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Dice Chuckin' in the Twin Cities

WKO2: Twin Cities, MN

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We had a great showing at the Minnesota WKO2, 23 people came from near and far to compete. A great time was had by all, and I was really impressed by the variety of teams that were represented. Full report to follow below, but here's the TLDR:

- 4 teams running Bard, 2 made the Top 8
- Top two teams were Bat-family and Fist Swarm Lantern Ring
- Saw a lot of variety - in addition to the above, there were the more common Poly/Hulk/Jinzo and variants, Vicious Struggle, Gobby/Tsarina, but also some very creative teams such as one centered around OP Apocalypse/Storm+Parallax, one using the Beholder global to whack with action dice, a dragon team, and others I'm not remember now.

Here's my main takeaway: we had a lot of good teams with a lot of good pilots. We had all the meta cards in play, from the AvX supers all the way through to Bard. And yet, the top 2 teams were made up almost entirely of none of those. The only SR on the top 2 teams was Babs. 0 AvX characters. The top team was even playing the Deflection basic action card. DEFLECTION, people. The #2 team was almost entirely from the World's Finest set.

So IMNSHO, when I look at this result, as well as other teams placing in the top around the country, I think this game is healthy. It's not that these two teams skated to victory. They both faced excellent pilots with excellent builds and fought like heck to win. But there is balance to the Force.

We saw a bunch of new people, including a couple who had only been playing for three weeks (one of whom made the top 8), as well as those of us who had been in it since the beginning.

I'll take you through my day. Here's my team (note - that sweet dice mat is not mine, but rather what my six year old picked for his present for his birthday last week. He was generous enough to let me borrow it for the weekend, thanks Zachary!):

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I know there have been a few Bat-family teams around - I've kinda avoided them a little bit, because I wanted this to stay my creation. I assume at least some of the parts are similar.

Game 1 - Patrick

Ironically, my first match-up in Swiss rounds was against Patrick, who was the only other one I recall also running a Bat-family team:

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Patrick's team actually looked very similar to the first Bat-combo I had looked at - Dick Grayson: Brand New Bat. This was one of the first cards from World's Finest that got me excited. A card that you can pump up to ridiculous stats, and essentially punches around any blockers straight to the face? Awesome, especially with Alfred:MI-5 available for KO shenanigans, right?

Unfortunately for Patrick, this meant that I knew exactly what he was aiming for, which meant that after purchasing my own Alfred on turn 1 and ramping with PXG, my turn 2 buy was Oracle. He wasn't able to get his Dick Grayson on his Turn 2, and after that Oracle was in the field, which did a great job slowing his ramp and keeping him from his win condition. Even so, if I recall, he did get close - and if he had, I was probably toast, as I had no Mera to protect me.

My engine went off first, though. This team centers around prevention up front - if PXG is in play, Alfred is the ideal first purchase, moving into Oracle to disrupt the opponent's ramp. If not, turn 1 could be Oracle, or it could be Babs, depending on if I felt like I was going to need some defense (i.e., like against a Bard and his buddies). Then as soon as I can, I go for my win condition: Bruce Wayne: International Playboy. This guy has some serious abilities for a Bat-centered team.

Once Bruce is in the field, it's usually close to over. Depending on how many other Bat-family characters I have in the field, my Batman: Natural Leader only costs 2 or often even 1 to purchase. If I can roll at least two masks, then, I'm good to go. I fabricate Alfred(s), or even Oracle if necessary. The Bruce Wayne allows me to bring in my two Bat-men characters at Level 3, who will be hitting for 6 each. Bruce Wayne is hitting for between 3-5, which means I only need a few more damage from my other guys to seal the deal, because the other thing Bruce Wayne does is capture an opposing Level 1 or 2 character. That's usually enough, or maybe there is a sidekick I can hit with MM, or maybe ping Babs to take out a few of them.

Every now and then, there will be a Level 3 character or two I need to deal with - that's where Vigilante Justice comes in. For every character of mine that is KO'd, I get to KO one of my opponent's non-Bat-family characters. Since most other teams don't have Bat-family (except for maybe Oracle), this is an Action I can use that can't be used against me.

