• Quick Wins

    A treatise for aggressively beating your opponent as quickly as possible.

    There are now only whispers of a tale on the edges of reality, and even these are fading into oblivion. Cloudy images, as if from a dream, of Spiders and Bombs. Alas, the memory fades too quickly, and it is no more. Legend has it you might have once won a game on just your third turn. Yet, as quickly as the dream began, it ended with an abrupt errata... And then, out of the ashes, the legend returns in new form, no more a Spider-Bomb - enter High Hopes, and using Ant-Man to pulverize your opponent potentially before they've even rolled one of the dice they've purchased.

    This is a story about how I romanticized the idea of beating my opponent before they had a chance to do much of anything.

    We know about High Hopes. We know you can purchase an Avenger, then purchase Nick Fury - Patch, then pump the Avenger to 9 or 10 attack value, and swing for lethal on turn 3. You can do it with Ant-Man, you can do it with Black Widow, and you can do it with Falcon. Using some shenanigans, it's possible to do it with Scarlet Witch. It's actually mathematically possible with Black Panther (but it can be rather complicated and require some other support cards for globals). With Age of Ultron on the way, who knows what other combinations will soon be possible? Could we see the additions of Cap and Iron Man to this list? I want it to happen with Vision, someone please make it happen with Vision!

    Teams built around Formerly Weapon Ten not only did well at US Nationals (by the way, from one national champion to another, congrats, @Walsh), but they were everywhere at Canadian Nationals, where they also performed quite well (and did so fairly quickly as a general rule).

    Then we were introduced to the BURN (http://www.diceanon.com/dr-strangebr...love-the-burn/). Oh man, when I saw this deck I was pumped because a friend had shown me something along similar lines just the day before this deck's publication and then I saw this and I thought, "Whoa, there must be something to this!" (Note: there's no way either of these individuals could have stolen the deck from each other despite the similarities, so credit to both @Walsh and @Randy for their inventions - both of which are legitimate turn 4 kill threatening decks.) This had me excited, and for a while, I had every intention of bringing Randy's deck to World's. He and I worked on this together a lot, and I feel like I contributed materially, but it was really his baby from the start.

    I came to the game late. UXM was out and well established and YGO was right around the corner. So I didn't experience the Beast Walls of the early game, PXG was already a staple. What's interesting to me is that despite the progression from primarily aggro design of top 8 teams at US Nationals to a little more midrange of top 8 at Canadian Nationals to (my conjecture of) more control teams at World's at Origins (editing note: can we all agree that what we saw days 1 and 2 has been refreshing and better than what we collectively expected?), there is still room for largely aggro teams to do well. Constantine shuts down High Hopes if you can get him in the field before your opponent's third turn. Not exceptionally difficult to do. Going second, you can do it (field Constantine before High Hopes goes off) about 25% of the time, and going first, about 75% of the time. So if you go first and second an equal number of times, and are committed to fielding Constantine or, at a minimum, having a shot at it, you have about 50/50 odds of getting that done. Name the threat, threat neutralized. Now, suppose the odds of getting the rolls for a High Hopes chance on your third turn as the aggressor are about 25% (cumulative over the three turns) in best case scenarios and not including whatever your opponent may have done to break that up (i.e., do something as fantastically outlandish as field a sidekick). Those odds are not good, and the opponent has a significant shot of stopping you in your tracks. But what happens when you throw Overcrush into the mix? Or try to Polymorph a character into the field to avoid Constantine?

    Well, you can still pretty easily target a 4th turn kill. The problem is your opponent has had at least 3 turns and may be set up with some sort of control or removal or combination.

    So what if you get faster?

    How else can you get to a turn 3 kill? What do you need? To avoid Constantine altogether, since you know going first (25%) or second (75%) you're about 50% liable to see him fielded on the turn you want to swing for the kill, you need Polymorph. Done, turn one handled. What else do you need? A bomb and a boost. Ok, well, what about turn 2 get the boost so turn 3 you can roll poly and the boost and buy the bomb and poly him/her in? Done and done. What will we use for boost and what will we use for bomb? If we use Patch for the boost and an Avenger for the bomb, we need their level one side with a high enough attack and purchase cost low enough to have energy left over to boost the attack value. I haven't cross checked every Avenger, but I'm pretty sure Tsarina is the only one that works (it's pretty convoluted at best, requiring both a PERFECT roll and Patch has to attack too), and your opponent might have brought Magic Missile. Besides, using Tsarina, it's much better to just go the plain High Hopes route. If you get to turn 3 having all your dice, Tsarina, and Patch, it's a 56% proposition.

