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Judgemental

Golem Flood - The evolution and breakdown of the Can Nats winning team.

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(Eric, Kevin , Randy and myself! The Can Nats 2016 Top 4)

On the Attack Zone segment we were invited to participate in, we talked a bit about looking back at old cards, old teams etc. Our Can Nats winning team is just that, it's the evolution of Kevin's (Drakolich) already awesome Golem team he has been playing locally since the day he got his hands on FuS.

Here is the original team:

Elf Thief - Lesser Harper x4
Dwarf Wizard - Paragon Zhentarim x3
Clay Golem - Lesser Construct x4
Iron Golem - Lesser Construct x4
Mr Fantastic - The Invincible Man x1
Professor X - Recruiting Young Mutants x1
Parallax - Source of Terror x1
Human Torch - Johnny Storm x2

BAC: Delayed Blast Fireball and Transfer Power

http://dm.retrobox.eu/?view&cards=4x...x30fus;3x34uxm


It occurred to me a few weeks ago that I should be encouraging my friend and teammate to play one of his favorite teams, I felt his Golem team might be doing better again without Relentless/Swords of Revealing Light around. We had been bashing away at Bard midrange lists, Mask Ring, Bard Blitz versions etc. We felt we had a good idea what should get played at Can Nats , but we like surprise teams! So on we went. In a long play testing session with Kevin a week ago we got around to believing it was good enough to play, but it had some hard match-ups against our best midrange Bard list , which had the ability to either play control or aggro, depending on the match-up and whether it started the game going first or second. So at this point we were sure we would play that midrange Bard list at Can Nats 2016.

The Monday before Can Nats I couldn't sleep and couldn't stop thinking about his Golem team and something he had said about it: "This is an aggro team, Mike". I was thinking back on his team and the first time he played it against me and how that game went to time. I saw it as a midrange/control oriented team, so the statement surprised me, but thinking on our practice sessions and all the games that ended on the 4th or 5th turn, I could not deny it.

With that in mind I asked myself, what if I went all in on Bard instead of Torch, the team had a large weakness vs Hellblazer combined with the Distraction/Blink Transmutation Global and Iron Fist and I wanted to address the Iron Fist portion by removing Torch from the equation while potentially making the team faster due to Bard's explosive power .


So I came up with this:


Elf Thief - Lesser Harper x4
Dwarf Wizard - Paragon Zhentarim x4
Clay Golem - Lesser Construct x4
Half Elf Bard - Masters Lords' Alliance x4
Mr Fantastic - The Invincible Man x1
Professor X - Recruiting Young Mutants x1
Parallax - Source of Terror x1
Squirrel Girl - Eat Nuts and Kick Butts x1

BAC: Cloudkill and Slander

http://dm.retrobox.eu/?view&cards=4x...x29fus;3x30asm


Kevin had Slander over Delayed Blast Fireball on his list recently to try to address the Hellblazer with Distraction global problem, he also noticed in the world of the Half-Elf Bard, Delayed Blast Fireball could easily be countered by large attack/defense buffs. It was his old answer to the aforementioned combination, but we both felt it was too slow to pull off consistently.

I kept his Slander and took a slightly more aggressive approach with the Cloudkill, this takes us to Tuesday nights OP, a Nats practice night/Unlimited event. We had 8 of us show up and I took an easy 3-0, my last game was against Kevin. We had previously decided to take a few days break from practice and theory crafting to relax and unwind before the big weekend, but after that last game we said to ourselves: "We need another practice session, this might be it, this might be our Nats team".

We got together and played MORE games. And while testing vs Bard Blitz and Bard Midrange in particular, we needed a way to address the bonus buffs Bard provided from low defense characters while maintaining our ability to deal with Hellblazer and Distraction . Kevin also checked all the Golems again at this time and realized the Uncommon Clay Golem - Greater Construct could re-direct damage from ANY character to the Golem, this got us thinking, wow, that helps with Cloudkill if our opponents buy it, Magic Missile, Babs, Hulk...


