• So I did a thing at Worlds...

    Dice Masters World Championships 2017
    Origins Game Fair
    Columbus, OH
    78 Qualified, 49 Actual Players
    5? Countries Represented
    4 Rounds Swiss, cut to Top 32

    My Team

    TL;DR: I am now the highest-placing female player (placed top 4) in the World for Dice Masters. The Impostor Syndrome is real.



    After a horrid showing in Nats (30th out of 48 players at the end of swiss, ugh), I decided to play what I knew. I was the designated Mask Ring pilot for STL's testing the month running up to Origins, and it'd gotten to the point where I was more familiar with Mask Ring than any of the fancy things we came up with (like the Fist Ring team that Ben Caplan and Craig Richards did well with, or Jared Wood's Darkseid Bolt Ring team, which you may have heard about. He only clobbered @theconductr over the head with it ).

    I sat down across from Jared Quist, who made top 8 in Nats the day before. Off to a nervous start...

    [top]Round 1 Swiss - Jared Quist - Team List
    I went first.


    Jared's team was focused around a cool combo that they'd talked about on Double Burst - you run Doomsday with Trusted Friend and you can clear your opponent's field if you have enough masks. Additionally, he ran Kryptonite as blocker mitigation. I quickly identified that the only non-targed removal he had (that would affect me, as Lockjaw's 2 damage isn't enough) was Batman: Always Prepared. I went Multiple Man into Raven (MM serves as great opening energy so you can more consistently get a T3 Raven, then you start buying MM up) and never looked back.

    1-0

    [top]Round 2 Swiss - Michael Le - Team List
    I went first.


    Michael Le's team was basically set up to completely dismantle Lantern Ring teams - it was a fantastic meta read. Dwiz is sort of the Achilles tendon for the current Multiple Man Mask Ring builds. If there's nothing on the board I'm afraid of, rushing MM and Ring is one of the fastest win conditions in Modern (at least, that's the thought in STL). But simply threatening to buy Dwiz forces me to grab Raven along the way, which slows things down considerably. Because of that, Michael was able to get an early hit in with Batman, putting me at 15 life before I could stabilize. He moved into Iron Fist (-1 to each instance of my Ring damage), and Clay Golem (-2 to the total), and kept rolling masks like Junior for Long Live the Resistance. LLTR is normally not too much of a concern for Mask Ring - typically I field more mask characters than you can roll masks - but apparently that's not the case against Michael Le. I gradually burned him down to 11, then 6, then could only get him to 2 life at the end of turns. I think if you moved his tech to a faster win condition, he'd strike gold.

    1-0-1

    [top]Round 3 Swiss - Jin Kim - Team List
    I went first.


    Jin ran a variant of the Fist Ring team that several STL players ran the day before in Nats (I'm not sure if he came up with this indepedently or not). The basic idea is that you chalkboard a Guy T1, field him T2, and roll or global your way into a ton of sidekicks. You can swing for between 8-12 damage pretty consistently on T2 against an unknowning opponent - I wish we'd kept the cat in the bag instead of running this as our qualifier team. You then immediately pivot to Lantern Ring, and now when your Guy Gardners attack, they do Lantern Ring damage, get a massive buff, and you can spend the fists on Too Big To Fly or Luke Cage depending on blockers. It's a scary-fast team if you don't clamp down on it immediately. I made a point of maintaining blockers and masks to deal with the aggression and make Jin use Luke Cage over TBTF so we'd remain close to parity. He'd whittled me down to 11 life, putting himself at 15, when I finally was able to get my Lantern Ring fielded and swing for game.

    2-0-1

    [top]Round 4 Swiss - Chris Halvorsen - Team List


    Chris also ran Mask Ring - the thing I'd had the most trouble figuring out was the mirror match. Frankly, he was better prepared for it, and had a lot of cards I wasn't excited to see on the other side - Dwiz and Oracle: Master Investigator in particular. I was quickly beginning to realize that Master Investigator was still the better Oracle call in this meta given the prevalence of chalkboard and sidekick fixers. We managed to play to a draw, and both of us made the top 32 cut.

