• My GenCon Team: Why it's terrible and you should not pilot it expecting similar results.

    So, Monday morning is usually Randy's slot to post an article, but you got pretty much everything from his GenCon experience in the live journal Friday. We had been talking for a month or six weeks about trying to go together, but due to some family-related obligations, my plans have been in total flux the entire time. Tuesday I texted Randy I was definitely not coming. Thursday night that changed, I bought my ticket at about 8pm, got booked for the 1p and 5p constructed events and started doing some laundry to make sure my TRP shirt was clean.

    My plan was to take all my stuff, kick around some ideas with him on the way, throw a few teams in my ZenBins and play what felt like the most fun when the time came. Mostly, that's how it went. Randy showed up about 20 til 5am, we put Abigail's seat in my car and hit the road before 4:45. We chatted about a bunch of ideas, but there is one AoU card that I have been super excited about and really wanted to play. I think it's only half as good as I'd hoped, but that's still pretty awesome. We'll get to it soon, but let's back up a minute.

    I have long wanted to use the Phoenix Force cards in a team. But those costs! Well, I decided I wanted to give a shot at using one of the globals.



    Just not that one. It's still awful - if someone can make it into a reliably used Global with a purpose and not just stick it on a team with the other Phoenix Force Characters, I will give you a SR Captain Universe for just the cost of shipping - so those outside the U.S., join in. Seriously. PM me your ideas. You have one week from the time this is published. This is the one I wanted to use:



    My favorite X-Man is Colossus. It's not even close. I like Wolverine. I think Cyclops is (on and off) a pretty big doofus. The rest of the team has merits and drawbacks, but I love Colossus. I always have. This global has been useless unless you were running with one of the 3 Phoenix Force characters... Until Age of Ultron brought us Infiltrate. This basic action makes this global worthwhile. Make a character have the Phoenix Force affiliation and two fists can double his or her attack! Well, we know that one of the biggest beatsticks in the game is Formerly Weapon Ten (FWX), right? So what happens when you go for it? That's the question I asked Randy as we were getting back on the highway after a quick stop to use the restroom and change drivers. We started talking through turns and what it would look like. But how could you go for it as fast as possible?

    Well, we know that a two cost into a 4 cost with Professor X Global (PXG) can yield 10 dice turn 3, including both purchases. So we added Red Dragon's Global (RDG) to make Infiltrate a 2 cost. That's half the team - PXG, RDG, Colossus, FWX, and Infiltrate. We know that Distraction frustrates FWX teams, and we know that one of the best players in the world (David @Walsh) likes to mitigate that using the uncommon Doomcaliber Knight (DCK) from YGO. Pay a fist and you can't target FWX with Distraction. Check. What if there are blockers to handle? I could bring Relentless. But then I give Relentless to my opponent. I hate doing that (keep this in mind for an ironic admission later on). Some globals I don't mind my opponent having because I believe I will use them better or more advantageously. Some I don't mind bringing because I really don't think my opponent can get as much mileage out of them. Relentless is not one of those. I would rather ping away my opponents characters, so I know I'm bringing Rare Slifer or Magic Missile BAC.

    In talking with Randy about how the turns might go, we realized that any imperfect ramp could really throw off the rhythm. Resurrection solves this. And I wasn't worried about providing Resurrection because, even on a level one face, most games (those without distraction) FWX can attack for 18 (level 1 is 5, plus 4 if he attacks alone, doubled if he's Phoenix Force affiliated). Giving away a ramp global (or two) matters less when I expect games to go quickly. So with Resurrection my BAC choice, Slifer becomes the ping. Iceman Too Cool For Words (2C4W) gives me as many bolts as I want. Most FWX teams don't like to have a ping global, because Wolverine's defense is rather low. But on my turn, I can give him +3D with infiltrate to start with. This meant that if my opponent wanted to ping him away, they had to mortgage ramp or some other objective, and I am ok with that.

