Happy New Year everyone! After a local hiatus because of the Holidays, I am finally back rolling some live dice. Since this week was the official release of the Trouble in Waterdeep Campaign Box and associated Team Packs, I decided to jump in and experiment with what is one of the most talked about cards in these sets… Yawning Portal.
I have talked about this card before, when we were given access to some preview product. You can check out the original article here. Yawning Portal changes the economy of the game by making things cheaper, free to field, AND throwing dice into your bag. Think of it like a way to accelerate the whole game.
When it is one sided, it is actually not that fun to run because it gives you a bit of an advantage. I chose to bench it while others could not use it on their Team as a result. Now that the set is in the wild, I don’t have an issue running this card again… except that our store did not get anything today. So… I am a jerk and ran this card anyway.
I actually wanted to see if this card to accelerate “slower” Teams. This might be an ongoing theme for myself over the next little while. Can it make Teams that are already good, THAT much better.
Where to start though? With so many choices available, I went to a very popular combo from back in the Thor Drafting days… The Warriors 3. I am not going to even be efficient here with this build (I could include a cheaper Fandral if I really wanted to). I am putting on all of the 5 cost versions of the characters in order to get the maximum buffs possible.
I am putting my Team in the hands of the Portal. Can it get me to the Warriors 3 quickly enough? Let’s see what we can add to help that out.
What Did You Play?
The Team: 3 Men and a Little Portal.
Right off the bat, my build is taken up by 4 cards. The beefy boys are the win condition, and the Portal is how I plan to get to them. My first order of business is getting to the Portal faster. Option 1 was to go with good old Resurrection to plan for it Turn 3, but I have been accused of relying on that crutch a little too much (and I agree). I was going to take away one of my favourite tools here and see what else I could do. Option 2 was pretty easy here. The Supreme Intelligence Global was an easy add. If I was to go second and roll 4 energy (obviously 1 of those being a Bolt), I would have the Portal on Turn 2. Then the shenanigans could start a little earlier than planned.
This alone would not get me to my goal though. I still needed some form of Ramp. Since I have lost Resurrection, due to my self imposed ban, I needed something else. Here I decided to go with something old and something new.
The something old was Power Almighty. I have toyed with this action a few times, and I have found it pretty good when it hits. I have always hated the 4 cost though. Maybe with an early Portal, I can get to it a little easier? If it works, I will be swimming in dice in no time.
The something new was Grell from the new Campaign Box. When he is KO’ed, I can essentially start to filter through my bag and hopefully get the dice I want in the Prep Area. His stats are pretty weak, so he should be easy to KO… but there is the possibility that my Opponent will just take the damage if I attack with him. That is not the best consistency. To make it better, I actually added in two tools to remove my own Grell dice.
With the weak defensive stats, Magic Missile was an obvious addition. I could use the Global to remove Grell with ease, AND also ping out some spare Blockers. My Warriors 3 will be big enough that I am not really worried about them getting pinged out easily.
However, there is that pesky Level 3 on Grell that is not as easy to ping out. Here, I decided to try out the new Global from Nihiloor. For the low price of a Mask, I can KO pretty much anything I want. I can do that on either turn too. Seems like a good option to recycle my stuff on demand. Now I have two energy options to remove my stuff. Not bad.
With only one slot left, my biggest worry with this Team was something like Static Field pushing my big boys back. Enter Istrid Horn – Moneylender. This is a “when fielded” ability that essentially shuts down a Global for the Turn. If I see Static Field, I can hopefully get Istrid out and shut it down before it stops the Warriors. With the Nihiloor Global, I can also recycle this ability as needed. Also, the Supreme Intelligence Global should let me time the arrival of Istrid a little better.
The plan is in place. Buy a Portal as fast as I can. Jump to Grell or Power Almighty, depending on the situation. Buy cheap Warriors and swing as much as possible. Will the Portal speed up the Warriors 3? Let’s see how it ran.
