• Thematic Team: Avengers: Age of Ultron (Movie Spoilers)

    Like I'm sure many of us have already, I had the chance to see Marvel's most ambitious cinematic offering yet, Avengers: Age of Ultron. All in all I was pretty happy with it but my critical review of a film is not the point of this article. Instead I challenged myself to come up with a thematic team based upon the characters and events as they appear in the movie. I've also attempted to take this a step further and create a team that is actually playable (to a degree). Though this team certainly won't be a competitive powerhouse, it needs to at least be fun.

    SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!

    I want to make this abundantly clear - I'm going to reference the movie here quite a bit as that is the impetus for this article. I'm not going to use spoiler tags because that's going to be tedious for everyone trying to read an article. So, you've been properly warned. If you haven't seen the movie and don't want to spoil any plot points, I'd hold off on reading this one until you get a chance to watch it.

    SERIOUSLY...SPOILERS WITHOUT A TAG AHEAD. THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE.

    Ok. With my conscience clear, let's get to building this team!

    My first step was deciding which characters get to make it onto our limited 8-character squad. Now, what's interesting about this is that we'll have to pare the list down. Seriously. There are a TON of characters who show their face in the movie. Here's the list (from memory after one viewing, so this could be flawed):

    • Captain America
    • Hulk
    • Ironman
    • Black Widow
    • Hawkeye
    • Thor
    • Scarlet Witch
    • Quicksilver
    • Falcon
    • Warmachine
    • Vision
    • Nick Fury
    • Maria Hill
    • Peggy Carter
    • Heimdall


    We start with 15 characters. Now, we can immediately drop Heimdall and Peggy Carter off the list - they only appeared in visions in the heads of Thor and Cap and they haven't appeared in Dice Masters yet. Add Maria Hill to that as well - though she definitely played enough of a role for her to count she's not included in our available pool of characters for the game. Next we can eliminate Falcon because...well, he doesn't do anything in the movie at all except look cool hovering around at the very end. So we're down to 11.

    We've got a decision to make, here, since everyone else on our list plays an active role in the movie. The decision is basically "what battle do we want to draw our team from?" I think the best answer to that and what will live on in our minds as viewers is the final hurrah when all the Avengers are attempting to stop Ultron from dropping Sokovia into the earth like a meteor and resetting humanity. I'm talking the fight scene where they're protecting the physical button/lock/mechanism that will cause doomsday to happen in the old church. Savvy? This let's us make two easy cuts - Warmachine and Nick Fury. Though part of the larger battle, neither of these two appear in this scene at this location.

    We've got 9 now and here's where it gets tough for me. Everyone left - every single one of them - are all part of the "hold the line!" scene that is so dang cool. Now, we've obviously got our first 6 spots held down with the big six from the first movie, so we'll set Cap, Hulk, Ironman, Black Widow, Hawkeye and Thor in stone. Now to pick between the twins or only one twin and Vision, who plays an extremely central role in the plot of the movie. So, I'm calling it - we'll keep Scarlet Witch and Vision and kick Peitro out. "But Chris, the twins! They are so important too!" Yeah, they are, but let's face it - Quicksilver dies in the end anyway! If this was a spoiler for you, YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN READING THIS FAR! So I'm staying with Vision.

    We've got out 8 - yeah! Now to get something together that is reasonably indicative of what we see in the movies and will hopefully be playable. I also enforced another rule on myself concerning affiliation. All character cards that were either Avengers or Neutral themed were fair game. No cross team pollination here. So...what did I come up with?


    THE TEAM




    Black Widow, Tsarina - There's no reason to be unduly coy here. Tasarina is the best Natasha (and one of the best cards in the entire meta) and she fits our theme nicely. She's always got some sort of double-cross in motion and when she is used en force she hits you exactly where it hurts. She's always a pervasively annoying problem for any Ultron-level super villain to have to do something about.

    Captain America, Superhero - This is the best Captain Rogers for this theme team, period, and here's why. First of all, the Avengers aren't commanding S.H.I.E.L.D. lackeys around - it's the A-Team versus the metal man army. So all of Cap's sidekick buffs aren't fitting into our theme. Second, I like how this pick will work and pair with...

    Iron Man, Superhero - I could've gone with Industrialist - or even Philanthropist - but I really wanted to play on Steve and Tony's relationship here. These two guys are always at each other's throats idealistically and when they work together - fireworks. They hit harder and get hurt less when they realize their full potential.

