Format: Casual Golden Age (Modern recommended)
If you’ve watched the last couple of weeks, you’ll know that Venerable Dreadnaught (which SHOULD be spelled “Dreadnought”) hit our local meta pretty darn hard. So I wanted to troll it. Thus I took out a team I called…
The “Noughty” List
The whole point of this team was to troll Venerable Dreadnaught. I went for two different counters: Green Devil Mask and Queen Grabstab.
GDM needs no introduction; it’s one of the best control cards in Modern, and one of the hardest to counter. Sure, it relies on your opponent rolling their dice, but odds are, almost all sidekicks will be gone, and some non-sidekicks as well. However, it only works if my opponent has four character dice. So I crossed a line and put in Instant War.
This is an ugly combo. In short, have GDM active, then use Instant War. Your opponent draws dice, is forced to field whatever sidekicks they get, and this can trigger GDM, forcing them to reroll their board. It’s just mean.
As for Grabstab, she was intended to counter Dreadnaught by making my characters impossible to target. This meant I needed a win condition based around 2-cost characters. I chose Jubilee (since I’m already using Instant War), Boom Boom (since Instant War is a basic action), and Yuan-ti Pureblood (the common, which gives me additional damage when using Boom Boom). Crazy how strong a win condition you can put together with 2-cost characters!
I want you to stop and think for a second about what this team does. If I use Instant War with the 3 amigos above active, my opponent takes 2 from Boom Boom, 1 from Yuan-ti, and up to 3 from Jubilee (for a total of 6 damage from that one action). Plus, if GDM’s also active, my opponent will likely reroll all of their characters. Yeesh.
Investigation was put in as a ramp engine (especially useful with Boom Boom; your ramp engine becomes part of your win condition), and Mjolnir was put in because I need bolts pretty frequently. Blob was put in for some additional targeted control.
Now, there’s one card that was supposed to be here, but I forgot it at home. It’s Thor: Every Problem Is A Nail. He was going to be there for his global (once per turn, pay a bolt, reduce the purchase cost of an action by 2), as the discount could completely change the pacing of this team. I ended up putting Venerable Dreadnaught instead (seeing as I had him with me), but it was really not my first choice.
With that said, on to the games!
I started off against Hulk + Immortals. I managed to go first, get 2 Investigations, along with Boom Boom, Jubilee, Yuan-ti, Instant War…since everything I relied on was pretty cheap, Investigation served for churn and burn moreso than ramp. The constant flow of actions, sidekicks and damage simply was too fast for my opponent to deal with. I won, and I didn’t have to use the GDM trick here.
Time to face off against a Dreadnaught + Swarm team. She went first and took two of my Investigations. That messed up my pace, but she brought me Big Entrance, which was tremendously helpful. I was buying and using so many darn actions that Boom Boom, Yuan-ti and Jubilee simply got damage going too fast for her to stop me. It didn’t help that Dreadnaught didn’t get purchased quickly enough, since she focused on ramp for a big chunk of the game (first by buying my Investigations, then with all of her Swarm stuff). I outpaced her and won before she could deal any serious damage.
To finish off the evening, I went up against Orks, Orks everywhere! Yes, it’s the same guy from before, and he’s been working on his team and making it far more aggressive, using the 8-cost Overcrushing Stompa; it hits really hard. With my team relying on mostly low-toughness characters, this wasn’t the best matchup for me. However, he had some insanely unlucky rolls with his Stompa; he only got one attack through with him. By that point, I had GDM on the board, and finally got to do my little GDM + Instant War trick. It worked as well as you’d expect; my opponent had to reroll his board, and only had one character left afterwards. I then swung in with every character I had for the win.
-I built a team to troll Dreadnaught, and only 2 teams had him tonight…and one of them was mine. I guess the joke’s on me.
-Do not underestimate how much churn Instant War gives you. 3 sidekicks exiting the bag isn’t just great for shenanigans; it’s also great to get you to draw your actions again and again. It made my strategy more reliable for sure.
-I should’ve put Scarlet Witch to punish opponents for taking my actions.
-Not having Thor hurt me all evening. Being able to buy Instant War or Investigation for 2 energy, or even getting GDM for 3 energy, completely changes the pace of this team. As it is, it was clunkier than I would’ve liked. I definitely still want to try Thor in a different build.
-Yes, Tabaxi Rogue could’ve dealt even more damage with Instant War, but I was trying to rely on 2-cost characters for Grabstab.
-Speaking of which, I never really got to use Grabstab, since I always had better things to purchase. That’s the hard thing with her; you can spend 4 energy on protection (that only protects some things unless you specifically build around her), or you can spend 4 energy for your own Dreadnaught or even for GDM. I could see Grabstab being easily ignored because GDM is simply a better counter against Dreadnaught (on top of countering plenty of other strategies).
-Boom Boom (and Yuan-ti to a lesser degree) makes this team deceptively fast. You burn your opponent when you ramp with investigation, when you use Instant War, etc. When ramping gets you closer to your win condition, you’ll generally be in a pretty good spot.
-This goes without saying, but GDM + Instant War is nasty, and not something to do to your friends. It’s a double-edged sword when your opponent also has GDM though.
Overall, this was a nice little team to run, but now that I finally have my extra team packs, I’m looking forward to brewing with more Space Wolves or Orks next week; this’ll be fun. Happy holidays everyone!