• Reading the Rainbow Age of Ultron Draft Episode 1 Economy

    Welcome back folks! Last time we talked about Maria Hill and the rules debate surrounding her. Today we talk about why that is important, as well as a myriad of other cards that make up the core of the economy in the Age of Ultron set. We will do a bit of referencing to Evan's numbers article as well as referencing quite a few cards that we don't yet have good scans or images for. My recommendation is to use your favorite Dice Masters database tool and filter it for just AoU cards that aren't starter or promo.

    My personal preference is this search, but I know there are others out there. Using that search, follow along as we discuss the core to every successful draft team ever, Economy.

    First things first, let's begin with some numbers work. Purchase costs quite high in this set, but unlike Justice League, there are quite a few 2 cost characters to help us ramp up well. We have everything ranging from the aggressive 2 cost Beasts with great attack stats and low fielding costs to the defensive wall builders Pepper Pots and Phil Coulsun. Depending on what form of strategies we want to use we could take any of a variety of 2 drops, but since this article is about Economy, let's take a look at which two drops help us build and establish that economy.

    Maria Hill, in all of her forms is a great two(or three) drop for our Economy, especially if we pick up a late game shield character, such as Thor, Hulk or Odin. Maria Hill also helps with early game shield characters, like Phil Coulson and Wonderman. She can help trigger their when fielded effects with her rare by adding them to your roll. In set, she can add the rare Odin to the roll and let you field him and KO targets over and over. If you miss the roll, you still got some extra shields to spend. Uncommon Maria churns your shield characters like they weren't even in the used pile. All in all Hill is one of the best ramp/churn mechanics in the AoU set. If you see one of her in the draft, she should be very high on your list, especially if you draft a shield character.

    Rare Beast is also a great source of ramp that fits the aggressive nature of a fist character. On the other hand, S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents both uncommon and rare are also sneaky little bags of economy. Sure their abilities are burst effects, but with the burst on two faces, you could get you Avengers characters rolling out for free, or even better, reroll your avengers characters to ensure faces! In fact, The rare S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent is so good, I'm going to go ahead an put it on top of my list for dice to grab in the AoU draft. The reliability you get from having 3 chances at that crucial avenger, and the low cost that the agents have means you are setting yourself up for success, and damning the statistics.

    The last 2 drop I want to talk about is the Ultron Drone. He is one of the few globals in this set and while this version is only a two cost, his statline is closer to that of a 3 cost character. An economic die, with a global, and at common rarity, this guy is someone you want to be looking to build a team around, you know he's going to be out there somewhere.

    Moving on to higher cost economic characters in this set, there aren't a lot, and many of those are difficult to trigger. In the 3-4 cost range we some strategy specific economy cards. Rare Star-Lord is a must grab for all of you out there planning to draft Rocket and Groot. He makes the team super fast, similar to the way Aquaman worked for JLA.

    Baron Zemo give you some reliable action dice economy on his common and rare versions. Pair him with the common Jocasta and you've got an economy for action dice up and running.

    Lastly, Phil Coulson does wonders for getting a wienie swarm started. Field him and get yourself either free sidekicks or free S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents!

    Above 4, the economic effects get a little unreliable. The most reliable in the draft setting is probably Captain Marvel. Put her on the field and attack away, to get your ramp on. At worst, you ramp one die and she goes to the used after damaging your opponent. She could also get KOed, in which case you ramped 2 dice. Lastly, she could get blocked, ramp a die and be fielded and ready for ramping again next turn. Her stats are super good for her cost, and other than her fielding costs, she's definitely someone you want to grab early and be aggressive with.

    Similarly easy to activate is the Uncommon Jocasta. Bring Magic Missile along and BAM you've got yourself a ramp engine. Remember, every turn includes your opponent's turn.

    Moondragon's uncommon is a prime example of difficult economy triggers. Sure she can trade her life for an avenger or Guardian you just bought, but getting her high defense to die is hard to do in a draft situation.

    Common Kang, Captain America and all three rarities of Captain Universe are also dice with abilities that give you some ramp, but each of them is a 6 cost character, and these abilities generally fall into the less than effective "ramp into ramp" strategy. When you're ramping in Dice Masters your plan should be to ramp to something that will win you the game. More ramp, doesn't win you the game, it just lets you buy something that might. It is a much sounder strategy to plan around ramp you can afford by turn 3, and spend the rest of your time figuring out a way to buy what you need to win.

    Also, we should give a nod to the Common and Super Rare Thanos. Both are unbelievably economical if you can get their cost reducing mechanisms to trigger.

    So, looking back, 2 drops, get them early so you can ramp to the things that will help you win. Next time, we'll talk about what there is to help us win, and how we can plan our archetype while we draft. We will also keep an eye out for cards that fit multiple archetypes and let us be flexible in our choices.