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Sub-Meta Musings

Make it Meta | The Half-Orc Army

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Hello and welcome everybody! This will be the launch of a new series in my blog, Make it Meta. This will be a sister series to run in conjunction with Off the Meta, where I take the character I introduced and look into how to make it work in a team for the Unlimited format. I'll be guiding you all through my thought process and decision making as I endeavor to draft a workable team with characters that you'd never use normally. That said, I'm only allowing myself 1 rare per team and 0 super rares like 'The Prep Area' adopted. Everyone's seen Tsarina and "Gobby" swarm across the field, that's not what I want to do. Instead, I want to force myself to be creative and use cards as effectively as I can, while also making a team that anyone could field for very little investment.

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As a final note before we get started, Make it Meta is not supposed to make teams that are able to compete on a Nationals level. Instead, it's about bringing fun new ideas to your local game shop while still making sure it's at least a competent combination. These are teams that are meant to be fun and surprising, so keep that in mind when considering how to Make it Meta.

Earlier this week I took a look at the Off the Meta character: Half-Orc Fighter, so now it's time to Make it Meta! The first thing that we have to decide is which Half-Orc we're going to be using. The three Half-Orcs all interact with gear differently and so we have to decide how to leverage their effect in the strongest way possible in conjunction with some support characters. Effectively we have three options:

  • Bonus Stats
  • Cheap Gear
  • Faster Swings

Each is useful in its own way, but cheap gear is right out the weakest since gear is cheap anyway and the Elf Wizard is usually a better option. That leaves us choosing between "good" and "evil" alignments, which will be key in making the final decision. Since Half-Orcs don't have stunning stats, I want to buff them up, meaning I have to choose between the Unicorn or Wererat. While it's a difficult choice, I think the Unicorn is ultimately a better option. It gives me a stronger buff and is more likely to survive on its own. The Wererat on the other hand needs to be level 3 or have both the Magic Helmet and Human Paladin to protect it which is too much dedication for a single character. With that in mind, we default to taking the "good" Elf Wizard, meaning our team looks like this:


Now we need some gear to make our Half-Orcs really work. We can only bring 2 gear out of the 6 available, but they all bring something unique to the table. However, we already know we're guaranteed to have 5/4-6/6 in stats because of the +3/+3 from Unicorn and Gear on our Half-Orcs. Because of that we won't need any more damage, so we don't have to bring Magic Swords, and we only need to worry about Magic Helmets which offer the following:

  • Blocker Manipulation
  • Character/Action Effect Immunity
  • Combat Damage Invulnerability

With our great stats and low fielding costs, we're not worried about being knocked out in combat. However, Both Blocker Manipulation and effect immunity are useful. My instinct is to jump to effect immunity, but I can't ignore the power of a 6/6 that requires 2 blockers and has almost no fielding cost, so I have to hand this one to the Magic Helmet - Lesser Gear. Since we neglected the effect immunity, we need some sort of protection or we're going to be very vulnerable, meaning I want to include the Human Paladin since he will also benefit from the Unicorn. This brings our team up to 5:


Now we have a strong setup, we need some targeted removal. Our team is focused on attacking, so it makes sense to tailor something within that theme, so we're going to go with Deadpool. He's an often overlooked character with great stats/fielding costs, guaranteed knockouts, and enough survivability to double as a wall. However, he only targets a single foe, so we'll need a way to clear out the chump-blocking sidekicks and make way for our Half-Orcs. Since we already have the Unicorn, our hands down best option is the Copper Dragon since it will also get buffed for a massive stat machine (who doesn't want a 6/10 for a 4-cost!?) with breath weapon to boot. Finally, we need an alternative form of ramp in case our opponent follows my lead and ignores PXG, leaving us with two real options: BEWD or Red Tornado. I think Red Tornado fits the team best since he's a good early buy and can make sure you really churn your way through your bag to get the dice you need.

