• Reading the Rainbow DC Draft Episode 8 Nothing

    Welcome back, folks! Last time we talked a bit about how plans can change after an initial look. Today we talk about what happens when there really isn't a plan to be had. Villains in one pack, JLA in another, what do you do and where do you go with your strategy? Sometimes we want to try something new, other times we want to grab quality picks and keep ourselves open. Then of course, we could just start Rare drafting!

    Let's dig into these packs and see just how bad it really is.

    Here is our firendly Rainbow for reference:

    OK, today we're going to do things a little different. I'm going to just tell you ahead of time that there is no good Bolt, JLA or Villains synergy across our two packs. I'll show you as we go through them, but I want to simulate us taking a second pass through our cards to look for a plan we can use, and analyze these cards for something more than "first pick" status. I've told you that first pick status is low, and we should probably look deeper into what we could take that would improve our odds from "if this gets passed to me" to "I should be able to combo this with this for something unexpected".

    Alright, our first pack:

    Captain Cold 3, This rare is effective sidekick clearing, especially in a format with Wonder Woman, but he's a bit expensive for a villains team who wants to spam lower cost characters and build a wall. While Captain Cold has some of the better stats for a villain, this guy just doesn't scream "With me you will win!"

    Lex Luthor 4, This guy is pretty scary. 5 Cost, defensive, long-term control character who can just eliminate one of your opponent's draft choices. The problem is, to get this guy, and field him before your opponent can buy the guy he really wants might be difficult in a draft, and even then the random nature of drafts tends to force players to only pick up one or two max of the dice that you are likely afraid of. As such, this sort of control power is only trading you 1 for 1 against your enemy.

    Vibe 4, This guy is pretty cool -- check out this week's The Prep Area (podcast drops Tuesday -Editor) for a team that can utilize him. In the DC draft meta though, almost nothing spins. If your opponent brings Polymorph, great. You might trigger this ability once, but for the set as a whole, his ability is never going to matter.

    Solomon Grundy 5, This uncommon is more expensive than the common, has a useless ability and doesn't even fit well on a villains team with such a high cost and mediocre stats.

    Katana 5, This Katana is relatively cheap, and can work as Villain tech or Villain hate, and while she does good work paired with a villain global to give her massive pumps, she just isn't that impressive on her own. We will keep in mind using her as a Villain or hate card, just in case.

    Captain Cold 3, Well, we at least know we have 2/3 Captain Colds in this pack. He has a high fielding cost, but his stats are slightly above average for his cost. His ability makes up for his fielding cost if you simply wall up with him and keep him from getting KO'd, but he's pretty solid attacking stats on level 3 that you would almost feel obligated to attack with him. Of all the Captain Colds, this one helps villain wall teams out the best.

    Shazam! NOPE. Does not exist. Just pretend Billy is playing Calvin Ball with his pet cat Vixen.

    Stargirl 2, She's decent in draft because Sidekick ramp is a pretty solid strategy. However, if we don't see much in the way of Sidekick ramp in pack two, we can likely hold off on this chick.

    Black Manta 5, Cheap, villain, chip damage. He's not bad, and we could grab him if there was nothing else to really grab.

    Constantine 3, We see two of these guys here. This means we're probably not going to see a SR or even the rare "uncommon" version. This guy comes out a little less valuable than Black Manta David because his ability and stats are worse. If you need 2 cost shields, Black Manta David or the textless Katana are better.

    Deadman 4, This guy could be good, but at 6 cost his stats and situationally active ability just aren't worth spending a turn doing nothing else, just so you can buy him. His 5 cost versions are much better balanced.

    OK, looking back at this pack real quick, we see a few control cards, a few villains and a single piece of Sidekick tech. Now let's analyze the combos we can make with some of the pack two cards:

    Swamp Thing 5, This ability is interesting, but there aren't that many ways get him in unblocked -- so it feels like an ability that helps you win harder, instead of one that turns a game around or sets up victory.

    Aquaman 5, This guy is pretty decent in a JLA team that is looking to Overcrush. But, we haven't seen Cyborg, GL Superman or Manhunter yet, so, probably not gonna be a good pick.

    Swamp Thing 5, This guy is expensive, and frankly, less useful than the common. If you decide to use a Swamp Thing, please use the common.

