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Dave

The Must-Haves

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Every competitive game has the ideal structure that everything becomes centered around. For example, if you've ever played Magic: The Gathering, you know that you want to stick to 60 cards, and that 20 of those should be lands. If you play Android: Netrunner, you know that the corporation should stick with 49 cards so that they don't have to include extra agenda points.

Now, these are never unbreakable rules, but they provide a starting point for players that are new. And right now, we're all new.

This game, too, will certainly have some of those guidelines develop as it gets into the hands of more and more gamers, as the meta develops, and as archetypes evolve. Some of the most fun that you can have with competitive collectable games - apart from playing - is through building your forces, and the more of us that discuss it, the faster we'll find the best answers.
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That said, I have a few ideas about the important facets to structuring your team. Time may show that I am off with this. Nonetheless, the best that I can figure right now - less than a week in to owning this - is the following:

1. A dice engine is essential.

The reason that I say "essential" is that if you don't have one and your opponent does, there's an immediate advantage for your opponent before you even start. There're Gambits and Beasts that help here as well as a basic action, among other options. The four-cost Ghost Rider gives you some dice control as well in addition to having some solid attack numbers.

I think that this is a no-brainer. The faster you can clear out your bag, the faster you are able to buy the heavier-hitting characters in your squad.

2. You need one or two (maybe three) low-cost opening characters.

Another no-brainer. You need some characters to buy immediately, and if you're able to buy two in your first turn, so much the better. The Super Rare Black Widow is a great choice, as is the 2-cost Ghost Rider. Storm is also tempting because of the utility that she has. Really, there are plenty of good options. If your first two turns can be a dice engine + one or two of this type of character! you're off to a good start.

Even if you can't think of a strategic purpose behind those characters (which I can't fathom), the fact is that they give you the energy to purchase the higher-cost dice later.

3. You need a means of dealing with opposing characters who could block or otherwise wreak havoc.

You have Mjolnar, Cyclops, Hawkeye, and Nova for KOs, for example. You have Spidey or Deadpool for blocker control. Storm also fits. You have to have a way to get rid of characters who will ruin your day. The Professor X who prevents you from rerolling characters requires a response or you'll be paying two life for the privilege until you lose? You need solutions.

4. You need medium-to-heavy hitters to actually do some damage.

The 2 cost Ghost Rider mentioned before is actually not a bad play here too, there are good stats on that die. Though again, I like the four cost one that lets you move a die from 'used' to prep.

These cards are predominately the five-through-seven cost cards that help set you up for the win - though a few of the fours have an argument here. These are the cards that will win it for you through either brute force, which is certainly a valid strategy, or actions/abilities.

5. On the side, you need stuff that lets you deal with what your opponent might put forward.

And for now, those options need to be as multi-faceted as possible. Some of these options are hard to pick as the game is too new for a real meta yet. It'll be a while before that's established. In some ways, this is similar to number four above.

6. I'm not certain that it's worth putting more than two dice on a 6+ cost character in the vast majority of the time.

By the time you get to the point where these characters come out, the game is quite likely almost over. Even if you include a third one and get it in your bag, it's going to be pretty hard to draw it while it still matters. The game is probably decided before you can field it.
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  1. Andy Stout imported's Avatar
    Just a nitpick on the opening paragraph: 20 lands is considered very few for a 60-card Magic deck; only the most aggressive, low-cost deck would only play 20. 24 is the more standard land-number. But sure, back in the mid-90s before anyone did any math to actually figure these things out, "1/3 land, 1/3 creatures, 1/3 spells" was the standard saying :-)
  2. Dave imported's Avatar
    Good catch - I almost always played green with some faster mana (I love Llanowar Elves) and so I guess that never caught me.