Trolling the Meta in Memphis

Matt, Petrus, Laurier, Me, Rob & Ben at the end of DM Worlds 2019

As Matt’s & Laurier’s were, this is a long article, so feel free to jump around and read the parts that interest you, and skip those that do not. I don’t normally write team building articles for the site, so I’ve primarily focused on my experiences in Memphis, but I do go into a bit of detail about my Worlds team, which I think was an interesting build. So make yourself a nice cuppa or pour out a limoncello, and cozy in to read the last of our DM North at Worlds adventures.

After Canadian Nationals 2019, where I managed to scrape into the Top 8, Rob came in 2nd to Laurier, and Jimmy at WizKids confirmed the Top 8 players in Canada qualified for Worlds, Rob & I decided to go to Dice Masters Worlds in Memphis. We had a goal in mind – meet all the people we roll dice with online, in person! See what these folks actually look like IRL…can we identify people by voice and hands? We will soon see faces! It sounded exciting. In addition to meeting these amazing people, we would get to roll dice for three days, play in a ton of (ok, 4) formats, and hopefully get some cool prizes. Plus, there was the lure of the PREVIEW DRAFT. More on that later. As we did for Canadian Nationals 2018, we decided to make a vacation of it, and added a couple of days onto the end of our trip to do all the Memphis-y things (Graceland, Sun Studios, Stax Records, etc).

Preparing for the Trip

Rob had his Worlds team locked down, it was a variation of his 2019 Can Nats team, and it was awesome. I, on the other hand, did not. I had been playing an Iceman Team in the CRGR Two Team Takedown Tournament that was performing very well (I didn’t lose a single game with it), but I wasn’t really enjoying playing it. Also, there is so much Iceman hate out there right now, and so many people teching against it (often using cards I may have brought OUT OF THE SHADOWS), I thought I might play something else. My Iceman didn’t have an alternate win con, he was a one trick pony. Since my goal was to have fun, I started making a new team. It was rough and unpolished. I packed Iceman just in case. Then I packed two zen bins full of extra dice and cards. I figured I’d have time while in Memphis to finalize before Saturday. If I won some games, great! If not, I still got to roll dice. Win-win situation, in my books. Bags packed to the gills, it was time to fly.

THURSDAY

Ben, Laurier, Me & Rob, waiting for our plane to Memphis

Security at the airport stopped my carry on bag and questioned me about my dice, but it was a minor delay. Rob’s were passed without question! Once through security, we met up with Ben Said Scott, and then DM North’s own Laurier (ccm00007), whose attendance at that time was still a secret from most. 

Me, Rob & some awesome Clix players from Toronto on the Graceland Shuttle

Also on our plane were a number of local HeroClix players, and Rob nicknamed our plane the WizKids Commonwealth Contingent, as we were almost all travelling for Worlds from Canada (and the UK by way of Canada, in Ben’s case). We had an easy flight to Memphis, all baggage arrived safely, and it was off to the Guesthouse at Graceland to check into the hotel. We had limited time that night, but I was able to meet Matt (jourdo) for the very first time in person. We had a nice chat, I was given some cool DM North swag (yay, presents!), and then it was time to get some sleep.

FRIDAY

Two events were scheduled for Friday: The morning was 10-10 and the afternoon was Global Escalation. But the part I was most excited for was meeting all the people in person! I knew what some people looked like, and others I identified by voices. Some people I had never met online before, but it was just like I had imagined – I was in a room full of people that loved this game that I loved, and we were talking and joking like old friends. There were so many people, and I tried to chat with as many as I could, but I know I missed some of you. Hopefully I will meet you next time. This is what I came for Memphis for. I was already a winner. Oh, now I get to roll dice? AWESOME!

FORMAT: 10-10

I love Infiltrate

I was most excited for this format, because I’ve always thought it creates a cool team building challenge, and now that we have more sets, it was a bit easier than when it first launched. As soon as I heard about this format, I was sold on my team – INFILTRATE!  Friday night, when I met Matt, he showed me his team and I was like – hey, that’s almost my team!! At his suggestion, I added in Hope Summers: Pluripotent Echopraxia to copy fellow X-Men Cable: Bodyslide, which makes this team BONKERS. There were 28 participants for this event, so we played 5 rounds of Swiss. My record in this event was 3-2, with losses to Andy May & Patrick B (Shadowmeld) and wins agains Todd, Charlie & Pete.