    Booster Gold 3, This guy is cheap cheap, but that draw back is so debilitating in draft that it is hard for one to justify actually buying and fielding him. Remember, your villains stop him from attacking too.

    Harley Quinn 5, She's cheap and villains, and if we needed to, we could pick her up and go for a sub-par villains team with the stuff we saw in pack 1. If we see an Uncommon Joker we could definitely go Villains control with Lex, Harley and Joker. Remember to take controlling BACs (mostly non DC ones) to back that team up.

    The Atom 3, He's just too unpredictable for drafts and his abilities don't help you do much besides keep a blocker in the field.

    Martian Manhunter 2, If only this guy were in the other pack, we could snag Aquaman and him for the start of an Overcrush team.

    Swamp Thing 5, This guy just seems to love us. Common is the best, but is still considerably worse than most other cards in DC.

    The Joker 4, OK, common Swamp Thing is not worse than this guy. Sure you can get in for some unblockable damage, but was it worth it? You spent 5 for this guy and he deals 1-3 damage.

    Aquaman 5, Well, it's a little late and mis-matched but we could take this guy and start our JLA team. Maybe we'll see some stuff come around.... nope. We said we were going to go for something with a plan, not a wait and see. On the other hand, Aquaman is a good die for his cost, he has a good ability if it comes around and if you take him, see a Wonder Woman, and take Stargirl in pack two, then you can have a minion team. You could possibly see GL uncommon come around and then you're talking about 4/2 invincible sidekicks. Either way, you're grabbing two dice that are pretty solid individually, and stronger in conjunction.

    Robin 5, Nope, see episode 5.

    OK, to sum it all up, we really have two paths we're not too positive about. Pack 1 makes us want to take a solid control villain and pick up Harley Quinn to work as an early character from pack 2. Meanwhile, pack 2 has us wanting to take Aquaman, a solid pick and grab Stargirl from pack 2 if we can snag a Wonder Woman in between. Both are pretty decent plans, but the Aquaman plan is probably stronger because we take the good card first, and pick up the weaker card after we have drafted half of our team. If we don't get a Wonder Woman, but do pick up some other JLA cards, we could draft something from pack 1 that gives us one shot control opportunities, situation defenses or counters -- like the uncommon Katana or rare Lex Luthor. Heck, you could even pick up the 2 cost Black Manta -- though he's a villain --he provides a good, cheap defense and some chip damage to soften your opponent up for the win.

    To sum up, sometimes you just have to take picks blindly and hope the draft brings you what you want, but you will usually have some options on which of those picks to take in a bad pack. Take the one that gives you the best all-around chance to succeed, not one that plays into a what if strategy.
    Spoiler alert: Harley into "hopefully" uncommon Joker wouldn't have worked in this draft, there is no uncommon Joker in the entire pool of cards.

    Bonus: Player 4 picks Martian Manhunter and uncommon Katana or rare Vibe.
    Player 3 picks something like uncommon Aquaman and Black Manta or uncommon Captain Cold.
    Player 2 would pick that Robin so fast, and back it up with a Constantine for cheap ramp most likely.
    Player 1 would pick a common Harley or Swamp Thing, and then never actually play with them. Then he would pick Stargirl or a Captain Cold.
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. RJRETRO's Avatar
      RJRETRO -
      Now THAT is a brutal draft. Remind me not to draw those boosters.
    1. Necromanticer's Avatar
      Necromanticer -
      There's a big part of me deep down that insists I go for the longshot control strategy with Vibe and Shazam! from the first pack into a Justice League team using Aquaman from pack 2. There's not a lot of spinning in DC, but you just so happened to get the two cards that can make it work and you know no one is going to take your Shazam! unless they're forced to, so you are guaranteed to draft both of them.

      That combo inspired me...
    1. Shadowmeld's Avatar
      Shadowmeld -
      Yeah, I kinda was interested in the Harley, lex, dead man control that these packs offered, but really the best choice is Aquaman, because those cards will likely wheel and you will have a better look at your options by then.
    1. Bigred92's Avatar
      Bigred92 -
      Stargirl, Katana, Black Manta would probably be what I would lean towards in pack 1. And possibly just go for a cheap non synergistic aggro rush. With the option to grab JL guys from the fitst round knowing common Aquaman is waiting in pack 2.