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Subject: Dice Masters Team Construction 101 rss

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Just for fun, I thought I would walk you through my thought process on team construction for Dice Masters, as well as to provide tips on how to take your team to the next level.

My current self imposed rules for team construction is the following: No Beast, No Tsarina, No Gobby. [As well, try to avoid Wind-Rider and Johnny Storm]. I do this because I don’t like to rely on those crutches. It’s hard to be creative, and think outside the box, when you always use the same Characters.

Step 1: What is your win condition?

I find that a lot of people skip this part, and run right into picking characters, then struggle in match ups.

Your goal here is to come up with a card, or combination of cards that makes it possible to win the game. Now, I’m not talking about anything broken, just a way for you to win. There is one caveat for this, your win condition shouldn't be “Keep attacking with my team until my opponent is dead.” That’s not a win condition. That’s what you do when your win condition fails

So, let’s take a look at some possible win conditions. Again, I’m not talking broken combos, just ways to damage your opponent.

Example 1: Relentless [for the global].

Pay masks to make characters unable to block. Now you can attack for big damage. This is one of the most basic win conditions. Find a way to get past your opponent’s characters to deal some lethal damage. Imprisoned would fit in this category as well, as it can sweep a lot of defenders out of the way, to get you the win.

Example 2: Kitty Pryde ‘Shadowcat’ or Namor ‘The Sub-Mariner’

Unblockable characters are a great way to sneak through a full field of defenders and hit your opponent. This will let you keep a healthy dose of blockers yourself, and still squeak through your opponent’s defenses for some damage. They can be lethal quickly as well. If you get 2 level 3 Namors out, that’s 10 unblockable damage, or half your opponent’s life.

Example 3: Dr. Strange ‘Master of the Mystic Arts’ and Power Bolt.

Dr. Strange deals 2 damage each time you use an action die. So the idea is to race to Dr. Strange, and then use Power Bolts for 4 each, instead of 2.

A win condition can even be more complicated. I tend to prefer the tricky ones, as it feels more satisfying when it works, like the following one.

Example 4: Storm ‘Lady Liberator’ with Force Beam.

I used this one at one of our more recent “for fun” meet ups, and did very well. The concept is that Storm has the ability “Each turn, you may redirect the first 2 damage dealt to Storm by action dice, to your opponent”, while Force Beam can deal 1-2 damage to all characters on the field. The idea is to get 3-4 Storms on the field and fire off a 2 point Force Beam for 6-8 damage to my opponent. Repeat as necessary.

Your win condition can also be a unique combination to get the most our of your team, like this.

Example 5: Ant Man’s A/D swapping global, and high defense characters.

Making a quick team of characters with high defenses, so that if you get 1 or 2 past your opponent, you can swap their Attack and Defense to do 4-7 damage each can be a great start of a team. Combine it with some blocker clearing power like Relentless from above, or even a Force Beam to eat Sidekicks, and you could have a winner here.

The important part of step 1 is that you know how you COULD win. You have a plan to build towards.

Step 2: Time to add the supporting cast of characters

First, I’ll address Professor X, and his global ability later. Let’s talk about the other potential team members.

Once you have a win condition, you need to start thinking about how you actually get to execute your win condition. For example, if your win condition is getting out Dr. Strange, you need to think about the early game. If you just race as fast as humanly possible to Dr. Strange, you are going to be giving up a lot of board position. If your opponent has a lot of small, high Attack characters, you are going to get beat, and hard.

So, in a case like this, you want some smaller, easier to buy characters, to keep you safe for a bit. Whenever I need to get a big character in play, I also like to match my cheap character’s energy type to the big characters. So, if I want Dr. Strange, he is a [mask] character, so I want a 2 or 3 cost [mask] character. This way, when if I field the cheap character, and it dies, I have a good chance to get the energy I need to buy my big guy.

I like to call these cheap characters my ramping characters.

