• The Transition Zone: Formats for Organized Play

    Many of you may be fairly new to the game, and wondering how do I go from being a "kitchen table" player to a competitive player? Is there a way to transition from casual play to playing at organized events with people who aren't my friends or kids and eventually move into the competitive world?

    Today I wanted to continue a series of articles to help you learn some of the ins and outs of the competitive and organized play scene outside of just deck-building and how you can transition yourself from the casual to the competitive: welcome to The Transition Zone.

    Now that you know you want to try playing out in the wild, where do you start?
    • Wizkids events page
    • TRP events page
    • Meetup groups
    • Facebook
    • Game store website
    • Bulletin/meetup board in your local store

    So if you luck out and find a store in your area that is doing Organized Play (OP) events, the next step is to figure out what you want to play. Many stores will offer different avenues of play at them and the more successful the store has become at attracting new people, the more likely you will meet a variety of players, play styles, teams, and combos. This will all be a part of your meta. But what do you do when you see the different styles posted and don't know what they all mean? Maybe you don't have a strong Magic or other CCG background and the terms are foreign to you. Today I would like to help you to get a better understand of the formats you may run into and what their definitions are when it comes to Dice Masters.

    Almost all of the current formats will fit into one of two categories, constructed and limited. I will describe each of these, and give examples of what you will see in that category.


    Constructed formats allow you to bring a team that you have already put together. You do the work at home, and bring that team with you to your event. You need to have the cards and the dice already in your collection. This allows more time to put a team together and tweak or test it as needed.

    Examples include:

    Unlimited (Standard) Constructed
    Right now it can be said of the game that we are playing a standard or unlimited constructed format. That means all cards from all sets are allowed, and as tournament rules apply your team should have a maximum of 8 spots with a maximum of 20 total dice along with two basic action cards. This format allows for all cards, including promotional cards to be included. As per tournament rules, a card needs to be out in the general public for at least 1 week to be legal for tournament play in constructed format.

    In-set constructed
    This will be a game that focuses on just one of the released sets so far: Avengers vs X-men, Uncanny, Justice League, D&D, YGO or Age of Ultron. Most of these games will focus on playing with he basic action cards from that set. You are more likely to see in-set constructed games focused on the most recently released sets.

    Little Cup
    This is a format that allows for only commons and starter cards to be used, along with starter basic action cards. Championed by our own RJRetro, this format will allow use of cards from any set as long as you stick to the starters and commons.

    This format is constructed and requires you to partner up with another player for two vs two action. Life totals are increased to 30 for each side. Each player should have a team of 4 and 1 basic action card to combine into a full team. In doubles, the max number of dice are allowed for all cards even if it brings your team above 20 dice.

    Some stores will run events that will use a running theme to construct a team. This still follows the 8 cards, 20 dice limit setup, but will focus on a theme such as "all affiliated characters" or "all one color" (two hued) or "all characters who have dated Jean Grey" or "all Canadian team" or something of the sort. There is a variety of options here, and the only limitation is the creativity of the store.


    Limited formats don't require you to bring anything but your creativity and basic actions. All of the basic actions from every set is legal to use, and this format allow for all cards to be used as soon as they are released. Limited allows you to think and prepare on the fly, as decisions need to be made quickly and then put right in to play. It will challenge your ability to work with what you have and make a strong team.

    Examples include:

    Rainbow Drafts
    By far the most common and most likely to be played limited format event you will run into. Each player will start with 12 packs that you separate into two piles of 6. Open one pile, set it aside and open the next pile and set it aside separately. Move all the dice to the center and commence with draw one, pass the pile to the next person until all cards are picked. Repeat this with the second pile and from the 24 cards and 24 dice you now have, build a team. For more information on how to succeed at your rainbow drafts, make sure to check out Shadowmeld's series "Reading the Rainbow" for tips and helpful advice.

    In this format, you will open a number of packs and using those cards built a team of up to 8 cards and 20 dice. You will bring your basic actions and build your team from the packs you just opened. Most often you will open 15 packs and build up from there. This format will often leave you with much less than 20 dice and you will need to be able to build a team you can pilot to victory.

    The third category takes both constructed and limited and mixes them together. This format is often coined hybrid.


    In hybrid games, you will bring half of a team with you along with basic action cards. This would be the part of it that is constructed because it is per-determined and done before the event. Then you will draft or open sealed packs and build the other half of your team. This would be the limited part of the format because you need to build the rest of your team on the fly based on what your drafted or pulled on that turn. This format challenges your pre-planning and your ability to put together a team quickly based on what you draft.

    There are often other categorized events, but most if not all fall into one of the above categories. Ask your FLGS if you aren't sure what their posted event may be. What is your favorite format? Have you not played one yet that you are excited to try? Let us know in the comments.
    Comments 6 Comments
    1. jevansfp's Avatar
      jevansfp -
      I've enjoyed the Theme Constructed events that our FLGS's are hosting the most. We have had a Ladies' Night (all female characters), Half & Half (by affiliations), the Two Hued Feud mentioned above, LIttle Cup, Commons & Uncommons Only. We're talking about using alignments in our next D&D OP game. If you have a great idea, post it here on TRP and talk to your local FLGS - they'd love to hear fun ideas from people who are interested in coming to their store and playing.
    1. RJRETRO's Avatar
      RJRETRO -
      What about Ubers (R+SR)? Personally, I'd like to see how that would work.
    1. HeavyMeth0d's Avatar
      HeavyMeth0d -
      I would also like to see R/SR teams in a tournament but my community is so small that half of us have Gobby, Tsarina, Hellblazer, Zombie villains and the other half doesn't yet.
    1. HeavyMeth0d's Avatar
      HeavyMeth0d -
      I want to try doubles. I read before through wizkids that the team shared a prep area and can choose who rolls what each turn
    1. IsaacBV's Avatar
      IsaacBV -
      Users would be interesting, and be the opposite of that little cup. Big Cup perhaps?
    1. IsaacBV's Avatar
      IsaacBV -
      Quote Originally Posted by HeavyMeth0d View Post
      I want to try doubles. I read before through wizkids that the team shared a prep area and can choose who rolls what each turn
      That is true, the prep area is shared. There are still some kinks to work out I think with how doubles is played, but there is potential there.