Game 2 - Tony

After a somewhat bittersweet start, as I was loathe to beat the other Bat-team right up front, the dice gods decided it was time for payback. I was up against Tony, who was running BE along with Tsarina.. and some other stuff:

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I breeze over the other stuff because none of it mattered. I don't remember exactly what I rolled my first roll, but I think I kept a mask for PXG and rolled the rest, trying for a shield for Alfred or even a fist for Robin if necessary.

3 sidekicks.

Oh crap.

Meanwhile, Tony grabbed BE first turn with the RD global and ramped, and second turn rolled absolutely perfectly. Four Tsarinas went into the bag.

I was in deep doo-doo, but I buckled down. I can do this, I thought. I just need to get to Babs, and then I can ping off those Tsarinas before they can attack. I managed to survive long enough to get to her, and drew her... and energy. Re-roll, energy. I was pretty sure I'd be toast the next round - I'd been able to ping off a couple of level 1 Tsarinas, but he was rolling at least half of them on level 3, and MM was not going to cut it for those. I needed Babs. So I Parallaxed and re-rolled. Energy. Again! Energy. One last time... Energy.

At least it was over quickly.

Game 3 - Steven

At this point I was a bit bummed. I had really wanted this team to do well, in part to show that a top tier team could be built from mostly the latest sets, and I was already 50/50. This may be why I forgot to take pictures of the next two teams. That, and that fact that in Game 3, I was up against... Bard.

All right, here it is. Let's do this thing.

I'll admit this one is a bit of a blur, as my memories tend to get a little confused with the epic Bard battle from the Top 8 as well. But I knew my plan: get to Babs. I think I even skipped Oracle. Turn 3 I was ready with some bolts to take care of any pesky sidekicks or Miri'd in Morphing Jars. Then once I got to Babs, I was able to be a little more threatening. I think his Bard came up on it's lowest level at first, so I just let him sit there so long as he didn't have a shot at lethal, since I knew if he came back at Level 3 I'd need at least two bolts to KO him. That bought me enough time to get to my engine, and I swung for lethal.

Game 4 - Tracey

I felt a bit better now with a victory over a Bard team - and not just one we were playtesting with, but one run by an actual good pilot! But I also knew that there were at least two other very similar Bard teams out there, and at this point one of them was undefeated. Not only that, one of those wins had been against the Chicago WKO winner...

The last game of Swiss was against Tracey. She and her boyfriend had only been playing the game for three weeks, but don't let that fool you - she went 2-2 in Swiss overall, and her boyfriend made top 8. She was running a Hulk control team that had originally had the new SR Ronin on it - she had called the store and been told it was legal, but she'd been playing games long enough to know to have a backup plan. She had some unlucky rolls along the way, though, and I was able to get to my win-con fairly quickly. We talked a little about the game and how they got into it, and it sounded like she was having a great time.

TOP 8

At this point, the cut to top 8 was pretty simple - anyone with a 3-1 record or above got in. As they read off the list, my name came right after Kyle's, who was the one who had won the previous Chicago Open. He groaned, as he was pretty sure we were going to be paired up first - and sure enough, we were!

Quarter-final - Kyle

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Kyle's team had been enhanced since Chicago, notably with the addition of Rarecrow. We had playtested our teams a bit, and they were pretty evenly matched. It all came down to who got to their win condition first. You might think this would be easier for me, since mine was a 4 cost and his rare Colossus was 7 - but a couple of sidekicks and two bolts with BEWD brings that down to 3, and by turn 3 he's already rolling a ton of 2-cost Constantines and Iron Fists, even with no PXG in the mix.

This is where Oracle really came through for me. I went for her right away. I think Game 1 I was even able to BEWD myself for a tiny bit of ramp, so I think I was even able to get Babs on turn 3 and resurrect, putting both of them in my bag. Once Oracle was on the board, Kyle had to get to 7 cost the hard way - but he was also rolling a ton of dice, so sometimes he was able to just punch through. This was definitely the hardest fought match yet of the day, but I was finally able to pull off my win condition with the help of Vigilante Justice.