    What do we put in the last spot? My one effort for removal. If I run into Constantine, or common AOU Loki, or other control threats, this was my out - pay the mask, take the damage, hope for good things on the other side. This worked against me once - more on that in a minute. For better or worse, I decided to bring this team and my Patch Avengers from Canadian Nationals (which I haven't run again since that day). Primary objectives with my CanNats team have been covered elsewhere. Phx Force FWX though - you want to use RDG and pay one for Infiltrate on turn one and save two masks to PXG twice. Rolling 7 turn two, buy FWX and PXG 3 times to roll it all turn 3. Not facing Distraction? Field Wolverine, give him +3D and the Phx Force affiliation. ping away everything on the opposing field, saving two fists. Attack first to get the +4/+4, then double after no blockers are declared to make him 18/18 on level 1. Facing distraction you have to double first, then use DCK, making him 14/14 on level 1. Either is devastating, if he's getting through. If you miss on ramp either turn, just use the Resurrection Global after you buy FWX and you still can roll both him and the action die turn 3.

    We had some trouble finding parking (go figure - it's GenCon) and knew we were cutting it a little close having to go to will-call to start the day. I was less concerned than Randy, because I wasn't booked for the 11am event. We got there with time to spare, and with only 5 other players, Randy convinced me to spend some Generics and jump in. With 6 players and the prize structure the way it was, two got byes into the top 4. Randy and I had to play each other to join them. Randy was running his Fireball team but with Jocasta. I thought I was in trouble for this matchup. Randy was having an off day and made several misplays, which let me move on unscathed. He had both Distraction and Storm's Global, which I countered and he did not use to move Infiltrate to another target, respectively. 2-0. (Between this round and the next I got to play Jimmy. Jimmy beat me, but I won't go into details, as he was using at least one yet to be released card. Jimmy had lethal at least twice and missed it because he was focused on his primary win condition instead of another that presented itself. But I couldn't get past his wall - and he took me down. He did like my WinCon though, so much so that he wanted to take a picture of those three cards - I'm sure he texted it immediately Justin Ziran asking if there was room on staff for me, and I expect to hear something this week.)

    The next team I played was a neat Avengers team using Tsarina, Mr. Anger, and one of the new Hulks - Bruce Banner. Paying zero fielding costs, he was able to get some characters out quickly. When he attacked, he expected me to block, which I refused to do. I ate a bunch of damage to maintain ramp and keep my bag culled of sidekicks and, most importantly, my opponent's field clear. After stumbling a little at the start, I swung with a 24/22 level 3 FWX for the win. I think the second game went much the same. 4-0 (Remember, Jimmy was using not yet released cards - it doesn't count!) I had to give Randy my ticket for the 1p event because I was moving on and that event was getting started.

    In the finals, I faced Jason, who ran a cool villain retaliation team. I thought it probably would not be anywhere near fast enough, and it wasn't game one. Game two he changed gears and went Constantine and Common AoU Loki, getting both in the field before I could get FWX, Infiltrate, and two fists at the same time. Thankful for Mr. Fantastic, I got both off the field and swung big on the next turn. I don't recall if I won immediately or needed another few turns to do it, but I got it done. 6-0 - event won. If I'm not mistaken, Jason and his retaliation team (with a tweak or two) won the 3pm event.

