• Pretending to Know Stuff

    The unlimited or constructed “Meta” – what is in RIGHT NOW. This column will be a bi-weekly look at what is in the Dice Masters Meta. What’s still in the Meta, what joined the Meta from the most recent set, and what from the most recent set can help combat the Meta. This column will be full of bias. I can’t help it. I will favor stuff you don’t, and I will inexplicably fail to mention something you think is amazing. The comments are a place to politely point out where you disagree and let me know what I might have missed.

    My goal is to provide a bit of an introduction and scratch the surface of WoL this week. I’ll try to tie a bow on WoL next time, as there’s only one more week this column will hit before ASM drops. I may be forced to spill over after that – we’ll see. Despite my rather free form, I have what I think will be a reasonable strategy to cover the highlights from each set. And that is the goal for this column – to cover the highlights.

    I mentioned it will be bi-weekly. What will be in this slot in the off weeks? At a minimum, next week will be the first of what I hope to be many installments of the MDCVH mailbag. What is MDCVH? It is the acronym for one of the behind the scenes members of the TRP staff. Master Doctor Count Von Homash, who has not completely abandoned his regular spot on the podcast but is taking a break for an undetermined period of time, will answer emails provided they are submitted to MasterDoctorCountVonHomash@gmail.com. For those wondering, Gmail requires at least 6 characters for a username (and for those who struggle with math, MDCVH is only 5 characters).

    In these articles about the Meta, we will look at several types of archetypes. Fortunately for us, DM is a game which allows cards to slot into several types of archetypes. That lets us discuss layers of strategy in how to use a bunch of neat abilities in ways that players preferring vastly different styles of play may each employ to their benefit. We will look at the burn/direct damage, aggressive, and control archetypes. There are plenty of concepts that each archetype must use, and some of those may overlap. Each team must know how it will churn, ramp, what its win condition is, etc. IsaacBV is doing a phenomenal job addressing these through his series. And Shadowmeld is doing the same for draft through Reading the Rainbow (in addition to how he highlights interactions through the teams from videos and podcasts). I will address some of these issues through the lens of the constructed or unlimited format, but with a focus on the Meta.

    The WoL set has incredible tribalism. There is, by my count, one unaffiliated non BAC in the entire set. For that reason, a significant portion of the power cards in the set cannot be slotted in one card at a time as is the case for some of the other sets. Just look at the Uncommon Lantern Battery. This is a version of the Millennium Puzzle ability. If it only required characters (instead of Lantern-affiliated characters) and could target any character instead of just a lantern character, the activation cost (paying a ) would be well worth it to be able to bring 4 action dice instead of just one (in the case of YGO’s MP). As it is, though, the only way to utilize it is to bring other Lantern characters and hope your opponent brings Lanterns or bring a way to make your opponent’s characters Lanterns, so most players will rightly dismiss it as a viable option.

    A number of standout cards have already been discussed in the forums and even made an appearance at the first US Regionals of the 2015-2016 season. The rare Lantern Ring provides all of your non-SK characters a conditional (and amplifiable) Tsarina/Cheetah ability. It’s big, and bad, and aggressive. There are some counters, and I’m a much bigger fan of removal on my opponent’s turn prior to the attack step than anything dependent on me fielding characters, but that is a potentially long and opinionated conversation. If you’re seeing the ring show up in your local Meta, you probably need to test ways to remove it.

    Big Entrance provides lots of options for aggro and control teams alike. My personal preference for Big E is to maintain full PXG ramp and not use it until your third turn with 10 other dice, for a potential 14 energy to spend on cost-fixed characters. As a quick aside, most strategies for PXG are to buy a 2-cost then a 4-cost or a 3-cost then a 3-cost to maintain full ramp, but it’s also possible to buy two 2-cost and a 1-cost dice over those first two turns and maintain full ramp. All that energy gives you broader options if you’re willing to wait for the third turn to use Big E instead of dropping it on turn 2. But depending on your opponent’s team, that approach could really set you back, and you might be much further ahead to use Polymorph in that approach. The point is, it’s a real thing and there are multiple ways to use it. Stealth Ops brought Dimension Door’s ability to the DC IP and reduced its cost for the condition of treating a character as though it is level 1.

    Finally, the common Wonder Girl can be combined with the Ring of Magnetism – Action Attraction to change the game similar to how Lord of D Ring Lockdown did. Obviously this combination is a different type of control and will be favored by players on an imperfect gradient based on preferred style of play. But it is effective and can be slotted in on a number of teams to add or enhance the control elements of that team.

    What cards are you seeing find their way into your local unlimited events? What are you using that is shifting the landscape at your scene? Next time we’ll discuss the rest of the cards from this set that I see as major players from this set and, possibly, a few from old sets that cards from this set make viable. In between now and next Sunday, send your mailbag questions to MasterDoctorCountVonHomash@gmail.com.

    Cheers,
    JThomasH2
    Comments 6 Comments
    1. IsaacBV's Avatar
      IsaacBV -
      I like the new series, hope to see more info on how the meta seems to be right now. Great insight, keep it up!
    1. MasterJedi's Avatar
      MasterJedi -
      Great article. I'm a big fan of the action cards in the WoL set.
    1. JesseNeon's Avatar
      JesseNeon -
      I also like the action cards. I'm also in love with Black Lantern Batman.
    1. Jthomash2's Avatar
      Jthomash2 -
      Thanks for the feedback! There's loads of potential across this set. We're just scratching the surface...
    1. IgwanaRob's Avatar
      IgwanaRob -
      What is MDCVH? It is the acronym for one of the behind the scenes members of the TRP staff. Master Doctor Count Von Homash
      Shouldn't that be LNDMC-MDCVH?
    1. Jthomash2's Avatar
      Jthomash2 -
      Quote Originally Posted by IgwanaRob View Post
      Shouldn't that be LNDMC-MDCVH?
      Here's hoping he doesn't get mad at me for omitting the fact that he's the Latverian National Dice Masters Champion!