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Mistakes! - AvX Month 5 Event Review

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Well, months 1-4 were all constructed format. Which is great… but we got a little bored all playing the same teams every time with very little change. But there was never enough stock of AvX boosters to allow for a draft format. So, for the Month 5 OP, our event organizer got a little creative. We would have a draft, but not from unopened booster packs. To level the playing field, we would only use commons. Each person brought a full set of AvX commons (without starters). Each player shuffled their commons and drew 10 cards. Then each player made sure to sleeve their cards in sleeves unique to the group. (I used my awesome Scarecrow sleeves I had leftover from my MTG Scarecrow deck). Suddenly, each player had 10 common cards to draft with. It turned out to be a lot of fun. Before I review the event itself, let me talk about how I planned and strategized for a draft, not knowing what characters I would have.


My first step was to establish what character I wanted to buy on my first turn. Given every common in AvX, and only going against commons, what was the best possible first turn (4-cost characters and less). I narrowed it down to a couple of characters:

Green Goblin, Goblin Lord. His ability to pump up sidekicks could prove incredible with no real sweepers to worry about.

Punisher, McCrook: Yea, this guy is going to be good in an all-common format. It’s his best version.

Hawkeye, Longbow: He’s a solid character. Early on he might be able to K.O. your opponent’s only blocker, then swing for damage himself. Or later on he could get rid of a pesky character.

Mister Fantastic, Brilliant Scientist: 3 cost, high defense, and a global to prevent your opponent from stockpiling blockers.

There’s more… but I settled on Green Goblin, Goblin Lord as my first choice. Especially since all AvX basic actions (including previous OP participation prizes) were legal. I knew I wanted Goblin Lord and Rally!. I knew there was no guarantee what characters would pop up in my draft, but I wanted a strategy none the less.

So, if Goblin Lord only costs 3, what was I going to do with that fourth energy on my first turn. I feel dumb because I didn’t think of it, and it took my younger brother to suggest it to me. “Are you wanting to try to draft Silver Surfer since you use him for his global on your constructed team?” Blink, blink. “Umm… Yeah… of course. I’m going to try to draft Silver Surfer. Especially If I get my 3-cost Goblin to play on my first turn.” So yea, Buy Goblin Lord with 3 energy, use my fourth energy to pay for Silver Surfer’s global. (Take 2 damage, draw a die and place it in your prep area.)

But then I started thinking, I really should only do that if there’s a 5-cost character that could make a big difference for me. I started flipping through all the 5-cost characters. Only one stood out as a difference maker to me: Nova. Nova is one of only two characters in the whole set of commons that can help you get through your bag quicker. (The other is Gambit.)

So there it was. Green Goblin, Silver Surfer, and Nova. That was my core team I would try to draft. Another combo I would try to get was Angel and War Machine. It’s not strong, but War Machine is the only source of life gain among all the commons. Angel can be difficult to block, since he can only be blocked by characters of a higher level. War Machine and Angel weren’t going to win the tournament for me, but it could be a nice combo to call on from time to time.

So I had a strategy, and my drafted team ended up looking like this: Green Goblin, Silver Surfer, Nova, Venom, Nick Fury, War Machine, Colossus, and Molnjir. After we drafted teams, we selected basic actions. Mine were Rally! and Invulnerability. (I wanted to add a few more pictures of characters I chose for my team... but I had problems uploading photos. I may add those other pictures later, but I'd rather post my article now, and add the pictures later. Rather than waiting to add thetwo more pictures I wanted.)

My Strategy: Buy Green Goblin and use Silver Surfer’s global on my first turn, buy Nova on my second turn. Get Nova out quick to help churn, buy a Rally! or two, and build an army of 2A/2D sidekicks thanks to Green Goblin. Buying more Novas would be a plus as well. I was lucky enough to get a 2-cost character in Nick Fury. I didn’t have any Avengers, but if I ended up with two energy at the end of my turn, with no globals to spend energy on, I could get a decent defensive character. It’s not a fancy strategy, but I was hoping it would be effective.

Three rounds, each round was a best-of-three. First round. My opponent focused on Hawkeye and Punisher. I constantly attacked with Nova and every sidekick, while Green Goblin sat back. Nova was on his level 3 side, so my opponent kept blocking the 7A coming at her, allowing me to put more dice in my prep area. I bought a couple of Rally!s, but it always seemed like I drew it right after I refilled my bag. Invulnerability was a nice basic action to bring along for its global. I was primarily buying bolt characters, so if only one sidekick got through, I could easily pump it up to 4 or 5 attack. I won 2-0. We played a third game since we were still waiting for other players to finish up, and I tried a different strategy. I focused on buying my Nick Furys early, and trying to get Colossus out. She tried out buying some other characters as well, and I barely remember what happened in that third match. I think I got her down to 3 life after sending everyone to attack, then she attacked for 18 damage and the win on her next turn. Regardless, I won 2-0, and moved on to the next round.

Second round. Man, talk about frustrating. This opponent focused on buying Gambit and Punisher. (I believe that’s all he bought in every match we played.)These were very even matchups, every game came down to the wire. Unfortunately I lost 0-2. Both games, I got my ideal first turn (Green Goblin and Surfer global) but on my second turn, both games, I got 4 energy and a sidekick. So I had to hold off on Nova. The second game especially sticks out in my mind, because if I would have had one die roll differently in each of my last 4 turns, I could have won. But alas, it’s all a roll of the dice. One of the other players joked with me after my loss, saying, “Wow, Randy lost 2-0. That doesn’t happen very often. What happened?” I replied with a smile, “I don’t have my Hulk.”