    2-0-2.


    [top]Round 5 Single Elimination - Top 32 - Diane Mohsen - Team List
    I went second both games.


    Having learned from my match with Chris, I came into this matchup with a plan. Babs could be a problem, but since she was only running 4 MM dice, I was betting I knew how to play the team faster than she did. The first game I rushed MM. When she bought OP Crow, I started fielding the level 1 and 2 MMs that were coming out of the bag, then I parallaxed them up to level 3. It took some careful counting (okay, if this guy rolls down to 1 mask, how much does that hurt?) but the strategy worked out. The second game, she moved to buy Babs -- I tried to keep a level 3 MM plus at least one other MM in the field (so it would take two bolts to kill my swarm) while I moved for Raven. Parallax was definitely the MVP in this game.

    4-0-2

    [top]Round 6 Single Elimination - Top 16 - Craig Huebner - Team List
    I went first and then second.


    I wasn't looking forward to this matchup for a number of reasons. Craig is a very strong player from STL - he and Jared Wood are the guys that taught me how to play. Craig was running Jared's team from Nationals the day before, but had dropped Clay Golem for Flesh Golem out of personal preference. Our testing had Jared's team beating my mask ring team almost every time - it was bad enough that I almost ran Jared's team the day before, and strongly considered it for this tournament as well. Craig played the team beautifully, grabbing Darkseid straight away and Lantern Ring right after. It was all I could do to keep up with his economy. In the first game, he got me down to 9 life, before I could deal 16 damage to him (and then 4 the turn after). I made a note to grab Ronin sooner in the game - I was taken aback by just how quickly he got rolling and needed to mitigate the damage. Craig apparently also learned a thing or two, hitting me for 9 damage through my Ronin. I hit him for 18 next, and then Craig found 8 more damage. With the life totals at my 3 to his 2, I was super nervous, but managed to roll plenty of masks. I might or might not have cried after the match just to release the stress and emotion.

    As a side note, Craig is just an awesome opponent to play with. He's quick and funny and insightful, and always a perfect gentleman. He genuinely loves this game.

    6-0-2

    [top]Round 7 Single Elimination - Top 8 - JT "Homash" Horsfall - Team List
    I went first twice and then second.


    (match was on stream if you want to watch it)

    Man, talk about another nerve-wracking matchup - JT was playing on a jpeg'd out bacon American flag mat to remind his opponents that he was last year's national champion. I have a lot of respect for JT - it was his mentioning of playing chess when he was younger that got me playing it a bit casually in my free time. The tactics exercises really help you start thinking a turn or two ahead.

    The first game, JT trolled me hard. He's mentioned before you never resurrect (villainous pact here) on T1. Never. And then he uses VP and chalkboards a guy. I didn't get it at all, until I realized he would get 7 energy a little more than half the time on T2. He'd be able to chalkboard a Darkseid fairly consistently. He hit every following roll and before I knew it he had lethal on the board. We quickly reset - in the second game, some of the rolls didn't quite go his way. I grabbed an OP Crow to keep things from attacking me; he countered with a Grodd purchase to give everything +1. I managed to get him to 8 health before time was called and we entered turns. I think he realized there was a good chance I'd find lethal next turn, so he swung in for something like 75 damage and let me figure it out. After the longest turn in the history of Dice Masters (seriously, I was told I needed to pick up the pace), I'd finally figured everything out. Or so I thought. Somehow in the mess I'd convinced myself I had 6 masks instead of 5 for Blink-T. Despite that flub, I only took 10 damage out of the 75 potential. I loaded up my dice, threw them into the tower, and hit enough masks for lethal. Whew.

