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A Wonderful Month of Dice Chucking and Friend Making

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The past month has been a very exciting and interesting month of playing Dice Masters for my son and I. And as you could expect would happen from playing such a wonderful game, there were many, many highs. But there were also some very terrible lows. Overall, however, it was an extremely memorable month, and one that has given me lifelong wins that will far outweigh the short term lows. Over time. Until then, and as I write this, I am still licking some wounds.

Hello, my name is AJEddy (Chad) and I love Dice Masters.

I started playing Dice Masters with my son in early April last year. I love to play games with Adam, and we play a lot of games! In the past, we have played Pokemon, Yu-gi-oh, Shadow Era and a handful of other CCGs, as well as all kinds of board games and sports. Last spring, he and I started playing Dice Masters. We bought the Uncanny X-Men starter and began our Dice Master journey with Iceman and Iron Man leading the way. Not long into our burgeoning affection for this great game came my first real disappointment. 2 days after the fact, while looking up some strategy or whatnot online, I discovered that our National Championship had been contested just a few kms (that’s right, I am Canadian… Newfie in fact) down the street from us. Not that either of us would have had any expectations for this event, but it would have been a ton of fun to have played and experienced the atmosphere. We moved on. For a while.

My wonderful son will turn 11 a few days after this year’s Canadian Nationals. Although it is a bit further away from us this year - by about a couple hundred kms. – we are most certainly going to be there and already have a family vacation planned around it. And, of course, around his birthday.

Adam is far and away the youngest player in our group. But he has never been treated any differently than anybody else by members of the group. I am most proud of our community for that. For how it welcomes, respects and appreciates the one child that plays regularly. And competes!

It is because of our community, and its treatment of Adam, as well as just having the opportunity to spend all this quality time with my son, that makes all of this so very special to me. This past month has been incredible.

Back to the back story…

Adam and I continued to be regulars at our then by-weekly OP event and we played Dice Masters all summer. Unfortunately, right as we were finding our groove with this game and the community, in September, we had to step away from it for a long time. Adam plays competitive hockey and I was his coach this season. That consumed all of our time available for playing games. So we had to make the tough choice to take a break from Dice Masters, a game we both had grown to love.

Our last game of Dice Masters happened just hours before our first team practice of hockey. Then, after being away for nearly 6 months, we returned on Feb. 27th, 2 hours after we left the ice for our last hockey game of the year. Since then, we both have been all-in preparing for our WKO that took place this past weekend.

As soon as I was sure I wanted to return to Dice Masters once the hockey season was over, I reached out to Mike. I knew he was running our - now weekly – OP and I was hoping he could help Adam and I catch up with the current meta and ease back into the game. Mike, his brother Eric, and others in our community were amazing in helping Adam and I get back into the swing of all things Dice Masters. Adam stills plays the Guy Gardner list Mike gave him on Day 1. For my team, I have been evolving it over the last 4 weeks to become - IMHO - a very competitive team. The lion’s share of credit for that goes out to Mike, Eric, Kevin and many others in our group for the help and input I received. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had this community to come back to after being away for nearly 6 months. World class players. World class people.

So, I am spent the next month preparing for the WKO here in Ottawa. I set reasonable expectations. I play tested often with the great players. I attended as many OPs around town as I could. Side note: within a half hour drive of my house there is now an OP event every day of the week but Wednesdays! Dice Masters is alive and strong in Ottawa.

What were my expectations for the WKO? Simply to compete. I don’t own many of the staples that are found on tournament winning teams. But I am totally fine with that. I have always preferred the rogue side of deck/team building. My first goal with these games is to know the meta and then attempt to surprise the meta with something rogue. That is what provides my motivation and enjoyment.

Making Top 8 was my ultimate goal, to be honest.

Luckily, and the only reason I was able to ramp up to compete levels in 4 weeks and in time for the WKO was because I had Mike in my corner. Mike taught me the meta. He challenged me with tier 1 teams. And he also appreciated my playstyle and approach. Part of being rogue and looking to surprise the meta is building a “toolbox” type of team. Mike helped me to do that. Never overpowering my decisions, always allowing me to get where I needed to go in my own way and at my own pace.