An example of some good ramping characters are:

Mask

Beast nope, I am staying away!
Psylocke ‘Kwannon the Assassin’ – useful ability for mid to late game.
Cerebro ‘Supercomputer’ – no 1 [mask] face, can be used to stall opponent’s fast characters

Fist

Black Widow ‘Killer Instinct’ – her when fielding ability of spinning a character to level 1 is great, because for some characters, the power jump from 2 to 3 is very impressive, and Black Widow’s ability will help keep them in check.
Falcon ‘Recon’ – buy him early for his ramp potential, and then later, convert your fielded Sidekicks into unblockable damage.

Step 2b: A lengthy aside: You are using Professor X, you just need to know which one.

Yes, just to make you aware now, your team will have Professor X on it. The current state of the meta game is that you need to play with him. The only question you need to answer is which Professor X you will be bringing.

The 3 contenders are:
1 and 2:From Uncanny X-Men (UXM), either the common or rare Professor X has the global ability to move Sidekicks from used to prep for a mask.
3: Professor X ‘Powerful Telepath’, has the ability “While Professor X is active, your opponent cannot use actions or global abilities. He or she can pay 2 life to prevent this effect for the rest of the turn.

At this point, you need to know, how dependent your team is on the Professor X Global (PXG) from the UXM set.

This basically comes down to, how well your team will perform when you only roll 4 dice per turn. If you are using Dr. Strange and Power Bolts, you NEED more dice being rolled, just to buy the good Doctor, then you NEED your bag empty of Sidekicks so you can draw your Power Bolts more reliably. In contrast, if you plan on building a team of low cost, high defense characters, to pair with Ant Man’s global, then you don’t need PXG to work, it just makes it better.

Now the reason you need this information is that, in the current meta game, more than likely, your opponent will have PXG available to you, and you will be able to run your team efficiently anyway. So, if you don’t NEED it, you don’t bring it. But, if your team does rely on it, then you have to bring it yourself, because there is a small chance your opponent won’t, and if you need it, and don’t have it, you are doomed.

So, if you are not bringing a Professor with the Sidekick moving global, then you need to have ‘Powerful Telepath’ on your team. The reason is that it can be crippling to teams that rely on it. If you bring Professor X ‘Powerful Telepath’ and your opponent brings Professor X with the global, then you can use PXG all you want, and when you field your Professor X, you effectively shut your opponent down from doing the same. Now, you are using their PXG all the time, and they aren’t. Warning – this may lead to you getting beat up in the parking lot for being a jerk. Don’t worry, the bruises will fade, but the memory of winning will be with you forever.

Step 3: Global abilities.

Now you have a team of 3-4 characters. Looking at your team, you need to fill it out with some abilities you can exploit.




The idea is to find some abilities that can compliment your team, which will not cripple you when your opponent does it too.

When every team I built had Beast ‘666’ on it, I always played Mr. Fantastic for his global. This way I could “encourage” a character to attack, so I can block with Beast, and draw all my dice. If they made me attack, I would also have the Distraction global available, so I could pull my Beast back, to keep him available to block. The cool thing is that the Distraction global would still let Beast draw dice if he blocked, so it was a perfect collaboration. [And the reason why I have a “no Beast” rule now. I just feel dirty every time I do it]

Try to find global abilities that help your win condition, or help with weaknesses your team faces.

So, for the Dr. Strange team from above, you don’t field a lot of blockers, so Distraction’s Global could really save you in a pinch.

Have a lot of small characters you are trying to swarm your Opponent with? Add in Transfer Power for the Global, and then your opponent’s best fielded Attack is now what your unblocked character hits for. And if you have a team with only 1 or 2 for Attack, then they can’t really use it effectively against you.

Is your team purely defense, and “force attack” abilities like from Mr. Fantastic, or Toad really screw up your team? Add in Kitty Pryde ‘Shadowcat’ so that you can add your own “pay a life to attack” effect to your character you want to keep safe. Now you don’t have to attack.