    Hawkeye, Longbow - May favorite Hawkeye for the money and the perfect fit for an Age of Ultron theme. Clint is always a step ahead when it comes to putting an arrow in the right place and he knows the right arrow for the right job. I've used this guy in more than one constructed build.

    Hulk, Green Goliath - Kind of a similar situation with Tsarina. We're gonna take the best Dr. Banner we can as long as he works thematically, and boy does he. This may be one of the most thematically effective cards in all of Dice Masters! Smashing is what the Hulk does and he does it with honors. "You're adorable - but I need the 'other guy.'"

    Thor, Odinson - Ugh, why are all of your Dice Masters' cards soooooooo terribad!?! Thor is my second favorite Marvel character (after Cyclops) and he has four of the most bland, situational and over-costed cards in existence. I went with Odinson because I imagine lots of the metal mooks in the movie are probably and he has the ability to engage a lot at a time.

    Scarlet Witch, Unity Squad - For my money, this is the best form of Wanda to fit the theme team here. Her meddling in the movie is enough to swing the odds in for or against the Avengers and I think her card text ability represents that well. Plus she's got just enough bite to prove that she can punch robots in the face with MAGIC!

    Vision, Android - Although I don't think Vision is entirely useless, I don't know how well his cards fit in this pivotal battle scene. I went with Android because I figured some of the metal men were probably and that Ultron could be argued to be a type, too. So it makes sense that they pose no real threat to Vision who - aside from oddly getting knocked out at the beginning of the fight - seems transcendently untouchable through the final of the film.

    BAC Teamwork - The basic actions may be my two favorite cards for this entire build. These just scream theme and they are - by and large - not terrible. We lucked out with all 8 Avengers having the actual Avengers Affiliation, so Teamwork is going to come in handy for us.

    BAC Rally - I think Rally walks the "least thematic" line for me here, but I included it to throw a nod to Warmachine and Nick and Maria and that one Mark Zuckerberg looking nerd sitting by Maria. That is to say that all hands are on deck from the support staff to see the Avengers succeed. They've got a lot of people rooting from the sidelines. And the reality is - let's face it. We need some ramp up in herrrr.

    THE STRATEGY
    I think I captured the theme of this team rather well, but it's going to be a bear to drive. It has too primary concerns: weak ramp and a average buy curve of 4.5 in lieu of that fact. Yuck. Admittedly when you focus solely on theme you often politely show strategy the back seat and tell it to sit quietly and keep its hands to itself. That doesn't mean you don't want to have a chance to win. So how are we going to do any Avenging with these Avengers?

    Turn 1 & 2: Buy Black Widows. Pretty simple. We need the extra energy and she's never going to be not useful to have rolling around and causing havoc. If you really get stuck on energy, pick up Rally early to get your ramp moving. Buy additional characters in this order: Hawkeye then Witch then Vision. If you're sitting across from PXG...well, you know what to do by now.

    Turn 3 & 4: Start harassing with Natasha and get some ramp going so you can go one of two ways. Either you grab up a Cap and and Ironman and look to set up their Superhero pairing. If you can pull it off, they can swing really, really hard. Otherwise look to set up your Hulk wall and then put down some violence with Hawkeye.

    As for the rest of the match, maintain as much of a Hulk wall as you can and then - when it's finally the right time - let him lead the push for lethal. You'll have to really keep an eye on what your opponent brings so that you can exploit any globals he or she has and make something happen in the clutch.

    There it is. Don't look to field this if you want to be truly competitive - this isn't the right team for that. For casual play or for a challenging theme, though, giving this team a run will be rewarding. Have fun and keep rolling dice!
    Comments 3 Comments
    1. Meatman's Avatar
      Meatman -
      You didn't mention it anywhere in the article...so thought I'd ask a quick silly question...

      Did you put Teamwork and Rally together like that because they are 2 halves of the same picture, or was that just a coincidence? I didn't even realize they had the same artwork until your post here.
    1. RJRETRO's Avatar
      RJRETRO -
      WOAH. Nice work, Meatman. That's awesome!

      Time to look through other BACs as well.

      EDIT: Also, the article was really well done as well. I'm excited to sit down and watch this.
    1. Chris's Avatar
      Chris -
      Quote Originally Posted by Meatman View Post
      You didn't mention it anywhere in the article...so thought I'd ask a quick silly question...

      Did you put Teamwork and Rally together like that because they are 2 halves of the same picture, or was that just a coincidence? I didn't even realize they had the same artwork until your post here.
      Yessir. I love to pass those two in my binder.