• Wizkids Nationals Weekend: DC Dice Masters Rainbow Drafts!

    While at Nationals this past weekend, I participated in a couple DC Justice League Rainbow Drafts. Here’s the highs and lows.

    Rainbow Draft #1:

    Well… I drafted the super rare Black Canary Dinah Laurel Lance. So that’s pretty good. Other than that… nothing of note. I totally drafted based on rarity because I just wanted as many rare cards as I could get from the set. I got Green Lantern Brightest Day, Vibe Formerly Hardline, and Cyborg Mentor. My team ended up not being terrible, relying mainly on uncommon Firestorm Atom Rearranger and uncommon Hawkman World's Fiercest Attacker. I tried using the super rare Black Canary as well, but found myself not really liking how she fit on this team. We only drafted with 6 people, so after our first round matches, the loser that got his opponent closest to death advanced anyways, despite the loss. That was me. So in my second game, I knew to avoid purchasing Black Canary, and went primarily for Hawkman and Firestorm. I had my opponent on the ropes early, constantly dealing damage when Firestorm attacked and Hawkman was blocked. But my constant aggressive attacking allowed my opponent to block and get things to his prep area. He just bought too many good characters for me to keep up with. I ended up losing. Oh well. I wasn’t overly happy with my team when I drafted it, but looking back I really think I could have played it better.

    Why did my team preform so poorly when I tried to use the super rare Black Canary? Well, let’s evaluate her using quandrant theory that we’ve been starting to judge cards by here at The Reserve Pool.

    Development: She’s only three cost. You can purchase her on your first turn, and still have one energy left over for ramp. Bonus, because she’s a and there aren’t really any types of ramp that require a energy. The only downside to development, is that once she’s active, she really needs other characters to attack with her take advantage of making opposing characters unable to block. From a cost-perspective, she’s good early on. But from an ability perspective she might not be useful until late game.
    Parity: If you and your opponent are deadlocked, her ability can keep opposing characters from blocking, letting you get in some much needed damage to swing the tide in your favor. The one downside is that she must attack as well. So you can’t just sit back and trigger her ability while others attack.
    Losing: If you’re losing, she doesn’t do much for you. Her ability could let you through and do some damage, but if you need to shore up your defenses, this is not the character for you.
    Winning: I guess she lets you “win more”. She really can help you slam the door once your opponent is on the ropes. If your opponent has a bad roll, and can only field a character or two, she could help you end the game by spending a couple of s.

    Dang. After looking at her that way, I REALLY think I piloted my team poorly. I should have just spammed Black Canary and uncommon Firestorm. (In my defense I think I was only able to draft two dice for each of those characters. But still. I know I could have played that team better.)

    The main reason to tell you about this first draft at all was to say I pulled the super rare Black Canary. That was exciting. Evan actually pulled super rare Black Canary from one of his booster packs he purchased outside of the draft. So Dave was the only member of The Reserve Pool to attend Nationals, and not leave with super rare Black Canary.

    Rainbow Draft #2:

    I had already gotten lucky and pulled a super rare during the first rainbow draft. This time, I was going to draft a team to try to win this draft, and take home the alternate art Wonder Woman card. (Unless, of course, I saw another super rare in the 12 packs I opened. I didn’t.)

    I opened my 12 packs, made my two stacks of 12 cards, and got a game plan. Hmm, in one stack of 12, I saw the uncommon Black Manta Deep Sea Deviant with Retaliate that Evan had used in a previous draft to some success. There was another rare card or two, but nothing really jumped out. In the other stack of 12 cards, I saw the uncommon Katana Outsider that gains +1 attack for each villain die in the field. That settles it. I’m going Villains. And I didn’t even have to think twice about my basic actions. Since DC is not released yet, its basic actions are not tournament legal (even though we are doing a DC draft). So we were able to use any basic actions from any set other than DC. I knew I was going to take the Marvel OP basic action, Takedown. It has a global that lets you pay a to give a character the Villain affiliation. That’s exactly what I did. Here’s my final team:



    (Excluded from the picture is Captain Cold Leonard Snart. In discussing the new DC set with Dave as we were driving home, he really wanted to experiment with a bolt team using some of these new characters. That Captain Cold was one of the characters he wanted to use, but he didn't get one. So i just gave him mine, not realizing I'd want to photograph my draft team. Oh well.)

    I absolutely steamrolled my first two opponents. I would get Black Manta, Katana, and Harley Quinn all in play. (Harley Quinn wasn’t very important ability-wise, but she was a three cost Villain. And I know if I had her in the field, and needed more unique Villains to potentially make Retaliate stronger, I could purchase Joker for three energy as well. I never needed it.) I would spend a mask to turn Katana in to a Villain, so my Katana would become even stronger, since she gets “+1A for each Villain die in the field”. I would force my opponents to block my Katana, whose defense value only ranges from 1-3. If they didn’t block her, she’d be swinging for 5-6 damage on average. So getting her KO’d was pretty easy. Remember, we made her a villain, so that triggers Black Manta’s Retaliation. Then, if I had the extra energy, I could turn my own Sidekick, if I had any in the field, in to a Villain before Katana would be KO’d. So, Retaliate would deal an extra damage. It was a pretty slick combo.