    Randy and I talked about it and I initially decided against running this team again in the next event. It was playing downright meanly - my games tended to be over so fast. These were events with some people who had never played in a competitive constructed event before (a boat I was in not too long ago). Teams were thematic and pretty well-designed, but not meta teams (I am not claiming Phx Force FWX is, either, but it has teeth against those not expecting it). They didn't have any answers for this type of aggro team. Wishy-washy as ever, I waffled on even that decision and ran it in the 4 person event at 5pm. First up, Alice. She had seen the team in action earlier, and had a strategy - buy my Infiltrates away from me. Good strategy - Jimmy did that earlier. She bought two of them. She was using the uncommon Wasp (uh-oh, I thought, this will not end well). I expected her to do what I expected Jimmy to do - use Infiltrate on her Wasp, pump her Wasp, and then double Wasp's attack with the Colossus Global. This is the reason my team should have not won. I brought a phenomenal win condition - in a form available to my opponent. I got a level one FWX and hit her for 18, leaving one life which RDG managed to get on the next turn. The next game went longer - at one point Alice mortgaged everything to get a level 3 8/7 Phx Force FWX off the field by pinging him to KO before I could attack, but we eventually hit a similar-to-game-1 situation. I had a level one Phx Force FWX and SK in the field, 4 s and a in reserve. She was at 17 life, brought Anger Issues, and I thought nothing mattered, so I passed priority, she passed back, and I stayed in the main step to pump FWX 3 times with 3 of the fists. Major timing issue - I had to pass back, at which time she payed a mask to force my SK to attack. Whoops. So I doubled FWX attack, but missed out on the +4 from his ability. With the SK, that made 17, but she bolted my SK to survive. Thank goodness for RDG, which closed the door the next turn. 8-0

    In the final match, I played Andrea. She too bought my 2 of my Infiltrates away from me, but one at the right time is all you need. I won game 1, she got a wall behind Constantine locking out FWX game two and won, and I was able to pull off the game 3 win with another big swing for more than 20 damage unblocked. 10-1 - event won.

    What I know is this: FWX is a huge beatstick, and I was using tools to make him even bigger. I had one turn 3 win, at least two turn 4s and two turn 5s. Most of my games were quick. The longer the game goes, the bigger the wall on the other side, or if someone just would have seen that they had the tools available to do what I wanted to do, I would not have performed nearly as well. I went second 8 of my 11 games. I missed on perfect ramp 8 of my games, or I think I might have had a few more quick wins - Resurrection was absolutely necessary. I missed on fists a couple times, and I missed on character faces for FWX as well as action faces for Infiltrate. This was a ton of fun to play. It took almost everyone by surprise. But in its current form, it is as liable and likely to lose as it is to win. Everyone comes to a match with a win condition. This team brings to the table everything necessary for your opponent to make theirs even better. If the Beholder team is Apologies in Advance, this might as well be "You're Welcome - Thank Me Later." This was the irony to which I referred earlier. In the car, Randy and I were so excited about the thematic wonder of giving Wolverine the Phoenix Force and having him one-shot the opponent that we missed understanding that I was providing that option to each of my opponents. Again, it was amazingly fun to play, and I only ever had to buy dice from two cards, but it is not as stable or reliable as the 10-1 record sounds.

    If you were at GenCon and we missed you, I hope it works out to connect down the road at a later time. If we did connect with you, thanks for taking the time to provide the feedback you did regarding all the stuff we do. I know we got some constructive criticism on a couple counts, and we really appreciate it. I am so thankful for those of you against whom I was able to play - if your local scene doesn't follow the website, use this team on them, and take them by surprise. Then tell them how "simple" it is to beat it by just using it against itself. The community continues to be cordial, inviting, and willing to help others get better, and that is phenomenal for competitive environments.

    I have some ideas about how to take the theme here and improve it and not invite my opponent to use my tools against me - but I'd love to hear yours.

    Cheers!

    tl;dr - Giving Wolverine the Phoenix Force virtually guarantees you might win.
    Comments 26 Comments
    1. Diceman's Avatar
      Diceman -
      Awesome.

      "Use the Force, Logan."
    1. Meatman's Avatar
      Meatman -
      Randy dropped a small teaser about this upcoming post in the forums yesterday. I knew it had something to do with the AVX op Pheonix Force team!...well done JT!

      I'm with you on Colossus...he is a very classic and under appreciated character. I wish he had bigger roles in the movies, instead of just the bit part "unnamed generic Mutant" roles that he gets..there is so much more that they could do with that character.