Our community is enriched by having Mike in it and doing all that he does to grow it. No one is happier for him for taking down the WKO this past weekend. Even if he did beat me in our top 8 match.

So, with my team building criteria and play style established, I started out putting together a team that could win. The process was very long and the team went through a ton of iterations. The whole process was wickedly enjoyable!

Bard Boys

Here is the final iteration of the team that just feels so very comfortable to me. Like an old friend. Just unsheathing it from my deck box always makes me smile….and often, makes me feel sorry for my opponent. JK.

Elf Thief, Lesser Harper
So much utility. Free to field (99.7% of the time). Steals energy from the unsuspecting opponent. Fabricate fuel. Bard fuel. Masks. And a not insignificant ping if you want to get in some early damage. And, it hinders my opponent’s ability to abuse the communal tool I brought. PXG. Move over Hellblazer, there’s a new 2 dollar boss in town, and everyone can own him. Or is it a her?

Dwarf Wizard, Paragon Zhentarim
This guy and I have not always gotten along. I must have cut him - and put him back - ten times. Until I inserted the next card I will talk about onto the team, I was not convinced DW was helping me. But the protection Oracle provides allowed DW to shine.

Oracle, Master Investigator
From the moment I read her text I was wowed. I own Jinzo. But at a 6 cost, getting Jinzo going requires too much loss of ramp, and a mandatory turn of recovery on turn 4. Oracle does not. And it is arguably more effective at shutting down global use than Jinzo. Owning 3 Jinzos that I want to move, it does not benefit me to proclaim that a starter card outshines a $35 card. But it does. IMO, hands down the best card in World’s Finest. How does she protect DW? No doubt DW is a pain in the butt to my opponent. However, using the very tool I brought – Magic Missile - my opponent can easily deal with DW for the turn it matters. With Oracle in play, those 2 bolts to ping off DW just became 4. I invite you to do so.

Half-Elf Bard, Master Lord’s Alliance

Stupid, stupid, STUPID phenomenal win condition! I have very strong opinions about this card, that I will not go into in this report. I hope WK deals with this card soon. Until it does, it will be impossible for me to play a team without it, and without ways to slow down my opponent’s Bard. We are at the dawn of the Bard Wars!

Nightwing, Flying Grayson
Wow, this slot took so much time to fill. Torch, Storm, Scarecrow, Beholder and others have held this slot at different times. But Nightwing is the star, far and away. I put him on the team just hours before the WKO. This slot is for targeted removal. I found that I struggled in so many games to deal with Hellblazer, Z Mag, Oracle, Jinzo, Dwarf Wizard. This one card can remove any of them when I move into the Bard Swing, not to mention getting a buff from friends and buffing friends. Bard is stupid. But this guy was a star. Opponent has 4 weenies blocking my way. No problem.

Hulk, Green Goliath
I thought of axing this guy for a couple other options, but I just could not pull the trigger. I used it 0 times on game day. With Nightwing on the team, GG’s utility has plummeted. Don’t get me wrong, when GG is needed, there is no one better. But I just found I could never get to his 6 cost. And never did I need him so much to lose ramp to get him. This slot will be going to Babs. If I ever get her.

Professor X, Training Young Mutants
Not happy about bringing this myself but I didn’t spend any time testing my team without it. Until I could work in a plan without it, I needed it. I now have that plan and PXG will no longer be on this team. That said, it was critical to the team while it was there.

Clay Golem, Lesser Construct
My team started as a Fabricate engine. “When fielded” weenies and Fabricate was/is an awesome engine and economy. Unfortunately, it was also easy enough to stop with Z Mag and Hellblazer. I didn’t use it at all in the WKO. That said, now that Nightwing has proven himself very, very useful I can see the economy and engine that is Fabricate and “when fielded” weenies coming back into vogue on this team. We shall see.

