• TheoryDice: Cost Mitigation v. Ramp

    Though the release of DC Dice Masters: Justice League hasn't drawn enough breath to define itself in the meta yet, there are some interesting trends in the set that have piqued my interest. As I've dabbled in other collectible, competitive games I've noticed that sets can easily carry a theme with them. You can notice this in M:TGwith sets like Scars of Mirrodin possessing an artifact theme. You can even see this in Heroclix with sets like DC Heroclix: Batman's strong vehicle theme. I would argue that here in the DC: Justice League set we can see a major theme emerge. I'm not sure what to call it entirely, but I've landed on "cost mitigation" for now.

    :m20143:

    Now, cost mitigation isn't entirely and wholly new to Dice Masters. We've seen it before in previous sets. You can check out the cards above and I'd wager you're certainly familiar with them. Starting in AvX we see Doctor Strange bolstering our chances and getting action dice. YGO is where we really saw some effective cost mitigation and that carried into D&D and even into a promo card. So it's safe to assume that cost mitigation has been on WK designers' radar for longer than we really could know.

    Notice that cost mitigation is represented here across general terms. The dragons are discounting monsters and the Elf Wizard and Beholder are discounting action dice. Beast doesn't care what you are but you can use him universally as well. You can spot a few that rely on subtitles, too, that I didn't mention above. You've got Half Dragon in the mix. In DCDM:JL we see a different slant, and that is cost mitigation driven by affiliation. Let's take a look at some of the options here.



    These are the most obvious choices out the set and, if I'm not mistaken, really the only specific examples of cost mitigation. We see two obvious affiliations emerge here - Justice League and Villains - and we see basic action dice showing up again as well. Aquaman, Superman & Wonder Woman all focus on discounting the character die cost and fielding cost of Justice League affiliated characters. Sinestro is strictly for fielding Villain dice. Harley and Batman are specific mitigators - you get a Joker discount or a basic action discount. Last, Save Civilians and Booster Gold are generically focused on mitigation applied to dice of your choosing (as long as it's not a Villain die in Booster's case.)

    Now. This concept of cost mitigation isn't difficult to see or to understand, but that's not the real point of this article. As the title suggests, I want to ask the question: is cost mitigation a replacement or at least substitute for proper ramp? For the sake of clarity, let's make sure we're on the same page with ramp. Ramp is the seeding of dice into the prep area which allows a player to roll more dice to create higher energy yielding rolls. I know everyone's familiar with the concept, but sometimes ramp and churn can create confusion. So that's what we're talking about here.

    Can cost mitigation - in the forms mentioned above - compete with ramp? My short answer: not yet. I think cost mitigation is not far enough along to fully replace ramp in its current form. It doesn't mean it's not effective or that it can't make ramp better - it certainly can do that. I'll use an example from this last weekend's Rainbow Draft at my FLGS. I used a Common Firestorm build and did my best to rush and churn Common Cheetah through as much as possible. I relied on Villainous Pact and Resurrection to ensure that my ramp was there. My backup plan (or even my second strategic choice), however, was simple. If I didn't get the energy needed to buy Cheetah and ramp with my first turn, I'd try to pick up Common Aquaman. This way, I could guarantee that Firestorm was firmly buyable once I was able to church Arthur onto the field. Even paying his fielding costs I could use a simple ramp to make his purchase a given.

    Is cost mitigation viable? Yep. Is it useful? Absolutely. Villains seem to have less options in this regard simply because Sinestro is far more expensive than Auqaman, but the base concept is still there. I have yet to find myself believing in the "Action Team," so I have to give Bats a hardy poo-poo. So until we get a little bit of stronger affiliation cost mitigation or just more of it, I don't expect to see any teams relying solely on mitigation outside of the draft context.

    The future, however, continues to get brighter for cost mitigation.
    Comments 3 Comments
    1. RJRETRO's Avatar
      RJRETRO -
      I think WK is still trying to figure it out, and I look forward to the day when Professor X isn't needed on every team.
    1. Lop Pop's Avatar
      Lop Pop -
      A fun read.
    1. Vapedaveb's Avatar
      Vapedaveb -
      love the article thanks