So the list evolved:

Elf Thief - Lesser Harper x4
Dwarf Wizard - Paragon Zhentarim x2
Clay Golem - Greater Construct x4
Half Elf Bard - Masters Lords' Alliance x4
Mr Fantastic - The Invincible Man x1
Professor X - Recruiting Young Mutants x1
Parallax - Source of Terror x1
Kyptonite - Green Death x3

BAC: Cloudkill and Magic Missile

http://dm.retrobox.eu/?view&cards=4x...29fus;3x135bff


Right at the beginning of our testing session Kevin asked me "Is Magic Missile and Kryptonite crazy? " Due to this awesome community, I had the Kryptonite + Dwarf wizard combo on the mind , Kitty made an amazing bolt ring team with Nova and the blanking wombo combo for her WKO win if you haven't seen it. I played Kitty's team to a top 8 finish in our second qualifier, well done Kitty! I am sorry I didn't do it more justice, I had a wonderful net-learning experience however, and I am sure with real practice I could have probably squeezed myself in a slightly higher spot. Anyhow, back on track , it wasn't hard for Kevin to convince me, I just said let's test it, and it worked very well against Bard Blitz in particular. We were able to win going second against it. So we had everything we could think of to answer what would give us the most issues and the tools to make this a fast aggro team, particularly when going first.

Here is why we chose each and every card:

Elf Thief - Lesser Harper

Elf thief provides energy denial, and with the Clay Golem's Fabricate ability throwing them in prep every turn, doubles up as denying the ability to hold energy to use our globals against us , while also providing masks for PXG and the Mr Fantastic Global which serves as tool to remove any answer if your opponent cannot distract it back. Due to this energy stealing strategy, we mostly had to answer things that can affect us on the board, Hellblazer and Oracle are big ones in our meta.


Kryptonite - Green Death and Dwarf Wizard - Paragon Zhentarim

This is where Kryptonite + Wizard came in, if you can taunt or blank Oracle/Hellblazer and then threaten to steal energy every turn you can come out ahead in the resource war very quickly. These 2 also doubled up as the bolts we needed for magic missile, which we would use to kill Morphing Jars/Squirrel tokens/low D targets in general defensively and as a mini Relentless vs similiar characters offensively. Kyptonite also provides an energy face that can be spun down, which we frequently used to fuel Parallax's global. Prismatic Spray may be the better card in the long run, but it would not have provided this option.

Mr. Fantastic - The Invincible man

Priority 1, avoid zombie magneto, use the rare (5 cost). With Wizard and Elf Thief being completely shut off by this card, we needed an effective way to remove him at global speed on our opponents turn, if they don't have Distraction/Blink's global, this is it, since this is an aggro team, you can take that 4-6 damage to the chops and find a quick kill normally. Kevin used this so well with his original Torch oriented list, I could not deny the strategy when I was actually play testing it myself. Vs any non distraction team, you can just sit on masks for PXG and remove Hellblazer, Oracle, Babs, Hulk... You get the point! The reason we chose a mask based taunt over any other is because we want to save for PXG anyways, this leaves the option to choose to forgo some ramp to remove a threat/answer on demand.

Half Elf Bard - Master Lord's Alliance

The kill condition. I don't think I need to say much more.

The Engine: Professor X - Recruiting Young Mutants, Clay Golem - Greater Construct and Parallax - Source of Terror.

This team LOVES Parallax's global. I think a large part of this teams success is that almost no matter what, you will field 2 when fielded ability characters and Fabricate them for a Golem each turn. This gives the benefit of prepping those when fielded effects, purchasing a character to buff the Bard kill condition at no energy cost and use the rest of your energy to make sure this happens, you landed your rolls and don't need the energy to guarantee your rolls? Buy your kill con, or if need be Kryptonite or Wizard, got Bard already? Buy Cloudkill. You will feel like you're rolling a bunch of dice all the time, even if playing around Prismatic Spray or Oracle or Elf Thief , no matter what you will generally have 2 extra prep dice from Fabricate on top of your 4 drawn dice. One thing I learned the hard way practicing is that its not wrong to buy Dwarf Wizard on turn 1 when you go first if you can't get the triple Mask + 1 of any energy ideal roll. You can just Fabricate it in preparation of your turn 4 and your opponent then has to plan to play around Wizard right then and there.