Game 2 Kyle switched it up and went for Hulk right away. I still went with Oracle, and was lucky enough to roll her on her level 3, which has a 5 defense. This meant he'd have to ping Hulk twice to get rid of her, and with Oracle out there it would cost him 4 to do it. I thought Babs would complicate things a little bit, but he didn't actually mind getting his characters getting knocked out, as he was still itching to roll enough on one turn to buy Colossus. I managed to get to my Bruce Wayne, but here's where Hulk was a problem - he'd call Bruce with Constantine, meaning I couldn't pull off my engine the turn I fielded him. Then he'd clear him out with Hulk - anything but Level 3 only took one ping.

We went back and forth, and ultimately I was able to get a turn where Bruce was active. He almost got me, though - he named Alfred with Constantine, and I *almost* fielded him. If I had, I don't think I could have done it, as I think I needed my Alfreds to get to 20.

Another bittersweet victory, as I would have preferred to meet Kyle later on - but then again, he's already got his WKO crown, so onto the semi-finals!

Semi-final - Mark

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You remember how I said there were two Bard teams in the Top 8? Well, they had gotten paired up against each other. I had, uh, been a little busy, but apparently Cory (the other Bard-er) had some bad rolls, and with Bard on Bard it doesn't take much, so now I was facing Mark. Mark was the other half of Tracey, who'd only been playing for three weeks, but this obviously wasn't his first rodeo. He hadn't just net-decked Bard, he'd done his homework, he knew what he was doing.

I took the same approach as before, going for Babs as soon as I could, praying that she wouldn't get all shy like she had against Tony. Mark piloted his team expertly - he thought through all the angles, and played like a pro.

I don't know how to convey this well without writing 500 more words of an intricate play by play, but this match was grueling. We split the first two, both of them going down to the wire. The third game I started off and made a mistake in rolling, putting me in catch-up mode. I got lucky that his bard didn't want to come up the first time. I don't remember if it was this game or game 2 that went to time, but I was able to just barely get to Bruce Wayne and swing for the fences in time to win and go on to the finals.

Third place - Jonathan

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I forgot to take a picture of David's finely tuned Poly/Hulk team, but here is Jonathan's Vicious Struggle team.

The Finals - Jason

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I couldn't have been happier to see my good friend Jason in the finals across from me. I also could not have been more dismayed about my chances of winning! Jason and I had play-tested against each other extensively, and his team was a well-oiled machine. I had beaten it in testing, and ring teams were the reason Constantine Anti-hero was on my team - but at least at the time, I was pretty sure this wasn't a 50/50 match-up. I felt like his team had the advantage.

I remember listening to the recent episodes of the Attack Zone, where Dave would talk about fatigue. At the time, I hadn't given that challenge enough weight. Now I do, because I was fatigued. Put quite simply, Jason outplayed me.

In Game 1, I let him get a character advantage on me. He had one sidekick that he could sneak through early on, and I think six fists to bump it up. So I was taking 10 from the ring, and 7 from a sidekick. Didn't take much after that.

Game 2 was a little better. There was no PXG, and I had gotten some sidekicks out, so I was actually cycling my bag fairly well. But I needed 4 to get to Bruce, and that left me wide open! So I tried to go for an Alfred, thinking if I could get an un-killable blocker I wouldn't fall victim to what had happened the first game. However, that left me only 1 bolt with which to ping Babs. I chose to do it on my turn to try to clear out either the Goblins or the Kobolds, fearing the swarm that was coming. Unfortunately, he drew a bunch of them anyway. After the re-roll step, he had some expensive to field Goblins, and it looked like he wouldn't quite have lethal... unless he Parallaxed them. He did. And I remember thinking as he re-rolled the expensive Goblins along with a sidekick or two from his field: there is no version of this that ends well for me. And I was right, he hit me for 22.

Too late I realized that my turn before, I should have done my own Parallax (especially since mine only cost 1, as opposed to the 2 that my Oracle was forcing him to do) and re-rolled all those sidekicks I had in the field. Odds are I would have had enough to buy Bruce as well as getting at least a bolt or two for Babs/MM shenanigans, which could have saved me.