    At this point, we're past time and 1-1. We move into the tie breaker game - we each get 3 turns; at the end of the turns, highest life wins. First turn rules apply (3 dice instead of 4), and we were told we needed to randomize who went first. I won the roll and thought hard - JT could play a simple Guy rush (thankfully he was missing some of the pieces to hit big on T2). I had nothing of the sort on my team. But I'd played Guy-Miri and was pretty familiar with the strategy. I also knew exactly how to stop it - blockers and masks for Blink-T. If I was spending all my energy stopping the rush, though, I'd deal no damage of my own and eventually JT would win in sudden death. I needed to sneak 1 damage through using sidekicks. Then it hit me - in STL, we used to use Blink-T to grab 1-2 more damage playing as Ultraman by attacking before we played Kryptonite. I could buy Blink-T and save a mask on T1 if I went second. Going second would also give me the last turn of the game - all I had to do was have a sidekick and hit Blink-T on turn 3 and I'd win. Thank goodness the rolls worked out - I heard reports after the game that no one could figure out what I was doing. I ended up with just enough sidekicks and masks to control the Guy rush, then worked up to 3 sidekicks and Blink-T on my T3. JT had a lonely mask to stop one of the sidekicks. I'd just made Top 4!

    8-1-2

    [top]Round 8 Single Elimination - Top 4 - Victor Maya - Team List
    I went first twice and then second.


    Victor was running Brian Hacker's team from Top 4 at Nats yesterday. Brian had made this super mean shield ring team that was just awful to play against. I remember writing off that Namorita when CW came out; I preferred the common in draft. Holy cow was I wrong. When you pair Aquatic Beauty with Kal-L, Splinter's Teachings, a force block (Giant Spider), and Lantern Ring? Man, it's bad decisions all the way down for the opponent.

    The first game, I incorrectly thought I'd be the beatdown. Who makes a shield team that's aggressive? Apparently Brian Hacker does, and Victor Maya plays it like shields are supposed to be fast. This game was over before it began because of that incorrect read.

    The second game, having learned my lesson, I slowed down and picked up my control pieces - opening with Raven to stop the targeting nonsense, following up with Ronin and OP Crow. Crow really just locks this team down; all of the characters would have to be stat-flipped in order to attack, which would use up all the shields and reduce the Lantern Ring damage. Victor took some deservedly long turns here trying to figure out what on earth he could do, before I rolled for a one-turn kill.

    The third game, Victor went first and rushed Namorita. Who does that? When did that become a thing? Nonsense, I tell you. He got me down to 13 life via two Namorita swings before I could stabilize. I moved into Crow, Raven, and Multiple Man, just like before, when time was called. I look into my bag, count my dice, and realize that if I buy Lantern ring now, swarm on my second turn and get ring in the field, I could most likely do plenty of damage on my last turn (Victor would get the final turn, though). I start moving down that avenue, and then proceed to draw 4 sidekicks on the turn I needed to swarm. Well, there goes that. I start looking around and get an inkling of a combat trick I could try if I take no more damage. So I save two masks and two question marks to stop any more shenanigans (i.e. I moved for no purchases). At the end of Victor's next turn, he tells me, "You have already lost, because you played too defensively." I draw my dice, end up with plenty of shields and masks (but no Lantern Ring, alas), pass priority, and swing with the field. I made a point of playing it up as the "why not" maneuver, and Victor accepted the gambit, blocking my two MM dice. I Kal-L'd Crow and Raven and Clayface'd my sidekick for a spare mask for next turn, hitting Victor for 9 damage. Victor is surprised, but stays steady as he draws and rolls a Giant Spider and a sidekick face I wasn't counting on. I could have handled one of them, but not both. He manages to deal 3 more damage, putting him ahead on life. Congrats to Victor for eventually winning Worlds!

    In hindsight, my combat trick was slightly suboptimal - I could have flipped his level 3 Namorita and swapped the 6 attack to Raven, still dealing 9 damage but also keeping a Multiple Man alive as a blocker. Oh well, there's always next year.

