• WKO Report - Chicago. Blast from the Past!

    What a time to be playing Dice Masters! Rotation, Modern, Golden, Bard Ban, Draft Nationals Qualifications at WKOs, Rotation, PDC Prime, PDC Draft, and Rotation!

    But, rotation is going to take away some of my favorite pieces (at least from the “Modern” format). And at least one of them deserves a “Last Hurrah!” I truly wanted to give Gobby and Tsarina a well-deserved ride into the sunset, but I just couldn’t make it work. I had talked to Isaac and he would have tried any way if he’d been able to make it. Me? I have a little too much spike in me for that. If you watched the Showdown between Mike and I, you’ll see two of my favorite cards in the game in play – Venom Angelo Fortunato (VAF) and Wolverine Formerly Weapon Ten (FWX). These guys are beasts. They have been a long time. FWX hasn’t been in the limelight for a while, but what a beatstick! VAF has made appearances more recently to help keep fields smaller facing Bards and Lantern Rings with small cheap characters.

    So with those guys at the center, I needed to try to build something that might actually be able to compete against the Mask Rings and the Bards and the Imprisoneds in the current meta. I need to ramp, so PXG. I need to counter Oracle, so Kal-L global (with VAF, Kal-L will KO on every level). I need overcrush for FWX, Pym Particles. I’d rather play with Resurrection than Rip Hunter’s Chalkboard, so Res it is. Taunt to handle Constantine and Dwarf Wizard. Taunt can also rough up the timing of Bard. I felt like Tsarina would help me close the gap with FWX for an alpha strike for about half of the opponent’s life. She just fits. And Venom may pump her +1/+1, and if my opponent spins down to avoid damage, that makes VAF even stronger. For my last BAC, I really wanted to use Nefarious Broadcast (NB) – more on this and why, later. I didn’t know what to run in that last slot though, so I turned to Shadowmeld.

    We chatted for a while, and because of how I wanted to use NB, he suggested a way to protect from it being used against me. After we talked about a couple options, I realized the chance to use a shiny Constantine Antihero and have it fill that vulnerability gap was too good to pass up.

    I had to do some recruiting to even be able to go. I really needed to make it a day trip to make it happen, and I wasn’t interested in making the entire drive solo. So I posted in a couple local DM Facebook groups checking to see if anyone wanted to carpool. We ended up needing 2 cars between the locals from Detroit and myself. All the details came in over the week leading up to the event, and we’re all set.

    Once I got to Chicagoland Games Dice Dojo, I made another change. I went with Rare Agent Carter. Venom is AWESOME, but he ramps SK hard for your opponent. As great as Tsarina is, I felt like Agent Carter could slow my opponent more if I got Venom in place. So here we go, 4 cards I’ve never played before (NB, Pym, Agent Carter, and Kal-L). To be fair, Pym is just mask energy Hulk Out with guaranteed plus 1A that my opponent can’t buy. Kal-L is Ant-Man for any character. Agent Carter’s SK fielding tax should be simple enough to play with…It’s Nefarious Broadcast that deserves some discussion.

    First, my team list:

    NB cancels any active global and prevents globals from being played for the rest of the turn. Why are Elf Thief and Oracle so effective? They are disruptive. And energy efficient. And provide masks for economy. But mostly they are disruptive. Well so is Nefarious Broadcast. It prevents the use of the globals I’m bringing, but mostly only after I get the chance to use them and they’re no longer active. PXG isn’t active (those dice are moved, and it’s resolved). Resurrection is the same. Kal-L and Taunt are active though. Unless Kal-L triggers a KO with Venom out, because then the character is KO’d and the global is no longer active. So if I rolled NB on an action face, I could simply do all the things I wanted to do first, then play NB, then pass priority. Those 3 masks you saved to ramp with? Wasted. Distrupted ramp. And theoretically, even more disrupted than Thief and Oracle, because instead of using PXG 1x if I stole an energy and had Oracle active, they don’t get to use it at all.

