• Kobolds, Fireballs, Orcs, and Dragons, oh my...

    [top]Or, the D&D rainbow draft at UK Games Expo, my experience...

    [top]Day 1 of the UK Games Expo - Friday 29th May - 14:00.

    Having arrived at the venue, picked up my tickets, and spotted Darren Christie hanging around the ticket hall, we headed off to the grandly named "Wizkids Pavilion".

    Being situated next to the hotel swimming pool, the air of in the pavilion hung with the smell of chlorine.

    Oh well, I guess it could have been worse.

    Anyway, we arrived and found the Dice Masters desk, at which there appeared to be a somewhat animated discussion going on between the judge (who, by the way, I thought did a good job, considering the circumstances) and a number of attendees.

    The issue was that on the UK Games Expo website they had had two events listed for the Friday - a Marvel/DC constructed tournament, and a D&D constructed tournament.

    It then, about a couple of weeks or so before the Expo, emerged, on Facebook, that this was wrong, and we were informed that it was to be a Draft.

    However, the discussion was about what format the event was going to be - the judge was saying it was meant to be Hybrid.

    But, of course, everyone was expecting either constructed or draft!

    Anyway, draft was settled upon, and we, after getting our team sheets, sat down to start.


    [top]My team

    By far the vast majority of players were there for the Marvel/DC event, leaving just four of us for D&D.

    This, of course, meant, once we'd opened our packs, there were very few characters in the rainbow with any more than 2 or 3 dice.

    Which made deciding what to draft somewhat, well, interesting...

    Fortunately, for me, my first set of packs contained 1 Kobold, as did the second set. One of which was the 1-cost Swarm variant. And, with just 3 Kobold dice available in the rainbow, my first pick from each set was easy.

    So, as I was going Kobold, I figured low-cost Fists would give me a good chance, and, though there were Orcs in the rainbow, I didn't see any, but the first block of cards passed to me contained a Half-Orc fighter, of which there were two or three dice available, and so the shape of the rest of my team was set.

    I picked up gear, a Red Dragon, a bunch of Sprays, and a couple of other beefier Fist characters to fill out my team, as well, of course, as some junk that I got passed towards the end of each set of 12.

    The team I ended up with was a follows (we were told by the judge to use only D&D BACs, incidentally):




    (Dice Masters DB link)

    It was decided that, due to how few of us were playing, that we would play 3 rounds, with everyone playing everyone else, and best of three games each round, with no time limit.

    And so, with teams set, the rounds began...


    [top]Round 1 - Nathan

    Nathan drafted an interesting team, I felt, with some reasonable low cost characters, and one really big, powerhouse of a, character.

    However, certainly for my games against him, he also chose his own downfall...




    (Dice Masters DB link)

    Nathan played well, but, by buying his Fireballs, I was generally able to keep his field under control, build my defences, and mount an attack, all whilst chipping away at his health with Red Dragon global.

    The third game was the most tense, as he found the energy to purchase two of his three Terrasque dice. And, believe me, two Terrasques staring you down, from across the table, is not a thing you want to see.

    [top]Result

    WIN: 2-1 (2pts)


    [top]Round 2 - Paddy

    When I sat down and looked at Paddy's team I wasn't really sure what I was looking at. It certainly has some great cards, and I discovered where all the Orc dice that I wanted for my team went. But I felt it didn't have the coherence I expect from a well put together team...




    (Dice Masters DB link)

    However, Paddy played the team extremely well, and I did not feel at all at ease in any of the three games we played. I recall the Frost Giant and the Blue Dragon being particularly bothersome. And I quickly figured out what was my biggest mistake in putting my team together. But, more on that later.

    Fortunately with two Red Dragon's in play, and plenty of Actions on my team, my strategy was pretty obvious. That said, Paddy played extremely well, put up a great fight, and I was unsurprised by how he did in both this draft, and the Nationals on the Sunday.

    [top]Result

    LOSS: 1-2 (1pt)


    [top]Round 3 - Darren

    Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of Darren's team, as he needed to pack up as soon as we'd finished, but he kindly sent me a picture of the cards he used, so I can at least give those, though not the dice counts used.




    (Dice Masters DB link)

    Of the three teams I faced, this was the one I most feared when I sat down in front of it. Lots of cheap Dragons, and the means to make them cheaper. I also failed to realise which Dracolich it was I was facing.

    So, game one was painful - I bought lots of Actions, pinging Darren each time with Red Dragon Global, but Darren held out until he had enough energy to buy and then field his Dracolich, at which point I then rapidly bled to death.

    Game two was far less painful, as I changed tack - buying, of my actions, only my gear dice, early on, and getting them into the field before Darren could buy his Dracolich.

    Game three Darren kindly conceded to me, because of his need to leave.

    [top]Result

    WIN: 2-1 (2pts)


    [top]Conclusion

    I hate draft. Well, I like that it tests your ability to read the rainbow, and build a coherent team quickly, but I feel it adds an unnecessary layer of variance on an already high-variance game.

    That said, I learnt an important lesson for drafting - put a lot more thought in to the Basic Actions you take!

    In the 2nd and 3rd rounds I was badly hampered by the lack of the board clear that Nathan so kindly brought to the table in the 1st round, in the shape of Fireball.

