Pro Dice Circuit North Carolina State Championship
by, 03-14-2016 at 04:32 PM (1502 Views)
Pro Dice Circuit North Carolina State Championship Event held March 13 @ Abubika Gaming in Gastonia, NC.
So first, let me just get it out of the way, this was my team that I played.
DMRetrobox team link
It is very similar to the team I played at Glenn Burnie WKO. The major change being Ring: Lesser Gear for Millennium Rod. Plan A -> Workhorse attack, Constantine, Poly, Jingo, Recover with Elf Thief / Dwarf Wizard, Hulk, purchase / punish with Elf Thieves until victory is swingable. Plan B -> Cry like a little girl, Constantine / Elf Thief, Dwarf Wizard, try to recover with Hulk / Jinzo depending on opponents team.
So I started the day with a warm greeting as I walked in the door. Having a local Facebook group where events are posted and people occasionally talk, helps find where things are happening. I felt immediately at home walking through the door, then with the familiar faces from Facebook and other FLGS around town. I got to say hello to a lot of people both new, Facebook only, and old, as team sheets were being filled out, people are talking, and I am listening and joking. I decided on Friday that I wasnít going to over think my team. I wasnít going to worry about Action Dice or the dreaded Prismatic Spray: Lesser Spell. And most of all, I was going to sit down, stick with my two play plans, smile, and focus on what is important, HAVING FUN. I was not disappointed. I did not play against one person where I thought the match was lopsided, nor did I play against anyone whom wasnít friendly. So much so, I canít believe my own stubbornness in not having attended events here at Abubika Gaming since Battle for Faerun.
My first game was against an all bolts team played by Michael. So to start the game, I am looking across the board and seeing things I like, Blue-Eyes White Dragon, Iceman Too Cool for Words, Wasp Founding Avenger, Fatality, and thinking, well he isnít going to like what is about to happen. Every global I could possibly want and not have brought is staring at me from across the board. And I did manage to pull a Hulk off for 2 Fist; however, I squarely got handed a Loss. I just straight up got beat. Constantine / Jinzo didn't slow him down and I took a point of damage just polymoprhing in Jinzo turn 3 from Wasp. Straight up, just got beat.
Next up for me was Andrew whom was playing a Swarm, Guy, beat stick team. Looking across the table I was trying to decide if I should go Plan B, instead of Plan A. Seriously, having been handed the previous loss, I was ready for the ďCry like a little girlĒ plan. Playing against a Big Entrance / Anger Issues team that was mostly Fists and doesnít need Big Entrance but twice, seemed like Jinzo was to much of a wasted manuever. I have to admit, I was relieved to see that Purple Worm was conspicuously missing from his team. I decided to stick with my prep after perfect rolls the first 3 turns and got Jinzo polymorphed onto the board turn 3. This left me the energy to set up for a second polymorph on turn 5 for Hulk. Having stalled out his attack with Constantine and Andrew's decision to purchase his Goblins and Kobolds over Guy Gardner took the pressure off me for an early Hulk. A pawn and the willingness to block with Constantine took the rest. By turn 6, I was just looking to get a board clear and a pump with his Anger issues to finish him off. Perfect Rolls won this game for me. Constantine was KOíd 3 or 4 times and returned from the Prep Area every time. I donít know how Andrew did the rest of the day, but at one point I was looking at enough fists in his reserve pool to punch a sidekick through to deliver 20 points of lethal damage. Going with Plan A and getting Jinzo first, kept a lot of that pump damage down to a minimal. So now I am squarely 1-1, and I have had two well played games. Excellent game Andrew, well played.
Round 3, Vernon. Sitting across the table from me was a friendly guy name Vernon, whom had this awesome dice tower. An all Mask Cerebro / Kitty Pride / Beast / Doctor Strange / Morphing Jar team. Having played two rounds against a similar team on Saturday, the day before, I knew what I was looking at. Pain and Removal, all in one. To be honest, I really wasnít looking forward to this match up. I had no way of dealing with Action Dice, just the characters they were attached to. No real way to prevent him from fielding his characters. I could just delay his attacks and deal with his forced re-rolls. I knew he was going to be global / action die dependent. Constantine constantly preventing attacking and my perfect setup into Constantine / Jinzo / Dwarf Wizard / Hulk, Set the stage for the board clear on Vernonís turn and then the lethal damage. Perfect Rolls, and Jinzo pulled me through this game. Unfortunately, for Vernon, I have played a lot against teams that can overwhelm you with attackers hitting for 2 - 4 damage. I miss-played against a very similar team at the Glen Burnie WKO. If the game had gone another turn, I surely would have either outright lost or been completely crippled. Another great game, I enjoyed playing against you Vernon. Now 1 was sitting at 2-1.
