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$25 and Under: US Nats/Worlds Edition

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$25 and Under: US Nats/Worlds Edition

Target and Rules:
Target of this blog is for the casual/new player who has either been introduced to the game or just started playing and is thinking of taking the next step to tournament play while under a budget.

Before I dive into the team, let me go over again the rules I set up for myself.
1. Create the most competitive feasible deck for under $25
2. Try to expand your dice master collection
3. Build a deck with the assumption the player does not already own any of the cards
4. For the price of cards, I am using coolstuffinc.com. I am not affiliated with the website; it is the website I tend to use more often to buy singles.
5. No op or alt art cards, this is because some sites do not sell these cards. Which of course, leaves ebay and other similar sites to obtain these cards and, as a result, the price fluxes too much.
6. Full set of 20 dice for the team.

Idea for team:
Not only is this the final edition of the sub series of winning decks (at least until PDC Regionals). This will be a two-for-one blog. Today we will go JT's Winning US Nats Team and Guillermo's Worlds Champ Team. I would like to point out that at the time this blog was being written posts/blogs/comments on how the decks performed, more specifically, by the creators were not published.

Lets start off first with US Nats. If some of you are wondering if this team look familiar, then you are not wrong. In my opinion, JT's team is a variant of the Golem Flood team that won the Canadian Nats. (the link to my post about that team will be given at the end). Lets take a look at, breakdown, and try to come up with a $25 and Under version of the US Nats winning team. In terms of metaphors, lets see how our $25 and Under Pigeon team compares to the JT's US Nats' Bald Eagle Team (start Jimmi Hendrix's verision of the Star Spangled Banner).

US Nats:
Before we go into our team, we must first break down the team.
http://dm.retrobox.eu/?view&cards=4x...ame=Bardsaw%20.

Take a few moments to look over the team. I have a question I would like to ask you (for a third time):
How much do you think the team costs? A. Under $100, B. $100-$200, or C. $200+

The price for the deck, if you were to purchase all the cards and dice, came out to $53-$55. Once again, not bad for a National winning team. With the previous winning decks, I went over how it addressed the four main elements of a good team: Control, Defense, Ramp and Damage. By doing so, we should have a better idea of where are $25 and Under Team will need help addressing and which elements we can convert smoothly.

Control:
:: :: ::avx113:: :: :: :: ::

7/10 for control. Not a big surprised that the Control element is heavily focused here. Due to the damage utility of Bard, focus on Control continues to be the standard in the meta so far. As it stands now, Dice Masters is slowly turning into (for most teams) how can I set up my Bard swing the fastest and the most reliable. Due to the heavy emphasis on control, especially in terms of fianances ::cough, cough:: Dwarf Wizard, our $25 and Under will need to think outside the box to replicate or to come up with a different strategy.

Elf Thief serves as two purposes in my mind: control and ramp. The emphasis is more on control, we are either stealing energy from our opponent or forcing our opponent to change their buy strategdy. With Cloudkill serving as our Relentess/Swords replacement, either control function of Elf Thief will benefit this team. The stealing of energy for a possible ramp is more of a by product of the more control element of the card. Actually, the potential theft of energy is why Elf Thief is more of a control card. To make Elf Thief effective we need a reliable fielding and/or KO engine to make sure to can bring back Elf Thief. This team has both in the form of Clay Golem and Parallax. Parallax serves as double control. Parallax gives us some control over bad rolls and allows us to possibly gain multiple use of when fielded effects. Elf Thief and Parallax, I'm, sure will have spots on our team.

The other four cards, Rare Dwarf Wizard, Rare Mr. Fantastic, Cloudkill, and Magic Missile, is where we may need to use some alternatives or think outside the box. Rare Dwarf Wizard, came out of the gate as a tournament staple. I'm sure many of you, like myself, had to deal with the double team of Rare Dwarf Wizard and Hellblazer (in WKO2, I faced this team-up 3 times). Dwarf Wizard, being a rare, is not as expensive as Hellblazer, but selling for about $25, means we have no room for him on our team.