    9-2-2 final record



    I can't believe I made Top 4. I'm still kind of reeling. Huge thanks to WizKids and their workers this year - the events on the whole ran much smoother than I was expecting. Everyone was great and easy to work with, and the Fan Appreciation Event was so inspiring.

    As a side note, I've seen a lot of people complaining about this meta that... weren't at the event. Let me sum it up: the meta is in fantastic shape right now. There might be a lot of lantern ring right now, but the support for LOBI is way more varied than the support for Bard ever was. I played against more than one of each energy type behind Ring; some teams even had two energy types behind Ring. Top 2 at Nats had a 6 cost and a 7 cost on the team, that you actually planned to buy! Michael Le showed how to dismantle an opposing ring team; Jared Q ran a super johnny combo to Top 8. I still can't believe just how mean Brian Hacker's shield ring team is.

    If you're still not convinced - remember that Wonder Woman comes out next month with an ability that stops Lantern Ring dead in its tracks, and the Maximum Carnage team pack comes out later this summer, featuring "Prismatic Spray on legs." Raven and Ring are in for a hard summer.
    Comments 18 Comments
    1. JustK's Avatar
      JustK -
      What card is supposed to be Prismatic Spray on legs. And how is that a good thing? Whole point of Bard being so hard to stop was Prismatic Spray being able to stop all of the counters.
    1. agentj's Avatar
      agentj -
      Prismatic spray on legs? I need that. Is it spoiled if so link please?.

      Great write up. Very informative. Very inspiring as well. After the wedding I'll have to dive back in to competitive matches.
    1. pnkfrankenstein's Avatar
      pnkfrankenstein -
      As far as I can tell the only Maxi Carn card that fits that criteria might be Shriek 4 cost Bolt who's text reads something along the lines of : "When fielded, ignore...character cards" I think that's all that's visible to my eyes. So it does mass card blanking possibly. But not sure how that would help on opponents turn so maybe that's not it.

      What is LOBI?
    1. Scum's Avatar
      Scum -
      Quote Originally Posted by pnkfrankenstein View Post
      What is LOBI?
      Mutiple Lobos

      Actually it's Limited Only By Imagination, it's ring.
    1. memmek2k's Avatar
      memmek2k -
      Quote Originally Posted by JustK View Post
      What card is supposed to be Prismatic Spray on legs. And how is that a good thing? Whole point of Bard being so hard to stop was Prismatic Spray being able to stop all of the counters.
      Shriek, as spoiled here. There are no "bards" in Modern right now, though, and Bard with Spray wasn't big post-2016 worlds (see my WKO team, @Dave 's variant, and @whisperni 's team). Plus, characters are a lot easier to stop than actions in this game (e.g. Dwiz or the new Wonder Woman as a counter to Shriek).

      Quote Originally Posted by pnkfrankenstein View Post
      As far as I can tell the only Maxi Carn card that fits that criteria might be Shriek 4 cost Bolt who's text reads something along the lines of : "When fielded, ignore...character cards" I think that's all that's visible to my eyes. So it does mass card blanking possibly. But not sure how that would help on opponents turn so maybe that's not it.

      What is LOBI?
      Shriek lets every other team get around Rare Raven. Usually you want to do that on your turn, not theirs.