Third round. I started off pretty dominant winning our first match, with my team executing just as planned. One interesting tidbit about that first match is I saw a couple of my Nick Furys hit the field. When I rushed with more attackers than he had blockers, he was eager to let Fury through to get his higher-than-average defense value to my used pile. Coupled with War Machine’s global, I was able to gain a little life. I think I only gained 3 points of life through the whole match, but it swung a little momentum my way. “So, you block everyone except Nick Fury. I will pay 2 bolts to increase his damage by 2, and pay 1 shield to gain 1 life. Your turn.” Our second match was tighter. My opponent actually could have beaten me, but they must have done a math error in their head. They had a 6A/2D Punisher, 4A/1D Punisher, and a 1A/1D Sidekick in the field, and I was down to 9 life, and only a 3A/3D Green Goblin in the field. If they would have attacked with everything, I would have been done. Both Punishers would target my Green Goblin with their “when attacks” ability. If I wanted to keep my Green Goblin on the field to block, I’d have to take 4 damage. I would have to block the Punisher with the highest attack, letting 5 more damage get through. Game. But he looked at the board, and said that he couldn’t finish me off this turn, so he didn’t attack with anything. He was down to 4 life. On my turn I rolled 2 Sidekicks, Nova on his 2-bolt side, and Green Goblin on his 2-bolt side. No reroll needed. I used Molnjir’s global (for the first time all day) to knock out his 4A/1D Punisher. I attacked with Green Goblin and my 2 sidekicks. He could only block 2 characters, had to let 1 sidekick through. My sidekick was 2A/2D thanks to Green goblin, then I paid 2 bolts to give it +2A. Game. I shouldn’t have won, but I won. 2-0.

I totally underestimated the lethality of Punisher in this format. I liked my team and how I used it, but I should have drafted a Punisher of my own at some point. I know I saw one or two through the draft. I remember drafting Silver Surfer early on, then seeing a bunch more in later hands that were passed to me. I should have drafted Punisher instead, and waited for Silver Surfer later. When it came to dealing with Punisher, I just didn’t have an answer. Molnjir came in handy at the end of the day, but I usually spent my extra bolts to pump up my own attackers getting through. I don’t know how many “mistakes” I made during gameplay, but my biggest mistake was definitely not focusing on Punisher as much as I should have in pre-game strategy. Lesson learned.

I finished 2-1. I did well enough to grab an Iron Man Phoenix Buster prize card, which will promptly go in my binder and never see the playing field. Which I’m ok with. It’s a nice little trophy, but not a must-have for competitive players. My little brother managed to get one as well. This is the first event where we’ve both won prize cards. So that was cool. We also got Collateral Damage. I touched on this last week, but this is essentially the new basic action Feedback, but costs one more energy to buy. I have no idea what format we will be doing next month to finish out the AvX 6-Month Event, but I’m ready. I’m currently in position to win one of the Phoenix Force prize cards with special yellow die. I just need to hold my position next month, win a Cyclops (which I’m more excited for than the Phoenix Force itself) and finish strong. Then it’s on to Uncanny X-Men… but that’s a strategy for another day.

Peace out. Roll on.
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  1. Horatio imported's Avatar
    What a cool event. Love the different formats that are emerging. Going all commons is just a fantastic idea that puts all players on an even keel right off. And I absolutely love that you guys came up with a way to combine your own cards with draft. That is just cool.

    Another way to mix things up with constructed is to something that's called "Chaos Format". What you do is bring 24 cards and 6 basic actions from your own collection. These can be anything you want from your collection but NO duplicate characters allowed - so 24 distinct characters and 6 different basic actions.

    The tourney will be 3 rounds per usual. For the 1st round, you take your stack of 24 cards, shuffle them up and deal yourself a team of 8. Then you get 1 swap where you may take a card of your choice from the remaining 16 and swap it with a card you originally dealt yourself. Then you choose 2 actions that will work with that team you have. Once the first game is over, those cards are off limits. For round 2 do the exact same thing except obviously your stack is only 16 cards. Again you get one swap if you want. Again pick 2 actions from the four you have left. The third round team is deterministic - whatever you have left.

    So feel free to bring Gobby, Tsarina, etc, but you'll only have them for one game and probably not with the full complement of other characters you want. People get to feel like their bringing the guys they want and playing the cards they paid for, and there's certainly a lot of thought that can be put into the teams or combos you might get. And with 1 swap you're always guaranteed to have a least 1 duo that you specifically planned for. But at the same time there's enough variability that you need to think on your feet and players with smaller collections are right up there in terms of competitiveness.

    I do this one on one with my daughter sometimes if we want to play 3 quick games in a row with a lot of variety. Each of us gets a random pool of 14 commons, 7 uncommons and 3 rare/superrares, (no duplicates) as well as 6 random actions to each of us. Then we go from there just like the above. Lots and lots of fun!
  2. Chris imported's Avatar
    Nice write up! I'm really excited to hear about different formats - primarily because I don't have any local DM scene to play in, so gathering ideas on how to use varied formats to generate interest in the game is a good thing.