Rare Mr. Fantastic is a taunt. I love taunts. His mask global has a lot of synergy with Elf Thief. We may need to replace him, only because of the cost of Magic Missile and Elf Thief. We have two solid basic actions: Cloudkill and Magic Missile. Of the two, I would place Magic Missile above Cloudkill. The reason for this, is because of the multi-use of Magic Missile as offense, defense, and control. However, Cloudkill serves as lynchpin for this team as a form defense denial, which obviously helps with the swing for lethal. Cloudkill also provides a plan B for win condition. We can either hammer our opponent's wall with Bard or swing with our opponent unable to pay for blockers due to Elf Thief. Obviously best case scenario is having both Cloudkill and Bard. With Magic Missile going for about $4-5 dollars and Cloudkill going for $2-3, we might not have room for the two basic actions in US Nats Team. So we may need to look for alternatives.

One change between the US Nats Team and the Can Nats Golem Flood team is the inclusion of Prismatic Spray. Interesting thing, is that in the blog about Golem Flood, one of the creators of the team states that in the long run Prismatic Spray is better than Kryptonite. Just so happens, the only change between the two teams was replacing Kryptonite with Prismatic Spray. Green Death vs P. Spray comes down to this: Cheap single target blank OR a moderate price mass blank? While Kryptonite gives some synergy with Magic Missile, Prismatic Spray gives us more control and an answer to any mass protection like WonderRing or Rare Raven.

However with the increase in price for Elf Thief and Prismatic Spray still at about $2 each, we may have to make some changes.

Defense:
::

When I first did the break down for the Golem Flood team, I stated that there was no heavy defense card. I placed Golem Flood under ramp. However, after an exchange of ideas with one of the creators of Golem Flood (Drakolich), I decided to place Clay Golem under this element. Clay Golem is a defense card, in regards to this team, with a supportive ramp element. We can redirect damage to other character dice to our Golem. So we not only can we protect our own guys from ping damage (Magic Missile, Human Torch, or Babs), we can also prevent damage to our opponent's dice. Why would we ever do that? This could stop the Hulk's or Bab's ability to fire off, or at the very least delay or increase the amount of energy our opponent would need to spend to activate the abilities. Those are two ways to look at a defensive ability.

Ramp:
::

PXG is self-explanatory.

Damage:
::

Our only major damage element in our team is the universal eight card for all teams...the bard. As I said before, since we only need one main damage element (as seen in our last three teams) this opens ups slots that we can invest in defense or control. What I can I say, Bard is the new standard for Dice Masters.

Supportive Elements:
:: :: ::

I decided to add this category based on my conversations with Drakolich on my last blog. A major strength with this team, is that it has cards that can serve as support to other elements. I already went over how Elf Thief can help with the Ramp element. I stated before, that the strength of Magic Missile is in its Utility. Magic Missile can be offensive if you by the action dice, controlling by pinging potential blockers and cards with annoying abilities, and defensive by pinging potential blockers. Lastly, Clay Golem is a supportive ramp element. Clay Golem is being used as a way to cycle Elf Thief and Dwarf Wizard to get them back on the field. This is another way to set up a big Parallax engine on the next turn.

We have broken down and reviewed the elements that made the JT's US Nats team successful, now lets see if we can make a $25 and Under version that adheres as best we could to the elements and tactics of the original team.

Team Breakdown:

::
Elf Thief (Budget so far: 25.00)
Lesser Harper - 2.99
Due to popularity and of curse the card's performance at Nats and Worlds, the price of Elf Thief went up $1. Luckily the price of the uncommon is 1.99. Great control/ramp card. Good stats for a character that we should always be fielding for free. Control element that will either stop/delay our opponent's global use or forced to change buy patterns. I know whenever play against a team that has elf thief, I make sure there is no energy left in reserve pool to be siphoned away. We will also buy 2 copies of the uncommon at 1.99.

::
Professor X (Budget so far: 18.03)
Recruiting Young Mutants - .99
Classic Ramp. 'Nuff Said. Only getting one copy for the global.

