• The Transition Zone: Homebrewing

    Constructing a team can take on a few different approaches, and last week we took a look at Netdecking and discussed that in the last article regarding the positives of that approach found HERE. But there are players that would tell you they never “copy” and only want to create. Some of you out there just love to tinker and mix things up and would love to come up with something brand new that no one has seen before. If that describes you, then you Dice Master are a homebrewer.

    Today I want to look at the other side of netdecking when it comes to creating teams: homebrewing.

    Homebrewing would best be defined as creating a team or a combination within a team that has a way to win that no one else has done or come up within the meta scene. For example, if you went to a big constructed event tomorrow with a Formerly Weapon Ten, Patch Nick Fury, Ant-Man and swing big and then told everyone you had come up with this amazing new thing, it would not necessarily be homebrewing. Even if you had come up with it on your own because it has already been done, already been an established combo it wasn't something new to add to the meta that you came up with. Homebrewing is the thing you do that no one else has done that gets people excited enough that they start netdecking it.

    You can brew up all sorts of combos and teams together at home but that doesn't mean they will be good. In fact, if you have tried it you will find many things that fail. I think Homebrewing is best defined as coming up with that thing that works and wins.

    So what are the positives to homebrewing? I would like to share a few with you:

    Get those creative juices flowing

    If you take the time to experiment and see what works together, you may come up with something awful or awesome. You may know how to just play something already established as awesome, and those deck lists exist. But if you can create and pilot, most people won't be ready for it and you get to do all the fun work that goes into seeing what worked and didn't work. You get to reap the reward for getting creative and inventive. If being a tinkerer is your thing and you enjoy the thought process that goes into making a team just as much or more even than playing, then homebrewing is definitely for you.


    You will effect the meta

    "Play the cards you like. Play the mechanics you like. What you know how to play will be better than what you don't 100% of the time. Testing ideas of your own and finding one that works can not only benefit you when you play it, but the community at large after the fact as well. There are no unknown cards. But there are nearly endless unplayed or unpopular combinations that might be viable. Finding them and surprising people with them is a treasure waiting to be claimed." @JThomash

    When you come up with something big and successful and you take it to a big competition and it works, suddenly you are the one who put a shift into the meta. Like Canadian National Champion JT said above, when you discover that card or combo that surprises people, it is priceless. Look at his play of Jade Giant and how that shifted what was the "known" at the time. If you think our meta is small, be the one who shifts and pushes its borders out.

    To finish our discussion on homebrewing, lets hear from the one who most recently shifted our meta, 2015 World Champion Dean, aka @alleyviper. He went to Worlds at Origins and brought a certain pants-less villain that was barely given a glance and made him a monster that is respected and included in many builds now. Corresponding with Dean, he said he had so many points to make but had two that he really wanted to stress when it comes to homebrewing:

    Globals and you

    "Make sure you are taking full advantage of the globals you are bringing. If you're bringing any global you should be planning to take better advantage of it than your opponent. If you look at my Worlds team, Blue-Eyes gives my opponent ramp and some fixing but unless they have strong KO or when fielded effects on their side, I come out ahead because I've got Gobby to cycle and Grundy to control their board. The Grundy/BEWD combo also allowed me to bring Storm's global to fend off opposing Polymorphs, Anger Issues, Puzzles, et al. If I'm bringing Puzzle for removal, which is more reliable than Grundy and only needs itself to work, then I can't safely bring Storm. Since I already had BEWD as a key cog on my team, Grundy was an easy inclusion." @Alleyviper

    Globals. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard this said at an OP event:

    "I can't believe I brought the tools for you to beat me."

    If you are going to play cards and put them together to homebrew, know how to use them and how to not get burned by them. I love transfer power, but if I play it I better be ready to defend against it by having more shields or a way to prevent it from happening to my own characters. You may not get burned by your own stuff, but a skilled pilot will take in all 20 cards on the table to decide how to best beat you.

    Know your role

    "Second would be to make sure you are trying to fill as many roles with each card slot as possible. If a card really only does one thing it should be doing that one thing really well (for example, Gobby). Human Torch is a direct damage engine but also serves as some spot removal and can set your own Hulk off. BEWD can be ramp, a fixer for bad rolls or a way to cycle Gobby/activate Grundy. Grundy came about as much as a Hulk counter as a Puzzle replacement. Jade Giant became the Green Goliath counter du jour, but if you bring JG then that means you lose the immense board clear power of GG. Having Grundy means that if I run into an opposing GG that gets a chance to smash my board, he's eventually going to KO Grundy and lose his Hulk, and I can still bring along my own GG. If you have any card that's only on your team to do one specific thing, you should really look to see if there's something out there that does more." @Alleyviper

    Our second and final point from Dean is to focus on filling roles When it comes to homebrewing. Not too long ago I wrote an article looking at all of the parts that should go into constructing a team and that can be found HERE. When you cover all of your roles in homebrew, make sure that your cards fill them and do it well. If you want a beat-stick, make sure that it is the best one available in effect, cost, TFC and utility. Know your roles and make them the best.


