• Guest Article - German Nationals

    Editor's note: It is once again with great honor and privilege that we share with you thoughts from across the pond from Tom, 2017 French National Champion and 2017 German National Runner Up. I've come to consider Tom a friend, and very much look forward to seeing and playing him again. Please enjoy his take on the German National Championship - jthomash2

    3rd German Nationals for Dice Masters - Meeting nice people, play a lot and surprisingly become second

    Hi Dice Masters fans,
    after a turbulent and very special German National event, I decided to give you some insights into the 3. German Nationals and the way I experienced them. The event took place in a Boardgame cafť in Bochum: the Tavern of the four winds. I have positive memories of that place. It was the location of the first German Nationals, which was my first Dice Master tournament two years ago. So I was really happy to play there again. But that was not the only special thing about the event. JT from the Attack Zone Podcast had registered as well and I was looking forward to meet him, play against him and talk face to face about the game and the scene in US and Germany.

    Additionally, there were some other things to remark, which made the event quite special. First of all, we had a lot of trouble, to get enough players for the Nationals. Two week before the tournament, we still had only had five players registered. In the last weeks two players, we did not know, registered and at the end Thomas and Dominic, who played in BjŲrns store as well decided to participate. So we would have 9 players for the first qualifier.

    Speaking of a lack of tournament players, my friend Timo told me upfront, that this could be his last tournament. He said that he is going to decide after the tournament if he will stay or leave the game. Having only Gerrit and Timo in my town to play Dice Master I hoped that he would have enough fun to stay.

    Last but not least, this event was somehow special for me, because I had won the French Nationals and I felt a little pressure to perform well in this event as well, especially, because JT joined.

    JT was already there, when we arrived at the location. I welcomed him and we started to chat a bit. He had gave Gerrit and me the comic book promos and I got the Kobold and Human Paladin alternate art from him from the last Draft Weekend. In return I gave him a bunch of German/French cards and a drink.
    We waited for the other players to arrive. Unluckily, the two players, we did not know, didnít show up. With 7 instead of 9 players we had to decide how to proceed/start. So what should we do? Play both qualifiers liked planned? skip them? and just play finals with everyone in? What to do in the finals? Play elimination, or Swiss, do a top cut etc.? At the end we decided that we would like to play as much as possible that day. Therefore, we decided to play both qualifiers and to play Swiss in the finals. Our judge Tim explained, that we would have 45 min best of 3 without additional turns in the first qualifier. It was a bit unusual but I was fine with best of three.

    Iím not sure what comes into your mind if you read, that we had just 7 players, especially if we compare it to US Nationals. But at least I can tell you quantity is not the only thing that matters. All 7 players had a lot of tournament practice:

    Stefan was the champion of last year,
    Gerrit become second in the French Nationals,
    Timo was Top 4 last year,
    Thomas was second in the first German Nationals,
    I won the French nationals and
    JT had won the Canadian Nats as well as the US Nats.

    Before we started JT had a surprise for us. He gave every participant a PDC D6 die. It was a great idea and everyone really liked the gift. We always look a little bit jealous to you guys in US, because you have the Draft weekends, Comic book days, PDC tournaments and a bigger player base. But in the discussion with JT I found out, that the last one is more based on the size of the US than on the player density. JT told us, that a 5 to 6 hour drive to a tournament like we did with the French Nationals is nothing uncommon in US, too.

    In my first qualifier, I ran a mask ring team. Because I expected other ring teams as well, I decided to go for Super Rare Zatanna to protect me against lethal of my opponent and burn his ramp. Additionally I decided to use the OP Scarecrow to hinder the opponent to swing in early. Every card had at least two functions and to make Zatanna effective I decided to give Kobold UC one of his last official missions, before Golden Age.

    I had to play against Timo in my first match. Timo and I had made the last changes of the Mask Ring team variant the day before and we had to played a mirror match. The first match went to Timo, he concentrated on Kobold and Zatanna and swarm killed me before OP Scarecrow was in the field. The second match I went first and could manage to win. The third match we ran out of time and we ended up with a tie.

    Starting into the tournament with a 0-0-1 was not what I expected. Next match was against Gerrit who run his Ultraman-Kryptonite team from the French Nationals. In France I managed to win against his team, with this new team and a tie my self-confidence in this team was not completely there. Additionally, buying Kobolds would not be helpful, because Gerrit would use his Elf Thief to stop any swarm possibilities. Therefore, I had to change my buying strategy and figure out what to do. In this situation, it was obvious that I did not practice enough with the team. I lost one match, managed to win the second and ran again out of time for the third match.

    Having 0-0-2 record I had to play against Dominic in my last game. Dominic ran a Dragon team without Professor X concentrating on Kobold Swarm. As a fan of D&D I really appreciated his team build Ė but wait, whatís that: no PXG? Again a situation I did not practice a lot before: Running a Mask Ring Team without PXG. Why did I push my luck to assume everybody would play PXG Ö The game was the most interesting one in the first qualifier, it was quite tight. The first match went to Dominic, he played Kobold swarm effectively and I released too late that no PXG was available. The second and third game was a race. The question was who would be more effectively with his Kobold swarm. At the end I won, due to the fact, that Dominic did not have any adventures in his deck and I managed to hold at least on Kobold in the field.