Round 4, Possibly the most difficult of the day thus far. The Mirror match against Ben, whom was 3-0 at this point. So he didnít have Dwarf Wizard, instead he had Nova: The Human Rocket. and instead of Ring: Lesser Gear, he brought Storm. I wasít sure if he had brought Wind-Rider or African Priestess. Didn't matter, if Storm hit the board uncontrolled; I would be rerolling characters. One thing was clear, Ben had the same Elf Thief and I brought the energy fixing he needed. Mirror Matches separate how well you know your team and can predict your opponents moves. So for the first few minutes of the game, we made the exact same buys in the exact same order. Having won the toss, game me a distinct advantage, Ben took the damage from Jinzo and kept his ramp. Then on his turn he took the two points of damage to polymorph Jinzo in to eliminate my lock on damage. So going first netted me 6 extra damage, just by beating Ben with Jinzo to the table. At that point, I decided to continue with the Plan A. Recovered with purchasing Dwarf Wizard, and take the damage for PxGing for a Poly Hulk. I ended up missing the polymorph and had Hulk just sitting in the Used Pile. Meanwhile, he managed to get his own Hulk on the board. Things were looking bad for me and he named Hulk and Dwarf Wizard came out of the bag instead. Quick fielding and locking out Hulk, lead to my win. It GREATLY helped that Ben was pretty aggressive about continuing his plan and taking the damage from Jinzo. Honestly, I won because of Dwarf Wizard, but Ben cleared the way with taking damage from Jinzo. I am now 3-1 and the only undefeated player had just scored his first loss.
So we then got to take a break for 20 minutes and got ready for the Top 4 play. At this point, I needed something to drink and something to snack on. A little fresh air helped along with casual conversations with some of the other players. I didnít get to play against half the other teams. I am hoping to start making it down that way at least twice a month. So Top 4 were announced and it is Ben, Ron, David, Michael. Now, for those of you that donít know David has been playing Dice Masters a while and is the second best Dice Masters player I know, (the first being Scott Hill). For the Store PDC at Be There Games, it was an epic struggle on my part to beat him.
Game 1 Match 1: I had gotten a pretty good idea of Davidís team before we sat down for Swiss. As we sat down for Round 1 of the Top 4, I knew that I was either going to play perfectly or I was going to get clobbered. I was pretty much mentally prepared for the Nova thrashing / Distraction fest I was about to be the recipient of. Plan A in full effect, Jinzo locked the game on turn 3, and then it was a process of narrowing the window for victory with Elf Thief. This attests to Davidís expert playing. Knowing that I was going to have to keep the defensive trio and remove the window and having a real small stick to get there against distraction. Even down my last swing, I wasnít sure that I was going to get there during this game. Fighting off Nova every step of the way, protecting Jinzo, Forcing him to use Distraction to avoid lethal damage. Whacking him with Elf Thief. Of course, hard fight all they way down the life track. Match 1, win.
Match 2: If Match 1 wasnít hard enough, David didnít let me rest for Match 2. Turn 2, He purchased Nova. Now, at this point I am a turn behind because I failed to rolled any shields the first turn. And from there, it was a struggle to get Jinzo, Constantine, and Hulk all on the board at the same time. Worse, is David is perfectly comfortable exchanging 2 life for 2 life all the way down the life track. This match came down to two Sidekicks, and some forced removal again. Again Davidís expert play, caused some intense panic on my part. Hey lets block a 7/7 Nova with an 7/7 Hulk. The smile on Davidís face. So Ping Nova Once, he takes two damage from Jinzo and I take two from Nova. Hulk retaliates for 3 damage to his board. I take another two from Nova. Hulk retaliates for 3 damage, followed by another 2 points from Nova as he is KOíd. Six damage to me for 2 damage to him, is just the type of thing he is known to plan out. If I remember correctly, we had both been tied at 10 for this one. Luckily, being able to get a Level 2 Elf Thief, a side kick, and a clear board on his side set me up for the punch of him having to distract Hulk and Jinzo, while still taking 4 damage from Distraction and 4 damage from Constantine / Elf Combo.
Having secured my two wins against David. There was a sudden realization while waiting for the other Game to finish up. I had been so focused on my games with David, I was going to have to either play against the Mirror Match or the All Bolt team that had beaten me. One thing was for sure, my hardest games were ahead of me, regardless of which of the two I was going to play. I soon found out that I would be facing the mirror match, again.
Game 2 Match 1: Having gained first turn advantage, it was again a mirror match for several turns. It is hard to understand how a turn 4 decision can be so pivotal in deciding a victory or a loss. Most of the teams i build, I have focused on turns 1 - 4 for a quick kill. Then think, hey I will just swing what comes afterwards. For WKOs, I prepared down a pretty good 8 turns, because I had to think about how to recover from the 6 cost Polymorph turn 3 and then get to the point the attacking point to narrow the life track to within killing range of my team. Knowing that you arenít even set to start attacking until turn 6, means stalling till your pieces are in place. Playing Control, it is all about presenting painful choices to your opponent. While it seems to be ďlock dominating, pain inflicting beastĒ, truth is that the structure is fragile. You have to assemble 3 characters, protect those characters, then assemble an attack force. You havenít even begun thinking about attacking until turn 6. Hulk and Jinzo do work while getting the pieces in place. Being able to lock a Jinzo or Hulk out on the other side of the board is immensely powerful. NEVER have I wanted that Millennium Rod so badly. So the first Match ended, with once gain proving that Dwarf Wizard was a must add to the team. Jinzo steadily wore down Ben and myself, while Constantine and Dwarf Wizard provided the thwarting to Benís plan. It was yet another close game. Magic Missile on a burst face with a Level 1 Human Paladin and a Level 2 Dwarf Wizard is what killed him. At one point, we were looking at each other, both of us trying to figure out how to break the lock. He bought a second polymorph, when I was thinking he should have bought the Magic Missile.
