• Team Brew Switcharoo 7: Dice and Dicerer

    Hello again everyone! Since it is Saturday (or, whatever day you are reading this), I'd like to try a thought experiment. First, we will take ten random cards (eight characters/non-basic actions and two basic actions). We will then try to make this a fun (if not competitive) team by swapping only four of those cards for brand new characters or actions. To guide our build, we will randomly select a "Meta-Rule" that we must follow.

    First things first: let's use dm.retrobox.eu to pick our starting cards.

    All in all, this isn't a bad start to a team. There are certainly some workable things going on here. Not perfect... but close enough to get us started. Now, we only need the rule.

    I thought about how I would randomly select the rule. I thought, I thinked, and I thunk. Unable to find inspiration, I decided I would just go ahead and eat dinner. I sat at the table, idly scooping some mashed potatoes from the serving dish. As the pulverized tubers melded into a mountainous mound of mush, I... I noticed something. I started sculpting the edges, moving one pile of gooey goodness onto another. I turned to my wife and said, "This means something!" She rolled her eyes... but I knew something powerful was happening. Finally, three hours after I began my starchy scalloped sculpture, it revealed itself to me. There, writ large in the mashed potatoes (without gravy, as I am not a savage), was this message "Rich Man's Hand". For this team, all of the characters and non-basic actions must be either Rare or Super Rare cards.

    Let's take a look at the bones of our team, so we know what we can keep... and what we'll have to throw out along with the now cold remnants of what has been dubbed the "Mashed Potato Disaster of 2016".

    First, let's view the good stuff. Out of the four characters we can keep, we actually got pretty lucky. First, Wasp is a staple of many top tier teams, and for good reason. Her ability to deal damage when an opponent uses a Global ability is very nice. While it can trigger Hulk (and upcoming Vengeance keyworded characters), it certainly puts a limit on how many Globals our worthy foe can use. Green Goblin is also good, although having his Rare here means that we can't swap for Gobby. I am ok with that, as I think that this card gets overlooked due to its higher cost and less potent ability. Harley Quinn is another good character here, as I'm already starting to form a plan centered around her.

    Now, on the other side of things, we have four cards that we KNOW will have to be swapped. Our Meta-Rule will simply only accept the "finer things in life", so no Commons. Neither of our Basic Actions will probably set the world on fire, but we cannot swap them (as we have to burn our allotted substitutions to the grey stripes). I don't like to think of any slot on our team as a "dead draw", but here we are.

    Ok, the table is set. I have a very loose plan already for our team. The plan, I think, will be to build around Harley Quinn's Burst ability to deal damage to our opponent the first time one of our Sidekicks is KO'd during our turn. Green Goblin has a very handy Global for this, and will allow us to spend one and KO a SK to deal one damage to our opponent and two to a character. Any time you can turn part of the price into a benefit, you are ahead. In order to use this ability, however, we need to have a way to make sure she is on her Burst face. Polymorph would be the obvious choice here, but we have no room to swap out a Basic Action. So, in order to give us a chance, our first swap will be Frost Giant for Parallax - Fear.

    Plain and simple: we want Master P for his Global. Being able to reroll Harley from a higher level to the one we want is very nice. Sure, we only have a one out of six chance of doing it, but at least her level 1 side has a 0 fielding cost. So, we can take a few shots at this per turn as needed.

    Our second swap will be boring, but necessary. We have to have ramp on this team. We will be burning a LARGE amount of energy trying to keep the correct characters in the field. That's why our second swap will be Spider-Woman for (sigh) Professor X - Trainer.

    To steal a line from Wolverine, Professor X is the best there is at what he does. We need energy, he can provide it in spades (well, pawns).

    We now know that we want two things for our team: characters, and Sidekicks. There is one character that fits both requirements, and she does so with style. Our next swap will be Drow Assassin for Mary Jane - MJ.

    MJ does a few things for us. First, she is a very inexpensive character. Second, with her Ally keyword, she is a Sidekick. Having a fieldable sidekick that doesn't take away from our PXG fodder is going to be helpful. Also, if we are being honest, it won't be the first time Green Goblin drops one of Spidey's ladyfriends off a bridge. KO'ing her will be handy for her when fielded ability. Speaking of which...

