• WKO Report: 11/18/17, Ground Zero Comics and Cards

    So, I decided to try and go to my second WKO in as many weeks. A local shop just 40 minutes away, Ground Zero Comics and Cards in Strongsville, OH (just outside of Cleveland) was hosting a WKO. I’ve never been to this shop, despite how close it is. My wife had to work this day. So, I lined up childcare for our youngest and made the decision to take the older four children to a WKO with me. We loaded up toys, coloring books, crayons, and snacks, and made our way to Ground Zero on a rainy Saturday morning.

    For those of you who have never been to this shop and may get a chance to someday, I highly recommend it. They have an incredible assortment of comics, graphic novels, board games, miniature games, toys, and life size replicas of iconic characters all throughout the store. You could spend hours browsing and there’s likely something that to catch just about anyone’s interest. There’s plenty of food options nearby, and a shopping mall, South Park Mall, just a few minutes around the corner.

    Let me start this off by saying that I know most people don’t bring four children, ages 6-2 to a WKO. So, this review will be a bit different. But if having young kids are what’s keeping you from going to an event, consider taking them. Every child and every shop is different, so you have to make the final call yourself. But it is possible. Here’s my story.

    We got to the store a bit before they opened, and the kids were already clamoring for lunch. So I made up peanut butter sandwiches for everyone while sitting in the van, hiding from the rain. We all finished our lunch before the shop opened. We got inside, and the first 45 minutes or so was a disjointed mix of saying hello to other players and getting my kids set up at a table. The owner was great and even brought some additional coloring books over for them. It was time to draft and the children were happily coloring. So far, so good. We split in to our pods and began drafting X-Men First Class. I was not happy with my packs. No Boom Boom. No Morph. No Mimic. No Scarlet Witch. I did get an uncommon Jubilee. Looking at the dice in the middle of the table, we did not have many of those power dice I mentioned above. Here’s the team I drafted:

    Jubilee, A Real Firecracker: A cheap 2 cost, direct damage. Not as good as Boom Boom, but she is good. Did I take Jubilee with my first overall pick? Does a mall babe eat chili fries? ...Yes. The answer is yes.

    Banshee, The Wail of the Banshee: It's never a bad thing to be able to deal damage to all opposing characters. Plus, I saw a few Danger Room dice in the rainbow. I hoped I might get the uncommon passed to me. (Spoiler: I didn't.)

    Mimic, Borrowed Talent: A solid ramp option. Very glad to see this guy passed to me.

    Pyro, Firestarter: I planned on using Jubilee heavily, and figured I'd see other Jubilees and Boom Booms. With all the bolt characters floating around a character that could do damage based on them could be useful.

    Quicksilver, Terrigeniesis: I might be relying on sheer number of bolt characters. So I'm bringing this guy.

    Juggernaut, Nothing Can Stop Me!: I had success with him in Toledo, maybe lightning can strike twice. I don't have nearly the same pieces around him... but, after all, "he's the Juggernaut, ..."

    Scarlet Witch, Hexes and O's: Her Awaken ability could help me roll Juggernaut, Pyro, or Quicksilver, but I wasn't planning on using any means of spinning her up. I figured I'd run in to enough others using Mutation that I might be able to take advantage of it. Also, she was a bolt character for Pyro.

    Sunfire, Solar Flare: I was pretty sure on my basic actions at this point, and wanted Sunfire to protect my characters if my opponent tried to use them against me.

    My basic actions were Unstable Canister and Cloudkill. The Canister to ping off opposing characters to trigger Jubilee's direct damage and to have a way to remove Boom Boom or Morph in a pinch. Cloudkill can clear the way for Juggernaut, while KOing sidekicks to buff him. Like I said, Sunfire can protect some of my characters if needed.

    So, with round 1 about to start, I take all the kids to the bathroom. That’s always more eventful than it needs to be. “Yes, I need you to try to go potty. I don’t care if you don’t feel like you have to go, we’re all trying. Yes, sit down and try.” Meanwhile I turn around to see other children beginning to wrestle on the ground. “No! Get up. We do not roll around on the bathroom floor… or anywhere in this game shop. Knock it off.” Then turn my attention back to the child on the toilet. “Are you done? No? Okay, then hurry up and go.” Back to the children who are again wrestling and tickling each other on the bathroom floor. “Oh my gosh, I said stop it!” Back to the child on the toilet. “Now are you done? Yes? Good.” Back to the children behind me. “Alright… whose turn is it next?”

