• Pretending to Know Stuff Vol. 9

    Attachment 4282Welcome back for another edition of Pretending to Know Stuff. The unlimited or constructed "Meta" – what is in RIGHT NOW. This column will be full of bias. The comments are a place to politely point out where you disagree and let me know what I might have missed.

    I feel like these last few weeks should have been the calm before a very big storm. You know, you’ve processed about all you can out of WoL and ASM and you just feel like you’ve figured out the team that makes the most sense for your preferred style of play. Maybe you favor heavy early aggression and gunning for a turn 3 kill. Maybe you prefer a tempered approach and want to control and frustrate your opponent. Maybe you like setting up an incredible combo. Maybe you think s are WizKids gifts to players around the world. In any case, I feel like we should be pretty settled. But I find that reality is far from that utopia. Once again, @archivist has provided some incredible statistics, which I will not bother to try to recreate or improve upon here. My only goal is to offer some (probably subpar) commentary.

    Go read all the important stuff at the PDC’s website first.

    If you look at the variety, kind of the other end of the spectrum from what is most common, the sheer number of cards used tells us something. It tells us that people have ideas and are willing to try them out. It tells us that folks are winning with some of these cards. And yes, there’s a ton of evidence to suggest which cards are topping the list and there are plenty of reasons why. But the fact remains that we are still figuring things out. I think this is a critical point, especially as we enter not only the WKO season, but move from Store to State and Regional season for PDCs. Add on the fact that FUS drops this week with World’s Finest, TMNT, and Civil War all right around the corner, the Meta is about to get even more interesting.

    Now, one might look at the top card list from PDC Store events and get frustrated at seeing some of the old favorites, but I will choose to look at it and be thrilled that the list continues to grow with new sets and more time to evaluate interactions between cards, both new and old. I think some of the reluctance in adopting newer cards, at least for me, is a lack of familiarity with how to play with them to respond to opposing threats. What to buy and when – what to attack with and what to not. We’ve talked an awful lot about knowing your team – how excellent piloting of a cohesive team beats a team full of the most powerful cards with average piloting with great consistency. This is looking at the same thing from the other side.

    So what we have is some data regarding what is popular, and what is successful. The numbers indicate that there are preferences, but it is exceptionally difficult to draw definitive conclusions about the competitive advantage of one card versus another just from these numbers. The solution? Keep playing. Keep testing. Keep learning. I think the familiarity we have with cards from AVX and the hyper-efficient ramp from UXM keeps us coming back. Now, clearly we are not collectively holding to the old at the exclusion of the new, but we are probably taking longer to fully adopt what is available from each set than the time between sets in general.

    What we have seen is that two archetypes in particular seem to be favored – the Poly-Hulk-Jinzo type and the Guy-Rush type. That makes a fair bit of sense, right? Because based on the tools at our disposal, and the ease of acquiring the cards necessary to play Guy teams, we should expect to see them. The Poly control build has some history with Indy Mon piloting it to victory at the SLCC, and a significant amount of consistency for achieving desired game state or board state early in the game. The Guy teams can be devastating in the early game and have proven to be an absolute wrecking ball whether you have the tools to deal with them or not.

    Slightly behind that appear to be Lantern Ring and Vicious struggle. It’s awesome to see archetypes that use action dice to win. I think more tools are coming to make these even more viable. There are also teams that rely on the odds – if I have 5 sidekicks, and a boatload of energy and two Gobby’s, I can afford to use the energy on Parallax’s Global. It’s not uncommon. It’s not ineffective. It’s real, it’s just not my cup of tea. Then there are the fringe cases. These guys like @shadowmeld and @theconductr who like to run mono shield teams. And in all of these teams, choices are made for substitutions based on idiosyncratic differences between players, meta-calls (I’ll choose this because I expect to see that), and perceived benefit based on preferred play style.

    I have no doubt that the coming weeks will be an amalgamation of clouds and sun, wind and rain, with a fair bit of lightning and thunder too. The storm is coming. We have only seen a bit less than half of FUS so far. WKO’s are a week and change away. Batten down the hatches. Secure the main stay. The next few months are sure to add a bunch of options. The question is will we, as players, become familiar with and assimilate them fast enough?
    Comments 5 Comments
    1. bahamut7's Avatar
      bahamut7 -
      I already have some goodies from the new D&D lined up to go into my competitive team. I want a few more, but it's tough to change a team too much before WKOs.
    1. minusmike's Avatar
      minusmike -
      Is there a release date for the new D&D yet? I know its sometime this month.
    1. Jthomash2's Avatar
      Jthomash2 -
      Quote Originally Posted by minusmike View Post
      Is there a release date for the new D&D yet? I know its sometime this month.
      Today is release day.
    1. Nemesis's Avatar
      Nemesis -
      I find the short time between set releases and the (although super positive and growing) small community to be the biggest issues. Millions of people play Magic, there is a supported Pro-Tour and there are weekly events (GPs, PTQs, PPTQs, 2Ks) all over North America. This gives the Magic community a HUGE advantage in solving formats fast. Once we, the DM community gets bigger I think the time it takes to assimilate new sets fully into the meta will decrease. For now though we keep plugging away, discussing in the forums and testing all the interactions we can think of!

      This game is FULL of complex interaction and is an excellent puzzle for the community to solve.
    1. copydawg's Avatar
      copydawg -
      Faerun Under Siege would definitely bring something new to the table, the epic Ring and Talisman immediately comes to mind. Not to mention cards like Drizzt (to combat Swarm), Potion, and the Super Rare Beholder too. With the SR Ring's global, getting Parallax to trigger becomes a lot easier. Paying 1 to make them into sidekicks are also very viable. We might see a reemergence of Gobby decks, who knows?

      The Talisman of Ultimate Evil is just plain evil, we can choose to KO our own Wind Rider or other come into play effect dice, then choose to target the opponent's biggest blockers / troublesome character dice. Then purchase and play Magneto Magnetic Monster to nullify their lower cost characters. Brutal.