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The Outsider Report

An in depth basic complex simple guide to learning the Ropes of Teambuilding

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DISCLAIMER: This is a cheat-y blog post that I'm making while I try and summon up the energy to articulate my thoughts about the topic I had planned, but my job is currently not allowing me to do so. This is basically copy and pasted from a post I made as an apology after I accidentally confused a beginner teambuilder with vague terms for teambuilding. It's incredibly long and no one will probably take the time to read it, but whatever, I did a thing, here is the thing, roll with it. (Except for you, Sylvain. Never change.)

Here is an example of a pretty basic, tried and tested constructed team that I used to success at my last weekly constructed event. I'll try and break everything down as best as I can. (Maybe I can cheat and use this as a basic guide to teambuilding on my blog so I don't have to worry as much about my usual entry not being on time. Warehouse jobs are taxing on your body and mind, and are only for those who are hard as nails)

I know it's a loooooong post to take in, but I did it for you.

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We'll start with the win conditions. These are the specific cards that will be winning you the game (doing all 20 damage). This team has 3 cards capable of doing so.

The first is Black Widow: Tsarina. Yes, she's expensive (monetarily), but there's a good reason for that. Since AVX she has been ending games with little to no effort required, being capable of dishing out up to 4-5 damage PER attacking black widow die. That's a 2 cost character that can consistently deal a lot of damage, even on her lowest face. She has a few purposes. First, she provides access to double fist energy, making the Hulk: Green Goliath easier to purchase later on if you need to, while also creating a loop (double fist energy tsarina just so happens to be exactly enough to buy another tsarina). Second, she provides support to your Hulk (ill get to him in a second) when you need to use him as your primary win condition. Third, buying up 4 of her and rushing an opponent attempting to use a much slower, more energy intensive team is a very effective strategy.

The second is the aforementioned Hulk: Green Goliath. Almost undeniably the most powerful, craziest beatstick in the entire metagame, capable of wiping out entire teams before even hitting the attack step. He exist for a few reasons. Whenever he or you, the player, takes ANY kind of damage, he is going to swing back at all opposing characters for 2, oftentimes 3 damage. Global abilities like magic missile or slifer the sky dragon make it incredibly easy to abuse. He also acts as a deterrent, forcing your opponent to think a little more before attacking you, as he can block and wipe out the remaining field, or you can take the damage directly and wipe out the remaining field. Second, he hits for 6 damage on level 1, and up to 8 damage on level 3. That's a huge amount of power that your opponent will not want to take directly. He is offense and defense, aggro and control, at the same time.

The third and often overlooked card, is Nova: The Human Rocket. Whenever he takes damage in the attack step, he deals 2 damage to your opponent. This is a direct burn card, very straightforward. He has monstrous stats on his level 3 face for a 5 cost, but his high defense can be what counts. Cards like magic missile allow you to pay a bolt to deal 1 damage to a character. Since you can use globals during the attack step, you could declare an attack with nova, wait for blockers to be assigned and then:

- Use saved bolt energy to hit nova multiple times, dealing up to 14 damage if you were to knock him out, or 12 damage if he is left at 1 defense point.

- Do the same thing with a bigger bang is he is unblocked, allowing for a potential 19 damage from 1 character.

- Do the same thing as the first option, but leave some health for him to survive the hit from his blocker (which will again, deal 2 damage)

So we now know the point of 3 characters and 1 basic action. What's polymorph doing up there? It's what allows the team to multitask. by swapping a sidekick or other character from your field, you can bring in any character from your used pile, even one purchased on that turn. This is what makes Nova and hulk so deadly. Is your opponent playing a team that will wall up a lot? Did you go second? Did he bring burn countermeasures? Maybe you want to bring in a hulk and stare him down. Did you go first and he left you wide open? Polymorph in a nova, and hit for some extreme damage on turn 3 or 4, depending on the situation. Conveniently, polymorph brings hulk in at level 1, giving you immediate access to his burst face. It also provides you with a global allowing you to pay a mask to spin down a character, such as black widow, to spin another character up, like nova, increasing the amount of damage he can give and take. It also allows you to spin you hulk down to level 2 or 1, giving you access to his burst face no matter what character face he is spun down to. THAT is real synergy between cards.


