• The Transition Zone: How to Build a Competitive Team

    Entering into the PDC regionals I thought re-doing this article might be helpful for some of you out there to prep for your competitive builds!

    This week in The Transition Zone we will take a look at moving from the casual to the competitive world when it comes to team building. How do I move from the casual kitchen table games to games in a more competitive arena when it comes to constructing a team?

    Many of you who get into this game start with an introduction to the game based on favorite characters, or starter sets or maybe a theme team or two. Once these games help you get experience under your belt, basic action cards and the wide array of globals become the next line of interest for many people. Now suddenly a new world of gameplay is revealed and you start to see how mechanisms within the game work. Remember that there are plenty of people who are just learning how PXG works along with a wide variety of things we now take for granted. But if you are ready to move on, you need to start looking at construction of a team.

    But at some point, you want to make teams that have a high win percentage. How do I construct a team that can be competitive? What are the key components to a team build that will make sure I am covering the bases that I need to? Do I even need to cover all of the bases? Offense or defense?

    For every team you will ever build there are a few core aspects you need to include in the construction to assure success with the team in competitive play. These components are:

    Win condition

    There is nothing more important than this. You need to know how and why you will win the game you will be playing, and your win condition should be easy to name. You may even have a few different win conditions. But these should be easy to identify and you should know how to execute them in most game situations. Certain characters or combos work to drive your win, and you need to be able to know that above all, this is the primary means to winning. Does that mean you can't win another way? Of course not-you can win in a variety of ways. But do not leave it to chance or extensive perfect alignment of just the right rolls of dice, the cards, the stars and the planets. Be confident and push to the win condition before you opponent can stop you.


    You will draw and roll four dice, and every single turn you will repeat this process. But what if you could roll more? Or what if you could roll exactly what you wanted? Wouldn't you? This is where ramp and churn come into play.

    Ramp is rolling more than the four energy you will get in that repeated sidekick roll. Now just buying other dice will add to the energy potential for each roll, to a maximum of four dice giving up to eight energy. But to really take advantage of this, you need to ramp faster. PXG gives us the biggest early ramp allowing for multiple dice rolls early in the game.

    Churn is similar but slightly different in its definition. Churn allows us to keep certain dice, usually sidekicks, from slowing us down by keeping them out of the bag or moving them quickly through the bag. Churn allows you to roll the dice you really want and move passed ones you are less interested in. Red Tornado is my favorite example of this ability, as he can quickly filter out sidekicks and allow you to roll the dice you are looking for. Don't underestimate the need to have at least one if not both of these abilities on your team.

    Targeted removal

    You will face characters you do not want on the opposite side of the board. These will be the big monsters who can absolutely wreck your plans such as Hulk, Jinzo, Thanos and others. These guys don't move easily, and often hurt you when you try to move them. So how do you address them? You need to have targeted removal options. This can look like many of the Storm cards in AvX to combos like BEWD and Solomon Grundy like World champion Dean used on his team or Jade Giant like Canadian champion JT used on his team. Whatever you choose, have a way to take a guy off the board.

    Board Sweep

    Sometimes you will face many characters you don't want on the board. Little weenies like sidekicks, kobolds, beasts, drones or Peppers can clog up and create a nice hefty wall that you need to get through. This could be done with direct damage, or ways to jump the wall. But there are times where you need a few characters off the board to go in and hit your opponent for damage. In these cases, you need ways to remove multiple characters. This can look like Green Goliath Hulk or an Umber Hulk or a variety of other cards. Just make sure that you are prepared to remove multiple characters especially if you need to swing in for your damage.


    Control or counter cards do exactly what the name would imply-they help you to control your opponent and keep them from doing what they want. It is you imposing your will on them. Control keeps them from playing their win condition or slows them down in the process of trying to use it. Constantine, Zombie Magneto, Prismatic Spray are such examples in the game. These cards will allow you to dictate pace, but they do not alone win you a game. Don't rely on them to be your win conditions, but instead look at it to be a way to protect your win condition or address the meta powerhouses.

    Turn one/turn two

    Every team build needs to have consistent buying in the beginning. There will always be a small amount of variation based on what you see across the table, but for the most part you should always have a solid turn one and turn two buy strategy. "If I roll this type of energy, I know my options are _____" should help point you towards your win condition. I was discussing this with Shadowmeld the other day, and he said it well: "every team needs to know where they are going on turn one and two, and after that probability dictates buying". If you don't know where you are going early, chance will be your initial driver and this game doesn't allow for that to be successful. Minimize chance and know where you want to go.

    So if you are making that team to take to your next event, make sure to keep these components in mind to create a successful team. Know where you are going and know how to get there. Cover all of our bases and you know what your team can do offensively and defensively. As our fearless leader Dave recently told me: "People try to build too much toward every card helps you win that they buy too much and have zero protection". Don't be the guy who doesn't know what his team is doing and you won't be the guy whose team is losing.
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. Shazam's Avatar
      Shazam -
      Fantasitc article. Addresses one of my biggest concerms: Win Condition. This is the hardest for me. I'm guessing the simpler, the better. How many cards/dice is too many to reasonably rely on as a good win condition?
    1. RJRETRO's Avatar
      RJRETRO -
      Great comment. I'll tag @IsaacBV so that he can respond to it, @Shazam .
    1. SarkhanMad's Avatar
      SarkhanMad -
      this is a must read, and re-read, and re-read...
    1. SarkhanMad's Avatar
      SarkhanMad -