      I also think his uncommon and rare from AVX have some untapped potential as win conditions as well.
    1. Dave's Avatar
      Dave -
      Yeah, it's a fun concept that, as constructed, loses its surprise value. Definitely other ways to make something like this work though.
    1. pk2317's Avatar
      pk2317 -
      I'd think Patch + Infiltrate would be easier, but not necessarily faster.
    1. TheDoubleBursts's Avatar
      TheDoubleBursts -
      The Quick-Play events were not fully planned out by the WizKids crew. Andrea and I (Alice) made plans to attend 2 Quick-Play Events. Between our Late Night Tournaments and trying to earn the maximum amount of promos to bring back for prize support, we did not bother bringing absolutely everything. The plan was to attend mostly Rainbow Drafts.

      We decided to do two Quick-Play events. One on Thursday and one on Friday. Wednesday night rolls by and the single we traded for over the FaceBook Dice Masters Traders group did not arrive on time even though we had paid for rush. Thanks USPS! Thanks a lot. I had the components of two and a half teams with me. So, Wednesday night I constructed the alternate team. The team smashed through the tournament. Due to some unfortunate mix-ups with the planning of the events, our event was run with all kinds of confusion and an extra round! I spent a LOT of time having to calculate every move with the alternate team.

      So, after being graced to a game against Jimmy's team Wasp team (I heart the team Jimmy! I wanted to try it.) Thankfully my main team was looking at Wasp as an alternate.

      JT, you still wrecked me! I would like to say that event though I built up a counter to JT's team, he still rolled perfectly in our matches.
    1. RJRETRO's Avatar
      RJRETRO -
      I don't think it's fair to say he "rolled perfectly". Insinuates he only won because of luck.

      I believe in the Canadian Nationals Champion.
    1. Randy's Avatar
      Randy -
      Quote Originally Posted by RJRETRO View Post
      I don't think it's fair to say he "rolled perfectly". Insinuates he only won because of luck.

      I believe in the Canadian Nationals Champion.
      Best there is. Best there was. Best there ever will be. ...or is that some other Canadian champion I'm thinking of?
    1. RJRETRO's Avatar
      RJRETRO -
      Nope. That's JT.

      And you're hearing that from the Mouth of the North, RJRETRO.
    1. Necromanticer's Avatar
      Necromanticer -
      I'm pretty sure that the Colossus global is only able to target the Phoenix Force die, not just any character with the unnamed affiliation. We're never given a name for the affiliation mark that Colossus, Cyclops, and Phoenix Force have and Colossus and Cyclops' globals specify the Phoenix Force character. It's a brilliant gimmick if it really does work that way, but I don't think that's quite how it works.
    1. Jthomash2's Avatar
      Jthomash2 -
      Quote Originally Posted by RJRETRO View Post
      I don't think it's fair to say he "rolled perfectly". Insinuates he only won because of luck.

      I believe in the Canadian Nationals Champion.
      It might be fair to say I had my best rolls those games. I don't know, I rolled a lot of dice.
    1. EJayDM's Avatar
      EJayDM -
      Nice! A friend of mine was wanting to do a team using this combo as well, I'll need to point out the flaw to him when he plays it (while I'm playing against him of course, lol). I even named it for him, Phoenix Fastball.
    1. Jthomash2's Avatar
      Jthomash2 -
      Love the name!
    1. Indy Mon's Avatar
      Indy Mon -
      @Necromanticer : the consensus is that the combo works, though there is admittedly no official ruling on it

