• Team Brew Switcharoo 5: Dungeons & Dice Masters



    Hello everyone. It is time, once again, to conduct another Dice Masters experiment. I will take ten random cards (eight characters/non-basic actions and two basic actions). Then, by making only four changes, I'll attempt to make a team that will be fun and (sometimes) competitive. To make things more interesting, I will randomly select a rule that the team build must follow. This week, there will be an additional caveat: to celebrate the release of D&D Faerun Under Siege, the team will be entirely comprised of cards from the D&D universe. Will we be able to construct a critical hit, or will our party get wiped out while the Dungeon Master cackles with glee?

    To begin, I have selected ten random cards using "Shadowmeld's Not-So-Secret-Anymore Weapon", dm.retrobox.eu.

    http://dm.retrobox.eu/?view&cards=1x...134bff;3x34fus



    We have the random cards selected, so all we need now is the rule. Since this is a D&D themed edition, I decided to delve into my parents' attic and find my old Second Edition Player's Handbook and Dungeon Master's Guide. I dusted off my 90s Alternative Rock mixtape (entitled Awesome Songs for Awesome Dudes Volume 5), grabbed a two liter of Mountain Dew, and set to work. I made some Saving Throws vs Meta, some THAC0 checks, and consulted the charts. Pewter miniatures moved across the map, and my party visited a tavern where the local townspeople entreated them to embark on a quest. After the dust settled (and the dragon was slain), the party checked through the dragon's hoard. There, inscribed on a golden tablet, were the words "I'd Like to Buy a Vowel." So, all swapped in cards must begin with A, E, I, O, or U (and sometimes Y).

    Before we begin swapping, let's take a look at the good (and bad) parts of our team to see what we have to work with. First, we have Swarm options coming out of our ears. We probably won't need both on our team, but we can choose between the one cost Kobold, or the bigger (and not as easily induced to attack) two cost Goblin. The Rare Blink Dog is a solid card, as it can chip away at our opponent with combat damage or can give us a 50/50 shot at doing some direct damage if our opponent knocks it out. Cockatrice can give us a bit of spot removal in a pinch, and Oni can help with those pesky continuous action dice.

    On the other side of the gold coin, we have some cards that probably won't make the cut. As mentioned before, we won't need both Swarming characters. Half-Dragon is a very nice card however, with our rule, we won't be able to swap in any additional dragons. The Bronze Dragon is good in all D&D play, but our team will be competing in the Unlimited format, so it might be a bit less useful. All in all, though, we were very fortunate with our random picks, and an argument can be made for any of the cards we have on the team. Of note here are the Basic Actions. Since no Basic Action in the D&D sets begins with a vowel, we are stuck with what we have. Don't worry, I think we can make it work.

    Looking everything over, I have a good feeling for how this team should go. My first swap will be the easiest, and it will be Half-Dragon for Elf Thief - Lesser Harper.



    This is, simply, the overall best card from Faerun Under Siege. While I normally want to shy away from using such a popular and powerful card when making teams for Team Brew Switcharoo, I can't help it. The Meta Rule restriction makes this opportunity too good to pass up. There are very few teams that will not benefit from this character. It is energy for a cost of two. It has (virtually) free summoning, and allows you to potentially wreck your opponent's ramp or ability to use other Globals. The threat of Elf Thief alone is enough to make your opponent spend all of their energy on their turn.

    The next thing that we want to do is to purchase Action Dice. Without Red Dragon as an option, the next best thing we can do is make sure our existing Elf is not by himself. My second swap will be the Bronze Dragon for Elf Wizard - Greater Order of the Gauntlet.



    The Wizard will allow us to do a couple of things. First, as mentioned, it will let us scoop up some Action Dice, specifically the Shocking Grasp. It will also give us a blocker that can help juggle an Action from our Used Pile to our Prep Area.

    Our team is starting to fill up with Good-aligned characters. So, to support that, our third swap will be Kobold for Unicorn - Paragon Beast.



    First things first, with Shocking Grasp on the table, our scrawny Kobolds had to go. We don't want to potentially give our opponent a way to roll more dice. A downside to the Unicorn is that it will make our characters with When Fielded or When KO'd abilities a little harder to knock out. That being said, I think having beefy Thieves will be worth it, for the potential extra damage we can lay in.

    We have one swap left, and there are two heavy hitters I'm considering. Both are very popular, and both do good work. I do want to take advantage of the new Fabricate keyword, so our final swap will be the Magic Helmet for Iron Golem - Greater Construct.



