholder). Speaking of Beholders...

    That Beholder Global

    Global: Pay 1 energy. Move a die showing an action face from your reserve to your prep area. Do not roll it next turn.


    There are two schools of thought on how this works. According to the WizKids Rules Forum, though, this is the way it functions: Pay the 1 generic energy, put an action face die in your Prep Area. It stays in the Prep Area for your next turn, then is rolled on the turn following that. If this is truly how it works... it is useless. I prefer the "common sense" interpretation that says it essentially hops into your Reserve Pool on the same Action Face on your next turn. I would recommend speaking with your T.O., of course, if you plan on using this character's Global.

    Carrion Crawler - Lesser and Greater Aberrations

    Global: Pay . Deal 1 damage to an NPC.

    This Global appears on the Common and Uncommon versions of Carrion Crawler. Generally speaking, I think this is almost a reason to not use Carrion Crawler in draft. But, his Common is reasonable price-wise and power-wise. That being said, I would probably recommend avoiding the ol' CC.

    Human Paladin - Lesser Emerald Enclave

    Pay . Reduce the damage you take from a character's ability to 1.

    Look, you should already be on the lookout for this card. The Global can give you a handy way to reduce damage from a Breath Weapon 2 or 3, a Purple Worm KO ability (the one that deals damage based on a character's level), or any other sundry damage effects from a character ability you might run across.

    Red Dragon - All Of 'Em

    Global: Once per turn pay . When you purchase your next action die this turn, it costs 2 less (minimum 1) and you deal 1 damage to your opponent.


    This Global is, arguably, the most popular one from this set. Everyone knows it, everyone loves it. Well, everyone loves it until they are left with one point of life and their opponent uses it to buy a two cost Basic Action to get the win. But, the point still stands. This is an especially helpful Global if you plan on using Gear that costs more than two, or some of the spells (which can get a bit pricey).

    Tarrasque - Greater Aberration

    Global: Pay . Choose an attacking character. It goes to the used pile if knocked out this turn.

    This is an often overlooked Global, but it is very powerful. The card itself is pretty tough to get to in Rainbow Draft, even if there are a ton of Resurrections and Swarms in play. The Global can be used to great effect, however, for the cost of only one Shield energy. KO an attacking character to clog up your opponent's bag. As with all Global abilities, however, be ready to have it used against you!

    Treant - Leaf Me Alone!

    Global: Pay shield. Prevent the next 2 damage that you (the player) take from an ability or action die this turn.
    This is another fantastic Global on a better than decent character. Be careful about fielding him if you have Evil characters on your team. But, if your opponent's team is chalk full of baddies, then any version of this character can make their life a bit more difficult.

    [top]BAC Scratcher

    This set has some of the best Basic Actions in all of Dice Masters. Maybe your Friendly Local Game Store is not going to limit you to D&D BACs only... but, if they do, here are some of the doozies.

    Resurrection


    This might be one of the most used Basic Action Cards in the entire game. The ability itself is OK (roll a die from your Used Pile and place it in your Reserve Pool). The Global, however, is the good stuff. Pay your Shield, draw a die from your bag and place it in your Prep Area. Remember kids: Even though it is a once per turn ability, if you and your opponent both bring it, then it can be used twice (once for each card).

    Polymorph


    This three beauty sees a lot of play. The Global ability is popular, because you can spin up one of your characters while spinning down another for only the cost of a mask energy. The Action die itself is the real star here. Did you just buy a neato torpedo character and you would like to field it right away? Guess what? You can! Just play this die and swap a character from your Used Pile with one in your field? Has your opponent fielded something scary on a previous turn? No problem! Swap THEIR character with another in their Used Pile. It's fun for the whole family!

    Magic Missile


    The final BAC we'll talk about is the much ballyhooed Magic Missile. The Global allows you to ping a character for one point of damage by paying a bolt energy. The Action itself lets you deal two points to your opponent or a character. Remember the double burst ability too. Since you'll possibly have an Adventurer, make sure to deal that extra damage based on its level.



    That wraps it up for today's edition of Reading the Rainbow. As always, I couldn't cover every single card in the set, and there are a few more gems there that deserve to be looked at. This set marked a huge departure from the previous Dice Masters sets, and is a fantastic one to draft. Hopefully everyone gets a chance to do so at their Rainbow Draft Weekend events!

    Next week, we'll talk about BFF's "evil twin" Faerun Under Seige. Is it more than just the Bard and Elf Thief? We'll find out next week! Until then: keep cracking packs you crafty drafters!
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Nepsilon's Avatar
      Nepsilon -
      Kind of want to change my name to Big Papa Umby