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Walsh

Newbie - Nationals: A Dice Masters Tale

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After picking up an AvX starter and becoming familiar with the game with friends I realized the depth of strategy and went online looking for resources. I found dicemastersrules.com and diceanon.com then proceeded to systematically read every article available. Somewhere in there I found out about Vassal and the Hangouts community playing Dice Masters online but I was afraid my home meta had not produced a strong enough team for me to compete. Wanting to get a taste of the live meta I showed up for a weekend event at my LGS where I was quickly and completely destroyed by Kelly Davies at the final table of the draft. Kelly gave me a crash course in a BAC I had all but ignored (admittedly due to not understanding how it worked) called Distraction. This single card shaped the great majority of my play style and future team builds in that I found it almost impossible to deal with. At the time I was mainly relying on wild swings for large damage with X-23 (you'll notice a common theme with me and the Weapon X project lol). This strategy was enough to get me into the final match each week only to lose to Kelly and his masterful Distraction play. This went on for a few weeks before I decided I understood the game mechanics enough and had the cards to try building an original constructed team. At the time the meta consisted of Beast Wall/Distraction (AKA Mask Control), Flying Sidekicks (FSK) and Gobby/Tsarina/Human Torch Aggro.

In my mind I needed something fast enough to race Mask Control by beating Distraction somehow that could also defend itself against FSK and Gobby. After a card review it was simple enough to include Venom: Angelo Fortunato to slow the rush teams but how could I get past Distraction? Enter Spider-Man: Wall-Crawler. I played a lot of Hearthstone at the time which has a card called Alexstrasza that takes a player's life total to 15 which is half the starting life total in the game. It was an amazing tempo card that many strategies were built upon and to me I saw Spider-Man as the same thing for Dice Masters. I would just use Venom to wall up against the rush while I developed a Wall-Crawler strike with Relentless to get past blockers then finish with Tsarina (if you know Hearthstone I was using the exact strat of Control Warrior just jammed into Dice Masters). The deck ended up being published in an article by dicemastersrules.com and I dubbed it Spider-Bomb due to large cards in Magic: The Gathering being referred to as bombs. The build did rather well and I started to play online more and more over Hangouts where I eventually learned about the WKO events and the upcoming National Championship. It was about this time that I was invited to write an article for diceanon.com regarding a new combo I had developed with Nova: The Human Rocket and the BAC Magic Missile from the new D&D set. After publishing the article and playing the Nova team a great deal online and at my LGS Id become more and more frustrated with losing games due to poor rolls and became rather obsessed with this concept. The idea of paying all that money to fly out to Nationals only to lose to bad rolls just did not sit well with me so I went back to the drawing board. This time I didn't look for bomb cards or counters so much as I looked for consistency; in my mind consistency would beat all other factors because no matter how fast they were or how hard they could counter, it was all reliant on the rolls. All of my research netted a few interesting results and I came out with a very solid consistency engine: Polymorph greatly increases the chance to get a character face in play and allows you to negate bag RNG by putting buys directly into play. It is also a colorless 3 cost, which is extremely important to consistency because instead of trying to fill slots with less than optimal cards to create outs for bad rolls, I can just buy Poly no matter what. Blue-Eyes White Dragon turns those annoying sidekick and bolt rolls into 2 energy which makes the early purchase of a 6 cost possible without dropping ramp. I later realized the stupid strong opener using a bolt to knock out a sidekick and buy a Poly for 1 then PXG leading to perfect ramp next turn.

I had already been playing around with the FWX/Relentless/Doomcaliber kit but found it far too reliant on face rolls to be viable so obviously mash the two together and you only have to figure out 4 slots to finish the team. Of those slots only Hulk was part of the main plan in that if I went second and missed my first Poly/FWX roll a lot of teams could run me over. I added Hulk as another Poly target to shut down Gobby/Tsarina/Human Torch Aggro as it was the only team capable of out racing FWX. Gobby/Tsarina were added as a trap because at the time most people would assume that was my win condition since FWX was regarded as a bad card. Psylocke was there to avoid Hulk math; I didn't want to run into a Hulk (Patch teams were really starting to take off) standoff unable to swing because in the long run I lose that fight due to FWX needing to attack alone. FWX needs to win fast, if the board state gets out of control and you can't Relentless past that's it. I showed up to Nationals honestly expecting to play Nova. I'd integrated Poly/BEG and Hulk into the Nova build but I was still only scratching the surface of the power of Polymorph because at the time common knowledge stated that buying action dice was for energy fix, I'd still not realized to rush the Poly buy.