      LOBI is "Limited Only By Imagination" - the Rare Lantern Ring card that everyone plays.
    1. gkpon66's Avatar
      gkpon66 -
      Great article! Always like reading how people deal with teams.
    1. Yort's Avatar
      Yort -
      This whole post is like a hot fire-poker thrust into the gut of those of us who couldn't be there and join the experience... but in the best most awesome way possible.
    1. Zergo's Avatar
      Zergo -
      Great write-up! I'm so glad that Victor took my team to the top, even if I couldn't get there. I fear the whole thing will fall apart when the new SM/WW starter comes out. The whole "can't use your own globals" thing is going to hurt.
    1. IsaacBV's Avatar
      IsaacBV -
      Very nice write-up!
    1. Bankholdup's Avatar
      Bankholdup -
      I didn't come up with that on own. I faced Craig in the first of game of my first qualifier and that was where I saw it in action. Although, playing Craig was not what convinced me to switch, since our match was very close and ring wasn't a huge factor, if at all. It was actually a match against Keith from Rochester that necessitated the change. My secondary win con was over crush using Pym Particles. Keith was running the sidekick fixing Cyborg and in that match, once he bought his Cyborgs, I was screwed. Removing PP and substituting LR was a no brainer at that point.

      I made a considerable amount of misplays against you. Chief among those was never using chalkboard global and then fabricating my two Guy Gardners when you had Ronin out. I chalk(board lol) that up to the fact that Clay Golem was an addition I made the morning of Worlds.

      Live and learn.

      And you definitely are in the top one percentile of Dice Masters players who take long turns haha.
    1. memmek2k's Avatar
      memmek2k -
      Quote Originally Posted by Bankholdup View Post
      I didn't come up with that on own. I faced Craig in the first of game of my first qualifier and that was where I saw it in action. Although, playing Craig was not what convinced me to switch, since our match was very close and ring wasn't a huge factor, if at all. It was actually a match against Keith from Rochester that necessitated the change. My secondary win con was over crush using Pym Particles. Keith was running the sidekick fixing Cyborg and in that match, once he bought his Cyborgs, I was screwed. Removing PP and substituting LR was a no brainer at that point.

      I made a considerable amount of misplays against you. Chief among those was never using chalkboard global and then fabricating my two Guy Gardners when you had Ronin out. I chalk(board lol) that up to the fact that Clay Golem was an addition I made the morning of Worlds.

      Live and learn.

      And you definitely are in the top one percentile of Dice Masters players who take long turns haha.
      Yeah, the lantern ring pivot was especially useful against players that purchased cyborg and had no other ways to stop Guy.

      A small secret: I still don't really know when to fabricate and when not to. But it did mean that I didn't have to worry about your Guys that turn.

      I'm working on it! @Pocolius gives me trouble all the time for long turns. I try to practice enough so they don't happen too often, but when I get nervous and stumped, I get really afraid I'm missing something.
    1. archivist's Avatar
      archivist -
      Quote Originally Posted by memmek2k View Post
      I try to practice enough so they don't happen too often, but when I get nervous and stumped, I get really afraid I'm missing something.
      In Poker, that's called "a tell"....
    1. memmek2k's Avatar
      memmek2k -
      Quote Originally Posted by archivist View Post
      In Poker, that's called "a tell"....
      Tells in DM are fine as long as I still win :P
    1. cnhiggins's Avatar
      cnhiggins -
      congrats! Great write up too. Being a newer player I have found reading write ups is very beneficial. And I must be a nerd because I also find them enjoyable to read!
    1. memmek2k's Avatar
      memmek2k -
      Quote Originally Posted by cnhiggins View Post
      congrats! Great write up too. Being a newer player I have found reading write ups is very beneficial. And I must be a nerd because I also find them enjoyable to read!
      Thanks! Reading a lot of writeups helped me a lot too.
    1. jacquesblondes's Avatar
      jacquesblondes -
      Awesome write-up, Michaela. Bloody damn good job!
    1. Basementcuts's Avatar
      Basementcuts -
      It speaks volumes about your piloting that I ran an almost identical team in Nats and only went 1-3. Kudos. Well done, especially that play in overtime against JT.
    1. memmek2k's Avatar
      memmek2k -
      Quote Originally Posted by Basementcuts View Post
      It speaks volumes about your piloting that I ran an almost identical team in Nats and only went 1-3. Kudos. Well done, especially that play in overtime against JT.
      Thanks!

      I was so glad that gamble paid off. Would have been quite embarrassing if it hadn't!