• Bold Predictions: The AoU Meta

    It’s hard to say at this point what we think will happen with Age of Ultron. Will this set compliment the existing meta, or will it turn it on its head? Will the overall impact be nil?

    That last one is the least likely, but it's just too early to say!

    There are plenty of good cards coming, but the truth is that it’s difficult to really see the effect on the game as a whole until we really get to start playing with the sets. And yet, we can guess! Here are some predictions about what we might see when Age of Ultron comes into the Dice Masters zeitgeist - and why.

    Some of these may happen, others may not. Still others may happen halfway. Let’s dig in and think!


    Direct Damage, De-Emphasized

    The biggest reason why comes in the starter set Captain America “Super Soldier” who reads:

    “While active, prevent all but 1 damage to you from any action or character abilities.”

    A Gobby fielded with six sidekicks active will do merely one damage with this effect active. Note too that while we’ve had a similar ability available to us - namely Human Paladin’s global from D&D - this is not a global ability. It happens for free as long as Captain is on the field. The good Captain is no slouch either, boasting an attack of five on all three faces and fitting in to any Avengers-related synergies to boot.

    Death by a thousand cuts-style strategies will still see their day in the sun over that particular card, but that too is mitigated by a different Captain America, this time “The First Avenger”:

    “While active, whenever you take non-combat damage, spin this character up one level.
    * Also gain 1 life.”

    And this will mean…


    Combat Is King

    With mass amounts of direct damage mitigated by Captain America, Not only do we have some high-attack characters, we also have high-impact cards like Hulk Out that will make Overcrush a formidable strategy.

    And yet...

    SMASH!

    We've had the tools to deal with prevalent Overcrush for some time. And by "for some time" I mean "since the beginning of the set". A blocked bruiser with Overcrush can do absolutely nothing when faced with Smash. Or Selective Shield. Or Mirror Force. As long as you have a fist in reserve, you're pretty well set to deal with Overcrush. While a 'Crusher can do a lot of damage when not blocked, most of the crazy combos, like "The Best There Is", require at least one blocker, if not more, to work.

    We've had this tool three times in Dice Masters just to this point. Mirror Force does basically the same thing as Smash, though it costs one more to buy. Selective Shield stops certain things from attacking or blocking. Of these, Smash is probably the most useful, as it comes at the lowest cost and at least gives some marginal removal. Are either of these useful enough to be included on a conventional team? Hard to say.
    Probably not, as it's only really there for hate to a specific archetype.


    Zombies Hate Weenies

    Loads of people are excited for Magneto “Magnetic Monster.” It’s easy to see why:

    “While active, enemy characters with Purchase Cost 3 or lower lose their abilities.”

    Let’s think of some of the cards we’ve seen used most effectively to this point:

    Gobby. Tsarina. Constantine. And that’s just to name three! Falcon: Recon has cause problems for some. Black Manta’s retaliation has proven dangerous. We can all think of some pesky cards that this just shuts down. It’s like a permanent Prismatic Spray, turning them into vanilla characters unless and until Zombie Mags can be kicked off the field.




    Patch Avengers Returns?

    I’m a big fan of Nick Fury “Patch” - there’s a reason I ran him at US Nationals earlier this year. However, as many and varied strategies have moved away from that sort of team, we now have a host of Avengers with different abilities that could make him top tier once more - especially because cards like the S.H.I.E.L.D Helicarrier enable anything to become an Avenger!

    It will likely look nothing like what the old versions of the team did - likely we won't have something quite like High Hopes again - but I would not be surprised in the least to see Patch come back with a vengeance.


    Captivating!

    Capturing may be the new option for removal given that we have characters like Ultron, who deals damage the first time you capture an opposing die each turn. Uncommon Enchantress captures Avengers - just a few of them in this set, right? Ultron Drones are all about capturing, some incidentally while blocking, others in a more targeted way.

    Nine cards in this set deal with capturing, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but we only had 13 in the five previous sets combined! We’ve nearly doubled our supply. That said, seven mentions of "capture" come from just two characters.


    A Global Crisis

    The rare Wasp has been called Baby Jinzo, and for good reason - it adds another deterrent to global usage.

    While Wasp is active, when your opponent uses a Global Ability, she deals them 1 damage.

    The key difference from Jinzo is that this card actually does damage, while Jinzo simply causes a loss of life. This means that Wasp could trigger abilities like Hulk, but at three cost, that may be a risk worth taking. All of this said, given that Wasp deals half the damage of Jinzo, it's possible that she'll be slightly overvalued.


    Something Old, Something New

    The best part? This will swing. Wildly. It’s a meta, folks! Be ready for it!

    Example:

    Those who run Gobby and others like him will quickly be turned off of that strategy by something like Captain America. As fewer and fewer teams that operate in that way are prevalent, so too will use of Captain. Astute players will read that and see that people are starting to rely on the threat of Captain rather than actually having the card, and then the Gobbys could creep back in.

    Another example:

    People are really using Goblin Attack Force, Wolverine, and Hulk Out to destroy opponents with massive Overcrush damage. And so Smash becomes prevalent. As people get Smashed, Overcrush starts to tail off a bit, opening the door to more direct damage or "unblockable" stuff. Enter Captain America perhaps? Or the Human Paladin to stop Relentless? And so people get away from Smash. And with that absence, here comes more Overcrush... Repeat!

    And THAT’S the fun of these games!

    How do you make this happen in your area? The answer is simple: LOTS of events! Accelerate your meta, and don't be scared to play something new.
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. Zeriphem's Avatar
      Zeriphem -
      This is why I love this game so much, Meta predictions. I have a working theory that the dice masters meta really is regional but that's a discussion for another time.

      What I'm thinking based off of the article is that we're going to see a rebirth of control teams. With the amount of damage that these AoU characters can/will be throwing around, players are going to want to get them off field and keep them off. Looking forward to the next few weeks to see what brews from AoU.
    1. bahamut7's Avatar
      bahamut7 -
      I see the Meta swinging towards Capture for some time. The Ultron Drones and Ultron make the strategy very enticing. Gelatinous Cube is fantastic card combined with Zombie Magneto and Sidekick teams are going to be hurting.
    1. TheDoubleBursts's Avatar
      TheDoubleBursts -
      The aspect you are speaking of @Zeriphem is half true. There is exists both a local meta and a global meta. Our local metas impact us the most between major events but the global meta is extremely important because it influences everything.
    1. Scorpion0x17's Avatar
      Scorpion0x17 -
      Re Overcrush: even blocker removal shenanigans are stopped by Smash (et al). The blocker may be removed, but the over crusher is still considered blocked, so Smash global will still work!