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Off the Meta | Ode on a Grecian Minotaur

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Hello and welcome, everyone, to another exciting installment of meta forging fun. For this week, we'll be taking a look at a character that is all kinds of bull. That's right, We're taking a look at the Minotaur in all of his half-bred glory. I want to get to at least one more D&D character before AoU drops and I begin to look over the unused portions of DC, but until then, we have these last few weeks of the older sets to look forward to.







Overall:
The Minotaur, beyond being a staple of Greek Mythology and a darn good Blood Bowl player, is a severely underrated character in the Battle for Faerun set. He is built for offense, having high attack, low defense, but cursed with a achingly high TFC-6 that contradicts his persistent 5- purchasing cost. This means he's likely going to be your bomb character on the team and is meant to be used as a way to end the game through pure stats. Weighing in at 5/6/7 attack, he's only 1 behind Juggernaut - Kuurth for the most damaging 5-drop in the game (not counting the OP's). Beyond his stats, his effects are built around him preying upon the weak, whether that's sidekicks or just lower level characters. He's built around the idea of getting him early and smashing him into your opponent's face for as much as you can and while he's not Formerly Weapon X, he has a few tricks up his sleeve to recommend himself nonetheless.




Minotaur - Lesser Humanoid
The first Minotaur is a beast in all but name. He hits the ground running and ready to demolish even the strongest walls. When you field him, he gets +1/+1 for each opposing sidekick on the board and those same sidekicks can't block that turn. That means on his first turn, the Minotaur is coming in at a HIGH stat value and shutting down a lot of your opponent's chump blockers. If you manage to snag an overcrush die at the same time you field him, you can do incredible things, but you shouldn't rely on drawing and rolling two dice at the same time. Instead, you'll want to use some sort of blocker manipulation that can come out any time to peel off the non-sidekick blockers and hit your opponent with this incredible damage. Characters like Gelatinous Cube - Lesser Ooze and Deadpool can fill this roll quite well and Relentless will give you spot blocker removal for a premium, leaving your opponent wide open to the Minotaur's high damage. The problem with this Minotaur is that it only gets its effect on the turn it's fielded. This makes it hard to capitalize on the moment if you don't have a specific setup already in place and can make the difference between 12 damage and a single knock out. This Minotaur can also be spoiled by an opposing field that has too many non-sidekicks to reliably clear away or even a single Distraction (no matter how thematic it would be for a raging Minotaur to be distracted easily). Given the right protection and support, this Minotaur is one that is really going to hurt.







Minotaur - Greater Humanoid
The second Minotaur changes up the formula a bit. Instead of raging into combat as soon as he hits the field, this Minotaur waits and stalks its prey before striking, allowing you to stop two sidekicks from blocking whenever it chooses to attack. This changes the game entirely from what the first Minotaur had established and begins a waiting game where you store up enough characters on the field to swing in for a killing blow. However, this strategy is a bit strange in that the Minotaur isn't actually the best choice for the job. Any sort of dragons' breath weapon will clear all the sidekicks away without hesitation and for a cheaper purchasing cost as well. This leaves the Minotaur in a niche position where he only becomes preferable when your opponent has sidekick buffs in play, removing the threat of breath weapon, or you want to be delicate and not knock out characters in order to deny your opponent any prepped dice. While these situations are not unheard of, they're off beat enough to be ignored for standard team building, but always remember that the uncommon Minotaur can be a great flex option for if know your opponent loves the sidekick buffing Wonder Woman or is a big fan of Casualties' life gain.









Minotaur - Paragon Humanoid
The final and rarest Minotaur brings the most intricate effect with the most interesting application. Whenever he attacks, his die may capture an opposing die of lower level until he leaves the field or captures a different die. This may not sound fantastic given that Ultron Drones are just around the corner for much cheaper, but the real trick of this ability comes in its application. The simplest way to use it is to capture a die as you attack to reduce the amount of blockers you're dealing with. However, there are other applications like using Distraction after attacking to keep hold of a key opposing character for as long as you wish. This is best used to target your opponent's protection such as a non-Lord of D. Ring of Magentism holder (since they'll be your only legal targets and you will also capture the ring at the same time) or a wayward Human Paladin preventing you from using your Mr. Fantastic or Relentless globals. You can also use it to remove key effects for the duration of the attack step such as capturing that annoying Doomcaliber Knight that's been stopping your Anger Issues from going off or that Wonder Woman from earlier, allowing you to kill off all those sidekicks with a single breath weapon. The possibilities are as endless as there are characters, but it does require you have a higher level. To make sure that happens, you can use the Polymorph global or the OP Wonder Woman in addition to characters like Marvel Girl or Pepper Pots to spin your Minotaur and your target characters in opposite directions.