    We want a character that will, like the Dude's rug, really tie the room together. A character that can take advantage of MJ's Overcrush granting powers would be ideal. We are looking for a powerhouse who is not a villain, and who can take advantage of our team's existing mask-heavy configuration. Our last swap will be Glabrezu for Gladiator - Intergalactic Terror.

    If we can get Gladiator in the field, then just by fielding MJ we have created an Overcrusher with a possible 9 attack. If we have Harley fielded, that can go as high as 11. We can even get weird and field Professor X and Parallax... suddenly, we potentially have an Overcrushing character with 15 attack. I feel good about this.

    So, after all is said and done, we have our team. Let me scatter some dice around...

    x4 x3 x2 x2
    x4 x1 x2 x2

    Here is how I see a game with this team going: first, we plop down our squad and see the look of confusion on the face of our opponent. "Why do they need four dice on Professor X?" they think. The psychological battle is already won. On our first turn, we want to purchase either an MJ (and save two for ramp), or a Wasp (and save one mask). On turn two, we'd like to do the thing we couldn't do in the first turn. After that, we will want to maintain our ramp and start purchasing a Harley or two. Once we can manage to get Wasp and Harley on the field, the fun begins. One really nice thing about PXG when you bring Wasp: it is very tempting for our opponent to use. Encourage them by loudly exclaiming that you don't even know what to do with all of your extra energy. Let them start digging their grave. Meanwhile, ping away using Harley on her Burst side and Goblin's Global.

    Ideally, before long, we will have Gladiator purchased and fielded. Then, a parade of Mary Janes will follow. If we can field one a turn, we can keep giving Gladiator Overcrush (not to mention bonuses to attack). Our opponent will have little choice but to block. If they brought Distraction or Blink-Transmutation, that is fine. Let them continue to wound themselves one life point at a time.

    I think this team could function well against lots of other teams... teams that were built from the ground up. I think this team might only be a few swaps away from being amazing. But, I'm biased (and full of mashed potatoes). What would you have done differently? Would you have found a way to ramp without resorting to PXG? Is there a different heavy hitter that could have been swapped in? Is our Zombie-centric strategy just a bullet to the head away from failure?

    As a matter of course, I tend to not use cards in the Rare and Super Rare categories. I found this exercise to be very helpful. I think I've discovered a combo in MJ and Z-Glads that may make its way onto a "real" team. Which, after all, is the whole point to this article series. The team I envisioned when I started swapping went a very different and deadly direction. I hope that you were able to find something that also made you go "Hmmm..."

    Thank you very much for reading. Until next time, keep creating combos, brewing boffo bands of battlers, and throwing things at the wall to see what sticks!
    Comments 5 Comments
    1. Mordred414's Avatar
      Mordred414 -
      I really love these articles. This process is kind of how I came up with my Bucky team that's actually won several casual games for me. I often use the random team function on the Transition Zone app just to kill time waiting in line or what have you, and I have adapted many into fun, very usable teams. I also really like trying to make good teams from cards widely accepted to be bad, and Bucky certainly fits that bill.
    1. Nafohw1's Avatar
      Nafohw1 -
      Thanks for another great article/brain exercise!
    1. gkpon66's Avatar
      gkpon66 -
      Great string of articles, keep up the good work.
    1. CeeQue's Avatar
      CeeQue -
      Great story, a real rags to riches, or at least half rags.
      MJ and Zladiator is for real, I've been running it on a mask ring team.

      Taking a different spin, since we have Infiltrate and Monument to Evil, I tried to go villains.
      Magneto to reroll villains for burst faces.

      Sinestro to protect from your opponent unrolling your burst faces.

      Venom for the awesome.

      And Kobolds for a cheap fist with ramp.

      Kobolds to ramp into Sinestro and eventually Venom.
      Probably not enough ramp but any day I can get Venom on a team is a good day.
      I really wanted to put in the rare Black Manta but I didn't want to give up Sinestro.
    1. StrangeBrew's Avatar
      StrangeBrew -
      Like you, I tend to avoid working with the Super Rares, at least in casual play. I've never liked "wallet bullies" who seem to take great enjoyment from being able to afford all the cards, all the time and use this as a stick to beat their opponents with. I have personally taken great pleasure from beating folks like this with a commons only team in more than one game system. Having said that, the MJ and ZG combo is inspired and if I get one of him I will use this against my opponents who have Rs and SRs. Also, this version of Harley might find a slot on the Hulk team I'm trying to get to gel...... Thanks again for this great series of articles.