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Mistakes... And Learning From Them

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I know a lot you come to The Reserve Pool to read up on news about upcoming sets, card reveals, and podcasts. You won't get any of that from me. Today, you get to read about my mistakes in Dice Masters strategy, and how I'm <strike>still losing</strike> learning from them. For a little background of who I am, you can read my introduction here.

Within days of purchasing my starter set, I was buying up booster packs at my local comic shop. I was asking around to different shops in the area if anyone planned on having any tournaments. I would get on the Wizkids Event System website, and search for events within 100 miles of me. Finally, I found one. Unfortunately it was about 80 miles away. Now, donít get me wrong, I enjoy Dice Masters, but I wasnít going to drive 80 miles to play in a tournament. I wasnít THAT obsessed with this game.

Enter: my 13 year old brother. We are 14 years apart, but we still try to hang out and stay interested in the same things. We will play video games, go to a movie, watch wrestling, and now we also play Dice Masters. The more I thought about driving 80 miles as bonding with my brother,and less about how obsessed of a gamer it would make me, I warmed up to it.

[prbreak][/prbreak]Since my brother and I were both fielding teams from my collection, we were a little limited with what we could use. While he went for a control theme using Beast, Storm, and Distraction, I wanted something a little different. I didnít want to play with the popular meta type characters that I kept hearing were the best. I wanted to destroy those popular meta characters. It was a draft format event, so I only had to choose 4 characters and 2 actions.

My Team: Hulk Green Goliath, Iron Man Philanthropist, Green Goblin Norman Osborn, Silver Surfer Sentinel, Force Beam, andThrown Car (I didnít draft anything of significance from the boosters, and cannot even remember what characters I chose to fill out my team, because I did not use anything except the 4 I brought.)

My Strategy: Use Green Goblin and Silver Surferís global abilities to sacrifice sidekicks and deal damage to myself to get at least 2 dice to my Prep Area on my first turn. My second turn I could roll 6 dice, hopefully get 6 energy, and buy Hulk. Once Hulk is in the field, buy Force Beam and continually damage Hulk or myself with the aforementioned globals to trigger Hulk's ability, damage all opposing characters, and keep my opponent from amassing an army. Attack unblocked with Hulk. If my life starts to get low, try to get Iron Man in to the field so I can damage him with Force Beam or Green Goblinís global to regain health. It should then only be a matter of time before I clear my opponents side and attack for the win. While reading online I saw how popular Gobby and Tsarina were, and figured their low defense couldnít stand up to the Hulk constantly sweeping for damage. This was my ďAnti-Gobby and TsarinaĒ approach.

At the event, we played 3 rounds, each round being a best of 3. Round 1 I lost 0-2 to a guy who used both Gobby and Tsarina. The next 2 rounds I steamrolled my opponents 2-0. I tied for third, and did not receive the Thor prize. So, what did I learn in my loss to the two characters that I specifically gameplanned for?

I learned I had been using my Green Goblinís global all wrong. I needed to wait until my opponentís Main Step or after declaring attackers and blockers. If I need that sidekick as a blocker, and I use the global on my turn to sacrifice him, then I havegotten rid of my onlyblocker. Another thing I learned, and probably the most important thing, is that the best time to trigger Hulks sweeping damage ability is right after my opponent fields characters but before attackers are declared.
This would:
  1. Keep Tsarina from attacking and forcing me to spin down or take damage.
  2. If I see my opponent field a couple sidekicks before they field Gobby, sweep with Hulk after the sidekicks are fielded, but before Gobby. This eliminates the damage Gobby does when being fielded if the sidekicks have all been K.O.ed.

About a week later I found a much closer game shop having their Month One OP. I missed out on Thor the first time around, but I learned from my mistakes. I was going to be better this time. This format was constructed, due to the booster shortage back in July. So I needed to expand my team to 8. By this time I had pulled a Black Widow Tsarina of my own. I still wanted my team to focus on getting Hulk out early, but I couldnít ignore the fact that I now had Tsarina.

