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Game Play Advice – Reconnoitering Your Opponent

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Reconnoiter – to make a preliminary survey to gain information
One of the nice features of Dice Masters is the full disclosure of your opponent’s team. At the start of a match, you know each opposing action and character card's attributes and abilities as well as the number of dice on each. This is a wealth of information to have, but how effectively you process this information can make the difference between winning and losing that match. The following are some things to look at when you sit across from an opposing team build.

1. Global Abilities
Since there are only 10 card slots, each is an important resource. For a card to be placed into one of these slots just for the global means that ability is most likely vital to your opponent’s win condition.
You should are also be evaluating if you can use these opposing global abilities for your team. For example, if during your play testing you dropped a particular card with a global ability that was nice-to-have in lieu of a card more necessary to your win condition and you now see that card on your opponent’s team, it is as if you now have a ninth card on your team. Also, some of these opposing globals may enable tactics now available to cards in your team build.

Pro-Tip 1: if a card with a Global Ability has 1 die on it, most likely your opponent has no intention of purchasing that die (assuming that card has a Max Die limit > 1).
Pro-Tip 2: if you have not reached the 20 dice limit on your team build and have such a card, place another die on it to disguise your intentions to your opponent.

2. The Primary and Secondary Win Conditions
Knowing your opponent’s primary win condition, or win-con, will enable you disrupt their tactics and better counter their strategy. Often overlooked, and a little more difficult to determine, is a potential secondary win-con that your opponent can pivot to in the event their primary gets stymied.
Some win-cons will be easy to spot, mostly Aggro, Burn or Control archetypes (e.g. Lantern Ring, Ultraman, Darksied), or a team build with a few 6+ purchase cost cards, others not so readily apparent, usually a Hybrid/Combo archetype. If you don’t recognize the win-con, here are some clues to look for:
- Energy type and abilities on the low-cost cards
These cards will mostly likely be first purchased by your opponent to generate energy or set-up other effects that facilitate a win-con condition. Examining what they can do, in conjunction with the abilities on the other cards in the team build, most likely will point out the win-con.
- Action cards
In most instances, Action cards are on a team to support the win-con (the exception being Action cards that are win-cons in-and-of-themselves, such as Lantern Ring). Knowing what that Action card does can lead you to what the win-con may be.

Pro-Tip 3: Take a moment to reflect on what your opponent purchased on their first two or three turns. Assuming they rolled the energy they wanted, this buy pattern can usually tell you the direction they are going for their win-con, or if they are running a Control team, how they intent to disrupt your strategy.

3. Control Effects
To review, Control effects are meant to prevent or limit you from doing something, take control of your dice, force you to do something you don’t want to do, or pay an additional cost or take damage when you want to something. Understanding what the Control effect is on a particular card can help you counter or at least mitigate its impact.
Also, look for global abilities that are a Control effect. In Modern, there are currently 12 non-Basic Action Card Control globals available and most of them are either taunts or damage limiting effects. The few others deal with losing an affiliation (Ra’s al Ghul from the Batman set) or removing an attacker (Motorcycle – Vroom from the Deadpool set). Be aware of this when going through your examination in point 1.

Pro-Tip 4: If your opponent has a card with a Control effect global, this is most likely supporting their win-con or enabling an effect to impact your ability to execute. Pay special attention to this and disrupt these effects whenever possible.

4. Basic Action Cards
A Basic Action Card (BAC) serves four purposes in a team build: the global and/or card ability either supports or enables a basic effect (e.g. ramping, spinning, dealing damage), is specific to a win condition, impacts adversely your opponent if they use the card or does nothing to prevent them from benefiting from these cards. Since the pool of BACs in Modern is relatively small (93 cards) and only a few dozen are commonly used, it is not too difficult to determine how the effects on these cards would integrate into many opposing team builds. Only about one-third (33) of this population of cards have a global ability – this is useful data when going through your evaluation in point 1.

In addition, as a companion to point 3, in Modern there are currently 6 BAC Control globals available. Since there are only a few, I’ve listed them and their control abilities:
  • Archnemesis: dice manipulation, A/D values
  • Blink-Transmutation: prevent die from attacking
  • Exposed: pay life to assign blockers
  • Long Live the Resistance: prevent direct damage
  • Splinter’s Teachings: dice manipulation, A value swapping
  • The Front Line: prevent die from blocking, pay life to avoid

Pro-Tip 5: If a BAC can be a win-con in-and-of-itself (e.g. One Against Many, Vicious Struggle) strongly consider purchasing the majority of these Basic Action dice before your opponent; and certainly don’t let your opponent purchase all 3 dice from these cards!

While this process may seem like a lot of information to gather, by practicing this reconnoitering technique in every match, you will be able to go through these steps faster and more efficiently. Not only will you be able to determine your opponent’s strategy, but you will be able to best employ the abilities of your team to counter and hopefully defeat their team.

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