But hindsight is 20/20, and I was outplayed. The best team with the best pilot won the day, and even though it wasn't me, I was glad it was him!

Recap:

As I said up top, the day was a blast. We got to meet a bunch of new people, and hopefully some who will now be plugged into the local scene. We got to hear tales of Dice Masters pockets in Mankato, Duluth, and beyond. We had a 9-yr old girl who went toe-to-toe with the best of them, including getting matched against the aforementioned Kyle in the first round!

And we got to see a very healthy meta. Our old friends like Hulk, Jinzo, and Tsarina are still relevant, but so are newer players like Oracle and Babs, especially when paired with Bruce and Alfred. We saw Bard. We saw one guy get into the top 8 with only 5 cards! And we saw a fist swarm lantern ring team take down the whole thing.

Oh, and I got a really nice looking Hulk: Green Goliath card. Man, that thing is sweet.

I'm going to go recover from my cold and let my brain rest, but I hope to be back for some Civil War drafting before too long!
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Updated 05-18-2016 at 12:36 PM by Yort

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Comments

  1. Yort's Avatar
    Sadly, Jason won't be able to go to Nationals (neither would I had I won), but... I am tempted... would any of other top teams want to organize some online games? Just to see "what if?"
  2. ccm00007's Avatar
    Congratulations on your Top 2 finish! Some really neat interactions there.

    In your blog, you mention that you've been avoiding some of the other Bat Family teams (from your comment on my blog post from last month, I assume mine was one you tried to avoid).

    And while there are similarities between our teams (the Bruce + Alfred + Batman interaction, notably), your deck is really quite a different beast. Having a global-free way to KO Alfred (Fabricate), combined with Babs acting as added removal (having her around to deal with Bard rush is genius!) gives it a very different, and very interesting balance. Really nice.

    And finally, thank you for the write-up. Your insight, both about yourself and your opponents, was very appreciated.
  3. Yort's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ccm00007
    In your blog, you mention that you've been avoiding some of the other Bat Family teams (from your comment on my blog post from last month, I assume mine was one you tried to avoid).
    Good question - got a link to yours? I can look now.

    I heard reference to "Bat-bomb" teams, but I sorta got the feeling that there was a lot of different variations on the theme. Even there, it seemed like there were two different schools, those that pumped up Dick Grayson and those that pulled Bruce Wayne shenanigans. So now I'm curious to see all the other Bat-teams that others put together. I like the variety.

    And speaking of which, I figured it would make @Flexei happy that a Kobold-based team came out on top.
  4. ccm00007's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Yort
    Good question - got a link to yours? I can look now.

    I heard reference to "Bat-bomb" teams, but I sorta got the feeling that there was a lot of different variations on the theme. Even there, it seemed like there were two different schools, those that pumped up Dick Grayson and those that pulled Bruce Wayne shenanigans. So now I'm curious to see all the other Bat-teams that others put together. I like the variety.
    My team was using the Bruce Wayne shenanigans. Here's the link to the team itself: http://dicemastersdb.com/teams/team/?id=12873

    Mine is a bit different (my meta has tons of Distraction/Blink globals, so DCK was a must) and has a different approach to KO's (Norman Osborn's global was very effective). Here's a link to the blog, where I discuss the team in greater detail: http://www.thereservepool.com/entrie...Top-8-in-a-WKO

    By the way, you're doing a much better job responding to comments than I did. Ugh, I wish TRP sent e-mail notifications when blog entries get comments; by the time I'd realized there were comments, it was long after the comments were made. Which reminds me, I should put a comment on the blog post apologizing about that...
  5. Yort's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ccm00007
    My team was using the Bruce Wayne shenanigans. Here's the link to the team itself: http://dicemastersdb.com/teams/team/?id=12873
    Oh yeah, I remember that one. That was one of the few I allowed myself to briefly look at. I don't have that Green Goblin card, though, so I couldn't go that route, but I liked it. Fabricate was nice in that it was free, but I also have to be sure I have characters that can satisfy the cost, which usually either means I need two Alfreds out (and even then, my sidekicks really seem to like rolling character face when I'm rolling for Alfred!), or if I'm swinging for lethal then I could potentially KO Oracle and a sidekick. Sometimes my opponent would bring BEWD and I could use that, but I like that Green Goblin gives you a global that really helps your team while not really doing that much for your opponent.

