Team Brew Switcharoo 2: Eclectic Boogaloo
by, 01-22-2016 at 11:01 PM (1425 Views)
Hello everyone. For the past few weeks, I have been conducting an experiment. First, I'm randomly selecting a full team of ten cards (eight characters/non-basic actions with two basic actions). Then, by only swapping four cards, we are attempting to turn this ragtag collection of cardboard and plastic into a good, or at least good-adjacent, team. To guide our build, we will select a rule that will limit what we can choose to swap in. Hopefully, this exercise will let us think a little differently about the process we use when constructing teams.
Using the fantastic team building website dm.retrobox.eu, I have randomly chosen our starting line-up.
Now... the rule. Taking advantage of the snowfall in the Washington DC area, I visited the Smithsonian and "borrowed" Frank Sinatra's famous fedora that he wore in his 1973 White House concert. Then, while there, I also liberated the quill that John Hancock used to sign the Declaration of Independence. Using that preeminent pen, I wrote each of the rules on a different slip of paper torn from the Magna Carta. I neatly folded each slip, tossed them into the hijacked headgear, closed my eyes, and picked one. The paper said something about limiting the feudal payments that must be made to the royal crown. I flipped it over, and it read "Little Cup Team". By unpremeditated proclamation, when this team is completed, it must contain only common cards to be legal for the "Thrifty Shades of Grey" format.
Let's take a closer look at what we can already use. Storm is great for us. This version of Storm is the least expensive to purchase, and can give us either a good blocker, or some precious energy. I really like the Batarang here, as a source of removal. My only real concern is the level limitation, but we might be able to find a way around that. In a happy accident, we ended up with Batman on the team as well, which really makes sense thematically. Deathstroke is a good attacker, even if this is not my favorite version of the character. I've always found Regenerate to be, as the experts say, "SUPER BORING". Overall though, as far as starting points go, I think we did pretty well.
On the other side of the coin, we have three cards that have to go. Red Tornado, Black Cat, and the Deflection BAC are all not legal for Little Cup teams. There are a few contenders for our fourth cut as well. Iceman is at the bottom of my list for the common I most want to keep. His stats and ability don't really set the world on fire and, at a cost of five to purchase, he might never see any play anyway. I'm also not thrilled about Mystique. She could, at least, be a decent clutch purchase to get more energy or block if needed.
I must admit, I'm a little stumped. There are some good cards here, but not a clear cut strategy. I have a plan... I think. I believe that we can put up a decent group of blockers (namely Storm and Batman). If our opponent attacks, we can use Storm to (hopefully) send some characters to the showers, or Batman to gain a little bit of life. To get that life, we have to make sure Villains are coming to the party.
My first swap will be Red Tornado for Lantern Power Ring: Energy Projection.
This will be the base of our team. Not only will the Global be good to ensure that we gain a little life when blocking with Batman, but we might be able to use it offensively with the die itself. If we can get enough energy cycling through, it'll be easy to chip away at our opponent's life by turning some of their characters to the dark side and doing direct damage with the ring.
Next, we need to look at some ramp. Normally, I like to avoid the obvious choice, but this team will need some tried and true staples to pull it through. My next swap will be Black Cat for Professor X: Recruiting Young Mutants.
This team will take a lot of energy, and will rely on being able to pull actions and characters out of the bag. In an all-common format, there is still no better way to insure that steady churn and ramp than Professor X and his Global. And, since we have a few smaller characters on the team, we should be in good shape for energy to drive that PXG station wagon.
Next, we need to take a look at removing the final card that keeps this team from being Little Cup legal. My third swap will be Deflection for Selective Shield.
I think that the Global will be very nice to stop large characters from breaking through our line of defense. Overcrush can be very deadly in Little Cup games, and having a plan to deal with it isn't the worst idea in the world, even if it is just to use the Global. This team is not set up to do much attacking (at least not with anything we're concerned about losing or damaging our opponent with), so it will be very unlikely to negatively affect us.
My final choice will be "controversial", but hear (read) me out. I realize the best thing we could put on this team would be the Red Dragon. His Global would allow us to pick up our ring a bit more easily, and deal damage to boot. However, after including Professor X on this team, I feel that we need to try something a little less conventional. My last swap will be Iceman for Elf Wizard: Lesser Harper.
The Elf Wiz (which is an unfortunate shortening of a name) will allow us to purchase some actions with a slight discount. It will also let us juggle an action die that is stuck in our Used pile (either from a previous turn or from just having been purchased) into the Prep area. Also, it provides the discount to only us, and not our opponent.
Now, we only need the dice. After careful consideration, weighing each die in my hand to test the aerodynamics, and color blocking to make sure the hues are balanced, our team is ready.
x4 x3 x3 x2
x2 x2 x2 x2
The strategy for this team will be pretty straightforward. On the first turn, we want to purchase either a Mystique or Elf Wizard (and, hopefully, save a to use the Professor X Global). On the next turn (ideally), we'll purchase a Storm and be able to PXG a few times, leaving only four dice to be drawn. Then, we will ramp up to the Lantern Ring, picking up Storms and Batmen as needed to bolster our blockers. We will not want too many Sidekicks in the field, as we want to cycle them through for energy. Unless we can swing for lethal damage and the victory, we will only attack with the Elf Wizard and any hapless (and hopeless) pawns. The bulk of our damage will be provided by the Lantern Ring.
Going through several rounds of solitaire, I feel this is a valid strategy. Unfortunately, this is the sort of team that is VERY difficult to test without an opponent. There are a few weaknesses in this team. If no masks are rolled in the first turn, it can be a little painful, as this team relies HEAVILY on the ramp provided by Professor X. Also, this team relies on our opponent fielding a large number of characters, preferably as an aggressive team. One thing that it might not handle well is direct damage, so if the person across the table has brought a burn team (like my personal favorite Little Cup team "Bolt From the Blue Light Special"), it's going to be a short night.
All things considered, however, I feel like we have done well. We set out to turn a random set of cards into a decent (if a little goofy) Little Cup team, and I think we succeeded. The team is hodgepodge enough to possibly catch someone off guard, as it uses a win condition that isn't seen too often. The best part of the team is that it forced a different build style than I normally use, and it would certainly force me to play differently than I normally would.
What do you think? What would you have done differently? Could I have gotten more bang for my buck with a different selection? Was it a mistake that I didn't use Mystique in a different way? Most importantly, did you enjoy this experiment? Hopefully you did, and it got your team brewing juices flowing.
If you enjoyed this article, and have ideas for new "Rules" I can throw into the hat for the next one, please let me know. I really enjoy trying to make "something out of nothing" with these teams, and I would love to hear any ideas on how I can make it more enjoyable for you. I love Dice Masters, and I really love trying to improve my team building and my play by forcing the build to go in directions I wouldn't have expected, and explaining my thought process for each step that I took.
Anyway, until next time, thank you for reading!