Further notes on the Golem himself, his while active ability does not specify your characters. He says redirect up to 2 damage from any character, further rulings from Wizkids Rules Team have even clarified that we could prevent 1 then 1 again at a later time within the same turn. This can be extremely useful when facing Hulk - Green Goliath or Batgirl - Babs or Nova - The Human Rocket etc. Never forget this!


How to play your first 3 turns to set up the 4th turn kill:


Turn1:

Ideal: MASK MASK MASK Any Energy , Purchase Elf Thief, save 2 Masks for PXG.

Next best thing: Mask Bolt 2 of Any Energy , Purchase Dwarf Wizard, save 1 Mask for PXG

Options: Mask Mask Any Energy SK, purchase Elf Thief, Save 1 Mask for PXG.

Bad Roll/Re-Roll: Shield Shield Fist Fist, Pay a fist or shield to parallax the other 3 (even the SK if you got one), hope for 2 Masks and 1 of Any Energy, buy Elf Thief, save for PXG, worst case, get a bolt, buy Wizard.


Turn2:

Ideal: Mask Mask Mask Mask Mask/Bolt Mask/Bolt Any Energy, Purchase Elf thief or Wizard and Save for PXG so you draw only 3 dice on turn 3, providing you a bonus energy at the cost of 1 life. As weird as it sounds, you can use the Parallax global on this turn to make these buys. Make sure when you use Parallax to re-roll any energy that is not a mask while you go for it, this includes any sidekicks you may have fielded on Turn 1 or 2.

This turn is much easier to fix due to Parallax, 2 Elf thieves going first is very oppressive, a Wizard ready to go going first or second is also pretty great. Just make sure you get at most 5 dice filling your bag with 2 of your when fielded characters and you should be good. I won't describe all the possibilities for this turn just because there's quite a few since you want to purchase two 2 costed characters over two turns in an ideal scenario.


Turn 3:

Field both when fielded characters purchased, Fabricate a Golem, buy Half Elf Bard. This turn shifts based on a few things, if your opponent risked saving energy, you can even buy Cloudkill this turn on top of the Bard, since you have their energy at your disposal. The most important part of the turn is to land your when fielded character faces and to Fabricate, you want to adjust your buy based on your remaining masks left for PXG, having extra masks and burning for a generic is always good for this team unless it kills you, you will generally use that Generic energy to use Parallax's global to guarantee your rolls, otherwise if you roll well, you can just buy more of what you need to win or live.


The Turn 4 Kill:

If you got 2 Thieves and you went first, this generally means your opponent can't save a single energy to use your PXG for their turn 3. Then they are staring at 2 Elf Thief in prep for next turn as well, any extra masks you don't need can serve as a taunt for a Hellblazer if they draw it on their turn 3. If you roll everything here on turn 4 (Bard, Golem, 2 Thieves, 8 sidekicks), you just use Magic Missile as a mini Relentless and try to take the win, the less you have to Parallax global, the more likely you win on Turn 4. Remember, your opponent only drew 4 dice on their turn 3, saving energy was impossible due to the Thieves!


General Tips:

- Fabricate Fabricate Fabricate, if you are not dead next turn, you need to threaten blanking or stealing energy.

-Parallax: There are very few times that it is not the correct play to guarantee your characters and to look for more masks, it might feel strange at first, but go nuts, particularly when practicing it you'll see just about how far you can go before you need to stop , but your most expensive purchase is your 4 cost kill condition, with loads of dice and a bonus generic, I've parallaxed 4-5 times to get my 2 thieves and still won the game next turn due to regaining 2 energy using my opponents energy.

- Hellblazer + Distraction: If they saved no masks, just Taunt him off with Mr. Fantastics global. If not Kryptonite will become your best tool. Turning Hellblazer off to use Wizard on an Oracle, or to use Elf Thieves to steal the energy they saved to use PXG .