    I didn't actually run into much Distraction/Blink in our local scene. I also didn't have DCK, so I was just hoping to make them use their masks (or make it cost prohibitive with Oracle) and hope for the best. Worst case I'd swing in the next round, possibly with more Bat-men!

    Glad to see another Bat-family do well!
  6. CeeQue's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Yort
    Oh yeah, I remember that one. That was one of the few I allowed myself to briefly look at. I don't have that Green Goblin card, though, so I couldn't go that route, but I liked it. Fabricate was nice in that it was free, but I also have to be sure I have characters that can satisfy the cost, which usually either means I need two Alfreds out (and even then, my sidekicks really seem to like rolling character face when I'm rolling for Alfred!), or if I'm swinging for lethal then I could potentially KO Oracle and a sidekick. Sometimes my opponent would bring BEWD and I could use that, but I like that Green Goblin gives you a global that really helps your team while not really doing that much for your opponent.

    I didn't actually run into much Distraction/Blink in our local scene. I also didn't have DCK, so I was just hoping to make them use their masks (or make it cost prohibitive with Oracle) and hope for the best. Worst case I'd swing in the next round, possibly with more Bat-men!

    Glad to see another Bat-family do well!
    I ran a more controlly version of ccm00007's Bruce shenanigans at the WKO in Tucson.
    http://dm.retrobox.eu/?view&cards=4x...e=WKO%20Tucson

    I play tested a ton against Bard since that seemed like a strong team and I was torn about running it instead. But my heart said I had to run the bat, so I swapped in Rarecrow for DCK and Babs for Robin and Blue-Eyes for green goblin since I needed a trigger for Rarecrow. You can either limit Bard with Babs or with that scarecrow use Blue-eyes to bring over Bard on their turn prep crow and then roll him again on your turn to make Bard your wincon. Babs and Rarecrow actually combos well against any big guys, especially poly teams, I swung in with my opponent's ZMags two turns in a row, and I'm pretty sure one of the guys didn't buy his Hulk just to keep it out of play. Anyway all that nonsense with Oracle suppression locks up the game until Bruce comes out and one cost level three Batman closes it out. I wasn't sure I'd stack up so I was prepared to drop out and draft all day but I made top four with tons of close matches, both my top eights went to sudden death "not playing dice masters any more" turns.
    Flesh Golem is brilliant! Did you worry at all about which version to run, and did you choose Flesh over Clay to play better with and Alfred and a sidekick?
    Updated 05-24-2016 at 02:56 AM by CeeQue
  7. Yort's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by CeeQue
    I ran a more controlly version of ccm00007's Bruce shenanigans at the WKO in Tucson.
    http://dm.retrobox.eu/?view&cards=4x...e=WKO%20Tucson
    Flesh Golem is brilliant! Did you worry at all about which version to run, and did you choose Flesh over Clay to play better with and Alfred and a sidekick?
    I actually started with Clay Golem, Greater, as he is my favorite Hulk deterrent (he can absorb the ping to Hulk). However, with Alfred and Babs on there, I found that I didn't actually mind getting hit by Hulk that much, so I ended up opting for Flesh just because at the time I had Dwarf Wizard on the team, and then I could Fabricate with DW and a sidekick. Then I found I never really bought DW, that I was better off with a three-cost Bat-family that helped me get to my win-con faster, so I put Robin in there. Given his boost with Batman, I wasn't then likely to actually KO him, so I probably could have gone back to Clay Golem, but I never really expected to get the actual dice into play. Honestly, I went with Golems because I didn't *have* BEWD.

    I think if I'd had BEWD, I'd have gone with Rarecrow and maybe Kryptonite for a source of bolts?

    My biggest problem was against Ring teams - I didn't really have much defense against them except Babs, which is why I ended up losing my finals match - didn't have/save enough bolts for Babs and he was able to swing with something like two Goblins, a Kobold, and like 6-7 fists.