Step 4: Every team has a weakness.

Now you need to think about what everyone else is going to be doing, and what their plans will do to shred your team. If you know your area’s meta strategies, then you need to come up with ways to answer them.

In my area, I have unfortunately lectured at great length about the UXM Most Valuable Player, Toad ‘Tongue Lashing’. His ability is game changing. He removes your opponent’s most valuable resource, the ability to make decisions. Because of my constant “Toad is the best” speeches, combined with my “See how my Toad is beating you up” decks, he is now a staple. This of course means that any team I build has to have an answer to how to handle him when your opponent brings him out. For Toad, this can take the form of removal, like Psylocke’s pay [mask][mask] when fielded ability. As mentioned earlier, it could also be Kitty Pryde ‘Shadowcat’s ability to override the “must attack” property. Whatever it is, make sure you have it.

Finally, make sure you deeply analyze the outcomes from your games.

If you lost, why did you lose? Was it one character? A lot of characters? An ability? Whatever it is, make sure you understand why you lost. Can you correct it with better play? Do you need to answer a problem that you didn't think of?

Even more importantly, if you won, you still need to examine the game. If you won, did you notice a situation where a different character or ability from your opponent would have stolen your victory? If so, how should you handle it?

There is no substitute for getting your team out there, to see how it does, and see the holes in it.

So, build yourself a team, and get out there. Try to find new ways to beat old decks. You just may surprise yourself.

This is how I tackle team building. What things do you do similarly? What do you do differently? Please let me know.
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Scott Hill
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Not read the full post, but two things jumped out at me straight away:

1. If you weren't staying away from those 'crutch characters' you'd know they're not 'crutch characters' any more.

2. 'Attack with characters until my opponent dies' can be a win condition - it is the very definition of what Aggro-Rush is all about.
 
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Carl Hintze
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Scorpion0x17 wrote:
Not read the full post, but two things jumped out at me straight away:

1. If you weren't staying away from those 'crutch characters' you'd know they're not 'crutch characters' any more.

2. 'Attack with characters until my opponent dies' can be a win condition - it is the very definition of what Aggro-Rush is all about.


How do we know that these are not "Crutch" chars anymore?
There has not been any single big tournament yet that i know off to view popular and successful teams and these old "crutches" place in the new meta.
These chars are still very powerful and i dont doubt that we will still see them played alot as nothing in the new set is really "hard" counters for them.
 
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Dylan Watkins

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I get the trying not to rely on the srs or even super uncommons but the the reality of it is that before uxm those were the really playable to win cards. I myself am not a fan of self reliance on those cards either but that is the conundrum of this game. You want to play to have fun but the object of the game is to win. That's why I think we( the MDM community and wuzkids) should come up with a coop version of this game. I had a thought of rolling into a legendary esq mode where you had a villian with henchmen(sk) and support villians and you and another player could work to overthrow. The other thing here is that no longer are we reliant on the limits of these supers as a beacon of change has arisen in professor x and his global which now makes any and every card a palatable win condition. Hopefully they won't NERF him somehow.
 
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Scorpion0x17 wrote:
Not read the full post, but two things jumped out at me straight away:

1. If you weren't staying away from those 'crutch characters' you'd know they're not 'crutch characters' any more.
Perfect, then no need to go back to them then.
Quote:
2. 'Attack with characters until my opponent dies' can be a win condition - it is the very definition of what Aggro-Rush is all about.
Sure, I agree, if you build a good quick attack focused team, then have at it. What I usually see when people post "what do you think of my team" in places is that there is no clear, thought out way to win. A little focus wouldn't hurt anyone.
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crambaza wrote:
Sure, I agree, if you build a good quick attack focused team, then have at it. What I usually see when people post "what do you think of my team" in places is that there is no clear, thought out way to win. A little focus wouldn't hurt anyone.