- The Taunt can be used as a threat vs Distraction teams, you can sometimes PXG and be able to roll everything and hold a mask in reserve after this is done, your opponent can't spend it if they will lose their Hellblazer , this gives you a mask to steal if you planned to have Wizard or Kryptonite land on that turn as well.

- If you're behind and they saved a lot of energy, and you draw 2+ Thieves, it might be correct to go crazy again with Parallax, make sure you are using their energy to do so, 1 Thief at a time. First one Parallax just the Thief, next one Parallax both Thieves , so on and so forth, with a little luck, you can turn being behind into your opponent can only draw 4 dice. This literally won Kevin his game vs Eric in the swiss when they had their first mirror.

- The Uncommon Clay Golem: never forget his while active ability. Make it a priority to field him when you get your first one out. He can save you against your own Basic Actions .

- Fabricate Tricks: Lets say you can't steal all their Masks and they can use a taunt against a Wizard, pass your opponent turn priority, if they choose to Taunt your Wizard, you can at this point just use fabricate so that the Wizard is in prep rather then swinging to used.

- Fabricate Tricks: If your opponent has their own Dwarf Wizard in their next draw and you have a target you do not wish to be blanked (Half Elf Bard usually) feel free to Fabricate this high value target with a sidekick or Thief to be able to go again next turn without needing to now blank their Wizard.


That just about wraps it up! I really wanted to keep my write up about the winning team this time around. Like at our WKO the 3 of us went all in on it. Eric, our 2016 Can Nats Champion, missed out on a lot of this team coming together since it happened within a week or so, which is why you may not see him mentioned up here, but the 3 of us trust each other , I think this is an important part of being a team . I hope you guys enjoy playing this list and/or testing against it, I personally had a lot more fun playing this compared to playing Bard Blitz. Let the Golems hit the floor!!

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(JT's AMAZING custom mat Randy designed for the weekend, one of many memorable parts of Can Nats 2016!)

Updated 05-30-2016 at 12:15 PM by Judgemental

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Comments

  1. TheConductr's Avatar
    Thanks for the write-up, Mike! Let the craziness ensue!
  2. Randy's Avatar
    Hey, look at that handsome guy in the hat. But seriously, I want to see how this impacts World's in a few weeks.
  3. The0retico's Avatar
    Thank you very much for sharing your team and all the information! It was also a pleasant read.

    Just a small detail - in the turn 4 kill paragraph, you describe how your opponent is going to roll only 4 dice on their turn 3 while they are going second, because you are able to field Thieves after their turn 2. That is not necessaril ytrue, because they can use PXG on their turn 2 to prep sidekicks used on turn 1 and they can even field sidekicks and prep them using the Magic Missile Global.
  4. Zauriel's Avatar
    I still think that WizKids banned the wrong card(s).
    They got the message that their game was broken when Mike, Eric and Kevin destroyed regionals, and everyone followed suit at state-level WKO's.
    The biggest threat to this team seems to be the mirror.
    Despite my giddiness at seeing 3 of my friends in that picture up there, this is still not a good state for the game to be in.
    Congrats on all of your victories, guys! May your next one be the change we had hoped WizKids would make last time...
  5. Jthomash2's Avatar
    @The0retico ... Unless you use the parallax trick. Which may or may not have happened in the event. I may have lost turn 4 with 3 blockers and 2 's. #notbitter. GREAT blog, man.
  6. Drakolich's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by The0retico
    Thank you very much for sharing your team and all the information! It was also a pleasant read.

    Just a small detail - in the turn 4 kill paragraph, you describe how your opponent is going to roll only 4 dice on their turn 3 while they are going second, because you are able to field Thieves after their turn 2. That is not necessaril ytrue, because they can use PXG on their turn 2 to prep sidekicks used on turn 1 and they can even field sidekicks and prep them using the Magic Missile Global.
    Oh ofcourse they can do those plays, there are also others we didn't put. For example if your opponent bring Resurrection he can guarantee all his purchases from turn 2.
    We were just trying to hammer the point that your opponent won't be able to use any energy on your turn to aid in his ramping.