    So I ended the first qualifier with a 1-0-2, the 3. place and the qualification for the finals. JT won the qualifier with a Beholder team. Timo became second with the Mask Ring Team. Shall I mention that he had Professor X in his team instead of OP Scarecrow ;-)?

    We decided to play in the second qualifier just best of one, 30 minutes to save some time and end the tournament maybe a little bit earlier. With my experience from my first qualifier, I decided to integrate Multiple Man SR. With modern on horizon, I thought it would be a good idea to get some practice with Multiple Man to see, how good he is. My first game I played against Thomas, who had a Ring Team with Multiple Man as well. It seemed to be, that he knew his team better than me and focused totally on Multiple Man. I was in a defensive mode and decided to go for OP Scarecrow and Ring quite early. I had to learn that that was the wrong strategy. Thomas outrun me with his swarm and I was to slow to build up my own swarm.

    Oh man the 2nd qualifier started even worse than the first one. In the second match I had to play again against Gerrit. He had decided to change his team for the second qualifier. Gerrit played now a classical Mask Ring team. I had learned in the last game to buy multiple man early and that was the difference. I could manage to win with OP Scarecrow to slow him down and my Multiple Men did the rest.

    With a score of 1-1-0 I had to play in my last game again against Dominic. Dominic had as well changed his team and decided to play a nice turtle team Ė again without PXG. This time I was prepared for no PXG ramp Ė thanks to Multiple Man. I could manage to win. I was just faster than he was. He had almost his win condition in place when my ring had enough fuel to attack lethal.

    With a score of 2-1-0 I was in top 4 on position 4. JT won the second qualifier as well. Again I had not the chance to play against him. He had changed his team as well and used an Anti Ring Deck with Wonder Girl Cassie Sandsmark and Ring of Magnetism Action Attraction to secure his Iron Fist and Captain America Super Soldier. The combo was really frustrating for the opponents. Luckily I did not had to play against him J. But I really liked his build. Timo became again second.

    After the second qualifier, we had a break of 40 minutes and I had no clue what to do. Both qualifiers were quite well but still they did not feel good, my confidence in the teams was not 100%. So which team should I play in the finals? Switch again and play the team I played the French Nationals and won them? With this team I felt in Paris by far more comfortable, but was it strong enough today? Should I play the team of the first qualifier, with having problems if someone does not have Professor X in his deck? I expected that Timo would play a ring team as well so the likelihood of another mirror match would be quite high. With 2-1-0 in the second qualifier, the variant with Multiple Man was still in consideration and I still thought as well about that team. But what to do if someone would play the Combo Cassie Sandsmark and Ring of Magnetism? Would I still have a chance with a Ring team?

    With all these thoughts floating through my mind, I decided to need a calm place to think about the way forward. I went to my car and thought about the situation. Thatís one of the pieces I really like about the game: you try to prepare for the teams of your opponents but you never know what to expect. Oh, man so much strategy in the game together with so much luck. So I tried to guess which situations I would face in the finals.

    I concluded that I need something different than what I have seen in the two qualifiers so far. Something, which would be new that day and would has a good chance against Mask Ring teams. Additionally I would like to play cards, which will be not any longer legal in Modern Age. The typical control team Jinzo, Hulk with Iron First and Super Soldier came into my mind. I liked the idea, to play Jinzo and Hulk one last time. I knew that the team is still strong, even with Ronin in place. From there I started mentally my build. The other limiting factor was, which dice and cards do I have available. Of course I did not travel to the Nationals which my complete collection, but I had 4 boxes, one for each energy type, with dice and cards, which I assessed as playable in unlimited constructed. First thing I did, checked if I had Cassie Sandsmarks and Ring of Magnetism in the boxes. Perfect, the first two slots were set. Next I choose Jinzo R and Hulk Green Goliath, Professor X R and Blue Eyed White Dragon R as the classical control piece. Still two slots open. I decided to go for Constantine Anti Hero because it could handle a Ring of Magnetism of my opponent as well as the rare Lantern Ring. With Jinzo in the field, it would be very annoying for my opponent to Parallax him in again. So one last open slots: I decided to play Captain America Super Soldier to have an additional protection against Ring or the BAC One Against Many, if Ultraman Ė Kryptonite team would show up. I shortly thought I would need Iron First as well, but I concluded that Cap should be enough. Than I thought about the complete team again. I got the feeling that having two 6 cost characters in my win condition was to slow. I decided to throw Hulk out of my team and put Batgirl Babs in. With that last change, my team for the finals was constructed. As basic actions I chose the Mutation and Unstable Canister, to get Jinzo early in and let Babs do what she was planned for.

    4 minutes before the finals began, I had my team ready. I expected it would be different than the other teams. I was quite happy with my decision: a team that was well prepared for Ring teams and that had at some pieces in, which wonít be allowed in Modern Age. The only problem was: I had not played it before. I did not have a lot of experience on buying strategies and I never played Batgirl Babs in a tournament. With all that in mind, I went into the finals.

