• Saint Louis PDC Prime Event

    Saint Louis PDC Prime Event
    Sponsored by SUBCULTURE
    at the Schlafly Bottleworks
    7 Players
    4 Rounds of Swiss (because we like playing Dice Masters)

    Article jointly authored by @mobilracing (Craig R.).

    Craig R. and I started playtesting for Prime about a month ago after our Legacy League ended. One of the big ideas was to start figuring out where the Ultraman team I’d taken to the Chicago WKO stood in Prime. We knew that Ultraman was good in Golden Age, but we weren’t sure how he’d perform without Golden Age support.

    Spoiler: Ultraman performs very well in Prime.

    Our Team

    I ran Green Arrow: Robin Hood instead of Eye of Agamotto: Mystical Conduit as a troll against Craig. We’d been talking about not really needing Eye of Agamotto global anymore (it was more important in early playtesting), and the last time I ran Green Arrow against him in playtesting, I managed to save energy for Green Arrow’s synergy ability every turn for about 45 minutes in a row. I never bought it in official play at this event, only in second games to troll Craig as much as possible.

    The only times Ultraman struggled in our playtesting, we concluded it would be fine if it just went a little faster. After a few matchups like that, we ended up with the predominantly global-based team above. It feels like the old combo/rush teams that were around before the Relentless/Swords of Revealing Light ban - you only buy 1-3 things, everything else is a global to make the team go faster. On the one hand, combo teams are my jam. On the other hand, I felt a little dirty playing this team (Craig R. note: I didn’t :trollface: ).

    80-90% of the time you can Chalkboard a Kryptonite on turn 1, then 50-60% of the time you’ll be able to buy Ultraman on turn 2. If you go second and hit a sidekick on T1, you have a strong chance to be able to Chalkboard Ultraman. Abuse the Merlyn fixer global to hit the needed bolts, and use S.T.A.R. Labs to thin the bag and enable a guaranteed bolt next turn via Merlyn. Remember that when you use Superhero Registration Act (SHRA), it’s going to empty your bag and start pulling from Used very quickly, so buy anything ahead of time you’d like to roll. Keep the bag lean until Ultraman comes out. After you’ve purchased all four Kryptonites, pivot to Wasp or Merlyn (situation depending) to get the last few damage through a swing for lethal. Hard-buying Superhero Registration Act or straight up buying another Ultraman is the backup for not hitting Ultraman rolls (so you can cycle back around to rolling him asap). Most of the time, you’ll have enough energy to Chalkboard another Ultraman due to the excess energy from missing your Ultraman roll.

    I think it’s worth pointing out that this team still follows @dave ’s deckbuilding guide, with most of the cards doing double duty. We have a 3-card win condition in Ultraman, Kryptonite, and One Against Many. We protect the win condition through Wasp global (which doubles as targeted removal since Ultraman is so beefy), Motorcycle global, and Kryptonite (which is doing double duty as “soft” removal). We have 5 cards to help us get there (Chalkboard, SHRA, S.T.A.R. Labs, Eye of Agamotto, and Merlyn), because getting there fast also protects our win condition—Ultraman is always the beatdown in Prime. Wasp and Merlyn double as backup win conditions. Sometimes you just need bodies (Wasp), and sometimes you need to sneak an unblockable 3-5 damage through (Merlyn).

    [top]Game 1

    Michaela - Bye

    Craig R vs Matt H
    Matt’s Team

    Matt brought a Bat Family team that he’d worked on during our Legacy League. He had some good control pieces that locked down a slower Ultraman team later in the event, but Craig hit his rolls and won quickly.

    Going second:
    T1 - Chalkboard Kryptonite.
    T2 - Hit all energy won my sidekick dice (4) and double bolt on the Kryptonite. Bought Ultraman.
    T3 - Pulled UM and three sidekicks. Rolled UM on level 2 and purchased a Kryptonite.
    T4 - Pulled and rolled a Kryptonite action face with my opponent having two characters in the field and promptly started the chain that killed him a turn later.

    Both 1-0

    [top]Game 2

    Michaela vs Craig R

    I went first.

    This matchup was the one we weren’t looking forward to at all, and I was considering not even bringing UM so that we wouldn’t see it. I went first, and then missed rolling Ultraman three turns in a row. That allowed Craig to catch up. His combo fired and he got me to 8 life with a level 1 Ultraman and a sidekick in the field, and my field completely empty. Along the way that turn he bought a Merlyn that SHRA’d out, but he missed the roll. If he’d hit the roll, that would have been game. I was able to recover the next turn and hit 3/4 Kryptonites and deal lethal.