    I very much wanted to send FWX out on top. I also did not think this team would have quite what it would take after the cut. I expected people to figure out they should buy NB and use it against me. I did not expect that to happen in Swiss, as it did thanks to one of my road trip buddies, Rob, and WKO Owensboro Champ, Craig H. Here we go:

    Round 1:

    I played Breanne from Indy. She was running a bard team without Oracle, but with Anger Issues and the pumping Gnome Ranger. Those characters get big very fast. My MVP? Mr. Fantastic’s Global. I taunted myself down to 10 life before I even knew what was happening, but because I used NB on turn 3, Breanne’s ramp was toast, and that bought me time to taunt her characters through one at a time before getting Wolverine to strike big for the win. I taunted everything she put in the field, except maybe a SK. There was simply no way for her to respond without Distraction/Blink Transmutation or Oracle.


    Round 2:

    I played Rob from Detroit. Rob and I rode together from Toledo, and I knew I would face a bard control team. I did not know that team would include Human Paladin. No taunt, no Kal-L. Oh, and Rob bought NB too. Also, FWX only rolled fists the whole game. MVP: Agent Carter. Venom kept the field clear until a level 1 DWiz blanked him (I HATE that this interaction breaks the rule that as soon as a character has 0D they’re KO’d. I HATE it.). I actually bought PX Trainer in this game. And Mr Fantastic. I needed everything, including 2 Pym Particles on Venom to get enough Overcrush damage for the win. Rob popped a cold gun on Trainer which left my unblocked SK doing less damage, and blocked level one Agent Carter, so there was no chance Pym would help her do damage unless I could flip her with Kal-L and I simply didn’t have the energy. If Rob had rolled Bard, this game likely has a different ending…


    Round 3:

    I played Mike from Detroit. Mike ran a Mask Ring team with Storm African Priestess. I think he had 3 of them cycling. Holy Moses that’s a frustrating effect when there’s that many cycling. Fortunately, NB was disruptive, on something like the 4th time Venom was targeted, he stayed a character, and FWX came around the next turn. The pressure was on, and while Venom routinely rerolled to energy and was sent to the used pile, Mike never hit his lantern ring. I don’t know that I had an MVP. Venom would probably be it, but losing him to the used pile so frequently was a significant challenge. Jars, Thieves, Storms a plenty and Venom was in the used pile. If the ring had rolled, even once, for Mike, we very likely see a different outcome of this match.


    Round 4:

    I played Craig R. from STL. This was a strong Bard control team without PXG. The match ended with a tie, and I was certain the only way to beat this team was to hammer hard and early with FWX. Constantine needed to be taunted whenever possible. Even over Oracle if I had to make the choice. Getting to Venom is tough versus this team. Let alone when the pilot buys NB.


    Round 5:

    I played Craig H. from STL. Craig asked me how I wanted to choose who went first, and I told him I like to roll all my dice and count the energy. He said, “Well, that’s not happening, Action or Energy?” This match was loads of fun. Craig’s first buy was NB. I was shocked. He put on a clinic of how to assess what’s across the table and proceed to stomp it. He bought his Mr. F. early to soak up FWX damage. He bought his Trainer to make sure that if he was paying to field SK, they would be worth it as long as Venom was not around. I have no MVP, but I think Craig’s was NB. It can’t be good for me to bring my opponent their MVP.


    Seeded 4th in the top 8, I was pleased with my performance for the day. I was excited about what might happen moving forward. I also knew that Mike, Craig, Craig, and Rob all made the cut, too. I was going to probably have a rematch (or two if I could get a win). So this showing thus far felt like an accomplishment. My disruption tech did enough to keep me in position to make the cut and surprise some teams. However, coming off a game where Craig H dominated me with my own tech felt pretty miserable, to be honest. Then I sat down across from Matt…

    Top 8

    Matt from STL. Matt was rocking Rarecrow, and the first Blue-Eyes White Dragon global (BEWD) I’d seen for the day. Also Crush Card Virus (CCV). Also, he bought NB. Also he was running Constantine – ANTIHERO. My plan was potentially shot. I was fighting an uphill battle so hard. This match was such a head-y chess match. I immediately recognized Venom was a significant liability if I went for him early, because Rarecrow would just steal him and crush my field. I couldn’t possibly survive against Matt’s Bard-buffed team if I gave him access to my non-targeted field clear. Constantine and Agent Carter, and a wall of SK was the best way to start, it seemed. Taunting Rarecrow seemed like a good idea. Taunting Bard seemed like a scary proposition, especially when Crush Card Virus is net -2 characters – use CCV to KO Rarecrow and you get a targeted KO and a targeted control. That said, if I could taunt Rarecrow and Bard on alternating turns and keep them out of sync, I might stand a chance.