::
Clay Golem (Budget so far: 17.04)
Greater Construct - .49
Fabricate is a very good ramp, in addition it gives us the ability to cycle our elf thieves. We will buy three more copies for .49.

::
Kryptonite (Budget so far: 15.08)
Green Death - .79
A staple in our $25 and Under decks. As I stated before, this .79 card can shut down the expensive staple cards such as the rare dwarf wizard. This will be our replacement for Rare Dwarf Wizard. We will buy two copies for the same price.

::
Half-Elf Bard (Budget so far: 12.71)
Master Lords' Alliance - 2.99
The unofficial 8th card for every team. Bard has proven to be such a versatile card. I would argue, Bard can make any team lethal and frees up space to invest into control elements. Similar to PolyVenom, we want to establish board control or to have overwhelming numbers and swing. Remember, the bonus for Bard stacks FOR EACH bard; "when attacks" bonus and ability trigger for each die, not for each character. We will also pick up three copies of Lesser Emerald Enclave for .39.

::
Parallax (Budget so far: 8.55)
Source of Terror - .25
I cannot stop praising this card. For a quarter....a quarter! We get so much utility. Bad rolls, reroll them. You have a character with a great when fielded ability...try to refield them. I think this card will have the same effect on you as it did for me. It will slowly creep up into more and more of your teams. Since we only need the card for the global, we will only buy one copy.

::avx54::
Phoenix (Budget so far: 8.30)
Ms. Psyche - .39
We are going to replace the rare Mr. Fantastic with Phoenix. Main reason is due to price. Rare Mr. Fantastic goes for about $3. Phoenix gives us the same taunt global for less than .50. Granted, mask taunt will provide more synergy, and we could of gone with the common Mr. Fantastic, but there is always that looming threat of a Zombie Magneto. Also, we are going to have potential bolt energy with Kyrptonite. We will only get one copy since we are using this card for the global.

::cw96::
Ronin (Budget so far: 7.91)
Lone Warrior - .99
Heres our big change from the US Nats team. Due to price, we are not to going to get Prismatic Spray, but increase our defense element by adding the uncommon Ronin. The uncommon Ronin is not as good as the Super Rare, but we can block one die and then KO to prevent the damage from another source. However, we will buy a played version of the uncommon for .85, and in addition, we will buy two copies of the common for .49

::
Cloudkill (Budget so far: 6.08)
Cost - 1.99
Since we are using an alternative to Magic Missile with Silfer, lets not deviated too much from the overall strategy with Golem Flood. So we are going to keep Cloudkill which addition to be used a defense denial can also provide some sidekick clearing.

::
Magic Missile (Budget so far: 4.09)
Cost - 3.99
We are able, with our changes, able to make room for Magic Missile. Nothing to add about this card that has not been said in the element breakdown.

Final Team:
Cloudkill
Magic Missile
Elf Thief - Lesser Harper x3
Professor X - Recruiting Young Mutants x1
Clay Golem - Greater Construct x4
Kryptonite - Green Death x3
Half-Elf Bard - Master Lords' Alliance x4
Parallax - Source of Terror x1
Phoenix - Ms. Psyche x1
Ronin - Lone Warrior x3

Left over budget: .10

We are not left with much, but we are able to hold on to 7/10 cards that was on JT's winning US Nats team. Unfortunately, two of the cards that we are missing are pivotal parts of the control element. To make up for this shortcoming, our team invest in some damage prevention with the inclusion of Ronin and some target text blanking with Kryptonite.

Alternate Build:
In terms of alternate builds, you can change the dice layout to better suit your playing style.

Let me know how you guys feel about our Pigeon Team in comparison to the JT's US Nat's Bald Eagle Team.