Game 1 was against our own Son of L. Now I am not going to go into details of his build, but I will say this: You know how Hope/Boom has always been wildly good? Did you know that it could be better with a little magic? Unfortunately for me, the Portal was not cooperating in the whole rolling department. I took an early 13 damage from this monstrosity and I knew my speed was not there to compete. I did eventually manage to get 2/3 Warriors out and hit for 18 damage. It was all for nothing though, as the Boom came quickly to put me out of my misery.
More Hope Summers, this time paired with the old school Cyclops from UXM to increase damage from Bolt characters… and a whole lot of Bolt characters. This included one of my personal favourite cards… Rare Wasp from AOU. I would have to plan my Global usage once she hit. I shared my Portal with him since we did not get the product in. This time, the Portal decided to roll for me. It got me to an early Power Almighty, which got me to more dice. It took us each a while to get characters out (it felt like it was going to be one of those games)… including his Wasp, which meant I was able to keep Portal coming back regularly. Eventually, I got each of the Warriors out. He didn’t really have the defense to handle the Warriors stats and it was over when he let them through for lethal. Once that threat was on board, there was little that he could do.
The final game was against Green Lantern – Fearless, and the Rare Xavier’s School to load up the Used Pile with actions. Green Lantern would be a bigger threat the longer this game went. Again, Portal was cooperating… and again I went for the early Power Almighty. Volstagg hit early, but it took a while to line up the correct energy at the right time with the Portal to buy the other two. While I waited for that to hit, I would attack with Grell. He let the damage through, which I was ok with. His Green Lantern damage train was starting to build momentum. Then the other Warriors joined the game. First Hogun to force him into some bad blocking choices, and then Fandral to finish things off.
While it was disappointing not to see the new product at the store, it was still fun to play and share what I had available. Hopefully, we see it before next week’s Game Night. That’s all I will say about the release of set.
Onto the Team itself. We all know what the Warriors 3 are. You really only need Volstagg and Hogun to make this work. Any other version of Fandral is good here. I chose the 5 cost just to test out Portal though. Also, overkill is a weakness of mine. The bottom line, is these three guys are great together. Removal and humongous overcrushing bodies all in one… What is not to like?
Grell was actually an interesting form of Ramp. I feel like this guy needs to be explored some more. Definitely something I want to play around with in future builds, but he worked really well on this Team. Pairing Grell with Nihiloor was great as well. This Global has some shenanigan potential, and I will be trying out some other things with it for sure. When Nihiloor failed, Magic Missile succeeded. Actually, it was more the other way around. Magic Missile was my first line of removal for most of the night. On this Team, the Global was not really enough of a threat for me to worry about it being used against me. Really… if you saved enough Bolts to take out any of the Warriors 3, you have earned it. Go nuts.
Istrid Horn was a good contingency plan to have in place… even if I did not need her all night. There were not really any Globals the I needed to shut down on my turn. I would still keep her around for the potential use though. The 2-cost does not hurt either.
With all of the 2-costs on the Team, the Supreme Intelligence Global was a no brainer. Hopefully you have tried this one out for yourself. If you have not, you really need to learn to use it. It is just so good with the low cost dice.
Power Almighty is another card I recommend you try out if you have not. Not only does it make your dice stronger by spinning them up, you will end up Prepping your brains out. Bag burn is a real possibility with this Action.
Yawning Portal… what can I say? It helped this Team out in so many ways. I was able to use the discount, but it proved more useful with the Fielding Costs. I rarely had to pay to Field any of the Warriors all night. The discounted purchase was icing on the cake.
Did it speed things up though? I still would not call this a “fast” Team, although it definitely ran better than previous iterations I have played. Overall, I would call this a successful experiment. Yawning Portal made the Warriors 3 more efficient.
Would I play this again? Sure. I would throw this one on the list. The Warriors 3 are always fun to play. It is a personal challenge to get all three of them out, and Yawning Portal makes it easier to do. Are they more competitive now? No. They still require time to build up, and fast Teams can make quick work of you before the big guys show up.
Did your area get the Waterdeep products? What was the first Team you broke out of the box? Have a favourite build for the Warriors 3? What other “slower” Teams could benefit from Yawning Portal? Share your thoughts in the Comments below.
Thanks for reading!