    Constantine was a rockstar and at one point was 3 of 4 on reroll action to energy face attempts. That bought me enough time to thin my bag of SK. But so did Matt. Now BEWD isn’t really a discount because SK cost to field, Matt had Oracle out, and he was walling to get a Bard in the field and call it a day (he missed Bard on reroll at least 2x). So I bought Venom. I thought if I could field him, clear the field, and BEWD him, I could prevent Matt from stealing him. Here’s the thing, the pressure was mounting. This game was going long. No mistakes were allowable. Any type of mistake could mean the game as well as moving on. I fielded him, but I rolled no bolts. I cleared Matt’s field of probably 5 characters, and then he returned the favor by stealing Venom. His sk would not reroll, and I had bought some time.

    I pushed a FWX with overcrush through for some significant damage, but he blocked with Rarecrow and stole venom again to KO a couple SK again. This time, it was Rarecrow that wouldn’t roll for him, and I think Bard was in the bag, but he missed the die on the draw. With loads of energy in reserve, he was able to re-field Oracle and set up enough Ramp to guarantee Bard and Rarecrow the next turn, but when my turn came, I paid to Kal-L her, and was wide enough with Venom, FWX, Agent Carter, SK and Constantine to push into his mostly open field for lethal. 46 minutes for game one. I decided right then I would play as fast as possible for game 2. It was the least I could do for Matt.

    I also decided that I had a huge advantage in the early game going second vs this team. I had a rush plan. T1 buy Wolverine. T2 PXG, buy Pym, Res. That sets up rolling 7, with both FWX and Pym vs a team without Distraction. There just isn’t an answer to that in the short after time game 3, and it set me up to potentially win T5 or T6 depending on draws. So that is what I did. I actually got to BEWD for FWX T1, giving me an extra die T2. Matt had fielded something, but instead of ramping hard, I taunted it. That BEWD T1 meant I didn't have to pxg before res to guarantee both FWX and Pym. I possibly taunted two SK, I can’t recall. But it set me up great for T3 because Wolverine hammered hard for maybe 13 damage (I am pretty sure he was level 3 with +1 from Pym). Then Matt over ramped and lost 3 life from bag burn. Matt just could not come back and win game 2 (turns ended without the game finishing). What a huge sigh of relief. I thought for sure I would lose when I saw what I was facing. I got lucky with the rotation of Rarecrows and Bard, and avoided giving Venom away too early. I also thought that the FWX rush may be the way to go the rest of the way in my next match or, hopefully, matches.


    Top 4

    Rematch with WKO champion Craig H. He knows NB. My plan was to rush. Rush rush rush. Craig let me do my favorite way to determine who goes first! So I rolled all 33 of my dice. He rolled all 34 of his (I had 19 dice on my character cards). He rolled 32 energy and I rolled 34. It was silly, and kept the whole match light-hearted, despite another chess match. I then chose to go second! I ran a rush attempt but between my ramp being disrupted when he used my NB against me and missing FWX the second time around, despite my initial strike, I couldn’t get set up to hit again. He bought Mr Fantastic, I bought PX Trainer, I ended up getting Venom, and finally got a wide enough field to push for lethal after flipping some of his characters with Kal-L to let Venom KO them.