Counterplay:
One issue the Minotaur has is that he must attack to be useful. If you have characters, like Beast or the up and coming Jocasta, that punish your opponent for attacking, you're going to be negating a lot of his advantage. Minotaur also has low defenses, so if he's waiting in the eaves with either of the rarer Minotaurs, he's fairly easy to remove with damage effects along the lines of Hawkeye or Green Archer as well as any sort of targeted removal like the new Solomon Grundy/BEWD hotness that seems to be everywhere. That last combo is particular is quite powerful since you can activate in your opponent's main step before he gets a chance to declare an attack and make use of his effects. If you don't want to fiddle with removing Minotaur, you always have the option of forgoing a sidekick wall and instead just fielding characters. DC in particular lends itself to big character walls with cheap Justice League setups and -burn teams that rely on a large board presence that will foil all 3 of Minotaurs iterations. Just be careful not to dedicate too hard to neglecting sidekicks, else you'll end up rolling 4 of them a turn out of fear for a single character. Just use your best judgment on how to play sidekicks effectively and don't worry too much if they won't be able to block while fielded since that still keeps them out of your bag and providing fodder for BEWD.


Conclusion:
The Minotaur is a highly offensive character that's going to give you a hard time if you're dedicated to sidekicks and don't have a backup. He relies on you having a weak field and preying upon that weakness, but if you can muster a strong force to wall up, the Minotaur will have trouble functioning. Even so, he makes a decently strong beatstick with a chance to rampage out of control with a bit of blocker manipulation added into the mix. While playing Minotaur, you also have to be cautious about how you use him. If he gets knocked out, you're going to pay a lot to get him back onto the board if you even manage to roll a character face. Depending upon what level of utility you're looking for, you have two main strategies to use the Minotaur for: Big Anti-Sidekick Bomb, or Single Target Removal Beatstick. Both are viable options provided you tailor your playstyle appropriately.





That's just the start of this week and it marks my second running appearance on 'ThePrep Area' that's coming out just a bit later on. I'm starting to get really hyped for drafting AoU as there doesn't seem to be any clearly good choices and I look forward to seeing how the meta develops with the influx of the new cards. 'Til next time everybody!
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Comments

  1. bahamut7's Avatar
    I see the Rare in this case being more flexible than the common and uncommon, though I can see many situations where the common will shine. Capturing is a mechanic that most players I have seen not fully explore (aside from Imprison) and I know from experience it is a game changing mechanic. I could see the rare combined with Deadman - Possessive Talents being a very mean combo.
  2. Necromanticer's Avatar
    @bahamut7 I'd agree with you there. The common brings full on bomb capabilities if your opponent makes the mistake of fielding sidekicks, but Distraction + Paragon Humanoid is going to score you some very nice grabs. It all depends on what you're trying to do and how you're slotting Minotaur into the team. If you want to go control heavy, you can use the rare for key captures to help stall your opponent, but if you want to smash into your opponent, I'd put my money on the common, especially when supported by a few blocker manipulation characters.
  3. bahamut7's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Necromanticer
    @bahamut7 I'd agree with you there. The common brings full on bomb capabilities if your opponent makes the mistake of fielding sidekicks, but Distraction + Paragon Humanoid is going to score you some very nice grabs. It all depends on what you're trying to do and how you're slotting Minotaur into the team. If you want to go control heavy, you can use the rare for key captures to help stall your opponent, but if you want to smash into your opponent, I'd put my money on the common, especially when supported by a few blocker manipulation characters.
    I agree completely. This week you got 2 very good paths to take and look forward to see which one you Make it Meta.