    Ok, so what other boosts are available? Anger Issues BAC from the DC set. This is perfect. We get +3 attack and Overcrush. Now we're talking. Still need a way to double the attack. Enter two options (three, but I don't have the uncommon Obelisk). Wolverine - The Best There Is (who we'll come back to) and Silver Surfer - Sky-Rider. Surfer is easy - have less life than the opponent and his attack doubles. So use his global and you're likely good to go. Miss on this point, though, and your bomb just became a lot more like a water-balloon. And there is almost no margin for errant rolls. It's REALLY slim.

    With Wolverine, though, we need a blocker in the field, and we need to force it to block Wolverine. And we'll need to pump Sideburns's attack. It goes like this:

    Use Red Dragon Global (RDG) and buy Polymorph for one energy, and Professor X Global (PXG) x2.

    Rolling 7, use RDG to buy Anger Issues (for two energy), use Surfer's global and PXG x3.

    Rolling 10 with a spare energy, the plan deviates here momentarily depending on what's across the table. If a blocker is there, you must use Wolverine. If not, spend 7 on Surfer, field a SK, Polymorph Surfer in, apply Anger Issues, boost his attack +1 using the Anger Issues Global, and swing for a glorious 18 (remember, RDG does one damage each time you use it, which is why you need to use Surfer's Global AND take a damage for not having enough dice to roll to trigger Surfer's doubling - you also have to apply AI and boost his attack during the Main Step to get his doubling bonus to double those as well).

    With Wolverine, in The Reserve Pool, you have two extra energy after purchasing him, using Poly, using AI, and boosting his attack. Both should be fists. One will be used to bump his attack another +1 and one will be used to force the opposing character to block (YGO Goblin Attack Force global). Since he doubles his attack vs characters who block him, he's essentially a 20/2 and can handle defense up to 2 in a blocker and still swing for lethal.

    Now, I've run the numbers through Excel a bunch. They're not great. But even if you miss a little bit, you might be able to pick off the last life or two with other direct damage or even RDG again. This is Overcrush Rush (as described by @slimo) in high gear. The thing is the numbers are only marginally different from other key strategies, but that marginal difference can be huge in the grander scheme of play. Take for example, Tsarina High Hopes. Let's use those estimated cumulative dice roll odds mentioned above of 25%. Surfer's are almost identical. Wolverine works out a little better, let's estimate at 28% (but you need an opposing Sidekick). The difference between Tsarina/Surfer and Wolverine isn't 3%, it's 12% relative to each other, and you're hedging the bet by having both in the deck. A strategy that provides odds closer to 35-40% success playing fast is almost certainly the difference between making the cut and not after Swiss Rounds, because thatís a 40-60% relative change. Beyond that point (the cut), decisions play a larger role, and there may be significant gamesmanship that affects outcomes. But, by playing the odds, you give yourself a much better shot at being in a position to place high or even win. Before the cut, you need to push the odds in your favor, because 1) dice and 2) maybe going second. If you slow the game down, odds begin to matter (slightly) less because of the eleventy million ways the dice could roll. I guess it's not so much the odds mattering less as it is the possibilities growing exponentially and your decision tree doing the same.

    So, what are you doing to increase your odds of winning (quickly)? Or are you trying to lock your opponent out of that type of win condition somehow? Share what you're doing and why. Who knows, maybe it'll grant you chances to win in the anniversary contest!

