Welcome back, Dice Masters fans! Today we want to start looking at the upcoming Winter Dice Masters WizKids Open and how you can build a competitive team to bring to one of the game stores hosting our winter tournaments. You can find more information HERE (http://win.wizkids.com/wp/winter-2018-wizkids-open-dm/) on the upcoming excitement!
There are many possibilities in Modern to start building a team around, and it may be overwhelming for some players, especially as they’re starting to get their competitive footing. When you go to build a team, keeping the same components in mind helps you stay disciplined; a story isn’t quite right without a plot, characters, and setting. We’re going to start with some “Teambuilding 101” ideas that you can use in your own designs.
A Win Condition (“Win-con”)
You probably plan on winning by bringing your opponent’s life total to zero, but it’s usually not that vague. Victory is the end of your team’s story. We can add lots of cards and often forget to find a way to make sure there is a definitive path to victory. Let’s use a fan-favorite mechanic from Guardians of the Galaxy: Infiltrate.
Infiltrate is fun because it fundamentally changes how the give-and-take of combat works in Dice Masters. If you’re unfamiliar with Infiltrate, here’s what it does:
When a character die with Infiltrate attacks and is not blocked, you may choose to remove that character die from combat and not deal combat damage to your opponent. If you do, that character die deals 1 damage to your opponent and the die remains in your Field Zone instead of going to your Used Pile.
Infiltrate appears on the cards of 11 different characters in Guardians of the Galaxy and X-Men First Class, meaning there are plenty of options to make Infiltrate work as a win-con.
Winning via Infiltrate involves attacking with a character, returning it to the field zone, and dealing your opponent 1 damage. In doing so, you’re able to directly damage your opponent while still maintaining a board with defenders for their next turn. So if this is the win-con angle we’re going to take, let’s look at all of our available cards with Infiltrate and narrow them down.
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Some cards immediately shine as being super effective. Those cards are either fast-acting or have big effects. The Spot: Dr. Jonathan Ohnn is a 2-cost shield character that you can buy and field quickly. In many games, he’ll be the die you buy many copies of.
One of the amazing things about Infiltrate characters isn’t just that they linger as possible blockers; it’s that you won’t need to re-roll them on a future turn to keep reaping the benefits of their abilities. This is going to be a huge benefit for Infiltrate character dice that are part of our win-con, support, and ramp.
While some other dice are going to be key to winning, you’re only going to be purchasing one or two of them in most games. These cards are going to make Infiltrate (on all of our Spot dice) more effective. Black Widow: Spider’s Bite is a great way to do so; helping your 1-damage Infiltrate characters deal an additional point of damage. She’s literally doubling the speed at which your Infiltrate characters can win the game.
Unfortunately, The Spot and Black Widow both have low defenses, so your opponent may be motivated to block them, KO’ing their blocker and your attacker. They’ll get a chance to re-field their dice first, and you won’t have as many defenders. If this is how it plays out, you won’t be able to get much advantage from your character dice with Infiltrate. Luckily, we’ve got something for that.
What qualifies as support? These are the cards that make your win-con more deadly. They add extra oomph or finesse, but if your opponent does not have a defensive game plan, you might not need them.
Arguably, Black Widow straddles the line between your win-con and your support. Fundamentally, regular-speed Infiltrate may be too slow to be viable without her, so we’ve lumped her into our win-con; she’s critical to our tempo. Preventing blockers adds a little more finesse, and has plenty of substitutes, so we moved Angela: Hunter of Demons into the support category.
Angela: Hunter of Demons prevents your Infiltrate characters from being blocked and they deal no combat damage. This allows you to “punch through” the direct damage and return your attackers to the field, thus maintaining a defensive board state.
Cosmic Cube: Energy of the Beyonders is an incredibly strong card – and it fits our strategy since Infiltrate damage isn’t combat damage. With this 2-cost action, you’re able to increase the damage from an action die or character ability by 2. This means that The Spot can deal 3 damage instead of 1 (or 4 instead of 2 with a fielded Black Widow). Either way, you’ll want to activate multiple instances of Infiltrate with multiple bonuses on it. This addition is a central part of a lot of Modern builds right now and can make Infiltrate that much better.
One card that we LOVED but couldn’t find a home for on the team we’re constructing is Captain America: Soldiering On. He gives your Sidekick dice Infiltrate and bonus defense, and while that’s great… the more iterations we came up with, the more it turned into an Ally/Sidekick-focused team instead of an Infiltrate-focused one.