    The first game I had to play again against Dominic and his Dragon team. I started to buy Babs and make sure, that he could not use swarm with his Kobold. While using every round Unstable Canister to ping Babs, it was quite hard, to field other pieces. He came very close to his final win condition with two different Dragons in the field, but at that time I had managed to have three Babs in the field. In the second game I started with Jinzo and than bought Babs. Some turns later I had won and started for the first time that day with a win into the next round.

    Like in the French National finals I had to play my second game against Gerrit again. He had decided to run his Mask Ring team in the finals. I went straight for Jinzo, polyed/mutateded him in. This gave me enough time to build the Cassie Ring of Magnetism Combo. After that was setup, I bought Super Soldier polyed him in and his Lantern Ring was almost useless. The first game went to me. Gerrit tried a different strategy in the second game and bought as many units as possible. But with my control pieces in the field I managed to win the second game as well.

    With 2-0-0 I went into the final game. My opponent was Stefan, the winner of the German Nationals 2016. He had practiced a lot in the last months due to his planned trip to Origins. He played his Beholder team (see image) in the finals and managed to win against JT in the second round.

    Img: Stefans Beholder Team

    So we had the same pairing like last year, but this time I had a new deck which I just played two times and he had his Beholder team with which he managed to win against the US and Canadian Champion. Additionally, even if we had up to 3 beholder teams in the qualifiers, I did not play against any of them. I know theoretically, how it is being played but did not had any experience. I asked JT what I could do and how Stefan had won against him. He told me that to win against Stefan would be very tough and that Stefan played against him very well. He recommend me to go straight for Cassie and Ring of Magnetism, to redirect anything that targeted and protect me against Unstable Canister Global.

    Having JTís tip in mind, we started to play. I took the first turn and did what JT recommended me. Stefan bought Eye of Agamotto and went for his Beholder. At that time, I had Cassie and Ring of Magnetism in the field. Luckily, Stefan had not played against that combo before. My tactic of the build worked in the first game, I throw off his guard. I managed to buy an Imprisoned die and the next turn a Frontline die. Playing both action in the next turn I won the first match. In the second match Stefan started. Here Stefan showed his strength and skills as a Dice Masters player. He had found out how to stop my Cassie Ring combo. He went straight to his win condition and won against me in very short time. As JT told me before, it was very tough to play against him. The last game I started again. My first roll wasnít that good and I felt almost immediately behind. Being already after the first turn under pressure, I decided instead to rely too much on Cassie, to start my defense with Batgirl Babs. The last game was a thrill. Everything relied on the rolls we had. Stefan rolled every round all his dice and managed to field 4 to 6 Sidekicks each turn. I managed to kill them with Unstable Canister global and Babs. At the end, we run out of time. 5 additional turns later the game ended in a tie. I had more life points than Stefan, but we did not use the life points to define the winner of the match. So with Stefan and me having both a 2-0-1 the WIN System had to decide who the winner of the 3. German Nationals was. Stefan had in his first match a bye and won the second game against JT. JT won both other games. I had two wins and the tie. At the end it turned out that I was ranked second. After the first disappointment and the realization that I was second again like last year, I congratulated Stefan.

    That was the official end of the tournament. But I had not played during my 9 games against JT. So JT and I played one last game. Even if this was a little bit on the rush, because everyone wanted to go home, I loved to play against him and I fully understood why he could win US and Candian Nats. JT is really a well skilled player with an incredible bag control. After the play against him, I concluded that I was not prepared with my team for him and that I was quite lucky not to play against him in the finals otherwise I would not have become second.

    At the end, we wrapped everything up and I drove JT to the train station. During the ride Gerrit, Timo, JT and I discussed a little bit our experience and JT told us, that he enjoyed the day and that even if we are just few player, we are good players. But even more important for me, was that Timo told me, that he had enjoyed the day as well and that there will be a high likelihood, that he will stay with Dice Masters. I cross my fingers.

    I hope you had some fun to read my report. If I have to summarize it the experience I made, I personally would sum it up like this:

    JT is not only an amazing Dice Master player but also a very fine person, please come back next year.
    A Tournament with 7 people is very tight and luck in pairing is almost as big as luck with dice rolls.
    Last minute builds can help to become second.

    I wish JT and Stefan as much luck and fun as possible at Origins and Iím looking forward for the Nationals 2018.

    Tom aka NiandoBG

    Img: Stefan (Winner of the tournament), Tim our Judge and myself (becoming second).

    Img: From left to right: Tim, Timo, JT, Gerrit, Thomas, Dominic, Stefan and Tom
    Comments 2 Comments
    1. GRider10's Avatar
      GRider10 -
      Good job. Glad to see the game being played in other countries. Nice to see some of the old control teams still have a place with bard gone.
    1. Jthomash2's Avatar
      Jthomash2 -
      It was interesting. Beholder won 2 of the 3 events. Control with Webslinger won the third. I have no doubt it would have been the better option in the main event. There was no team I saw prepared to handle that kind of control. With bard gone, teambuilding was really fun and interesting. It felt like you could bring pieces that were less optional and more fun. And there were definitely a few players who could hold their own against the best players I've ever faced. It was a lot of fun.