Before we take a final tally, we want to pick up some basic actions. We're heavily invested into the "good" alignment, so Teamwork has the potential to pay off in spades, buffing almost my entire field by +4/+4 if I play my cards right. Then we can include Magic Missile. Most of our characters are easily strong enough to avoid being blasted down, and we have a few bolt characters that could give us the option for some Kobold removal if they show up, meaning free experience for our field. Also, it's a lot more on demand that Deadpool, which is useful for pop-up problems that need an immediate response like Toad. Additionally, its die can be used as powerful removal in adventurer teams since it has a chance to do up to 5 damage to characters on its double burst face, which is enough to make it worthwhile even without its global. Altogether that rounds out the team like so:

Full Build

The first thing that jumps out at me is that I have no high purchase characters. Literally all of my important cards can be purchased turn 1 if I so choose. This gives me a lot of flexibility, but may end up being a detriment if I make it late into the game since I won't be able to use my energy to buy a bomb. That said, the idea isn't to reach a big bomb character, but rather to turn my simple Half-Orcs into mini-bombs themselves using the Unicorn and Gear. In the early game you should look to pick up Red Tornado, and then grab your Unicorn while assessing your opponents globals. If they brought something nasty like Distraction or Pheonix, you're going to want to pick up the Human Paladin early as well. Now you want energy and blockers while you build up, so grab your Elf Wizard and the moment you field her, buy as many Magic Helmets as you can. They only cost a single generic energy each when Elf Wizard gets fielded, so don't miss your chance. Finally, it's time to start building up Half-Orcs and equipping them as they come out. By mid-game, I should have a few non-Orc "good" characters out that can serve to block along with any sidekicks and my Half-Orcs should be starting to roll. You want to play them down, wait a turn to equip their helmet and then strike the very next turn for 5-6 hard to block damage. If you keep this up, your opponent won't be able to field sidekicks fast enough to chump block and your Half-Orcs are going to hurt. At this time, if your opponent is grabbing big threat dice like Firestorm, it's time to pickup Deadpool and shut them down. The end-game is really simple, just hold the course. Your Half-Orcs will be dealing great damage and there's very few walls that can survive their onslaught, if they come up, Deadpool can clear you way with extreme prejudice. Your opponent will ramp a little before you break through his defenses, but outside of a select few big purchases like Hulks, there isn't much that can shut you down once you get rolling since you're all but immune to globals.

When I was concocting the plan for this blog, I had thought I was going to go with the Half-Orc Fighter - Paragon Zhentarim, but I came to the conclusion that he wasn't adaptable enough. In his ideal team, you needed Kobold ramp, Magic Swords in addition to Magic Helmets, and you still only came out to a 6 attack character, without the benefit of needing to be double blocked. Also, the gear would be harder to purchase since you're forced to take out the Elf Wizard in lieu of a Vampire in order to make the "evil" Wererat team work and still hold to the 1 rare limit. That said, I'm very happy with how it turned out. It takes a bit of setup, but all the parts are cheap and once you're ready, you can start swinging. Since no-one plays gear, you're almost never going to see any counters, leaving you free to abuse its persistent nature.

If you have any ideas on how to make the team better or to improve the format, I'd love to hear them. Thanks for following along everybody!

Updated 05-29-2015 at 01:14 PM by Necromanticer

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  1. Wargfn's Avatar
    Very Interesting Team Necromanticer, I like the explanations a lot.
  2. jigsawhc's Avatar
    Thanks for the post. Points out that I need to spend more time with the D&D set as there is some fun stuff in here.
  3. Necromanticer's Avatar
    I'm glad you guys enjoyed the blog! D&D is my favorite set so far, so I spend a lot of time thinking about how the characters work together. I regret that I couldn't really fit in my beloved Magic Sword - Greater Gear, but the Half-Orcs have reasonable enough stats with all the buffs on the team... Looking forward to what next week brings!