Kelly and I arrived at the hotel then met up with Shawn Ely and Charlie Cates for some matches in the lobby. I played a ton of games with Charlie and it was a very important experience for me. Charlie did a really good job of helping me realize new lines of play in that he was a very mechanical and structured player who would win 99% if you made a single error. This forced me to really think because as someone who is very bad at math I had to come up with creative ways to beat him. What I came up with was the hard Poly buy turn 1, FWX turn 2 and then turn 3 if Poly hit and FWX didn't I would Poly in a Hulk using FXWs extra energy. This line of play seems simple but it really opens up your options later down the road. You can Hulk wall or rush with FWX, you can use Poly to pull out their when fielded threats and in general you have a lot of time to set up FWX. I also noticed that at the time the meta had a lot of players using pump cards that could add attack to characters. Nova doesn't really benefit too much from pumps since you want to keep him on board for pings but FWX with the DCK kit just goes nuts against those teams. I decided to give FWX a shot in the first qualifier and if it didn't do well I would move to Nova. Glad I did because I ended up going 8-0 undefeated to win both qualifiers while still keeping DCK and Polymorph a secret for the main event.

During the qualifying rounds I did a great deal of meeting new people and putting faces to names as well as helping people out with their builds. I built a team for Kelly that emphasized his fantastic Tsarina play, a team for Charlie with one of my favorite cards Injection Fairy Lily: Forced Injection and helped a player who was struggling to qualify Christian Jara complete his build. The best part is that on game day Christian was the first person I played...and I lost! Next round I went up against a Gobby burn team and tried to race instead of rushing a Hulk...lost again! Now at this point I figured I was out so I literally ran over to get a coffee in between rounds. I was still super groggy during my first matches and surprise! my next opponent was Kelly. Between the run and a super fun game with Kelly I was energized and decided not to give up after barely scraping into top 8 as the last seed due to Kelly and Christian both making top 8 as well. TRP Dave was my first match in top 8 and boy was it nuts. I wish I remembered more details about that match but let me tell you its one of those matches that was so tense (not at the surface, we were both joking and having a blast) that the whole thing is just one big blur of emotion. The finals match with Kelly was just another game at home, may as well have been on Hangouts just chillin but the Sadat semis match I really had to get creative. Having played him earlier I had an invisible Hulk strategy in mind where I would condition him to fear Hulk game 1 and then not even worry about him unless I really needed game 2. It worked pretty well as he doubled down on Psylocke buys early which took the Tsarina pressure off me and let FWX do work. It was also the culmination of all my Distraction training with Kelly, I had mastered the card that gave me the most issues and that skill shined at the most important time. And with all that I won US Nationals 2015 which was pretty crazy.

Updated 04-27-2016 at 05:08 AM by Walsh

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Comments

  1. pk2317's Avatar
    Awesome write-up! Great to see you posting here
  2. Walsh's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by pk2317
    Awesome write-up! Great to see you posting here
    Thanks man! I've been trying to write more lately and figured I should start with what I know.
  3. TheConductr's Avatar
    Is this the return?!?!....... ;-)
  4. Dave's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by walsh
    TRP Dave was my first match in top 8 and boy was it nuts. I wish I remembered more details about that match but let me tell you it’s one of those matches that was so tense (not at the surface, we we’re both joking and having a blast) that the whole thing is just one big blur of emotion.
    So we went into our third game after defeating each other on a misplay in the first two games. Our game went to extra turns and for most of it we were exchanging Hulk Smashes, never able to quite get the right combination of faces to find lethal. Finally, on turn three of five, you got the right dice and that was it for me. It was super epic, just going back and forth over and over, one wrong move would ensure defeat...
  5. Walsh's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave
    So we went into our third game after defeating each other on a misplay in the first two games. Our game went to extra turns and for most of it we were exchanging Hulk Smashes, never able to quite get the right combination of faces to find lethal. Finally, on turn three of five, you got the right dice and that was it for me. It was super epic, just going back and forth over and over, one wrong move would ensure defeat...
    Ah yes I do remember now! What a great match, really one for the history books.
  6. Jwannabe's Avatar
    Thanks for sharing your experience!
  7. agentj's Avatar
    Fun times!
    Just trying to clarify, this was last year?
  8. Walsh's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by agentj
    Fun times!
    Just trying to clarify, this was last year?
    Correct, US Nationals last year.