    Michaela 2-0
    Craig 1-1 (Craig R. note: SO MUCH SALT)

    [top]Game 3

    Michaela vs Jared W
    Jared’s Team

    Jared went first.

    Jared ran a low-cost control team that created a wide field with an efficiency advantage through Multiple Man. He’d then pivot to Justice and/or Haymaker and swing in with a few overcrushing characters at a time until he had lethal on the board. Unfortunately, this is exactly the type of team that Ultraman is designed to do well against with One Against Many. I was able to buy Ultraman turn 2, only missed him two turns in a row this time, and then was able to deal lethal the next turn.

    Craig vs Ben C.
    Ben’s Team

    Ben had driven down from Iowa City to get in some PDC action as his scene hadn’t been able to playtest any of the builds in any official PDC events that they were brewing up there. He wanted to get some exposure to what STL was crafting up. That being said, he wasn’t ready (his own admission) for the Ultraman onslaught.

    We started off with the same format with me using Chalkboard to move Kryptonite to Prep and then purchasing Ultraman on turn 2. I missed pulling UM on turn 3, but pull him and Kryptonite on turn 4 and started the chain. He had two characters in the field at all times and with Unstable Canister, doing 6 damage per Kryptonite was just too powerful for him to overcome.

    Michaela 3-0
    Craig 2-1

    [top]Game 4

    Michaela vs Ben C

    I went first.

    I was really excited to have Ben trek down here. Ben was running a cool War Machine: Rhodey team. Rhodey was one of my favorite cards during our Prime testing… which is why we teched in Motorcycle global on the Ultraman team. Ben is a strong player (and he’d just played Craig), so after reading the Ultraman team correctly, he pivoted quickly to just buying Unstable Canisters and hoping he could burn me to death before I hit my rolls. Unfortunately for him, things finally worked out for me and I was running through my Kryptonites quite quickly. When the last one was SHRA’d out of my bag and I hit the roll, Ben immediately shook my hand. I’m so glad he was able to come down to STL for our event, it’s always fun to play against him and catch up.

    Craig vs Jared W

    This game mirrored Michaela’s against Jared, but I was able to get my Ultraman out a little faster. Jared tried a few new tricks to see about slowing the onslaught down, but in the end, he didn't have the right tech pieces to slow it down enough.

    Michaela 4-0
    Craig 3-1

    So there you have it. The only time our Ultraman team lost was to itself in a mirror. The team is very roll dependent, but as soon as you have Ultraman purchased (which is semi-reliable T2/T3), you are potentially threatening your opponent with lethal every turn. All the damage usually happens before they ever get a chance to respond in one turn.

    Final Craig R. notes: Not once, in any game, did I field more than three character dice. More often than not, it was an Ultraman and two sidekicks. It’s also important for any Ultraman team to have at least 1 sidekick out in the field for that last Kryptonite. Most of my opponents read the One Against Many piece and left their fields lean either by attacking or KO’ing them during SHRA. Even with that, Ultraman kept hitting for a lot of damage and with fields super lean to cleared, it’s easy to get that last damage for lethal. Just… brutal.

    Other teams at the event:

    Heath A.’s team
    Craig H.
    Comments 12 Comments
    1. mobilracing's Avatar
      mobilracing -
      First! Errrrrrrrrr...... second!
    1. Galdadesh's Avatar
      Galdadesh -
      This was a great event! Anytime you play against a St. Louis player, you're in for a marathon of hard decision making - unless they destroy you before you get that far. As always, the in depth write up really sheds light on your teams and the event.
    1. agentj's Avatar
      agentj -
      Did eye of Agamotto do any work? Also how are you using green arrow? What is targeting your dice?
    1. mobilracing's Avatar
      mobilracing -
      Quote Originally Posted by agentj View Post
      Did eye of Agamotto do any work?
      In the Craig games, no. There weren't any times where I needed to place something into my bag to pull it out next turn. In each game, I was able to either Chalkboard something over to Prep or have it come out during my SHRA actions from the Used Pile. In our testing, it was only necessary to get around some other card mechanics.
    1. agentj's Avatar
      agentj -
      Yeah Ultraman is one of those teams, you just need to make sure he can trigger which is why I used feicity that gives you another reroll.
    1. memmek2k's Avatar
      memmek2k -
      Quote Originally Posted by agentj View Post
      Did eye of Agamotto do any work? Also how are you using green arrow? What is targeting your dice?
      Against an opposing Ultraman team, part of what makes UM so strong is the blanking effect of multiple Kryptonites in a turn. The opponent can target your control pieces with Kryptonite. It's why a single character card by itself can't counter Ultraman. However, if you have, say, any of: Oracle: Internet Interference, Mr. Mxyzptlk: 5th Dimension, Ronin: Between Employers, or your own Ultraman, with Green Arrow in the field and the energy saved to use his ability, it makes it much easier to maintain parity against Ultraman. The problem is, in Prime, you don't have the bountiful energy you had in Golden Age, so it's hard to do much else if you're saving a mask and a shield every turn.