Magic Missile

Bard Blitz

Other than the 3 very capable pilots of the Bard Blitz, I think I just may be next with having the most experience with the team. Having lost to it twice.

How good is Bard Blitz? Even though I did face it twice, I don’t feel I am in a position to comment on just how good the team is. Is it the best rush team out there? Is it the best Bard team out there? No idea. But I am willing to bet it is pretty darn good - and likely the best - if Mike, Kevin and Eric cooked it up. But is it great because it placed 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the WKO? The reason even such impressive finishes do not have me convinced is only because Mike, Kevin and Eric were finishing 1, 2 and 3 no matter what. I have every confidence that the finish our event saw was inevitable. Regardless of the teams played by these gentlemen.

Those guys are just that freaking amazing at this game!

As for Bard Blitz, I will have to play it myself, play against it some more and see how it plays in the hands of mere mortals before I can comment on it. I will definitely be watching for it, and for how it does at other events once it gets netdecked to death. And netdecked to death it will get. I DO know it is that good.

Tourney Report

Round 1 – Kevin (2nd place finisher playing Bard Blitz)

This game sent me on serious, serious tilt. More on that later. I was excited for this game because Kevin is a great player, and even greater guy and…what in the hell is that team???? My first look at this team was when Kevin pulled it from the box and laid it out on the mat. I had only seconds to figure out what it was. Luckily I knew Bard, and from what I saw I could immediately go with…it is a Rush team. Which was scary because rush teams are my team’s biggest weakness. However, playing so many games against Adam – who plays Guy rush – I had some idea of what to do. Which was to hope and pray I go first! My hopes were dashed and my prayers went unanswered. Kevin went first. All is not lost however as his opening roll and re-roll were very bad. Ok. Door open a bit. I spent turns 1 and 2 fielding (Ringing in) sidekicks and buying Elf Thief and Poly. Turn 3, and because of his terrible opening turn, Kevin was forced to attempt to recover using PXG. He saved 3 masks. I was rolling Elf Thief, Poly and 6 SKs. The plan was easy. Field Elf Thief and poly in Oracle and, in turn, change his 6 SK dice into just 2 for his next turn. Not to mention clogging up his bag. Roll and re-roll produced neither Elf thief nor poly. The major misplay by me that followed was not using Parallax to fix that. I had a total of 4 chances to get the sides I needed on poly and ET. I even mentioned Parallax the turn before as an option. It would have gotten me into a great game with Kevin. Do I win? No idea. Kevin is a much better player than I, so my money was on him still pulling out the victory. But what sent me on tilt was, by missing that obvious play, I robbed Kevin and myself of playing a good game. I gave that away on a big mistake. 0-1.

Round 2 – Claude (0-1)

By his own admission, he was there primarily to have some fun and soak up the experience. I was still reeling a little from the game with Kevin so I can’t remember much about Claude’s team and this game. I managed the win. I wish I could remember more. Sorry Claude.

Round 3 – Brendan (1-1)

Brendan and I played the day before at a 8 round Swiss side event, so we knew each other’s teams. I was featuring Scarecrow in the Nightwing slot when we played in the side event. And Scarecrow factored into that win big time. So, Brendan was surprised to see Nightwing had taken the spot. Brendan was playing Tsarina, PXG and Green Goliath for sure. I honestly cannot remember the other pieces. I think Hellblazer. I do remember being worried about GG since my GG answer was no longer on my team. Still, a poly’ed in Hulk can be dealt with by an early Nightwing and a ping from MM. Also, Tsarina is one of those plays, scary to so many, that my team does not struggle with at all. Because of the ramp kill (ET, Oracle) and since Tsarina has to attack, I take the hit and send her into a pretty full bag. After the usual thrust and parry, Nightwing cleared the way for he, Bard, Oracle, ET and a sidekick to swing freely for lethal. Brendan is another of the great people and players in our community. And another player Adam looks up to big time because of his respectful approach.