My Team: Hulk, Iron Man, Green Goblin, and Silver Surfer (all same as before), Black Widow Tsarina, Nick Fury Mr. Anger, Magneto Sonderkommando, and Cyclops If Looks Could Kill. (same actions as before: Force Beam and Thrown Car.)

My Strategy: Same as before, try to get buy Hulk on my secondturn, UNLESS I had a perfect roll on my first turn. (2 sidekicks, a bolt energy, and a shield energy) This would allow me to pay one bolt, sacrifice a sidekick, knock out my other sidekick with the 2 damage, and pay a shield to take 2 damage to put a die in my prep area. This would give me 3 dice in my prep area at the beginning of my secondturn. I draw 4, and have 7 diceÖ If they all come up energy, I could buy Cyclops on my secondturn. After I buy Hulk or Cyclops, then I would focus on Black Widow, Nick Fury, and Force Beam. Again if I found myself losing life more than I wanted, I would buy Iron Man. Nick Fury would be nice to let me field my potentially expensive Hulk and Iron Man for free. And the addition of Magneto gives me a global to force my opponent to reroll a villain, so I could stop my opponent from even being able to field Gobby.

Again, we played 3 rounds, each round was a best of 3. I won my first round 2-0, and lost my next 2 rounds both 1-2. My two lossesÖ you guessed it, were to players using bothGobby and Tsarina. I did much better, and almost won my thirdround match. I was rolling 3 Black Widows, and all I needed was to field and attack with just one of them. My opponent, with 1 life remaining, would have to take 2 damage for not being able to spin anything down. I could taste victory. They all came up energy. And all energy again on the reroll. I wasnít able to field any characters, and my opponent won on the next turn. Such is fate when playing a game based on rolling dice. Again, I failed to secure a Thor.

What did I learn? On my team, Cyclops is just about useless. My globals and Force Beam give me a way to trigger Hulkís ability, possibly multiple times a turn. Cyclops works well with Distraction, giving you a way to pull him back from attacking so he can clear the path againnext turn. I am not using Distraction. Speaking of clearing the path, Hulk clearing the path so that multiple Tsarinas can attack is potent. I love the combo. Not only are they unblocked, but your opponent doesnít have the option to spin anything down. I did learn that sweeping with the Hulk will often give your opponent 8, 9, maybe even 10 dice to roll on their next turn. Thatís a lot. But I also learned that most players have their whole team full of speedy low cost characters. Typically, Storm Wind Rideris the most expensive characterI play against at 5 cost. So more often than not, even if they buy a bunch of characters with the oodles of energy they roll, they still donít buy anything that can withstand one or two triggers of Hulks sweeping damage. I am ashamed to admit that I TOTALLY forgot about my Magneto about 90% of the time. I probably could have used him to force my opponent to reroll a Gobby or two before it was fielded. But he was a new addition to the team, and I just constantly forgot about his global.

Well, this post is starting to get lengthy, so I will close it up here. Next time I will let you know what changes I made preparing for the Month Two OP, how that event went, what I learned, and how I am making even more changes to my team for the Month Three OP. Let me know how your teams and tactics have evolved since you started playing and what mistakes you made and learned from. Until next time, roll on.
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  1. barbain imported's Avatar
    I would like to point out to you in regards to the Global Abilities and specifically in regards to &quot;Tournament Play&quot; per MDM Rules pg 22 Under Using Global Abilities section:
    In tournament play, the active player takes as many sequential actions as desired (from
    zero to all possible actions) before pausing and indicating that the inactive player can
    take an action. The inactive player can then either perform an action or decline the opportunity.
    Then the active player can take more actions.