    Don’t let this write up fool you, this was probably just as much of a chess match as the Top 8 match. But I didn’t have as much to read on the fly, I just had to be more patient because after my first strike, my bag was a mess. I had to be patient, not over buy, there was at least one turn when I rolled, denied my reroll option, passed priority and the turn to try to ramp or taunt with all my energy. I used fewer pieces, and eventually got Agent Carter to try to tax Craig’s crazy SK rolling ability (for more about this, see the Owensboro WKO report). I found a way to win game 1 with another FWX strike over Mr F. and chip out the last 6 or so damage. Game 2 is a total blur, but I held lots of bards at bay with Venom. I missed 4 energy T1 going second because I rerolled a SK to SK. So I know I went NB early. That let me mess with Craig’s ramp, and I got Venom in time to not just die to stacking Bards. I know Craig bought at least 3, but it’s possible he bought the 4th, too. I’m not kidding. Constantine rerolled his NB to energy and I was able to taunt Oracle at one point. Ramp was much easier after that. If he had a way to get rid of Venom late in the game, he would have won hands down. And I’m sure he would have taunted him, but I was playing NB this game and disrupted loads of ramp and kept taunt from being used against me. We got to turns, and I was able to keep Venom in the field and not lose.

    I found out later Craig had playtested a lot with NB. It was then that these games made sense. He knew how to use that tech, so he went for it first to disrupt me as much as possible. All the more reason to be careful to bring mini-game type pieces as BACs.


    Top 2

    A rematch from round 4 of Swiss – Craig R from STL. Wolverine has a chance to go out on top!! I was so grateful for the day. I came from Ohio, and played people from Indiana, Michigan, and Missouri, but no one from Illinois. The event drew players from all over, and the day was a pretty decent success for the store, I thought – I had heard initial expectations of maybe 10 or so participants, but we more than doubled that. The games were great; meeting so many new people was a real pleasure. Spending time with friends who I would not have met without this game is always appreciated. But when we sat down for the finals, I was ready to try to wreck face, and I thoroughly believed there was no way to do so but to rush FWX and taunt everything I could.

    Game 1 went very much that way. A couple strikes from FWX meant that was the game. Venom was huge, because he kept the pressure on – and because he can pump both FWX and Agent Carter (and himself), fabricating anything that is able to survive Venom is a risky proposition. It makes getting to 20 much easier. Craig bought NB which let him disrupt me even after I taunted Oracle. I avoided Constantine in this game because I didn’t believe he helped me be faster and Craig never threatened me with Imprisoned.

    Game 2 I think I got NB in rotation and was able to mess with ramp, but Craig got an imprisoned and forced my hand in clearing my field in an attack to prevent losing Venom or Constantine. One of the next turns, Craig failed to pass priority before attacking. That caused me to call, “Judge!” – at which point, the room erupted in laughter. Craig pulled his characters back immediately and said, “Oh, oh, I pass priority!” There was nothing I could do, it was lethal, and we all knew it. But I get the option to act, and I really don’t think there’s anything wrong with ensuring that option is provided, even if there’s literally no way I can stop what’s about to happen.

    Game 3. Rush. I chose to go second again. This game might have been the biggest chess match. I taunted lots of stuff, I got down to just about 9 life with Craig ahead slightly. Then later while waiting for Venom to come around, I taunted a Bard and took as much as I could to go to 1 life. Eventually, I had complete control of the board and I just needed to clear his to swing on the next turn. I taunted both of his Constantines (1 level 2, and one level 3) with Venom in the field. I blocked the level 3 with a level one Agent Carter. Level 2 (currently a 0/1 character with Venom’s debuff) went to the used pile doing no damage and Carter ko’d the 1/1 Constantine, leaving Craig’s field wide open. I pulled my dice, rolled them, and asked if he would concede as I was showing more than lethal.

    7-2-1 games (6-1-1 matches)

    There are so many reasons this was one of my favorite days of playing Dice Masters. The results, sure. Playing off meta, absolutely. But the people are probably number one. While the Detroit and surrounding area player base is definitely a Shark Tank, I can tell you without a doubt, having to run through 3 of them after the top cut, the players in STL have their own Rough Stock Rodeo; and running that gauntlet is no joke. For me to do it took significant missed rolls on the other side of the board. All but one came with a Nationals qualification in hand, and the Craig that didn’t have one (I haven’t mentioned this, the 3rd, Craig yet) made the cut and earned his qual. If you’re playing in that meta, I wish you the best of luck in your competitive events. If you’re new, stick with it and you’ll learn from talented pilots and you should be up to speed just in time for rotation!