    Many times in the mirror what you described was my exact play. Purchase both dwarf wizard and Elf thief and use on mask to pxg on my turn. Honestly it's how I play vs the Elf Thief into Oracle opening aswell, which I saw quite a bit playing against Randy's Mask ring. That opening just feels gross you have to sacrifice so much tempo and just pray you get what you want out of the bag.

    Good eye though on plays that can help you mitigate the damage, if you have anymore questions don't hesitate to post them.
  7. The0retico's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Drakolich
    Oh ofcourse they can do those plays, there are also others we didn't put. For example if your opponent bring Resurrection he can guarantee all his purchases from turn 2.
    We were just trying to hammer the point that your opponent won't be able to use any energy on your turn to aid in his ramping.

    Many times in the mirror what you described was my exact play. Purchase both dwarf wizard and Elf thief and use on mask to pxg on my turn. Honestly it's how I play vs the Elf Thief into Oracle opening aswell, which I saw quite a bit playing against Randy's Mask ring. That opening just feels gross you have to sacrifice so much tempo and just pray you get what you want out of the bag.

    Good eye though on plays that can help you mitigate the damage, if you have anymore questions don't hesitate to post them.
    Thank you for your reply. If i can aks more - you can bet I will.

    1.) How does this team work against turn 3 kill teams? Can you spend more than one bolt for MM to protect yourself and still have a decent opening? It seems to me, that even going first against Guy rush, your chances aren't very good - especially if the Luke Cage version takes off.

    2.) Elf-Thief works wonders if your opponent relies on PXG, but what if he doesn't ? It is far from perfect, but something like PXG-less control (which I suggested here: http://www.thereservepool.com/thread...G-less-control) could be trouble, right?

    Sorry, for asking and suggesting silly stuff, unfortunately I don't get a chance to test or even play much, so I rely a lot on reading blogs, going through team lists and theory-crafting. I envy you that you organized a team and playtesting sessions.
  8. Judgemental's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by The0retico
    Thank you for your reply. If i can aks more - you can bet I will.

    1.) How does this team work against turn 3 kill teams? Can you spend more than one bolt for MM to protect yourself and still have a decent opening? It seems to me, that even going first against Guy rush, your chances aren't very good - especially if the Luke Cage version takes off.

    2.) Elf-Thief works wonders if your opponent relies on PXG, but what if he doesn't ? It is far from perfect, but something like PXG-less control (which I suggested here: http://www.thereservepool.com/thread...G-less-control) could be trouble, right?

    Sorry, for asking and suggesting silly stuff, unfortunately I don't get a chance to test or even play much, so I rely a lot on reading blogs, going through team lists and theory-crafting. I envy you that you organized a team and playtesting sessions.
    1) You can definitely use more than 1 bolt, if you're lucky you had an Elf thief buy and 2 PXG on turn 1, leaving you your 7 energy to buy another and MM/PXG. I sit on 4-5 ?/masks/bolts frequently against these teams since most aren't coming at me with Oracle/Thief. You play on a razors edge, you want to just barely live, to then win quickly after.

    As for Guy + Luke cage Global, we did not plan for that, sounds scary though! We considered Mera in the Kryptonite slot because of Guy. No one plays Guy around here recently, and we correctly guessed no one would play him at Can Nats. He's too inconsistent for me personally. I roll Big entrance on 2 energy all the time. I can't do it anymore, but that's just me, I see people be successful with it and believe in it. Just don't test against me expecting Guy to come at you hard, all you will see is fists on Guy and bolts on Miri!

    2) Even if your opponent doesn't use it at all the team works fine, it's more about threatening to steal energy for any global based answer, the fact that it messes with PXG use is very important as well, but not as important as removing the possibility to use distraction/mera/magic missile etc. when you go for lethal. Hellblazer being a problem here of course, which is why we focused on answering that via Kryptonite+Wizard.

    The team build is beatable as usual, it's just surprisingly effective.

    We are so very lucky to have a great play group on top of the 3 of us getting together outside of local events, it makes testing stuff much easier. On the flip side, I like theory crafting, online or offline so feel free to ask away, no question or suggestion is silly in my books.