      The ideal redirect is usually to their own Ultraman so that the effect can't fire at all.
    1. agentj's Avatar
      agentj -
      In the mirror match both ultramans will trigger. Guessing that is a difficult mirror match.
    1. cnhiggins's Avatar
      cnhiggins -
      If I am being honest, this is why I don't really want to play at the top level... seems like there are a handful of good teams and if you aren't running one of them, you lose no matter what. I guess that is the nature of the game though. I think this is why I am so much more attracted to draft events. Takes team building and piloting skill.
    1. memmek2k's Avatar
      memmek2k -
      Quote Originally Posted by agentj View Post
      In the mirror match both ultramans will trigger. Guessing that is a difficult mirror match.
      Only if you don't blank the other Ultraman. It's hard to be both fast enough against an opposing UM and try to grab another counter piece like Oracle or Mxyzptlk. Our testing found that usually the winner was just the one that went faster. Oracle/Mxyzptlk might make an okay backup buy though.

      Quote Originally Posted by cnhiggins View Post
      If I am being honest, this is why I don't really want to play at the top level... seems like there are a handful of good teams and if you aren't running one of them, you lose no matter what. I guess that is the nature of the game though. I think this is why I am so much more attracted to draft events. Takes team building and piloting skill.
      What makes top level play fun is that it's like rock-paper-scissors, and you're trying to figure out whether there will be more rock or scissors. You're also looking at how you can disrupt the one you're not innately better against, in case they miss a roll or make a misplay. It's an injustice to think team building and piloting skill aren't also tested at top level events. You might have 1 of the 3 big win conditions, but how you support that win condition is often different for each player. Take my old bard team for instance - I won a WKO with it, @mobilracing placed top 4 and top 2 with it, and @Dave won an event with it. Each player made a couple of tweaks to how the team was built. Also, I guarantee you couldn't just netdeck that team and win an event with it unless you truly understood how it worked.

      Really, all of the impressive Bard builds worked that way - Bard Blitz required a fundamental understanding of bag management, and Golem Flood/Bard Buzzsaw required an understanding of several complex interactions between cards. Those teams would be much harder to learn to play without the Ottawa group's fantastic write-ups.

      To many players (me included) Mask Ring is the hardest team to learn to pilot in a short amount of time. Properly played, Mask Ring can beat any global-dependent Bard or VS team. Improperly played, it'll lose on turn 3 or 4, lol.

      At a high level, Dice Masters becomes like chess - all the necessary information is out there on the table. It's a question of who can put everything together better in their minds. @Jthomash2 is really big on thinking ahead when you play (and being unlimitedly confident lol).

      Also, don't be deceived - high level draft events aren't necessarily any different. For Deadpool, for example, it really comes down to who drafts and builds around Fantomex, Hit Monkey, Black Bolt-Medusa, or Rare Satchel (or who just plays a BAC better).

      TL;DR I hope I don't sound like I'm chastising you or anything. It's just a lot of fun up at the top level and I invite you to join us and give it a whirl before you decide you don't like it.
    1. Jthomash2's Avatar
      Jthomash2 -
      Quote Originally Posted by memmek2k View Post
      Jthomash2 is really big
      Fat joke? I don't do "context." I'll keep that in mind the next time we play each other...
    1. memmek2k's Avatar
      memmek2k -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jthomash2 View Post
      Fat joke? I don't do "context." I'll keep that in mind the next time we play each other...
      You were going to smash my face and mop the floor with my remains anyway, be honest.
    1. cnhiggins's Avatar
      cnhiggins -
      I didn't read your response like that at all @memmek2k ! I appreciate the long response. I like the "chess" analogy. You are also exactly right about trying to compete in upper level play. Still new to the game, but so willing to learn all I can! I like draft because of the building on the fly and searching for your win con amongst the sea of cards. I think what drew me to this game is the deep strategy and it seemed on the surface to this noob that high level play didn't include as much if it. Thanks again for the correction! I witnessed how it was possible to overcome a powerful win con this past weekend thanks to Issac haha! He had unblocakble Namor with Phil Coulson and SHIELD agents. I managed to get some early damage in and chip away before he could swing through with Namor too many times. Same with my first match that day against unblocakble Thanos. (Of course the dice gods were on my side as opponent couldn't seem to land him)