Worlds:
Before we go into our team, we must first break down the team. Guillermo's deck list can be found on this blog by Bankholdup. I believe the winning deck is one of the last teams on the list. http://www.thereservepool.com/entrie...2016-Decklists

Take a few moments to look over the team. I have a question I would like to ask you (for a third time):
How much do you think the team costs? A. Under $100, B. $100-$200, or C. $200+

The price for the deck, if you were to purchase all the cards and dice, came out to $90-95. We are a bit under $100 for this deck. I know I said this again, but if you were to offer a World Championship (and the chance to create a card for Dice Masters) for $100. I would take the offer no problem. Before we look how the team addressed the four elements of: Control, Defense, Ramp and Damage, any cards on the World's Team that was also on the US Nat's Team, I would ask you to refer to what wrote earlier in the blog. Once we are done going over the four elements, lets see how our Small-Town $25 and Under Team is in comparison to the World Champ Team.

Control:
:: :: :: :: ::

5/10 for control. Some may see this as a slight change from the US Nats team, lowering the number of control cards from 7 to 5. However, this is a big change when you take into account what was added to the team. Usually we have 7 in control, 1 in defense, 1 in ramp, and 1 in damage. Now we are going to have a change in our elements. An element going from 7 to 5 is much different than going from 1 to 2. Keep in mind that these are card that I consider to be primarily control cards. There are cards that also serve as a secondary element (which I will discuss later) One element that is not going to change...Damage...Bard...I guess I should change the name of Damage Element to Bard Element. Also like to point out, just like with the US Nats team, due to the heavy emphasis on control, especially in terms of fianances ::cough, cough:: Constantine, our $25 and Under will need to think outside the box to replicate or to come up with a different strategy.

Refer to earlier in the blog for my thoughts on Cloudkill, but for Elf Thief...

I have gone over Elf Thief many times. It is clear he is going to be a heavy used card. I want to point out that in previous decks I have said to make Elf Thief more effective is for the team to an engine to constantly refield elf thief. I was shocked to see this team does not really have one. This tells me three possible ideas for the team. 1. We are gambling our opponent will bring Parallax, 2. We are going to be heavy combat agro with elf thief or 3. We wont field him until the right moment, instead to use elf thief for energy.

I'm a big fan of millennium puzzle. I'm actually surprised that this card did not get more play time for the PDC and WKO2. We can all thank the resurgence of Lantern Teams and Bard for the uptick in this card. The key to this card is timing. We want to use this to send Bard to the used pile when our opponent gives us priority prior to the combat step. Remember due to rules update, M.Puzzle now has the continuous keyword (link to the update: http://win.wizkids.com/bb/viewtopic....9c96b15#p10961

Next we have two staple control cards, the super rare Constantine and the Oracle - Master Investigator. Constantine is great to stall your opponent for a turn, hopefully by then you get the op Scarecrow of M. Puzzle on the field. However, at the going rate of $45-50 for Constantine, we need to look elsewhere for control. Oracle, being a starter card, is more easily available, but a pit pricy. Oracle provides some global hate for your opponent. I believe it was Shadowmeld you said on the forum that Elf Theif + Oracle + PXG kills your opponents ramp, forcing him/her to break ramp, change buy order, or gamble.

Defense:
::wolop2:: ::

Our first defense card is the Legion of Doom Scarecrow OP. This card states that die with an attack rating of over 2 cannot attack you. Once again we have Bard Hate. It is a good card, however we won't be able to use this card for our $25 and Under team, because the cots of these OP cards changes so much. If you could get a copy through the secondary market or ebay I would suggest do not spend more than $5 on this card.

Our second card, provides some insurance for when we make our swing, Doomcaliber Knight. The is the one card, even though it is financially feasible, where we can substitute. This is for a couple of reasons. First is the global. Yes we have global hate with Oracle and energy stealing with Elf Thief, but if your opponent needs this global for their lethal, why risk it? In addition to having Elf Thief and Cloudkill, I feel DCK may be changed out.

Ramp:
:: ::

PXG is self-explanatory.

Resurrection is placed under the Ramp element, because I feel any ability that makes you draw extra dice, manipulates your draw/used/prep area, or culls your bad as part of the ramp element. When I first saw this deck list I was confused over the absence of the magic ring. Usually we see ring in combination with resurrection. However, after a closer read of resurrection, I think I understand why. (this will be explained under Supportive Elements).