Ramp is the term for rolling extra dice, or accessing your dice faster than normal. It’s another important aspect of any team; you want a superior tempo to your opponent. There are a lot of great options for ramp in Modern, but ideally you strengthen your win condition and get some quality ramp as well. The good news is that we can do both for this team.
The rare Ricochet: Slinger not only gives you the option of Infiltrate damage but will also allow you to draw a die and prep it when you get the damage in. Ricochet is a great fit, allowing you to get two great effects from one character die. The 2-cost version of Ricochet is good too, but using the 3-cost for the added ramp benefit seems too sweet a deal to pass up.
In the current Modern meta, there are so many good control cards — so many ways to stop your opponent from going after their own win-cons or ramp options. You need to find cards that say to your opponent “You Can’t” so that you can get your plans to unfold first. On this team, we need to think about what we are most worried about in the meta and how it may affect the Infiltrate damage from happening.
First and foremost is the go-to control piece, the star of the Maximum Carnage Team Pack, Shriek: Sonic Beam. Shriek is a powerhouse control character and if you want to learn more about her, check out this article we did on how to play her (or stop her) HERE (https://wizkids.com/dicemasters/shriek-sonic-beam-sonic-queen/). Shriek will stop anything that your opponent is trying to shut down on your team, and if they aren’t bringing control on their end you can go after their primary win condition. This is not a card to be ignored; she forces your opponent to make a decision on how to play against her. She can help punch through opposing defenses in a snap.
Direct damage is a win-con that your team will need to have answers to: it’s undeniably strong in Modern right now. Unfortunately, bringing cards with Globals — like Samantha Wilson to prevent 1 damage to you or a character die — helps your opponent too. Luckily, your team does have access to a cheap source of Shields in The Spot. There may still be better options.
Enter Bishop: Butterfly Effect. He is a hefty 5-cost X-Men character that will allow you to prevent all non-combat damage dealt to you while he is active. This tank will be hard to take off the board with his beefy defense stats. If your opponent is bringing some form of direct damage of their own as a win condition, you may need to have someone like Bishop there to help you out if you can’t simply outrace them.
Sometimes you just need to clear that one character to unlock a combo or win-con. Let’s say you are staring down a Shriek and rare Blob on the other side of the board, who effectively lock down your Angela and your own Shriek. How do you break the cycle? You could keep going after more control pieces or you can throw a card on the team that frees up your characters the moment you need them. Kryptonite: Green Death is a card that action-based teams have taken advantage of recently, but it’s also very effective alongside Infiltrate characters even without additional synergy. You can use this 2-cost action to ignore the text on a target character’s die character card, effectively shutting down whatever is stopping you the turn you need to get that big punch in. Kryptonite costs less to use than many other control options, and while it only lasts a single turn it’s often very hard to counter.
Perhaps most importantly, Kryptonite is effective for getting in the last big punch of Angela and all of her Infiltrate friends. While you are normally using Angela to do work and return to your field unblocked with Infiltrate damage, you can instead hit your own Angela after the attackers and blockers are declared and allow all of your unblocked Infiltrate characters to sail through with their full damage — which should effectively be that last punch you need to end the game. This switcheroo may catch your opponents off guard in a key moment!
Finally, we need some Basic Actions to round out this team. A great technique to provide the same effect as Kryptonite for your team is to bring the Basic Action Odin’s Fury from The Mighty Thor. The action die itself can boost one of your characters’ attack and defense, but more importantly, using the Global will allow you to remove one of your character dice from the Field Zone until end of turn. You’ll be able to remove Angela after she’s made your dice unblockable, but before her downside has kicked in; they’ll probably be dealing full damage (for the win). Whether you’ve got better targets for Kryptonite or simply need the ability on demand, this could be a key inclusion on your Infiltrate team.
And our last basic action — why not add just a bit more ramp to the mix? Resurrection Global is a ramp staple. Once per turn, it allows you to pay 1 shield so that you may draw one die from your bag and prep it. Resurrection especially helps you on turn two, allowing you to fill your bag with the first two purchased dice you make and 4 sidekicks and have them ready to go, hopefully into turn three.
If you find yourself lining up against this team, control pieces like Bishop, Blob and Shriek can all help lock down the Infiltrate characters. Scarlet Witch can help stop the effects of The Cube and Kryptonite if they roll action faces the first time with them, or at least slow them down. Large Overcrush characters can be another answer to go in and be aggressive, causing this team to have to play more in a defensive/guarded way.
Here’s the team we decided on: