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Mistakes Part Three: The Awesome Conclusion

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This is the final chapter in my first series all about making mistakes with in-game strategy and ultimately trying to learn from them. Catch up with parts oneand twoif you have not read them yet.

Quick recap: I donít want to be ďjust another player using the popular meta cardsĒ, so I made my team around the idea of destroying the popular meta cards. Most of these cards (Black Widow, Beast, Green Goblin, Storm, Human Torch) seem to have one thing in common. They donít have a terribly high defense. That means they all share a common weakness: Hulk Smash.

Hulk Green Goliath is the centerpiece of my team. Every change Iíve made to either my roster of characters or gameplay strategy has been to better utilize Hulk. Even after I pulled Black Widow Tsarina from a booster, I gave her a supporting role on my team, while Hulk is still the star.After losing two different Month One events, and a Month Two event, I felt I had tweaked my team to handle just about anything.

My Team going in to Month Three: Hulk Green Goliath, Iron Man Philanthropist, Black Widow Tsarina, Spider-Man The Amazing, Nick Fury Patch, Green Goblin Norman Osborn, Silver Surfer Sentinel, Magneto Sonderkommando, Force Beam, and Invulnerability.

We had 8 participants, so it was a hard bracket tournament with 3 rounds, each round being a best of 3. My first round I won 2-0. Both games I was able to get my Hulk out early thanks to Green Goblin and Silver Surferís globals. My opponent didnít use either Gobby or Tsarina. The one character that gave me trouble was Nova, because my team isnít equipped to deal with a high defense character. Luckily he attacked with Nova (Quasar, I think) trying to get me to block and trigger Novaís effect from taking damage. Instead I let him through. 7 damage was worth it in the end, as I was able to control the board once Nova left. With Hulk, Black Widow, and a few Sidekicks on my side, all I needed to do was trigger Hulkís ability, and send everyone to Attack. Having a few extra Bolt energies allowed me to increase my attack with Invulnerabilityís global. My team worked just about perfectly. On to round 2.

This opponent was using Tsarina, Mutate #666, Wind Rider, Gem Keeper, Johnny StormÖ a lot of popular characters. I have never actually played against Loki (Gem Keeper) before, and the idea of him locking down my Hulk before I was able to field him, scared me. Luckily, that didnít happen in the first game, and my opponent paid for it. My opponent had 16 life left and 2 Sidekicks fielded, while I had Hulk (Level 1) and Nick Fury in the field. I took a chance. I attacked with Hulk. My opponent was eager to get Hulk off the board, so he let him through. I then paid 2 Bolts to give Hulk +2 Attack thanks to Invulnerabilityís global. Nick Fury Patch gives all of your Avengers the ability to deal their damage twice if they are unblocked. Hulk did 8 damage. Twice. Equals 16 damage. Game. My opponent was stunned, and couldnít believe they let that happen. Our second game did not go as well. I didnít get Hulk out as fast as I would have liked, and had to settle for Iron Man early on. Loki Gem Keeper hit the board and locked my Iron Mans down. I put up a fight, but in the end it was futile. Our third game went more like our first, except it was Black Widow doing most of the damage for me. Hulk held down the fort, and eliminated blockers, clearing the path for Black Widow. Once his life was low enough, I was able to attack with everyone for the win.

Time for round 3. Iíve already guaranteed my Wolverine prize card. I was going against the player who was undefeated through the first two months, and first place in our 6-month standings. He used essentially the same team as the previous player I beat. But this guy was undefeated for a reason. Heís good. Always double-blocking, getting multiple effects to trigger, paying mask energy to push and pull characters in and out of combat. Again, no Gobby, but that wasnít exactly a sigh of relief. The first game saw my team execute perfectly, getting Hulk out early followed by a couple Black Widows and a Nick Fury. His team got a little slower of a start. This whole game hinged on two turns. The first one was my turn, where I triggered Hulkís ability to damage all of his characters, and attacked with my Hulk and 2 Black Widows while Nick Fury was doubling all of their damage. My opponent had a mask energy, and pushed Hulk out of the Attack Zone. But my two Black Widows dealt him damage since he had no characters to spin down, then dealt their damage twice to himto deliver a total of 14 damage.The second major turn in the game, was later in the game when he drew 4 Sidekick dice, and was not able to set up a defense, which allowed me to win on the next turn. I was up 1-0. But just like last round, my opponent came roaring back in our second match. Hulk didnít come out as quickly, and when I did get him out he was taken off the field by Storm Wind Rider or the Smash basic action. We were tied 1-1. Our last game saw both of us start off pretty well. Late in the game, I had Hulk and a couple of Sidekicks in the field when he fielded Storm. Ugh, not again. He made me reroll Hulk and a Sidekick. Hulk came up on his Level 2 side, while the Sidekick came up energy. Hulk stayed in the field, and then I took 2 damage, which triggered Hulkís sweeping damage effect. A turn or two later I knocked out all blockers, and attacked for the winÖ for the win. I did it! Not only did I learn from my mistakes months ago, make changes to my team and strategy, but I finally won a tournament, AND give the first place player his first loss! Cue yourcliche80ís movie celebration (here's my personal favorite).

Iím still in third place for our 6-month standings, but I currently have the team to beat. I expect to see a lot more action from Storm Wind Rider and Loki Gem Keeper next month. Iím sure I still made a few mistakes along the way, but luckily none of them cost me.

So, here it is. My advice. After months of losing, here is what I learned:

<b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Put yourself in the best position you can every turn[/b], so even when bad luck strikes, hopefully you can weather the storm. It seems simple enough, but this is a game built upon the chance of rolling dice. You will get unlucky. Period.

<b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Donít jump the gun. Be patient.[/b] When my Hulk is out, I can usually trigger his ability to sweep for damage and knock out opposing characters. Just because my opponent doesnít have any blockers and my Hulk could attack for 6, 7, or 8 damage, doesnít mean I should. Hulk will control the board and let other characters attack until the time is right. Itís all about putting yourself at an advantage, and keeping your opponent at a disadvantage.

<b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Prepare for specific characters.[/b] If you have been going to OP Events for a month or two, or just playing with friends, then you know what characters other players are using. I know Tsarina needs to attack for her to be effective. So what did I do? I started knocking her out with Green Goblin Norman Osborn's globalduring my opponentís main phase, before she can have a chance to attack.

In closing, when I started writing this series, I had not yet attended the Month Three OP event. Win or lose, this series was going to be three entries long. End of story. Clearly, I had no idea that this series would end with me ACTUALLY learning from my mistakes and winning a tournament. That's just the way the dice fell. Thoughts, comments, questions, concerns, anecdotes, or criticism? Sound off below, and roll on.
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  1. paradox1995 imported's Avatar
    Awesome! Glad to see Hulk in the spotlight. It should get easier to get him out with he forthcoming Professor X global: Pay a mask and move up to 2 sidekicks from your used pile to your prep area.
  2. Randy imported's Avatar
    Thanks! With the new Xavier, the only thing I would do differently is buy the new basic action Feedback on my first turn, and sit on a Mask energy. On my opponent's turn I'd spend the Mask for Professor X's global. Feedback will work great with this build, and being able to buy it first turn AND get 2 dice to my prep area WITHOUT having to damage myself... sign me up.
  3. Horatio imported's Avatar
    Hulk Green Goliath is a great card and is the key to an anti-Gobby team I am working on. Best part about Hulk is he completely eliminates chain damage from Human Torch and also double fielding 2 Gobbys on the same turn, which is what really makes facing the Gobby teams such a challenge.

    Patch is really good with Hulk because it essentially forces a blocker for Hulk (your unfortunate opponent notwithstanding). Which will of course trigger Hulks ability. Nice.
  4. Chris imported's Avatar
    Great article, Randy! And congrats on the win. Nice work.