      @TheDoubleBursts , @RJRETRO , @Jthomash2 : good and bad rolls really aren't a huge factor in constructed where good teams are tuned to deal with either contingency; when combo teams win it's usually a result of the combo player being really good at mitigating against the risk that the combo won't go off and/or the opposing player failing to bring resources to interfere with combo teams; based on JT's results at Canadian Nationals (Patch is certainly a combo team) and now Gen Con, I'd chalk this up as JT just being a plain old great combo player.
    1. Jthomash2's Avatar
      Jthomash2 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Necromanticer View Post
      I'm pretty sure that the Colossus global is only able to target the Phoenix Force die, not just any character with the unnamed affiliation. We're never given a name for the affiliation mark that Colossus, Cyclops, and Phoenix Force have and Colossus and Cyclops' globals specify the Phoenix Force character. It's a brilliant gimmick if it really does work that way, but I don't think that's quite how it works.
      No one (including Jimmy and two gamemasters) challenged it on those grounds at the event. In fact, they loved it. I see what you're saying, but the wording of the global, "one of your Phoenix Force dice" with the limit of one on the Phoenix Force card makes me think otherwise. Affiliations are somewhat interesting, and this is the first manipulation of them we've had in the game (other than maybe Mystique copying them, but I'm not clear on that). I do not deny it was a gimmick, but most combat tricks are. And this one proved effective this time around.
    1. fun4willis's Avatar
      fun4willis -
      For quick reference...
      You're Welcome - Thank Me Later team.
    1. TheDoubleBursts's Avatar
      TheDoubleBursts -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jthomash2 View Post
      It might be fair to say I had my best rolls those games. I don't know, I rolled a lot of dice.
      You were the one to say it during our matches! (I just would not argue with those words!) There is no doubt that the non-Canadian Canadian National Champion is amazing! I enjoyed our games and I enjoyed watching your matche with Andrea. @Randy , I was telling JT mid-way through our game one that his team and strategy was beyond solid. I am excited to play him again at some point.
    1. Necromanticer's Avatar
      Necromanticer -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jthomash2 View Post
      No one (including Jimmy and two gamemasters) challenged it on those grounds at the event. In fact, they loved it. I see what you're saying, but the wording of the global, "one of your Phoenix Force dice" with the limit of one on the Phoenix Force card makes me think otherwise. Affiliations are somewhat interesting, and this is the first manipulation of them we've had in the game (other than maybe Mystique copying them, but I'm not clear on that). I do not deny it was a gimmick, but most combat tricks are. And this one proved effective this time around.
      The fact no one challenged it is the problem I have with the whole affair. Cards like Loki - Illusionist or Possession allow you to take control of your opponent's dice. Accordingly, it's possible to have multiple Phoenix Force dice fielded at a given moment, so the wording "dice" doesn't preclude it applying to the character Phoenix Force - Force of Nature specifically, regardless of her "max: 1" stipulation.

      The biggest point I can make is that the affiliation that they share has never been named (as far as I'm aware after looking into it) and exists only as a symbol to show they are affiliated. All other affiliations have names are laid out in rulebooks, but the symbol that the Cyclops, Colossus, and Phoenix Force OP's share is never referred to anywhere. It may make sense that it would be called the "Phoenix Force" affiliation, but the only entity in the entire game that we know is called Phoenix Force is the character, Phoenix Force - Force of Nature. Until we get a specific ruling in this matter, it's highly contentious and I wouldn't consider it legal.
    1. SarkhanMad's Avatar
      SarkhanMad -
      Could "Phoenix Force" also reference Cyclops and Colossus? It's in their sub title...
    1. Necromanticer's Avatar
      Necromanticer -
      Quote Originally Posted by SarkhanMad View Post
      Could "Phoenix Force" also reference Cyclops and Colossus? It's in their sub title...
      That's part of the question at hand. There has never been an effect that interacts with subtitles. There have been the "undead" and "dragon" classifications that are determined by subtitle and affiliation, but those have both been established by WizKids whereas this combo has never been referred to anywhere. Until we get a name for the affiliation or a ruling on this global, we don't have any reason to suspect that the Phoenix Force named in their globals in anything but the character named Phoenix Force.
    1. DigitalFirefly's Avatar
      DigitalFirefly -
      I always took those OP cards as having Phoenix Force affiliation even though there's no documentation that names it that. Although I can see the argument against it too. Welcome to Dice Masters.