Damage:
::

Bard - see previous comments from the US Nats team.

Supportive Elements:
:: ::wolop2:: ::

Please see the supportive element of the US Nats team for my opinion of Elf Thief (quick recap: its a really good card).

Scarecrow OP is one of those cards that can easily go into either Control or Defense, because it fits the criteria for both. Scarecrow controls who gets to attack. Scarecrow is denying your opponent the opportunity to swing. You are setting the tempo for the attack step. In addition, by have a denying attacks (main target being Bard), Scarecrow becomes a great defense card. I just feel that Scarecrow leans a bit more to the defense area than control, one reason is that Scarecrow OP won't stop Johnny Swarm, Torchallax, or Gobby-Parallax.

(Continuing from Resurrection in the Ramp Element Section). As I stated before the Worlds Team does not have the classic Ring-Res combo. I realized that Resurrection states "Roll a die from your used pile". Die is different from character. This means, that we can roll our M. Puzzle from the used pile. This will increase our uses of this action. Best case scenario, we use M. Puzzle on our opponent's turn, then on our turn we roll M. Puzzle from the used pile due to Resurrection, and field M. Puzzle again. Resurrection is providing a nice supportive role to our control element.

We have broken down and reviewed the elements that made the World Champ team successful, now lets see if we can make a $25 and Under version that adheres as best we could to the elements and tactics of the original team.

Team Breakdown:

::
Elf Thief (Budget so far: 25.00)
Lesser Harper - 2.99
Due to popularity and of curse the card's performance at Nats and Worlds, the price of Elf Thief went up $1. Luckily the price of the uncommon is 1.99. Great control/ramp card. Good stats for a character that we should always be fielding for free. Control element that will either stop/delay our opponent's global use or forced to change buy patterns. I know whenever play against a team that has elf thief, I make sure there is no energy left in reserve pool to be siphoned away. Since the price of Elf Thief went up and the price of M. Puzzle and Oracle are already high, we are only going to buy one copy of the uncommon Elf Thief for 1.99.

::
Professor X (Budget so far: 20.02)
Recruiting Young Mutants - .99
Classic Ramp. 'Nuff Said. Only getting one copy for the global.

::
Kryptonite (Budget so far: 19.03)
Green Death - .79
A staple in our $25 and Under decks. As I stated before, this .79 card can shut down the expensive staple cards such as the rare dwarf wizard. This will be our replacement for Rare Dwarf Wizard. We will buy three copies for the same price.

::
Half-Elf Bard (Budget so far: 15.87)
Master Lords' Alliance - 2.99
The unofficial 8th card for every team. Bard has proven to be such a versatile card. I would argue, Bard can make any team lethal and frees up space to invest into control elements. Similar to PolyVenom, we want to establish board control or to have overwhelming numbers and swing. Remember, the bonus for Bard stacks FOR EACH bard; "when attacks" bonus and ability trigger for each die, not for each character. We will also pick up three copies of Lesser Emerald Enclave for .39.

::
Parallax (Budget so far: 11.71)
Source of Terror - .25
Here is one change to the World Champ team. I feel we need an engine to support Elf Thief and also to help make sure we field M. Puzzle. Parallax accomplishes both goals at a very cheap price.

::
Millenium Puzzle (Budget so far: 11.46)
The Eternal Dungeon - 3.99
A great control card. Keep in mind the rules update to this card, and to best use when you are given priority prior to the combat step. To save money, we are going to pick up a played condition version of M. Puzzle for 3.49 instead of 3.99.

::
Doomcaliber Knight (Budget so far: 7.47)
Dark Calvary - 1.99
I know this is an unique choice for global control. As I said before, I concede that Oracle - Master Investigator is great card (4 cost with a total fielding cost of 0). However, Oracle taxes globals, she does not stop them. So if one global can throw a monkey wrench into your team, it is still going to happen. Dark Cavalry while having a higher cost (5 cost with a total fielding cost of 4), shuts down the global that was used and denies its use for the rest of the turn. It comes down to lower cost tax or a higher cost denial. Now, I do have to point out, you may need to talk to your TO. Because, the card may be interpret that the global that gets turned off, may also be turned off to you. So you may need to use all the globals you may want to use prior to giving priority to your opponent. Once again, I feel we need to expand our horizons on cards will similar abilities. We will also buy 2 copies of Skeletal Warrior for .39.