    [top]Final Result

    1. Patrick: 3-0-0 (6pts)
    2. Me: 2-1-0 (5pts)
    3. Nathan: 1-2-0 (3pts)
    4. Darren: 0-3-0 (2pts)

    [top]Prizes

    I hate to end this blog post on a negative note, however, the prize pool was the one part of the tournament that I felt was a little disappointing. Though, not the overall prizes I walked away with, but the distribution of the prizes between the participants.

    [top]Participation prizes:

    • Phoenix Force, Force of Nature card and die.
    • Premier Event Play Mat.
    • Beast, Mutate #666 alternate art card.
    • Harley Quinn, Dr. Harleen Quinzel.

    [top]Place prizes:

    1. Full D&D Dice Masters Gravity Feed.
    2. 20 D&D Dice Masters Booster Packs.
    3. Approx 10 D&D Dice Masters Booster Packs.
    4. Approx 10 D&D Dice Masters Booster Packs.

    Perhaps I expected too much. But I felt like the bulk of my prize was in the form of the Participation prizes, which everyone got, regardless of their final result in the tournament. And the difference between the prize for 2nd and that for 3rd and below seemed a little small.

    However, despite my dislike of draft, my kicking myself for not taking more time over my BAC selection, and my slight disappointment about the prize pool, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

    All my opponents were great sports, and, I felt, played fairly, and well.
    This article was originally published in blog: Kobolds, Fireballs, Orcs, and Dragons, oh my... started by Scorpion0x17
    Comments 6 Comments
    1. Dave's Avatar
      Dave -
      Excellent article on the draft experience. Can't agree with the "I hate draft" part but very well done. :-)
    1. Scorpion0x17's Avatar
      Scorpion0x17 -
      Thanks, @Dave .

      I can understand why yourself, and others, like the Draft format.

      I just prefer the more considered approach of Constructed.
    1. Werekin's Avatar
      Werekin -
      Interesting review of the day. It's a shame that there is no write-up from the Super Heroes side as I do not collect Dragon dice. Looking at the poor turnout for your event I'm horrified to see that you passed any criticism on the prize giving. That's a ton of prizes to receive for such a paltry attendance. Count yourself lucky that Esdevium allowed a draft event to go ahead without a minimum of 8 players! Would've made more sense to cancel it and focus on the event with adequate attendance.

      I didn't see any details on Facebook announcements pointing towards these events being run as rainbow drafts. Expo web site clearly stated constructed play. Another reason I'm glad not to have been attending this get together. As limited formats go it' a really shonky mode to play under which is a shame as I see a lot of potential for the game to develop.

      Based on the fact that Wizkids are insistent on promoting Unlimited play then I don't see much take up for events when the majority of players are collecting Marvel & DC dice only. The game seems resigned to informal play if the guidelines on running organised play events don't receive a significant overhaul. Unfortunately with the upcoming random expansions for turtles (and more) the landscape will only become more confusing for fans of the original game.

      Neither are serious collectors interested in playing these naff drafts because by this point their investment has already been made. These players wish to play with the cards & dice they've collected, not spend out on more duplicates!

      The main window for limited play to work is when a new set set is being released. The problem here is that Wizkids mysterious release pattern (delay after delay) makes it impossible to schedule release events. This is an incredibly amateurish way to be doing business, by comparison to the longtime proven way of doing things as demonstrated by Wizards of the Coast/Hasbro games.
    1. Dave's Avatar
      Dave -
      Quote Originally Posted by Scorpion0x17 View Post
      Thanks, @Dave .

      I can understand why yourself, and others, like the Draft format.

      I just prefer the more considered approach of Constructed.
      Yeah, for me, I like the way that draft requires you to be creative within limitations. Constructed is fun but at times it feels like there are too many options.
    1. Dave's Avatar
      Dave -
      Quote Originally Posted by Werekin View Post
      Based on the fact that Wizkids are insistent on promoting Unlimited play then I don't see much take up for events when the majority of players are collecting Marvel & DC dice only. The game seems resigned to informal play if the guidelines on running organised play events don't receive a significant overhaul. Unfortunately with the upcoming random expansions for turtles (and more) the landscape will only become more confusing for fans of the original game.
      Wizkids is promoting constructed because with the game so young, they don't want to split the player base. They weren't fans of the fact that people would eschew the worlds events in favor of the rainbow side events that they were providing, though they offered them anyway because they know that some like draft.

      If by "fans of the original game" you mean the first Marvel set, it was made clear from the very beginning that multiple IPs would be involved. It was never presented as something that would be superhero-only.
    1. Scorpion0x17's Avatar
      Scorpion0x17 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Werekin View Post
      Interesting review of the day. It's a shame that there is no write-up from the Super Heroes side as I do not collect Dragon dice. Looking at the poor turnout for your event I'm horrified to see that you passed any criticism on the prize giving. That's a ton of prizes to receive for such a paltry attendance.
      Oh, don't get me wrong - I think the overall prize pool was great.

      As I say in the article, everybody got:

      A Premier Event Play Mat.
      Phoenix Force OP card and die.
      Alt-Art Beast.
      Alt-Art Harley.

      That, in and of itself, is fantastic.

      But, the position prizes were:

      4th/3rd: 10 booster packs.
      2nd: 20 booster packs.
      1st: a gravity feed.

      So, I don't know about about the 1st, 3rd, or 4th placed players, but I simply felt that the balance between the participation prizes and placement prizes was off.

      And would have thought that wherever I had placed.

      I simply think that participation prizes should leave you with a sense of "well, it was worth the entry fee just get this", and the place prizes should be the "oh, wow! I got this, and this, and that!" stuff.