He is Groot

We rang in 2019 with an Unlimited Constructed Golden Age event.  My team was based around an overlooked card from the Kree Invasion Team Pack that makes for an unusual but potentially very powerful ramp engine.

What Did You Play

The Team:  I am Groot ramp.

The card in question was 

It’s a 5-cost, which is hardly ideal for a ramp engine, but take a look at that ability.

When Groot is active, you get to Prep a die for every character that blocks and isn’t KOed.  Groot himself isn’t exempted from the ability, so that’s potentially every die in the defender’s field.  Don’t forget the defending player can assign every die in his Field Zone to block a single attacking die if he’s so inclined.  With Groot active that means he gets to Prep a die for every blocking die that isn’t KOed (including Sidekicks).

Now, a clever opponent may decline to attack if he anticipates the result is going to be you Prepping multiple dice.  A force attack global looked like it would be very useful, so I added .

Of course, a clever opponent may also decide to use that force attack global on Groot to get him out of the Field Zone.  I needed to take some steps to make that difficult.

I couldn’t make up my mind between the Uncommon Kate Bishop and Wonder Woman:  Child of Clay so I added them both.

The Kate Bishop global would potentially useful with Black Widow dice as well as serving as protection for Groot.  Attack with lower level Black Widows when their ability would do burn damage, then use the Kate Bishop global to keep them in the field, both keeping more potential blockers around, and allowing me to potentially repeat the process next turn.

But over the long term, Wonder Woman’s “while active” was much better protection.  Given enough turns, one will come where you don’t have the correct energy to save for triggering the global on your opponent’s turn.

Next, I added Mutation as a BAC for the global.

Said global allows me to spin up characters (including my opponent’s characters) to spin down one of my characters.  So I can spin down my Black Widow dice and/or spin up an opposition character to make sure her ability fires when I attack with her.

The rest of the team was from the Space Orks team pack.  Warbiker, because I suspected it would be prudent to have some protection from Range damage.  The 8-cost Stompa with Overcrush and Frag – I thought the Groot ramp trick might give me enough energy to purchase an 8-cost.  Spoiler Alert:  I never bought one all night.  Then I rounded it out with a Mogrok and a Battlewagon.

Finally, I included Resurrection as my other BAC, to make it easier to get to 5 energy on a turn I would need to buy Groot.

How did it work?

Game 1:

This was against our group’s youngest (and weakest) player.  She was running the Catwoman that can’t be blocked by Sidekicks and the Namor that becomes unblockable when its owner has 2 or more other characters active.

I got Groot out, and started using the force attack to get ramp.  Her response was to leave her Field Zone empty.  She’d re-roll any character faces that came up on her initial roll, and decline to pay fielding costs in her Main Step, spending all her energy on buying more dice.

That did kill my Groot ramp, but it has a down side – in that her field was empty.  I had multiple Black Widow dice, a Groot die, and one or two Sidekick dice in my Field Zone with a total A of 12.  On a turn where I rolled four Sidekick dice and one Wonder Woman die, my initial roll was three pawns, one energy and Wonder Woman coming up Level 2 (Fielding Cost:  1).  Fielding all those gave me another 6A for a total of 18.  Since I’d done a couple of Sidekick pokes earlier in the game my opponent was down to 18 life, so that gave me lethal.

1-0

Game 2:

Ork Boy:  Shoota , Retaliation, Fabricate, Infiltrate BAC gimmick team.  He used the Rare Aquaman, presumably because it’s the cheapest of the JL Retaliation characters.

Get Aquaman and two Ork Boy dice out together.  Use an Infiltrate Basic Action Die to give Aquaman the Ork affiliation.  KO both Ork Boys to Fabricate anything with Fabricate 2-4.  Aquaman’s Retaliation triggers (his text specifies affiliated characters) and the Ork Boys return to the field.  Repeat 9 times, dealing a total of 20 Retaliation damage.

I didn’t see it coming, but even if I had, I’m not sure it would have made any  difference.  He was able to set up his team much faster that I was able to set up mine.  If I’d be more aggressive about disrupting his plans, I might have bought myself some time, but I doubt I would have been able to buy enough.

1-1

Game 3:

Zombie Gladiator, SR Beholder, Morphing Jar, and Grey Hunters.

He got Gladiator out early, I got a Wonder Woman out at Level 3 on Turn 3, which meant I had something which could survive blocking (and KOing) a Beholder, at any level.

I did use Groot for ramp in this game but it took me a while.  I was saving energy for the Kate Bishop global from about my third turn, and once I managed to buy him, he refused to come up on a character face until the third time I drew him.

I was using the Kate Bishop global on Gladiator almost every turn – he was massively buffed, anything blocking him was going to be KOed and I wanted to keep my field intact as much as possible.  I also didn’t want to lose Sidekicks in my Field Zone to Grey Hunter’s ability, so I was attacking with Black Widows for burn damage than using the Kate Bishop global on them.

Late in the game I bought a couple of Kate Bishop dice to add to the amount of burn damage I was doing.  I’d block Gladiator with my Kate Bishop dice to get them KOed.  Even considering the turns where I blocked Gladiator with a Kate Bishop die, I must have used the global on Gladiator at least 15 times this game.

I was at 16 life – I’d let one Level 3 Grey Hunter through rather than KO it.  He had more dice in his field than I had in mine for most of the game, but I had enough life he never thought he could overwhelm me and get lethal if he attacked with everything.

Between Grey Hunter’s ability, Beholder’s ability, and Shocking Grasp I was worried he’d punch out all the Sidekicks and Black Widows from my wall, which wouldn’t leave me enough blockers to survive.  But it never seemed to line up for him, and I steadily wore him down by probing with Widows and fielding Kates.

I eventually got him down to about 3 life, at which point he decided he had to take his shot.  He attacked, pretty much wiped out my field save for Groot and Wonder Woman, and got me down to 7 life.

I fielded a Kate Bishop, and attacked with a couple of low level Widows, doing enough damage for the win.

2-1 

 

Post-Mortem:

Well, the Range protection idea proved unnecessary, as I was never matched up against anyone who was using it.  I probably should have included at least one more lower cost option in place of Battlewagon or Mogrok anyway.

The Groot ramp idea is something whose feasibility remains undetermined to my mind.  It worked okay, but was largely irrelevant to the outcome of Game 3, and the Game 1 results aren’t really meaningful given the quality of the opponent.

In retrospect, this wasn’t a team, so much as two partial teams thrown together without any real thought on how to actually combine them.  I think there’s some use for the ramp this Groot card provides.  I just need to put some more thought on exactly what that use is.

Not that I’m opposed to outside suggestions.  What do you think are good ways to utilize the ramp this Groot gives you?  Let us know in the comments.

Thanks for reading, and Happy Rolling!

Son of L

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