FORMAT: Global Escalation

Note to self: MUST ADD OVERCRUSH for this to work.

This is the format I dreaded the most, and I considered not playing in this event, but I was here, so I decided to roll dice. As a relatively new competitive-level player, many of these teams contained cards I was not familiar with. To prepare for this event, I actually commissioned Michael Ingledue to build my team. He made me this awesome Ultron Drone team, which I proceeded tweak after misreading the ruling. Should have used Thrown Car as Michael originally intended. Therefore, I misplayed my first game, resulting in me ceding the match to my opponent, then lost with it three more times.

Of note in this event, I played on stream against Nick W (JackalopeSpam), see video at approx. time 9h24m, and I’m told that my game against his team was the longest game he played in GE (which was more due to his rolls than my skill!), and managed to pull a miracle win against DanO, when his Orbital Strike backfired on him completely. I also lost to Ben D, Michael Pickett, and Henry Z, the 11 year old playing Hope/Colossus. Great games gentleman, thank you for playing! I ended this event 1-4, and I couldn’t have done it without Michael’s guidance. I’m sure I would have lost all my games otherwise.

SATURDAY

We’re here. It’s main event time. WORLDS. Thirty-eight people registered to play, which meant SIX (6) rounds of Swiss.

Rob & I walked over to the event centre with Matt & Laurier. Along beside us were an older couple who were at the hotel to go to Graceland. They weren’t sure where they were going but said they were following us since we looked like we did. They asked about the gaming (there were tons of Clix players with all their fancy Clix/tackle boxes everywhere) and seemed genuinely interested as we explained how the two games worked. They even asked if they could come in and watch! I don’t think they did, but it was a weekend highlight to chat with them as we walked over. We directed them over to the Elvis-y stuff on our way to the event centre and continued onwards to compete for the World Championship.

FORMAT: Worlds – The Main Event

Rob & I, just before Worlds started

I finalized My Team about an hour before the event started. Since the meta seemed so open and varied (which it totally turned out to be), there were a lot of things I wanted to protect against. Little Paper Cut damage, like Jubilee: Mallrat, Venerable Dreadnaught or Tabaxi Rogue: Lesser Zhentarim; Action Burn from the Boom Boom: Time Bomb/Hope Summers: Pluripotent Echopraxia and action die of choice; Unblockable Attackers, like Yuan-ti Pureblood: Lesser Monstronsity, and Sidekick Armies. And Shriek: Sonic Beam. She can be a pain in the behind.

So I started my team by building in the protection pieces. Scarlet Witch: Careful What You Wish For to help prevent the Action Burn; Black Widow: Agent for the Paper Cuts and to halve damage from Iceman: Right on Schedule or Jubilee: Wondra; Kate Bishop: Straight Shooter for Villain removal and a push back global; and Shriek: Sonic Beam, because she’s pretty all-purpose, and the Shriek mini-game can be fun sometimes.

Now I needed a win condition.

I was so excited to FINALLY get this card.

Although the meta was varied, I did expect to see a number of The Collector: Taneleer Tivan and Iceman: Right on Schedule teams. I also had just recently acquired, through the assistance of local player Reg, a trade to get my very own The Collector: Taneleer Tivan, and bought a Norman Osborn: Don’t Call Me “Gobby”. I wanted to play with my new toys, so onto the team they went. I had two slots left. I didn’t want to run the typical Collector team with Danger Room and Black Canary; I wanted to do something different.

I love this dude. So many shenanigans

Enter Parasite: Human Atomic Furnace. I wrote an article about him awhile ago, and I really like this card. Combined with The Collector, I can use his effect every turn, when priority is passed to me, and because he shuts down the card he copies, he makes a good Iceman, or a good extra Collector, which can then be used to bring in another die. What else could be useful, I asked myself?

One thing that high level competitive teams have in common: They save energy for global usage. Especially Iceman & Collector teams. And if they don’t need to buy something; they won’t. Which means energy left in the reserve pool until the next clear and draw step.

With one slot to fill, from stage left, out of the shadows of the Warhammer 40K Battle for Ultramar Campaign Box: Noxious Blightbringer: Tocsin of Misery.