This i very much agree with. After i learned to focus my team on a win condition rather than a couple of big smashers my winrate has gone up alot. i think this guide is great.

The global section is very important too, not choosing a global that could hurt yourself is key.
Ive recently seen some villain teams with the old magneto in them, nothing worse than getting your nasty boy rolled out with your own global.
 
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Have now read the full article, and for me you're missing one important part of building a team.

Allow me to explain...

When I build a team I have 3 questions I seek to answer:

1. How am I going to win?
2. How am I going to stop my opponent from winning?
3. How am I going to stop my opponent from stopping me from winning?

Now, question 1 is your win condition. And question 3 you also cover.

However you seem to be missing question 2.

If you have no way to counter your opponent's strategy then your games will inevitably come down to 'who can achieve their win condition faster?', and if the answer to that is 'my opponent', then you've already lost.

Now, the interesting thing I find about exploring answers to that 2nd question is that they often reveal new ways to approach answering questions 1 and 3 - in fact, I will sometimes start with question 2.
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Cazzmataz wrote:
Scorpion0x17 wrote:
Not read the full post, but two things jumped out at me straight away:

1. If you weren't staying away from those 'crutch characters' you'd know they're not 'crutch characters' any more.

2. 'Attack with characters until my opponent dies' can be a win condition - it is the very definition of what Aggro-Rush is all about.


How do we know that these are not "Crutch" chars anymore?

Erm...

By playing the game!

There are numerous counters to all the staples from AvX in UXM and it doesn't require national tournaments to figure them out.
 
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Scorpion0x17 wrote:
Cazzmataz wrote:
Scorpion0x17 wrote:
Not read the full post, but two things jumped out at me straight away:

1. If you weren't staying away from those 'crutch characters' you'd know they're not 'crutch characters' any more.

2. 'Attack with characters until my opponent dies' can be a win condition - it is the very definition of what Aggro-Rush is all about.


How do we know that these are not "Crutch" chars anymore?

Erm...

By playing the game!

There are numerous counters to all the staples from AvX in UXM and it doesn't require national tournaments to figure them out.


Then i agree to disagree. In our local meta they are still crutches and still going strong.
Tsarina will still be the best pick if you want cheap agression.
Gobby is still a really cheap reliable way to deal damage.

The things that stop these will stop anything else in the same category, so if you want anything in the same category they are the best choices.
I just won a couple of games with tsarina rush the other day against deck with imprison and the likes. The "crutches" just became a little less reliable.
 
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crambaza wrote:
Scorpion0x17 wrote:
Not read the full post, but two things jumped out at me straight away:

1. If you weren't staying away from those 'crutch characters' you'd know they're not 'crutch characters' any more.
Perfect, then no need to go back to them then.

That is certainly a valid choice, but I think you are missing a lot by taking it. They are all still all very useful. But now can be easily countered. So they are no longer must haves, but instead take their place amongst many others as cards that are great in the right team, but not amazing by themselves.

Also I find it funny that you eschew the old 'crutches' and then go on to extol the newest a biggest crutch of them all!

Quote:
Quote:
2. 'Attack with characters until my opponent dies' can be a win condition - it is the very definition of what Aggro-Rush is all about.
Sure, I agree, if you build a good quick attack focused team, then have at it. What I usually see when people post "what do you think of my team" in places is that there is no clear, thought out way to win. A little focus wouldn't hurt anyone.


Oh, I absolutely agree - as you have seen in my follow-up post, how to win is the first of the three questions I seek to answer when I build a team.

I just disagree with your assertion that 'attack until my opponent is dead' is not a 'win condition'.
 
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Cazzmataz wrote:

I just won a couple of games with tsarina rush the other day against deck with imprison and the likes. The "crutches" just became a little less reliable.

If winning "a couple of games" makes something a 'crutch' then everything is!

And an unreliable crutch is no longer a crutch!

The thing that made them crutches in the first places was that they gave you a reliable win condition!

Take away the reliability and they are no longer crutches!

