Reading The Meta

Last week, we decided as a Group to let the Fates decide what we were going to do for this week.  We had 3 people select a random number between 1 and 8 and we click on the Team Builder Randomizer that many time.  The cards that came up were to be the centerpieces of our build.  We could use as many of them as we wanted to, but had to at least include one.  Here were the cards that came up:

I seriously think there is something wrong with the random button on my phone because these are not the worst possible cards that could have come up.  There is some potential here.  In looking at these cards, not only did I have to decide what I wanted to build, but what I wanted to build against.

Purple Worm is just too easy of a choice.  This is a beast of a card, so I didn’t really feel like it would be fun enough to warrant the choice.  The worm was out for me.  Zoom is great… and if you paired him with Elf Theif, he is downright lethal.  However, he is one of those “been there, done that” cards for me.  That left me with Cap.

For better, or for worse, I was going down the Heroic rabbit hole.

What Did You Play?

The Team:  Heroic Mimicry.

Captain America and Heroic would be the goal here.  For that to work, I needed more Heroic characters.  Let’s just say the pool is quite shallow and expensive overall.  Immediately, I decided to take a detour.  I threw on Angel as he is one of the cheaper characters and had decent stats to start with.  In a pinch, he could work well with Cap.

Do you know what would pair wall with this Captain America though?  Another Captain America.  Heroic does not allow that, but this guy does.  SR Mimic can become a copy of Captain America and then these guys will get a +8/+8 buff… which is pretty decent.  Sure, it is a bit of work to pull off this combo, but it could be really fun if it does.  If I am going for beefy characters, Overcrush is a no brainer.  Thrown Car makes the Team.

This next addition is something I have tried with Heroic before.  It does not work how I originally hoped (we had hoped he gained all of the Heroic abilities, but he only gains the actual Keyword), but giving me another Heroic option with some good stats is a great option.  He also helps against the potential meta I would be facing.  One of the big threats would be the Purple Worm.  With Taskmaster out, I now have a naturally Overcrushing character.  Plus anything else that shows up could be fun to play with.  This is one of those cards that I loved back in the day and kind of forgot about.  It would be nice to dust this guy off and see what he can do.

I now had a decent combo in place with some flexibility.  I now needed more tools to combat what I was up against.  Worm was the big threat, and Taskmaster could benefit from its keyword… but it was not a deterrent.  How can I bring the Worm to a halt?  Hello Princess!  With her out, she shuts down the Worm’s “when attacks” ability.  She does complicate things a bit with Mimic.  Meaning, I will either need to get him out first or have a way of removing Wonder Woman on demand.  As a contingency, I added in Amber Golem for some minor life gain as well as a means to remove the Amazonian.

With Wonder Woman present, it meant I only needed to worry about the Overcrush.  My answer to that was Wong.  He is a Fast character and a couple of his dice could remove the Worm before it had a chance to do anything.  As an added bonus, the Fast keyword will be passed onto Taskmaster.  Also with them both being Ally’s they can get around the potential Zoom issue.

Let’s talk Zoom for a second.  If someone was going to play him, they were for sure going to use Elf Thief.  Wonder Woman took care of that problem too.  Go for her early and I can reasonably control the biggest threats.

With not much room left on the Team, and really no Ramp/Churn options yet I decided to go a little experimental here.  I put Power Almighty on as my main engine.  In theory, I will get both larger characters and lots of dice.  If it works, it should be good.  Finally, I threw on Atlantis for the Global.  I figured it was one of the few options left that could help with Ramp and thinning the bag.

I think I have something that looks like a Team put together.  Let’s see how it ran.

Game 1:

Purple Worm.  Aided by R Collector and Laurier’s pet Beholder.  My first roll was terrible as I ended up with a Sidekick and unable to purchase Power Almighty.  Since my choices were limited with the energy I had, I bought Atlantis.  This proved to be a good purchase and I immediately regretting bringing only one die for it.  It’s ability was fantastic to basically shove things into my Prep when I couldn’t use them.

I bought Wonder Woman really quickly, but she was the last die out of the bag for me.  I was down to 10 before she finally showed up.  Once she hit though, the Worm and pretty much everything The Collector was going to bring in was shut down.  I had my Field full of Wongs to combat the Worm when it would show up.  Power Almighty was firing.  Then I screwed up with Mimic and bought him when I should not have.  I ended up fielding him for no effect (since he seemed to like his character face).  I took another hit from some unblocked characters buffed with The Front Line.  This KO’ed my Mimic and set up a really interesting last turn.  I think the life at this time was 16-3 in his favor.  All that was in his Field was The Collector.

I rerolled Mimic, another Wong (or two… I don’t exactly remember), along with Power Almighty.  This was my “all or nothing” turn.  I win or I lose.  I fabricated out Wonder Woman and  Sidekick to allow Mimic to trigger.  Mimic copied The Collector.  With The Collector/Mimic’s ability, I brought in his Beholder.  With Power Almighty, everything got a stat boost.  I swung in with enough damage to take it thanks to Beholder’s ability to use his Front Line.  Basically, his Collector, Beholder, and The Front Line won the game… for me.