Match 2: You want to take a measure of how good of a player you are. Play the mirror match as Player 2. Twice I had played Ben. Twice I had first turn advantage. During both of those games, it was a close race. Ben had a determination to win. You could see it come over his face. I am under pressure and behind the curve and he hadnít even rolled his first turn. So again, it is mirror match, except turn 3, I get a Jinzo polymoprhed but Constantine doesnít want to roll. Partial win, 6 life down. Like a shark with blood in the water, Ben just kept cranking up the pressure. Truth be told, he just out played me with my own team. He played way more conservative with taking damage and making sure that Elf Thief wasnít helping me. I did get a defensive posture, but not before my life was down 7 to 8. Ben was able to out maneuver me and took the win with 30 seconds left in the round clock. Again, I was just out played.
Match 3: After those two intense games. Now we are tied 1-1 in the match. At this point, Ben was talking bout just conceding because we would only get 5 turns between the two of us to settle whom would take the match win. Think about this prospect, 5 turns and you are only going to get two of them. How much damage can you do? With your team, how are you going to do it? At this point, Ben wants to just shake on it and say good game. I insisted that we play it out. Two reasons, first I have no freaking idea how I should play this out. Second, holy bat pants, I want to play this out because it has never come up. So we play the 5 turns. I go first.
Turn 1: 1 Sidekick, and I buy Magic Missile.
Turn 2: All Energy after reroll.
Turn 3: 1 Sidekick, Mask, ?, Shield, he PxGs and clears 1 of my defenders.
Turn 4: 3 Sidekicks, Bolt, Mask, Shield. He bolts my sidekick and swings for 3 damage. I PxG twice.
Turn 5: I can only draw 3 dice and take a point of damage. So 4 down now. I roll Magic Missile on Burst, and a Sidekick. I pick up all of the rest of the dice and roll down 3 more sidekicks. One Roll. One Win.
What an epic day of playing Dice Masters. I couldnít have asked for a better group to play with or a better host for the Pro Dice Circuit NC State Championship. I played great opponents, talked with great people, and find myself looking forward to getting back out there for more casual events. I also want to recognize Neil, Ryan, and the other guys at Abubika Gaming for running a great event.
So I wanted to discuss a little bit of about the team aspect of this game. Going into this event, I had prepped for two bad situations that I just donít play well against: 1) Action Based teams, specifically Prismatic Spray: Lesser Spell / Lantern Ring: Limited Only by Imagination and 2) Dwarf Wizard: Paragon Zhentarim. Action based teams are hard because I can only deal with them by denying them their punch. I canít remove them, blank them, or basically control them any other way. This issue can be exploited, severely, especially if your name is David. The Dwarf Wizard, well lets face it. Every reason I like him is every reason to hate him. Dwarf Wizard just has a way of mucking things up, whether you pair him with Constantine: Hellblazer or not. It is probably the second best defensive card in the game, IMHO.
The ONLY team that I faced that I thought I would just outright crush, handed me the loss. If you bring me every global I wanted but couldnít fit in the team or was unwilling to give to my opponent, and make it available. Being able to look across the table and play them is great. These Mono-ish energy teams are tough. One wrong play, one missed roll, and it can be over before it started. Energy fixing from Ring helped several games; however, the ONE TIME I SHOULD HAVE ABSOLUTELY used it, I forgot all about it. Not just during the mirror matches with Ben, I felt like every team I played had several opportunities to destroy my team by using something I used as part of my strategy. I realize now that repetitive play was helpful in preparing for different things, but it also introduced me to a rhythm in my team. I had to frequently play with what seemed like polymorph never working. But snatching two polymorphs on a team like mine can be devastating if you send both Hulk and Jinzo to the Used Pile at the same time, because I have to close that gap with Elf Thief. Dwarf Wizard on his purchase turn is equally exposed. Roll Jinzo to the Used Pile for two and deny my fielding of Dwarf Wizard, that is pretty disruptive strategy-wise. Recovering from the Polymorph is difficult, especially in the punishing Mirror Matches.
In the end, I feel like every game came down to two things: 1) how well you know your team and 2) how quickly can you analyze your opponentís team for strategies and globals.
Now, if youíll excuse me I have to go make a decision about Oni: Greater Giant.