::
Clay Golem (Budget so far: 5.20)
Greater Construct - .49
Our last card for the team will be another change. Fabricate is a very good ramp, in addition it gives us the ability to cycle our elf thieves. With our budget getting smaller, for less than $2 we are getting a good card that will help us with our ramp and defense element. We will buy three more copies for .49.

::
Cloudkill (Budget so far: 3.24)
Cost - 1.99
Since we are using an alternative to Magic Missile with Silfer, lets not deviated too much from the overall strategy with Golem Flood. So we are going to keep Cloudkill which addition to be used a defense denial can also provide some sidekick clearing.

::cw26::
Escape Incarceration (Budget so far: 1.25)
Cost - .99
With 1.28 left in our budget, we won't be able to afford Resurrection which goes for about $4. I really do like the idea of pulling M. Puzzle from the used pile to the reserve pool. So are going with the second-rate Resurrection in the dice masters....Escape Incarceration. Pro: we could move up to dice from the used the pile. Con: the dice goes to our prep and not the reserve pool Con: we will be losing the Resurrection Global. So Escape Incarceration is not the same as Resurrection, but with Clay Golem, we will increase our chance of pulling two dice. It just it won't be in the reserve pool.

Final Team:
Cloudkill
Escape Incarceration
Elf Thief - Lesser Harper x2
Professor X - Recruiting Young Mutants x1
Kryptonite - Green Death x4
Half-Elf Bard - Master Lords' Alliance x4
Parallax - Source of Terror x1
Millennium Puzzle - The Eternal Dungeon x1
Doomcaliber Knight - Dark Calvary x3
Clay Golem - Greater Construct x4

Left over budget: .26

We are not left with much, but we are able to hold on to most of the cards from the World Champ team. We added to engines to help Elf Thief which I feel was needed. Parallax helps ensure we field M. Puzzle, Escape Incarceration somewhat replaces Resurrection. Doomcaliber Knight may not be good as Oracle, but we do have some global hate.

Alternate Build:
In terms of alternate builds, you can change the dice layout to better suit your playing style.

Whew, this was a long blog. I hope this article was helpful. My next blog, we will go back to making $25 and Under Team based on a popular strategy. Please leave any helpful replies/comments/suggestions. The more I get, the better (I hope) this blog will become.

Previous Blogs:
#1 Torchallax (updated with Civil War) http://www.thereservepool.com/entrie...der-Torchallax
#2 Alfred/Grayson Bomb (updated with Civil War) - http://www.thereservepool.com/entrie...d-Grayson-Bomb
#3 Sweet Vicious Christmas! - http://www.thereservepool.com/entrie...ous-Christmas!
#4 Action Jackson - http://www.thereservepool.com/entrie...Action-Jackson
#5 A Civil Start - http://www.thereservepool.com/entrie...63#comment4763
#6 WKO2 Edition - http://www.thereservepool.com/entrie...r-WKO2-Edition
#7 Can Nats Edition - http://www.thereservepool.com/entrie...n-Nats-Edition
#8 UK Nats Edition - http://www.thereservepool.com/entrie...K-Nats-Edition

Trade Post:
Here's a link to my Trade Post (updated as of 6/22): http://www.thereservepool.com/thread...rade-Sell-list
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Comments

  1. archivist's Avatar
    Great write-up. Always a pleasure to read.

    FYI - the BoardGameGeek store is selling a set of the Legion of Doom OP cards (this includes the Scarecrow) for $9.00. This comes to $3.00 a card.
  2. IsaacBV's Avatar
    Excellent analysis and write up. Thank you for making these a series I keep coming back to look for!
  3. agentj's Avatar
    One question, why do you keep mentioning Slifer?
    He is not on either team.
    Great information as always. I love reading your $25 and under articles.