    Swiss Round 1 – Trubie
    I sit down across from Trubie who has drafted Boom Boom and brought Shocking Grasp. He also had common Jubilee and Mutation, so he could try to activate her Awaken ability to damage all of my characters. The game was ugly. I got a sinking feeling in my gut. My day could be over very quickly with the only “good” characters I brought being a single common Mimic and a single uncommon Jubilee. Trubie won. 0-1.

    Children Update – So far, so good. They all stay satisfied and happy at their table. But the day is young.

    Swiss Round 2 – Jay
    I’ve traveled to some events with Jay before and have played him locally a few times at PDC and RDW events. He’s a good guy and I enjoy talking with him even when not playing Dice Masters. I can’t remember his team… but I’m pretty sure he had Boom Boom as well. I made a few misplays, still trying to figure out my team. I bought my uncommon Scarlet Witch at one point with no way to spin her up. I put her on the team because I figured I’d face some Mutation globals, and she was another bolt character for Pyro. But I purchased her instead of purchasing Quicksilver, Banshee, or even a Cloudkill. I just wasn’t piloting this team well. I didn’t draft a great team, but I wasn’t piloting well. Jay won. 0-2.

    Children Update – During my game with Jay, my two year old fell out of his chair and bonked his head on the ground. It was a pretty loud bonk, and he started crying. So half of my game against Jay was with a crying, sniffling child on my shoulder. Fun times. Jay was totally understanding about the tears, and it didn’t seem to really interrupt the flow of our game. Kudos to Jay.

    Swiss Round 3 – Jerry
    This was my first time playing Jerry. Jerry was a very casual and conversational player. Fun to play against. I was starting to get the hang of my team. I was able to use Mimic and ramp to Juggernaut. Ah, uncommon Juggernaut, my old friend. (You can read about how I used him to success in a previous draft here.) I was able to play a bit more aggressively. Swing for damage when I could. Make my opponent make tough choices in blocking. I eeked out a win. Oh man. If I had started out 0-3, any hopes of making Top 8 would have been lost. Facing elimination and an early end to my day, I was able to rebound. 1-2.

    Children Update – I gave them the remainder of their snacks. Half a peanut butter sandwich and applesauce for everyone. The older two were still happy coloring, but the younger two kept coming to talk sit with me, climb on my lap, then get down and go play with action figures. They weren’t too disruptive, but they were making their presence known.

    Swiss Round 4 – Scott
    This was it. Win or go home. My only win so far was against Jerry, who had just gotten his 2nd bye in swiss. My 1-2 record had taught me what I needed to do: be aggressive early. Swing for just about every point of damage I can. Mimic ramp to Juggernaut. Jubilee, Quicksilver, and Pyro are all offensively skewed bolt characters that have a nice purchase cost progression. Cloudkill or Banshee if my opponent starts to wall up. I was developing a strategy with my team. I beat Scott. 2-2.

    Children update – The second round of food definitely chilled them out. They were all pretty happy. I honestly considered intentionally dropping to Scott, giving him the ticket to Top 8. If my children had continued to fall off of chairs or make a mess I would have. But they were good… so I played my best, made it to Top 8 as the #5 seed with what felt like a team of misfits and a record of 2-2.

    Top 8 – Jay
    A lot had changed since my second round game against Jay. Now, I had a plan. Hit hard, early, and often. I know in my match against him, on turn 3 I fielded my Jubilee on level 1. Used the Unstable Canister global to hit a sidekick of his. Jubilee spins up and deals a damage. Used the global again to ping off his other sidekick. Jubilee spins up again dealing another damage. Then I attacked with her for 4 damage, after I had removed his blockers. I remember this was the first game I actually utilized Pyro’s ability, playing specifically with bolt characters. I was able to swing with everything and get Jay down to 1 life. A few turns later, I got the win. Game two played very similar. I was able to swing a few times early to get him down to single digits, reloaded, and got the win. I defeated Jay 2-0. I was surprised after how easily he seemed to win our game in swiss. But that’s why you play it out.

    Children Update – The wheels were starting to come off. They weren’t satisfied with coloring anymore. They kept coming over to me, telling me they were ready to leave. My entire game against Jay was played standing up, while my two year old played with my other drafted cards on my chair. My 5 year old kept trying to hang on the table while telling me he was hungry again and wanted to leave. Jay was a great sport though, just laughing off a lot of their interruptions. The kids were not happy I won. On to Top 4.

    Top 4 – Jerry
    Jerry, as the #8 seed, upset the #1 seed after swiss. I had beaten Jerry earlier on, and had only improved my strategy since then. I was able to focus more on Juggernaut this time than my Pyro direct damage. I think I purchased both Juggernaut dice against Jerry game 1, was able to ping off blockers, and get through for the win. Game two was similar, but this time Jerry was able to wall up a bit more. I had to purchase and use Cloudkill, but it worked. I used Cloudkill when he didn’t have any energy to spend on blockers. I attacked for the win. I beat Jerry 2-0, and advanced to Top 2.

    Children Update – Oh no. Even more complaining to go home, even more playing loudly and yelling. Thankfully, Jerry was awesome about it, also talking to my kids who were coming over to our table. Much like our game in swiss, Jerry was very casual and conversational. We talked about my kids a bit, and his own son as well. The kids were, again, disappointed I won. But I promised them this was my last round. I was pretty proud of them up to this point. They had been in the shop for nearly 5 hours and were just now fed up with it. I couldn’t blame them, really.

    Top 2 – Trubie
    This was what I envisioned as worst case scenario, because I had experience playing Trubie earlier in the day and knew how smooth his team could run. Game 1 I got a healthy dose of Boom Boom and Shocking grasp. I went Juggernaut. I hit him a few times early, tried to constantly wipe his field with Unstable Canister’s global, and got him down to 1 life. I was sitting at 16 life. If I could just get another turn, I was confident I’d get the win. He was able to refield Boom Boom, use a couple actions, and spin up his Sunfire, giving a buff to the rest of his characters. He attacked for just 16 damage. I got him down to 1 life, and he was able to hit me for the exact amount he needed for the win. 0-1. Game 2 started off the same, but I never got my 6 energy needed for Juggernaut. I had to go cheaper bolt characters. I swung through early with Jubilee and Quicksilver here and there. I got to Pyro and my bolt strategy really came together because Trubie was using both Boom Boom and Jubilee; bolt characters. I pushed the attack with Pyro, Quicksilver, and Jubilee. Trubie knocked out Pyro, and let Jubilee through, going down to 2 life. His next turn he couldn’t quite get the win, but he did deal me some damage. If he had another big turn, I’d likely lose. My turn I just needed to deal him 2 damage. I rolled Pyro and 4 sidekick dice. Pyro came up level 3, a single sidekick, a “?” face, and a few fists. I did the quick math. No matter how he blocked, Pyro would get KO’d with 1 bolt character still active and my sidekick would get through. 2 damage. So I bypassed my reroll, fielded Pyro and the sidekick. The Quicksilver I had last turn was still in the field, and then I saw it. Trubie was sitting on an energy for the Mutation global, and would be able to spin his Jubilee up, dealing 1 damage to all of my characters, KOing my sidekick that I needed to get through. I passed priority and he used that Mutation global to Awaken Jubilee, and deal 1 damage to all of my characters. I then used my single remaining “?” on the Unstable Canister global to hit my own Pyro. Thanks to Jubilee, that was all I needed to KO Pyro, and deal 3 damage to him. I took Game 2, and tied it up 1-1. Game 3 started prefect for Trubie. He got Boom Boom out, and hit every action that came his way the first few turns. I was in trouble. I used Mimic and got Juggernaut. Knowing I’d be rolling a Juggernaut the next turn, I considered attacking with everything, hoping to KO my own Mimic, so I could copy Juggernaut’s stats instead of the sidekick next turn. Mimic is such an amazing, versatile, cheap piece in draft. You can use him to name a sidekick early, and ramp. Then, once heavy hitters come out, he can copy those monster stats. I decided to leave Mimic out because I knew my opponent would be rolling Shocking Grasps. As expected, he rolled Shocking Grasp, and used one to KO my 1A/1D Mimic. The next turn I rolled level 3 Juggernaut and Mimic on a character face. Perfect. I suddenly have 2 7A/6D characters in the field. If I could go back and change one decision on the day, this is it. I pushed the attack with both Juggernaut and Mimic. Trubie let them through for 14 damage. I should have just attacked with Mimic. I should have kept Juggernaut in the field to: a) keep the ever present threat of a big body out there; and b) wait until a time where I could KO a few sidekicks to pump Juggernaut up. I didn’t. I attacked for 14, taking him down to 6 life. Shortly after, he was able to ping off my sidekick blockers, field Sunfire, spin him up to give all of his characters the buff, and attack for the win. Trubie took it in 3 games, 1-2.

    Children Update – They were ridiculous, and honestly it was embarrassing. But they had been there for 6 hours. They were noisier than I wanted them to be. But, they didn’t break anything in the store. They didn’t get in any other customer’s way. They were just hangry because it was dinner time and I had only brought stuff for lunch and a snack. The other players who had finished playing were very tolerable of them and even helped keep an eye on them in the waning moments. JT especially. Not only did he do a fantastic job judging the event and dealing with WIN trying to give a player multiple byes in back to back rounds, but he was the stand-in parent when I couldn’t get up from my game. So be sure to call him for all your judging/childcare needs. Bottom line: everyone survived. They weren’t in the best moods when all was said and done, but we survived. It might not have been the right call to keep playing. Maybe I should have dropped going to Top 4 when they started getting loud. They were acceptable after 4 hours... but 6 was just too much.

    Final Thoughts
    Very disappointing to not win after getting that close. For as much success as some other players here at TRP have had at WKOs and National/World events, I have never won a WKO or even PDC event. The only non-casual event I’ve won was a RDW event over a year ago at our local shop where only 4 of us showed up. I know it’s a dice game, and there’s a considerable amount of luck when it comes to playing. Especially draft. And I try not to let the end result of a given day weigh heavily on my evaluation of my ability to play. Heck, there have been times where there’s been multiple TRP members at a competitive event and I finished the highest out of all of us. It has just never all come together at once for me, and that kind of sucks. I’m not writing this to complain, or sound like a bad sport. The contrary. I want to encourage others to not let the end result of an event determine your mindset on the game of Dice Masters. We have a fantastic community, and on any given day, any player can walk away the winner. Heck, the last two WKO events I’ve gone to the #1 seed after swiss was knocked out in Top 8 by the #8 seed. So, to all of you who haven’t won in a while. To all of you who have gotten discouraged because you just absolutely NEEDED that die to come up a character face. To all of you who are tired of missing the top cut. Hang in there. A very wise narwhal once told me, “It’s no fun winning unless you’re the underdog.” One day, I will win an event. And it will be awesome. Until then, I’ll keep playing with friends and having fun regardless.
    Comments 5 Comments
    1. ccm00007's Avatar
      ccm00007 -
      Awesome blog! I both crazily respect what you did, and I can relate. I have 4 kids of my own (similar age range), and I don't want to imagine what taking them all to a WKO would've been like. Congrats on making Top 2 among all of this insanity.

      And for what it's worth, I can also relate on the "not winning" front; I've yet to win a WKO or other major tournament myself. The closest so far has been a top 2 in our draft WKO last weekend (lost to a team with 4 UC Morphs, to give you an idea). No one questions my skill locally though. So it'll happen someday, and I just need to keep at it. Fingers crossed for V-Worlds (Top 4 match this weekend) and the Modern WKO tomorrow!
    1. jacquesblondes's Avatar
      jacquesblondes -
      Awesome write-up, man!
    1. m4ster-p's Avatar
      m4ster-p -
      Great write-up! It's always nice to see how great our community is and I think your kids behaved amazingly given the circumstances.
      @ccm00007 One step closer to winning the V-Worlds, best of luck in the finals!
    1. ccm00007's Avatar
      ccm00007 -
      Quote Originally Posted by m4ster-p View Post
      Great write-up! It's always nice to see how great our community is and I think your kids behaved amazingly given the circumstances.
      @ccm00007 One step closer to winning the V-Worlds, best of luck in the finals!
      Thanks! I'm up against a pretty good team, so I'm looking forward to see how it goes.
    1. GRider10's Avatar
      GRider10 -
      Good job. I have brought my kids to events a few times, and sometimes its hard to focus on your gameplay, but you just have to do your best. 2nd place is still very good.