Now we come down to ramp. Ramp is a technical term that describes the amount of dice you are rolling every turn and how quickly you can increase your total energy stocks per turn. Wifey, here on the reserve pool, wrote a good article detailing these crazy acronyms for beginners. I'll leave that right here. Ramp is very closely related to, but not the same as churn. Both are very important, and I highly recommend reading that article if you are unsure about any lingo you may see around here on the site. This team uses 2 cards to facilitate ramp:

Professor x: Recruiting young mutants, who for the low cost of 1 mask can give you a convenient 2 for 1 on your initial investment, prepping 2 sidekick dice for next turn. This team doesn't need any mask characters, because pxg is mostly important on turns 1 and 2 for this team's pilot, and characters will be unavailable at that time anyways. He will, very quickly, give you the amount of advantage you need to out speed your opponent. If, and this is a big if, you ever feel compelled to purchase him for some insane reason, he can provide some extra dice upon being fielded, and sits very comfortably on level 3 with 9 defense.

And Blue-eyes White Dragon: Monstrous Dragon. The titular dragon from Yugioh, the IP that everyone everywhere loves and will never, ever complain about, nor will anyone furiously rush to their keyboards to type a 30 page word document about "why yugimonz suxorz lel". Anyways, he is a fixer for those pesky sidekicks that crop up early game when you are buying characters, provides a decent net 1 energy discount in exchange for the life of a die, and provides you with 1 character in the prep area per bolt spent as extra ramp for next turn.

There are other forms of ramp, these are just the 2 that I felt were most appropriate for the team. You can also consider cards like Resurrection, Villainous Pact, Zatanna, Beast, Silver Surfer and kobolds, just to name a few of the possibilities.

Compliments and Counters

The first and most important card used to compliment this team is Iceman: Too cool for words. He has a global ability allowing you to pay a bolt energy and turn as many sidekick dice on your field or in your reserve pool to their bolt energy sides (fielded sidekicks turned into energy are moved into the reserve pool). This does so many things for this team. It provides you with plenty of bolt energy for the magic missile global. You can then ping away small, weenie characters by hitting them directly, hit your hulk to wipe a board, or use them to attack with Nova and win the game. Stragely, it also does something very special that few people I see talk about this card ever touch upon. It can provide you with a sort of ramp, that isn't real ramp. It isn't churn either. Basically, if you are getting unlucky and are rolling tons of sidekicks, iceman will allow you to use your field as a parking spot for potential energy, and reclaim the sidekicks as plenty of bolt energy a few turns later. For something with such a simple global, iceman has a ton of depth to him.

Next is Constatine: Hellblazer. I would define this team as being a standard aggro/control team, which is weird because it's actually a lot of fun to play. Anyways, it can play both sides very easily. If you are worried about something specific your opponent could hit you with, or you know their win condition depends on "when fielded" effects, definitely consider picking one up during the first few turns. He can buy you the time you need to solidify your game plan, whether you go first or second. It combos well with cards like Hulk: Green Goliath since you can get rid of character teext on nasty characters like Gobby, then use hulk to wipe them all out once priority is passed, only to repeat the process the next turn (if they get a next turn).

Finally, is Wasp: Founding avenger. This card is great. First, it is inexpensive to purchase at a 3 cost, and it provides a very powerful control effect that is great in combination with Hulk and Constantine. Your opponent having to choose between taking damage or sacrificing global usage is a nightmare scenario when you are playing against a team capable of doing insane amount of damage incredibly quickly. It puts your opponent in a tough spot, and deters them from using your own Professor X, helping to mitigate the risks of playing him as a primary ramp source. Finally, it's global is special. For any 2 energy, it can deal 1 damage to any character or player. Somehow don't have the necessary bolts to hit hulk/nova with? Wasp can get it. Need to ping an opponent to death next turn after a successful 19 damage shot from Nova? Wasp has your back. Again, the definition of synergy. Low cost, fits in well, and provides additional utility in a variety of applications.

There we go. I hope this covers what I meant by my previous statements and explains the basics of building a team with every card in mind, so that none of your 10 go to waste. It's a very small number to work with, so you want maximum value from those 10 cards to be successful. To properly answer your initial question, there is no formula to making something the best, or work every time. Is this the best team? No, of course not. Did I think about it a lot? Yes. Is the team that won worlds the best team? Contrary to popular belief, no. Did Dean put a lot of thought into it? Of course. The point is, there is no such thing as a formula for masking something the best, or 100% effective, because there will always be another team out there that can beat whatever you make. The pilot is what counts. You have to play well, and optimize for efficiency and consistency in your game plan, and be ready to deal with uncertainty and previously unknown scenarios. The best advice I can truly give is to take some time before while building a team, and think seriously about it. Try and look for new combos or synergies, improve your knowledge of the cardpool, and play as much as you can against as many people as you can, and learn from both losses and victories.

And of course, pierce the heavens with your drill.

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  1. pk2317's Avatar
    It's incredibly long and no one will probably take the time to read it...
    Wrong! :-)

    Good post, very helpful for newbies.