Round 4 – Jason (2-1)

Awesome guy. Friendly. Fun. A pleasure to play against. And I was really intrigued with his team. Jason was playing BW – Stinger, a full set of Iron Fist, and some other pieces that saw play, but I forget. I remember he had a ton of characters out. It was a slow grindy type of game. In the end, Nightwing cleared the way for a NW, Bard, Oracle, ET, DW and SK swing. Jason, if you are reading this, I hope to meet you again in another event. You are yet another example of why playing this game is so awesome.

Top 8 – Mike (The Winner, playing Bard Blitz)

Wow. Teacher meets student. J Luckily I had some time since the match with Kevin to think about this matchup. I was certain if I scraped my way into the top 8 I would have to play one of the Bard Blitz teams. The only defence I could think of for the “Bard rush to turn 3 kill if it goes first” is to keep SKs and bolts. Mike went first. Luckily his opening was not ideal. Mine was ok. I managed to survive the turn 3 kill rush and Mike did not swing, not having lethal. However, he did swing shortly after without lethal and knocked me down to 8. Mike and I have not since discussed why he swung there. I suspect it was because I had Dwarf Wizard coming and he wanted to get Bard off the field. I was thinking the opposite. I wanted Bard to stay on the field (wow, that is so hard to imagine…wanting Bard out against me) so I blocked Bard and let 3 SKs through for the 12 hit. I continued to set up and wall up and then the pivotal turn came. And subsequently a couple turns later, the lowest I have ever found myself in my short Dice Masters tournament career. That of 5 games. I had Nightwing, Oracle, Bard, Dwarf Wizard (naming Bard), Elf Thief. Mike had Bard, Miri, a level 1 Jar, a level 2 Jar and 2 SKs. For the unfamiliar…you will never do as much math in Dice Masters as you will in Bard Wars! I had a ? and a bolt in Reserve. Mike’s reserve was empty. So, the math: Nightwing takes out 2 SKs and level 2 Jar. Bolt takes out other Jar. Relentless Miri and the only blocker was Bard. I had ET, DW, NW, and Oracle getting through, all on level 1 faces, buffed by Bard to 19 total damage. I spent 10 minutes, easily, trying to find 20. I had The Ring global, Poly global, MM all at my disposal. A way too long of a turn resulted in not finding 20. I swung with NW only to clear the board. Mike then built back up and eventually took me out for the last 8 life. But before he did, and about 2 turns after the turn where I found 19, but not 20, I looked at the score. Mike was at 19.

I am not saying that I would have gone on to win that match. I have no idea how it would have turned out. But no matter how it ultimately ends, having lethal and not knowing it was lethal simply because I did not look at the score was an unforgivable mistake and one that will haunt me for a while. It is the lowest a player can get in this game.

My sincere congrads to Mike! A well-deserved champion and the single biggest reason I even found myself in a situation to be able to compete, and potentially win.

To those wondering….how did Adam do??? He won his first game and was beyond stoked. Unfortunately, he stalled out at 1 win and finished the main event at 1-3. That said, I am extremely proud to say he went 3-1 in the side events and tied for Gold in the Side Event Challenge.

He is a great little player and an awesome kid.
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  1. OddballNarwhal's Avatar
    Great write up! Congratulations and welcome!
  2. Judgemental's Avatar
    @Ajeddy Thanks for the nod my friend. I am really happy that you and Adam are back and playing with us. Counting Nightwing's board clear and figuring what blockers I'd have left + counting your Bard enhanced board numbers was a true pain in the ass in our top 8 game, nice work and nice write up!
  3. zeon20's Avatar
    @Ajeddy " I have always preferred the rogue side of deck/team building. My first goal with these games is to know the meta and then attempt to surprise the meta with something rogue. "

    I like your motivation. Congrats on making top 8.
  4. Ajeddy's Avatar
    Thanks. In the end my team was not very rogue. However it started out very rogue. There are only so many ways to deal with Hellblazer and Jinzo and Hulk. It did keep a little off meta rogueness, with at least a couple surprises. Still, I love playing this version!
  5. Jwannabe's Avatar
    Thanks for the write up! I enjoyed it throughly.