Will they still be used?

Yes, of course they will, they are still great cards.

But there is a huge difference between a great card and a crutch.
 
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Joshua Danish
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Thanks for writing this up! As someone who is basically new to Deck Building with MDM and some other games that just came out which finally "hooked me" this kind of breakdown is really helpful for helping me ramp up my own thinking.

Also, my wife likes to play these games with me, but really likes some kind of "give me a sense of the strategy" primer whenever possible to help her catch up (since I usually play more). This kind of writeup is really nice for that when I don't know the game well enough to say much more.

So, thanks for taking the time to spell it out!!
 
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On Aggro decks win condition being "Attack until I win".

I have found that even with those it can and probably should be cut down to "I will buy gambit AitH early and then use Prof X to and gambit to buy and field Hawkeye Robin Hood early, often and in bigger numbers than my opponent can block".

That one was fun btw, buy hawkeye, field gambit, hawkeye into bag (since its empty), and then gambit fields hawkeye the same turn he was bought to just rush through dmg.

The earlier mentioned
"2. How am I going to stop my opponent from winning"
is actually answered by
"4. Every Team has a weakness"
The trick is, unless you know the meta in your area, there is no way to actually answer "How am I going to stop my opponent from winning" until you sit down and see what your opponent is playing.

You would have to think through all possible teams that any opponent will bring, all the win conditions and all the ways to counter them.

"Every Team has a weakness" though that is something you can explore even if you are going to an out of state tourney. Oooh, this is great antman and scarlet which and black panther will just beat down really quick .... Oh, wait... Toad with a * will knock all of them out when they attack, so, maybe I need an assassin to take care of him.

It may also boil down to, well.. I have a really synergistic team, it needs 6 out of the 8 characters globals to really sing, I cant really counter all of the things, but, if you look for the one thing that really wrecks you, and dedicate 2 slots to just dealing with that, sometimes you can "Stop your opponent from winning" by simply winning faster, without actually having to dedicate characters.

Anyway ... just wanted to add that this really is a great way to think through making a team. It wont work for everybody and it might not be for everybody, but if you are new to deckbuilding / team building style games, its a great place to start.
 
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3 Beast- Mutate #666 (2)
3 Psylocke- Kwonnon The Assassin (2)
3 Cerebro- Supercomputer (3)
4 Kitty Pryde- Shadowcat (4)
3 Storm- Wind-Rider (5)
3 Magneto- Will To Live (5)
1 Professor X- Recruiting Young Mutants (6)

Basic Action
3 Inner Rage (3)
3 Relentless (4)

Kind of mixes the Shadowcat win con with the Relentless win con. Magneto doesn't go away and relentless can make him unblockable in most instances and Shadowcat is unblockable on her own. Storm is a nice little backup plan or help as well.
 
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Cazzmataz wrote:
Scorpion0x17 wrote:
Cazzmataz wrote:
Scorpion0x17 wrote:
Not read the full post, but two things jumped out at me straight away:

1. If you weren't staying away from those 'crutch characters' you'd know they're not 'crutch characters' any more.

2. 'Attack with characters until my opponent dies' can be a win condition - it is the very definition of what Aggro-Rush is all about.


How do we know that these are not "Crutch" chars anymore?

Erm...

By playing the game!

There are numerous counters to all the staples from AvX in UXM and it doesn't require national tournaments to figure them out.


Then i agree to disagree. In our local meta they are still crutches and still going strong.
Tsarina will still be the best pick if you want cheap agression.
Gobby is still a really cheap reliable way to deal damage.

The things that stop these will stop anything else in the same category, so if you want anything in the same category they are the best choices.
I just won a couple of games with tsarina rush the other day against deck with imprison and the likes. The "crutches" just became a little less reliable.


There are quite a few answers for BW and/or GG SR's now with UXM that I rarely see them played anymore. Every blue moon I might see one but that's rare and never both anymore.
 
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