    My final opponent had a pretty good team. There was no real synergy, but it was all pretty cost effective. He used common Green Arrow, common Red Tornado, and common Black Manta (once he saw I was rocking the Villain team.) It was a super close game, but I really kept the pressure on by attacking. There was a time where I had ten life left, and he could only swing for nine. He added it up every possible way, and it could only come to nine. So he had to hold off, and keep his defense strong, passing the turn to me. He had four life left. I had Black Manta, Harley, Katana, and a Sidekick in the field, while he had four blockers. (I think it was one of each of the characters I mentioned he used above, as well as a Sidekick.) I attacked with Katana and the Sidekick. Only being at four life, he couldn’t afford to just let damage through. He had to block. Both of my characters only had 1D. So, after blockers were declared, I paid two masks to turn them both in to Villains. They were both KO’d. That triggered Black Manta’s Retaliate. When my Villain Katana was KO’d it dealt two damage to my opponent because I had two unique Villains in the field (Manta and Harley.) When my Villain Sidekick was KO’d it dealt two damage to my opponent because I had two unique Villains in the field. Four total damage, and the win.

    Let’s take a look at why uncommon Black Manta was so good, according to the quandrant theory:

    Development: He is a first turn purchase at three cost, leaving an extra energy for ramp. He does need other Villains to make himself useful, so in a vacuum, he’s no good. But as long as you have other low cost villains to purchase in the following turns, he’s a really great starting character that can make an increasing impact as the game goes on.
    Parity: One thing about parity, is that you usually find it in the sense that neither character wants to attack, because too many of their characters could get knocked out. That’s not a fear with Black Manta. If both teams have a wall of characters, you can willingly send one or two villains to their death and let Black Manta just chip away at your opponent with direct damage.
    Losing: He’s not great when you’re losing. In the right circumstance though, he could change the game. If you have a few Villains in the field, but are looking death in the face, fielding that Black Manta could give you enough direct damage potential to swing things back in your favor.
    Winning: If you’re winning, you NEED to be aggressive with Black Manta. Push the attack. Force your opponent to block and knock out your characters. Make them choose the lesser of two evils. He’s a character that once you start winning, he’s like a snowball coming downhill just picking up momentum, getting bigger and scarier. Your opponent might not fear him when the life totals are 20-20. But if their life is down to 5 or so, they will be afraid of him.

    Man, that team was fun to play. AND I walked away with the alternate art Wonder Woman card. Keep in mind, this team kicked butt because I was able to use a Marvel OP basic action card, Takedown. When DC gets its full scale release, your FLGS might restrict your basic actions to DC only.

    So, I played in two drafts, got one super rare and one alternate art promo card. Not to mention the 24 boosters of prerelease DC Justice League Dice Masters. A pretty good haul, if you ask me. Roll on.
    Comments 11 Comments
    1. RJRETRO's Avatar
      RJRETRO -
      More people should post "warstories" like this. I really enjoyed. Only way to make it better is turn-by-turn which would have been a crazy way to do it.

      That being said, you did give me an idea...
    1. Randy's Avatar
      Randy -
      Quote Originally Posted by RJRETRO View Post
      More people should post "warstories" like this. I really enjoyed. Only way to make it better is turn-by-turn which would have been a crazy way to do it.
      I like writing like this. It's just hard in a competetive setting to always remember what happened turn-by-turn. When I played Dave in the 2nd round of swiss at nationals, I told him that we could take pics of our board states and tweet them out or whatever. I think that could have been cool.

      And strangers probably aren't going to appreciate me stopping to take notes during our match. Especially when there's a time limit. But I was dang proud of that winning turn in the 2nd rainbow draft because my opponent didn't see it coming at all. So that stuck in my mind.
    1. Shadowmeld's Avatar
      Shadowmeld -
      There is a guy on YouTube, Hunter Alakai, who records his drafting, then gives you a synopsis of the matches afterword. I honestly think that watching his DnD draft choices, and process helped me stomp my first draft. I highly recommend his videos if you are looking for draft practice or theory.
    1. Randy's Avatar
      Randy -
      That might be worth looking in to. Possibly have a small stand right in front of you with a smartphone recording. So it sees the cards you look through and what you draft. That could be really cool.
    1. RJRETRO's Avatar
      RJRETRO -
      My girlfriend and I are going to play some things this weekend and I'll use an audio recorder.
    1. Spug's Avatar
      Spug -
      "You can purchase her on your first turn, and still have one energy left over for ramp."

      As a noob, I don't understand why purchasing something for three and leaving one energy spare helps with ramp. Surely it will just be cleared before the start of your next turn? Or is it about having an energy spare to use PXG or similar?

      Sorry if I'm missing something obvious.
    1. Dave's Avatar
      Dave -
      Yeah depends on the sets and what is available. PXG, resurrection, the similar DC one.
    1. RebelSong's Avatar
      RebelSong -
      I did two drafts, and managed to pull SR Flash in the first one and SR Black Canary in the second. =D I was a happy camper.

      In the first draft I was in, between the 5 of us we managed to pull 3 SRs (Catwoman, Flash, Constantine). I ended up playing against Constantine, but it wasn't too bad because my opponent kept naming characters I managed to either not pull or just roll for energy.
    1. SJ_Mitchell's Avatar
      SJ_Mitchell -
      This was a fun read, so I'm guessing you were allowed to keep PXG in your back pocket during the draft and insert him into the team once the draft was over?

      Disclaimer: I've never been a part of a rainbow draft.
    1. Randy's Avatar
      Randy -
      Quote Originally Posted by SJ_Mitchell View Post
      This was a fun read, so I'm guessing you were allowed to keep PXG in your back pocket during the draft and insert him into the team once the draft was over?

      Disclaimer: I've never been a part of a rainbow draft.
      Nope. The only non-DC cards you could use were basic actions.
    1. Spug's Avatar
      Spug -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dave View Post
      Yeah depends on the sets and what is available. PXG, resurrection, the similar DC one.
      Thanks a lot.