    This card really ties the team together. Fabricate can be a very powerful ability, allowing us to cycle our When Fielded ability characters and purchase a Triple H (a Heavy Hitting Hoss, not the pro wrestler). Also, once Iron Golem is on the board, we will take a bit less damage.

    Ok, so the team has been selected. Using an advanced algorithm, I've decided the optimum number of dice for each card.

    http://dm.retrobox.eu/?view&cards=2x...134bff;3x34fus

    x4 x4 x2 x2
    x2 x2 x2 x2


    The plan of attack for our team will be very straight-forward. Buy Goblins for ramp, and buy Elf Thieves to start stealing from our opponent. Get an Elf Wizard early to purchase a Shocking Grasp or two. Once Unicorn hits the field, our buffed up Thieves and Blink Dogs can start really hitting our opponent. Once we have a large number of blockers, we can Fabricate in a Golem or two using our Elves and Dogs. Cockatrice and Oni are there for character and action removal (if we need them).

    To test this team, I put out a challenge. One brave soul stepped up. Her name is Amanda Shenanigans, so called because her first name is Amanda and she enjoys the occasional shenanigan. She brought her "Who Was That Masked Man?" team, which focuses on Unblockable characters: Batman - Bruce Wayne of Earth (Unblockable with Basic Action use), Giant Man - Dr. Hank Pym (Unblockable with Dimension Door), and Thanos - The Mad Titan (just plain Unblockable).

    Her team was able to get the advantage early with Batman coming through unblocked several times for damage in each of our games. Each time, however, the Thieves and Goblins were able to outpace the other team. Some bonus ramp came from Shocking Grasp. Knocking out my own Sidekicks was a good way to prep two dice, and keep our team in energy. At a few points, Iron Golem allowed me to KO our misrolled Goblins and take another stab at getting the energy (and eventually the Swarm) that we wanted from them. There were some hard fought battles, but this team was able to emerge victorious using the described buying order and plan above.

    So, what did you like about this team? Did I miss another A, E, I, O, U or (sometimes) Y character that would have been a better swap? Would Umber Hulk have been more effective than Iron Golem? Did I swap out a game winning character, and break up a revolutionary combo?

    I think it is important to look at team building as a "game within the game". Doing an thought experiment like this allows me to make a game out of the game within the game. This particular exercise let me discover how both D&D sets can work together really well to take on ANY Dice Masters team.

    Thank you very much for reading. Please check back next week when we will build a team that will, at least potentially, draw from all one-thousand two hundred and eighty two cards currently listed for Dice Masters. Until then, though, keep creating combos and throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks!
    Comments 2 Comments
    1. StrangeBrew's Avatar
      StrangeBrew -
      As always, great article. Like your friend Amanda Shenanigans I've been experimenting with a lot more unblockable cards recently and have decided I like them very much. Simple mechanic, easy to use (and if you're doing something else sneaky it gives your opponent something obvious to worry about). I find that the WoL Batman combines well with the unblockable (or pay a tax) Sinestro from the same set. I also really like the first turn unblockable starter card Kitty Pryde from UXM especially if you're playing an X Men and/or mask heavy team. If you're beating a team like that consistently it means you've proved the concept that now a D&D team can compete very well in unlimited. Again, great job. Oh, and the answer to your last supposition is Spider-Man.
    1. OddballNarwhal's Avatar
      OddballNarwhal -
      Quote Originally Posted by StrangeBrew View Post
      As always, great article. Like your friend Amanda Shenanigans I've been experimenting with a lot more unblockable cards recently and have decided I like them very much. Simple mechanic, easy to use (and if you're doing something else sneaky it gives your opponent something obvious to worry about). I find that the WoL Batman combines well with the unblockable (or pay a tax) Sinestro from the same set. I also really like the first turn unblockable starter card Kitty Pryde from UXM especially if you're playing an X Men and/or mask heavy team. If you're beating a team like that consistently it means you've proved the concept that now a D&D team can compete very well in unlimited. Again, great job. Oh, and the answer to your last supposition is Spider-Man.
      D&D was already good with just BFF, but now it is amazing. It has (arguably) done as much in two sets as Marvel and DC have in six. In this most recent set, Cloudkill, Elf Thief, and the Fabricate keyword are all game changers.

      As far as Unblockable goes, @shadowmeld ; called it several months ago on a podcast. Unblockable is the hotness, especially with D&D characters like the Human Pally for support against Globals. I used the unblockable Batman (Bruce Wayne of Earth) in my PDC Store team, and it served me well.