    In the end, homebrewing is something we all should be doing for the strength of the game and the meta and for your own personal growth. Doing this will make you a better player and competitor. As I have said before, and it applies here: a good pilot always beats a good team.
    Comments 14 Comments
    1. hwetzel's Avatar
      hwetzel -
      This really has me rethinking a couple of my teams and how they could be improved. Great article!
    1. HeavyMeth0d's Avatar
      HeavyMeth0d -
      I'm a homebrewer for life. I love seeing the meta shape on its own and getting ideas of what cards are getting more powerful. Mostly I like to see what to plan for to beat the meta. I thank you for this article. Now back to what I was already doing...homebrewing!
    1. Indy Mon's Avatar
      Indy Mon -
      Great article, as always.

      If you aren't homebrewing, in my opinion, you are missing out on most of what this game has to offer. I think of Dice Masters in four parts: collecting, team designing (ie home brewing), drafting, and piloting. Designing your team is the only one out of these four that can be done without requiring the involvement of other people. Many people (including myself) play DM for the social component, but it can be limiting based on the availability of other people. I easily spend in excess of 80% of my dice masters time designing teams. And I find it to be the most intellectually challenging and fun. It's not for everyone--nothing's wrong with buying sets off eBay and netdecking to get straight to piloting--but team design is a deeply rich aspect of the game that I urge people to spend more time on if it is up their alley.
    1. Jthomash2's Avatar
      Jthomash2 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Indy Mon View Post
      Great article, as always.

      If you aren't homebrewing, in my opinion, you are missing out on most of what this game has to offer.... Many people (including myself) play DM for the social component, but it can be limiting based on the availability of other people. I easily spend in excess of 80% of my dice masters time designing teams. And I find it to be the most intellectually challenging and fun.... I urge people to spend more time on if it is up their alley.
      I can't echo these points enough. I have found that brewing goes best for me if I'm working on something with someone else. Here's hoping that @Randy sees whatever improvement he deems necessary and I get my sounding board back. It's probably more fair than not to say he is as much a reason for whatever success I've had as I am.
    1. Indy Mon's Avatar
      Indy Mon -
      Totally agree with @Jthomash2 as well. While you can build solo it's more fun and effective with others. That's one of the many reasons I hope to see more clans develop in DM. Friendly competition, motivation to do well at high level events, socializing, and brewing together. When is the TRP clan going to happen, @Dave ?
    1. Shadowmeld's Avatar
      Shadowmeld -
      We are active @Indy Mon I think 30th
    1. Indy Mon's Avatar
      Indy Mon -
      Nice! Didn't see that. I hope WizKids does something to make that a thing.
    1. jevansfp's Avatar
      jevansfp -
      I must admit to the double take at seeing my unattributed quote above. Specifically " I can't believe I brought the tools for you to beat me.." I don't even remember why I brought the Mr. Fantastic global with my Wolverine The Best There Is, but Isaac used it to bounce him off of his Jocasta for my last 16 life. They say in Dice Masters, you are either winning or learning. I learned a lot that day.
    1. IsaacBV's Avatar
      IsaacBV -
      Quote Originally Posted by jevansfp View Post
      I must admit to the double take at seeing my unattributed quote above. Specifically " I can't believe I brought the tools for you to beat me.." I don't even remember why I brought the Mr. Fantastic global with my Wolverine The Best There Is, but Isaac used it to bounce him off of his Jocasta for my last 16 life. They say in Dice Masters, you are either winning or learning. I learned a lot that day.
      Well, not just you
    1. jevansfp's Avatar
      jevansfp -
      I bet you hear that a lot.
      I stopped bringing any globals at all for a while after that and looked with a suspicious eye at my BAC choices. Now my pendulum has swung more to Dean's way of thinking. If I bring globals, I need to be better prepared than my opponent to use them.
    1. Nemesis's Avatar
      Nemesis -
      I would only disagree with one point. If you build at home without the use of the internet (seems crazy now days right?!) then you ar by definition a homebrewer. That's not to say that you will be coming up with crazy combos no one else knows, in fact there are enough people building in the community and trying new things that the format is basically solvable. The great thing is though thar the game is young enough still that we can find new things to bring to our local metas.
    1. jevansfp's Avatar
      jevansfp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nemesis View Post
      I would only disagree with one point. If you build at home without the use of the internet (seems crazy now days right?!) then you ar by definition a homebrewer. That's not to say that you will be coming up with crazy combos no one else knows, in fact there are enough people building in the community and trying new things that the format is basically solvable. The great thing is though thar the game is young enough still that we can find new things to bring to our local metas.
      In a technical sense you would be a homebrewer, but don't be surprised when you bring your kobold / stirge / Johnny Storm team and have someone ask you how you like trying out the Johnny Swarm team. Trying out new things, whether completely homebrewed or modified netdecking may lead you to that killer combo.
    1. Nemesis's Avatar
      Nemesis -
      Quote Originally Posted by jevansfp View Post
      In a technical sense you would be a homebrewer, but don't be surprised when you bring your kobold / stirge / Johnny Storm team and have someone ask you how you like trying out the Johnny Swarm team. Trying out new things, whether completely homebrewed or modified netdecking may lead you to that killer combo.

      True story!
    1. IsaacBV's Avatar
      IsaacBV -
      Great comments and discussion guys. Thanks for reading!