Preparing for Competitive Play
by, 04-26-2015 at 11:10 PM (2692 Views)
Due to some technical issues (I am bad at blogs), this didn't get posted as planned, right before the event. I figured it out. It's here now.
Our very own TRP Randy introduced me to this game. Randy and I met volunteering on the same team for a local church in the Akron, OH area. We started talking comics and hit it off immediately. Within a week or so, Randy had introduced me to Dice Masters and Iíve been hooked from about the third turn. I have bounced hundreds of ideas off of Randy, and itís a good thing, because most of them have been terrible. I mean terrible. I have asked more plain old dumb questions than I care to admit. I came to Randy with an idea about a team using the OP Spiderman Ė The Amazing. I love the fact that Spidey finally got some Avenger-affiliation love. I thought, man, all I need is to put together an Avengers team, and without too much trouble it should be viable! I had Nick Fury Ė Mr. Anger Ė for a cheap buy with a reasonable ability, and a number of high cost Avengers. I thought if I can spend all my energy buying characters and none fielding them, I can take full advantage of Mr. Anger and itíll be awesome. I grabbed Hulk and Thor and Captain America and Iron Man. And it was awesome. I won turn 5 against Randy and it wasnít even close. And then Randyís team won about 3 in a row that were not close either, so when I say it was awesome, I mean he didnít stand a chance if I got the rolls, and there was no way to stop him if I didnít. If your team is that susceptible to failure from the random nature of dice, you have no shot in the competitive world Ė even Randyís team struggled at nationals when he couldnít get Hulk (Green Goliath) in the field. You need predictability, and you need as much of it as you can get. Itís one thing to just roll energy on your character die Ė itís another to NEED 3 fists to make your bomb go off and not be able to get any of it. And why bother with The Amazing instead of Wall-Crawler? Well because Wall-Crawler isnít an Avenger, got Nerfed, and isnít an Avenger. He also doesnít have that little Avengers symbol under his cost icon.
So I went back to work on my The Amazing team, and before long, I had kicked Spiderman off, as well as Mr. Anger, and all but one of my high cost Avengers. I like Green Goliath, I do. I donít like playing against him, but I really like the card, so heís the one I kept. But how do you stop him? One way is to keep characters in the field. Magik Ė Ilyana Rasputina and other regenerating characters are an option, but thatís a lose-less option because her attack is garbage so all she really does is make your opponent use up all his or her bolts (maybe Ė you still have to reroll to a character side). Enter Iron Man Ė Billionaire (who takes no damage from non- characters). Yes! I can get on board with this. Heís IMMUNE to Green Goliath. So if I get my 6 cost character in the field your six cost character canít touch him. ButÖ maybe all your others could, and suddenly, all Iíve done is create a scenario where I have someone in the field to block hulk when he attacks, likely keep hulk in the field, let all your other attackers through, and prolong the pain and suffering caused by Green Goliathís field clearing inevitability. OK, so if I get IMB and my own GG in the field, now weíre talking. I donít mind trading haymakers to each otherís field if Iím the one left standing! But now my win condition is fielding two six cost characters faster than my opponent? Well, yeah, thatís pretty much bound to work, if I can pull it off. Ok, well what if I used Jade Giant? On his burst he can just knock out the other Hulk, and heís bursted (I know, I just said bursted) on two sides. Well, I donít want to waste a whole character or BAC slot on an ability to spin down one of my own characters so I can deal with one of my opponentís. Man, what on earth do you do to deal with this and build a viable team?
Well Iíll tell you what. You do your research. Hereís the thing, Iím a healthcare professional in a position of authority in real life. When I make a recommendation to our physicians and surgeons, I often have to justify it with either peer-reviewed published or internal empirical data. In my job, being wrong could actually cause harm to someone. Itís not just possible that a hospital pharmacist overlooking something could kill someone, it has happened. Somewhat recently. Somewhat locally. So I value being prepared. You must be prepared if you want to compete at a high level. Which means you have work to do if you want to do well in organized competitive play (like a nationals event). You look at all the top teams from other nationals events. You watch their matches. You try to learn what moves to make and when, and you try to be as prepared as NASA astronauts for whatever may come your way. You want EVERY MOVE to be on autopilot. You want to know what to buy and when and how the situation may change that given the field, your roll, and what energy your opponent may have in his or her reserve pool. So you playtest. Until your wife gets mad at you and your 2 year old starts asking to play ďDie MassuhsĒ because she's missing out on time with daddy. So thanks to Randy for testing with me (and Beth and Evie for putting up with testing), I have what I think is a viable option. The team is below. Itís still possible to ďHigh HopesĒ your opponent, even without Ant-Man. But thatís not what this team is built for. This team is built for stabilizing the board, and then crushing your opponent. Itís built with as reliable ramp as the game provides, and itís built to provide the option for swinging with double-damage-doing Avengers. Hopefully, itís built to win. But itís definitely built on the shoulders of seeing what the best of the best are doing and trying to adapt it a little to take advantage of the best parts of each and spending the time necessary to be prepared.
:avx18: :avx115: :avx9: :avx129:
BAC justification is simple. Polymorph is that good. It is. And unlike Enrage which might be used against me and force Patch to attack, Invulnerability has a much lower chance of ruining my day,while still carrying the global I need. The purpose four global-only character cards should be obvious at this point. Webslinger is my own personal Relentless (without giving the global to my opponent) should that situation come up. Patch makes my attacks twice as effective. Otherwise, for me, itís the Tsarina and Jade Giant show. You can build this team with 2 rares and a super rare. You can substitute Ant-Manís or Falconís common for Tsarina and still have the same basic feel. And you can make arguments for or against plenty of the decisions Iíve made here. But if the point is being able to reliably make the right move, I think I found a team with which I can do that. Every time I sit across from someone and play this competitively, I learn a nuance about how to best play the team. Thatís not an indication that itís too complicated Ė thatís an indication I havenít played it enough. Think about it, you might sit down against 4 or more additional global abilities. How will that affect your play? And while I expect there will be plenty of teams at any event that donít fit the mold of the top 8 teams at US Nationals, and I also expect a number of them will show quite well, I will prioritize predictability with a relative balance of control and aggro in a team I am more and more comfortable piloting every time I play.
Disclaimer: The pressure is obviously on. My goal is to pilot my team well. If I do that, Iíll consider the competition a success regardless of where I finish.
PS: In honor of this being Canadian Nationals weekend and all, do yourself a favor and watch Strange Brew with Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis. ďThis movie was shot in 3B Ė three beers Ė and it looks good, eh?Ē