    In the car on the way to the event, I told Rob and Jr. I was taking FWX as my win condition. I even said, “We could talk all about the cards I’m not bringing – Hellblazer, Thief, Oracle, Bard, Imprisoned, TFL, DWiz, Beholder, Lantern Ring… and not be halfway done by the time we get to the store.” I am thrilled to have been able to sneak through with this, but I think it illustrates a point not emphasized often enough. We talk about luck, but frankly, this is easily the luckiest day of Dice Masters I’ve ever had, and that includes going first in all my top cut games at last year’s US Nationals. That’s just a 1/8 chance. Here I needed my opponent to miss Bard 2 turns in a row while getting Constantine to reroll CCV to energy. That was just the top 8 game.

    I’m pumped for rotation. I am super excited for Origins. I think the timing of the rotation, World’s qualifications, Nationals, and World’s is fantastic. But I am biased. These things are good for me. I can use them to help recruit players in my small local playgroup. The biggest tournaments are only a couple hours away. And while I would love for all my cards to always be legal, I would rather see this game succeed for the next 20+ years, and I think this sets the game up for lasting success. I might be wrong, I know that. I just hope I’m not.

    Though his best versions will be Golden-only soon:

    Comments 9 Comments
    1. mobilracing's Avatar
      mobilracing -
      It was great meeting you and I thoroughly enjoyed our finals match! Can't wait to meet back up at Origins!
    1. Jthomash2's Avatar
      Jthomash2 -
      Quote Originally Posted by mobilracing View Post
      It was great meeting you and I thoroughly enjoyed our finals match! Can't wait to meet back up at Origins!
      For sure; and likewise, it was a pleasure to meet and play against a skilled pilot like yourself.
    1. cnhiggins's Avatar
      cnhiggins -
      Reading this just makes me want to learn this game so much more! I am a couple months in and already want to drive to these more competitive tourneys. I know I need so much more practice though!
    1. Jthomash2's Avatar
      Jthomash2 -
      Quote Originally Posted by cnhiggins View Post
      Reading this just makes me want to learn this game so much more! I am a couple months in and already want to drive to these more competitive tourneys. I know I need so much more practice though!
      If you can get a local scene started, I'll make the drive to Lima at least once. I'm an ONU alum and would love to get Fat Jack's, Kewpie, or Padrone's again soon. Obviously if you can get to @IsaacBV 's store, that's cool too. In the meanwhile, send a pm and we can connect for Hangouts games.
    1. jacquesblondes's Avatar
      jacquesblondes -
      Awesome writeup, as ever. Good work!
    1. Lordfajubi's Avatar
      Lordfajubi -
      Quote Originally Posted by cnhiggins View Post
      Reading this just makes me want to learn this game so much more! I am a couple months in and already want to drive to these more competitive tourneys. I know I need so much more practice though!
      You are from Lima? Thought the last time I was there Alter Ego was doing game nights I know the owner loves Dice Masters.
    1. cnhiggins's Avatar
      cnhiggins -
      They are just once a month. I went to the last one and everyone was so helpful! We had to build teams where no two cards could be from the same set and I couldn't do that as new player. Was lent cards to build my team.
    1. cnhiggins's Avatar
      cnhiggins -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jthomash2 View Post
      If you can get a local scene started, I'll make the drive to Lima at least once. I'm an ONU alum and would love to get Fat Jack's, Kewpie, or Padrone's again soon. Obviously if you can get to @IsaacBV 's store, that's cool too. In the meanwhile, send a pm and we can connect for Hangouts games.
      There are monthly tourneys at my local comic book store. Just want something more regular. Yes, Kewpie is so worth the drive. Once I am able to do hangout games I will let you know.
    1. Lordfajubi's Avatar
      Lordfajubi -
      Quote Originally Posted by cnhiggins View Post
      There are monthly tourneys at my local comic book store. Just want something more regular. Yes, Kewpie is so worth the drive. Once I am able to do hangout games I will let you know.
      Kewpie really is, you see how crap wendy's is with a kewpie in your hand 😉