    Disclaimer: even on the way to World's, I'm second guessing this play, especially with what qualifiers have shown us. I love that there isn't a clear cut best available team. I also love that the Thing qualified, based on reports from the interwebs.
    Comments 10 Comments
    1. Jthomash2's Avatar
      Jthomash2 -
      Bummer of a day for my record, amazing otherwise. Missed the cut by half a continent. But I have a new favorite game that I played. That match vs DA Matt on the stream to start things off was amazing. Absolutely the best game I've played.
    1. DigitalFirefly's Avatar
      DigitalFirefly -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jthomash2 View Post
      Bummer of a day for my record, amazing otherwise. Missed the cut by half a continent. But I have a new favorite game that I played. That match vs DA Matt on the stream to start things off was amazing. Absolutely the best game I've played.
      Despite your loss that match was really fun to watch.
    1. Shadowmeld's Avatar
      Shadowmeld -
      I too played a match where I lost by 1 HP and was also my best match to date. I'll be posting about it soon I think, it was crazy close.
    1. Jthomash2's Avatar
      Jthomash2 -
      Honestly, I can't complain about the day AT ALL. I didn't get the record I wanted, but I met a few great people and was reminded about why I think this community is so great. My bomb never fired as planned. Not once. But I was in every game (at least until I wasn't). Best of luck to those who remain. It may take a little bit of time to digest this one. Not for any reason other than the fact that the field was so diverse (at least what I faced). I heard Gobby was swinging for 18 in some cases. I saw Patch. I saw Hulks. I did not see Nova. But what did me in was Tsarina, Human Torch, Prismatic Spray/Dragons, and Matt's team... 4 uniquely different win conditions.
    1. RJRETRO's Avatar
      RJRETRO -
      I like how you always capitalize "The Reserve Pool". Makes me smile.

      As for your day, tough breaks, but we're still proud of you. Honourary Canadian forevers, man!
    1. Jthomash2's Avatar
      Jthomash2 -
      Looking back, I'm not sure how many tough breaks I had. Maybe a couple, but probably not more than anyone else. I took a strategy that was a calculated risk and it was over its head. I think the idea has validity, but it's pretty evident it's not tier 1. At least in its current form. The longer games went, the more trouble I was in... Honestly, I was out designed and out played (both) in virtually every match today. I'd like to think I made no mistakes in at least one match, but I'm sure that's not true. I learned a lot though, and I think I will have a chance to get better.

      The best part was connecting with other people who love this game and play it at an exceptionally high level. That alone was worth the whole day.
    1. Phantom's Avatar
      Phantom -
      It was an awesome match to see on stream JT(and Matthew). Couldn't see much of the rest due to time zone differences and BBQ'ing with friends . Any ideas on if the matches are viewable on Wizkids stream now afterwards.

      Nice article as well, I would definitely like to try it out sometime. How would you deal with a Distraction on the opposing side though? Do you have the energy for a DCK global?
    1. Jthomash2's Avatar
      Jthomash2 -
      If you don't pump, yes. Distraction bit me in the game vs Vallee.
    1. Isawa_mo's Avatar
      Isawa_mo -
      I have done a build centered around both Silver Surfer (this was before Anger Issues and RD, however) and more recently the build With Wolverine. I did not include SS in the more recent one. The problem I have with it, its pretty much all in to do its thing and all peripheral cards have to be geared around making your hits happen. In other words, I feel it needs Doomcallibur Knight, Red Dragon, PXG, Goblin Attack Force, Silver Surfer or Resurrection, BEWD and Obviously Wolverine. Leaving it little room for an "escape hatch" win option. Yes it can win and somewhat consistently. I was not bothering with Poly, because you have to get the Anger Issues in order to make it work properly and trying to get both would mean no chance at Turn 3 hit. I actually had Kobold and Psylock in my version. I am certain there are better options than that, but its hard for me not to follow the rule of having cheap cost Mask option and I liked the Kobold for the chance at double fists to help push up damage with AI.
    1. DiceAnon Mathew's Avatar
      DiceAnon Mathew -
      JT, Thanks for the shout out, man! You were great to play with! I think we both are big on explaining what we're doing which helps not only with the camera, but for your opponent as well. Trust me though, you had me sweating there, BIG time.
      I felt bad for that one turn taking me SOOOO long. I had enough for 13 damage if I flipped the Mr. Fantastics and spun up the ant man. But more than one life is still a resource... 1 isn't. I'd a been dead dead regardless the next turn.
      Great game, tons a fun, love the community, and especially glad I met you.