    This rule makes it very hard for you to use your Magneto and Green Goblin Global to be used how you'd like to, prior to your opponent fielding his characters. So long as your opponent , and he should be, does everything he wants without passing you priority, you can not respond to anything but damage prevention and damage redirecting. Now if your opponent asks if you want to do something and hasn't fielded that Green Goblin &quot;Gobby&quot; yet and you wish to ping your Hulk with the use of Osborn's global to kill off his currently fielded Sidekicks; have at it.
  2. Horatio imported's Avatar
    I agree with the above commenter. In tourney play the active player can do everything they want to do before giving you the opportunity to respond with globals. That said, you can't reroll a Villain die before it's fielded because, strictly in game terms, it isn't a &quot;villain die&quot; yet. Only fielded characters can be targeted. And a villain is by definition (in game terms) a fielded character.

    That's good insight on the Green Goblin - you absolutely want to wait to use until your opponents turn. It won't stop anything from being fielded, but you can definitely remove a lvl 1 or lvl 2 Tsarina before the attack step even happens. Which also has the added bonus of additional ramp.

    On fighting Gobby, unfortunately I don't think Hulk is fast enough if the Gobby player is really cooking. Your main priorities against Gobby are a) force attack and absorb damage from sidekicks - it is VERY important that they go to used - and b) keep Gobby in the field - under no circumstances do you want to KO him when you don't have to. You know you've stabilized against Gobby when all the Gobbys are in the field and no sidekicks are there with him. In this regard, the Magneto global is actually hurting your cause since its a means for the Gobby player to get him out of the field, which is what he wants.
  3. Randy imported's Avatar
    Wow... If that's true, all the events I've played have no understanding of the rules, and have been letting me get away with all kinds of shenanigans. It's hard to keep up with how cards can and cannot be played when those hosting events don't enforce rules correctly.
  4. barbain imported's Avatar
    I wouldn't get into what's a villain die or not. Easy thing would just to quote MDM Rules Pg20 Under Fundamental Rules:
    Unless otherwise stated, game effects can only target character dice that are in the field. The attack zone is considered part of the field.

    I say this cause because later in on that page under More About Dice:
    Rolled dice in a field or in your reserve pool are considered to be whatever their face is. If you have Sidekick die in the reserve pool showing energy, then it's an energy die, If you have a Sidekick showing the character face in your field, then it's a character die. Dice in your used pile, prep area, and bag are not consider rolled dice. Their dice type is either character or action, based on what faces they have.

    So even if the dice with the character showing is in the field or in your reserve pool, its considered to be a character die. What keeps you from targeting that reserve pool character die is the previous quote I mentioned, no matter the character's affiliation.
  5. Randy imported's Avatar
    Magneto's global specifies &quot;Villain die&quot;. It does not say &quot;Villain character&quot;. Unlike Storm Wind Rider, that says &quot;reroll characters&quot;. Charactets are only characters once they are fielded, but since it specifies &quot;die&quot; instead of character, can it be targeted? Just a question to discuss... or maybe hoping for a loophole.
  6. barbain imported's Avatar
    The fundamental rule is on page 19, with the More about Dice is page 20-21. Sorry for the miss quotes.
  7. barbain imported's Avatar
    Honestly, I agree with you Randy, most will not, but I think its a huge mishap on Wizkid's part for using the term &quot;character&quot; to describe multiple things in regards to dice. Even in the More about Dice part you see that the prime types of dice are Character or Action. Which is stated on the 1st page of the rule book
    Cards and their associated dice come in two classes: characters and actions.

    And they then describe them as Energy or Character die in regards to describing the &quot;Sidekick&quot; die (character class dice) faces.
    They really should have different terminology to describe all this. They also don't really go into defining Affiliation either. Is it tied to Die as in that Green Goblin &quot;Gobby&quot; die as a whole(as in to its class type) or just when it's a &quot;character&quot; die within certain zones idea, etc etc.

    Personally I feel that until they reword a lot of this, there will always be confusion.

    Clearly Wizkids needs better editors since they still can't even release new rules changing the definition of the Used Pile without giving an example that doesn't even follow their own new wording.

    Anyways, overall most will call it like Horatio in regards to Magneto's global mostly cause it makes more sense to them that way and there seems to be rules referring to something close to it.