1-0

Game 2:

Purple Worm AND Zoom/Elf Thief.  This one was powered by Mimic Ramp (using Instant War).  Same plan as before.  Get Power Almightly.  Get Wonder Woman.  Make his life more difficult and hopefully win.  The Power Almighty Train was firing on all cylinders again.  Wonder woman hit the table, and his game ground to a halt.  My Wongs were handling the Worm and this time Taskmaster was able to join the party.

I used his Improvised Weapon to sneak a pretty big hit through early on by buffing an unblocked Sidekick.  This tool came up twice towards the end of the game, but failed both times to strike the lethal blow.  The second time, it was Cap who would not roll.

I had the numbers advantage in the end and was able to swing though when he did not have enough blockers to deal with my Wong/Taskmaster Army.

2-0

Game 3:

Purple Worm again!  This time using the Free Global Beholder with Blue-Eyes and Kree Captain.  Cheap Worms coming up.  I did not detour from the plan in this game… except Power Almighty did not roll (except in the very last turn).  Without the power Ramp, I could not get to my bigger pieces.  My Wongs were too small to deal with the Worm effectively.  Basically, this was the exact opposite of my other games.  My dice betrayed me in this one.  Eventually, I ran out of blockers while dealing with the Overcrush problem.

2-1

Post-Mortem:

Let’s get this out of the way right off that bat.  Heroic is terrible.  Not once in any of my games did I think it was a better decision to buy into that mechanic than the other tools I brought.  I wish it was better, but it isn’t.  Sorry.

I won’t go into the normal breakdown of the Team here, but more how it fit into the meta of this event.  Knowing what I would be up against and what the possible combos might be helped with this build in a huge way.

Wonder Woman was the best answer to most of the problems I would be facing.  The Worm was severely de-powered while she was around.  With Wong, it was more or less a non-issue.  Taskmaster also made good use of the Worm’s keyword abilities.

Zoom was only really a threat without energy.  Elf Thief was the best tool to steal that and make him lethal.  Again, Wonder Woman took care of that problem.  Now, I would be able to safely save something if Zoom was coming.

Basically, predicting what might be coming is what made this Team work.  In a narrow meta, like this, it is not too difficult to figure it out.  In the bigger game, it is an important skill to develop.  You need to know what the biggest threats to you winning are, and how to deal with them.  A huge part of the game.

I will highlight a couple pieces though before I close things for the night.

First:  SR Mimic could be the best card in the game.  It is so flexible in what it can do and really can be anything you need him to be.

Second:  Power Almighty is… how did Andy put it… a corker?  This Ramp rivals what Mimic Ramp can do.  When it fired, I was ramping like a madman.  I need to use this card more.

Third:  Atlantis was the surprise hit for me.  I didn’t really pay attention to the ability when I added it.  It was for the Global.  My original purchase was purely accidental as I had no other choice on my first turn.  When it first hit, my jaw kind of dropped when I understood what can happen here.  In a worst case scenario, I get energy.  In a best case scenario, I move whatever I don’t need this turn into my Prep Area for the next turn… EDIT:  I MADE AN ERROR HERE DUE TO… WELL STUPIDITY.  I need to test this out more to be honest.

In conclusion:  Heroic sucks, predicting your meta is important, and SR Mimic is king.

Can you make Heroic work?  What tools do you use when you are building against your local meta?  Can you name a card better than SR Mimic?  How much of a corker is Power Almighty?

We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

– jourdo

Next week…

… both the movie and the return of a Dice Masters variant.

2 Replies to “Reading The Meta

  1. QUOTE

    “In a best case scenario, I move whatever I don’t need this turn into my Prep Area for the next turn… including Atlantis itself.”

    The soundtrack for me reading that sentence would be a record needle scratch, followed by a loud, “Say What?!?”

    In case you haven’t figured it out, I vehemently disagree that the Atlantis: City and Stronghold action die can be used to Prep itself.

    Action dice – other than those that are Continuous, are Gear, are something that attaches to a character or are placed on a card when used (e.g. Cerebro) – go “Out of Play” when used.

    QUOTE
    “For most Action Dice you will apply its effect and move it Out of Play (where it will go to the Used Pile at the end of your turn).” -Justice rulebook, p. 13 (under ‘Playing Actions’.

    There are two well known exceptions besides those already mentioned above – Shocking Grasp and Thrown Brick – but please note that the card text on those two actions *explicitly* state that the die may be Prepped when used if the specified conditions are met. Atlantis does not.

    Basically, there is nothing about this die that indicates it should be treated as an exception to the baseline practice of ‘an action die, when used, goes Out of Play’. Any argument that the die is still in the Reserve Pool at the time of its use is debatable at best – on p. 3 of the Quick Play section of the Justice rule book the wording suggests action dice are moved to the Used Pile before the effect is resolved.

    In other words, you’re making a big and, to my mind, unjustifiable assumption about how the use of action dice is resolved to reach the conclusion that this version of Atlantis can Prep itself.

    1. You are 100% right. I am not sure what happened there except over excitement from reading the ability (and then forgetting how action dice work apparently). Complete brain fart on my part. My apologies for the error. It absolutely has to be used and in transition.

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