• Reading the Rainbow - DC Dice Masters Draft Part 2 Metas

    We're back with another episode of Reading the Rainbow. Last time we talked about the Economy of DC drafting and some cards to keep our eye out for. We also mentioned that we could utilize strategies such as Fast teams and Action focused teams. Unlike all of the Economy we mentioned last time, these two strategies aren't focused on single cards, but instead must use your entire team to build a cohesive plan. These are Metas. and today we will be talking about the Metas we can build from the DC Draft choices.

    When it comes to any set, there are obvious Metas that the game developers establish with new Keywords, allegiances and common abilities and then there are Metas that develop behind quality cards having a niche synergy that work with such a high consistency that they challenge the strategies developers intended. For DC there are some of both.

    Justice League affiliation and Villain affiliation are probably the most obvious of the Metas in DC right now. Most of the cards fall in one of these two types and Retaliation, the new DC mechanic is solely based on these two factions.

    With Aquaman's common providing one of the better ramp mechanics in the set, alongside the incidental damage Cyborg and other JLA retaliation characters can provide, this meta simply has the ability to out-speed and out-scale your opponent. Finishers like Martian Manhunter, Superman and Green Lantern provide the strength that your early buys like Wonder Woman and Zatanna allow you to quickly ramp into.

    Meanwhile, Villains can do similar tricks, without the hasty ramping. Black Manta allows you to invest in a solid early game wall, pick up your middle game villains and chip away at your opponent with a significant amount of incidental damage. Even non-villains can help out this team, like Katana, with her villain synergy steroid. Lastly, Deathstroke can provide a devastating burst of direct damage to any opponent trying to wall up and stall our your Villains.

    Some Metas bridge sets and span the history of the game. Action dice strategies can be expansive and varied, and with Basic Action Cards being the one predictable element you can bring to a draft, they can be a way for you to get reliable performance from an unreliable format. In DC there are a few cards that allow you to maximize what ever basic actions you choose to bring. Batman's global rewards you for playing your action dice. Green Lantern allows you to put extra hurt down if you do play an action that turn, and Lex Luthor brings an ability that can keep you rolling action dice turn after turn.

    But in an action dice meta, we shouldn't only think about the Basic Action Cards, we should keep in mind what the set's Action Cards can do for us too. Batarang can let us clear some low level characters, including sidekicks, and even have a chance to prep itself. Meanwhile Green Lantern's Power Ring can give you a reliable, though not extraordinarily cost effective way to deal direct damage to your opponent.

    We also talked about Speed teams. These are teams that focus on simply grabbing a few fast and cheap characters that do more damage than they are costed for. These characters usually have highly offensive stats and an ability that deals bonus damage, such as Hawkman and Cheetah. Sometimes though you can find very inexpensive defensive characters that can bring a consistent amount of damage to bear, like this Black Manta, paired with the Magic Missile Basic Action card. Ping Manta for one each turn that you're attacking with a Cheetah or Hawkman, and still maintain a solid defensive wall.

    Sometimes, things we think are Metas, are things we should probably avoid. The bat family synergies, are probably that sort of Meta right now. One day, probably in the third DC set, Bat Family will be a Meta, but right now, in Justice League Draft, there are too few Batman cards, not enough bat synergy, and no really cost effective card effects to warrant going out of your way to get the Batman Robin combo working.

    We said that sometimes Meta's form themselves, and with this guy, that is exactly what happens. Firestorm's common card has such a Draft defining ability it defines the current DC Metas. If the team you draft can't go toe to toe with a character that has high stats, good defense and does damage to you when our opponent does the things he wants to do anyway, field characters, you are likely in for a world of hurt. Now, Firestorm by himself, while AMAZING can't define a Meta alone, there needs to be a confluence of factors that allow him to be the sweet spot of power and affordability. In many other sets there have been enough low cost characters that buying a swarm of low level characters was possible. In DC though, 3 is almost the effective lowest cost card you are likely to draft. This slow pace of character purchase allows you to set up a wall of characters like Firestorm and Red Tornado, and simply cycle through your dice fielding cheap bolt characters and swinging with them. Bolt characters like Cheetah and Hawkman put some direct damage pressure on your opponent while Firestorm rewards you for getting them KOed or sent to the used pile.

    In the end, what Meta you pick really depends on the cards you draft, but knowing what metas are out there helps you to analyze the options when you do open those twelve packs and look at those sweet sweet cards.

    Next time - we open our packs and take a look at The Rainbow!
    Comments 5 Comments
    1. Randy's Avatar
      Randy -
      Good stuff. I enjoy reading this kind of stuff. Especially since I feel like I'm always writing about other DM topics, it's nice to read this kind of draft analysis.
    1. Shadowmeld's Avatar
      Shadowmeld -
      More to come! I will be posting these Mondays and Thursdays. I have a 6 player DC draft documented and a 6 player Yugioh draft documented if Age of ultron doesn't hurry itself up.
    1. RJRETRO's Avatar
      RJRETRO -
      As someone who doesn't get to draft much, it's nice to read about "what could have been".
    1. Chris's Avatar
      Chris -
      Great article, Shadow! Solid analysis with excellent insight.
    1. systemskill's Avatar
      systemskill -
      This series is awesome! I'm preparing for my first draft in two weeks and I haven't really had the chance to mess around with DC. This has given me a good look, as well as some very valuable insights, into the set. I'm already feeling more confident about the draft. Keep up the good work, @Shadowmeld !