This guy. He was my plan to mess with EVERYTHING.

If I don’t have a fist for Norman, or if my opponent has more energy in his or her reserve pool than Villains in the field zone, I can use my Collector & a mask to bring the Noxious Blightbringer in and deal damage to my opponent for all the energy symbols in their reserve pool.

So that’s my team. It’s built to protect against and troll the meta. If I can slow you down long enough, I can win with smaller, when fielded burns. I played this exact team a grand total of once before Worlds – in my hotel room, that morning, against Rob, where I won on his turn with the Noxious Blightbringer.

I was really excited to run this team. I felt it had legs, and I could mess with other people’s win conditions. As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, my goal in Memphis was to meet people & roll dice; winning Worlds was an afterthought.

Over the course of the weekend, I played more games than I can remember, which includes my Worlds games. I remember the beginning games, and the end games, but the middle is a bit fuzzy. What I can tell you is that this team did exactly what it was supposed to. I kept opponents locked down; I took games to time and even turns; and I had fun doing it.

Jo from CRGR and I recorded the first draw of the event, and many would follow throughout Swiss to other players. Patrick B beat me about 30 seconds before time was called, but we were stalled for at least 10 minutes where neither of us could do any damage. I also lost to Chris Clubb’s Collector team (Madame Masque: Nefaria’s Schemes, that stops when fielded abilities. I was doomed when I missed my Shriek roll!) and to Patrick K’s team. I recorded wins agains Kaleb & Brooks to end the day.

I ended Worlds ranked 25th, with a 2-3-1 record; not a bad showing, for a team that was meant to troll teams that I didn’t get to face, that had not been practiced.

At the end of Swiss, the winners for the preview draft were called. Neither Petrus or I were selected, so we took a ton of pictures and uploaded them here to DM North (under Matt’s name – his laptop was my handy tool, along with the magic of Airdrop & Facebook Messenger) while Matt & Rob played their Top 8 game. Then I competed in a few drafts and kept an eye on the action as our awesome Canadians (and British Ben) continued their upward climb.

Congratulations to Rob, Matt, Laurier & Ben for making Top 8. I was proud that of the 6 of us there, we took 4 of the Top 8 spots. It was extra nice to see Laurier & Ben in the final – Canada vs. UK.

Ben, you finally have your World Championship! What will you do now?

It was a long day of dice rolling but it was worth every minute. So many people played and the teams were more varied than I could have imagined. 

At the end of the day, a large group of us gathered in the hotel bar and celebrated. Jimmy from WizKids came with some cards to give out. Unfortunately, he didn’t have enough, so we did a virtual D20 roll. I took a critical miss, so no special card for me. However, he did come and chat with me & Rob, and gave us the opportunity to provide feedback on the game and the events. We really appreciated that, and Jimmy, we hope our thoughts were helpful!

SUNDAY

It’s Pauper time! There aren’t a ton of win conditions in Pauper, so I expected to see a lot of Boom Boom: Time Bomb combined with Thrown Brick; Mr. Fixit: Muscle for Hire and Hulk: Power of Attorney.

FORMAT: Pauper

That’s why I brought Scarlet Witch: Careful What You Wish For and included Polaris: Polar Opposites on my team. I also brought Green Devil Mask: Lesser Trap. Then, in keeping with my plan of doing the unexpected, I built My Team around Baitiri Battle Stack: Lesser Humanoid & Queen Grabstab: Batiri Boss. The plan was to get as many Batiris into the used pile as possible, and then sweep them all into the field when I fielded my Queen, and punch my opponent in the face with self-buffing Batiris.

I won my first game against Andy May (Green Devil Mask came in handy here), and since we finished early, Stephen had Andy & I join him on stream to reveal some WWE spoilers. Then, immediately following that, I was put on stream with Jo for my second game, which I lost, although I did push for 19 damage in my last turn (I was dead on Jo’s turn, guaranteed, so I threw all the damage in anyway. If only there had been one more fist…or had just one of my characters rolled in that last turn…or if I hadn’t re-rolled that fist die so I could have bought my Queen earlier…). You can watch that here if you’re interested. Spoilers are at about 30 mins in, and my game starts at about 44 mins into the stream.

After round 2, the preview draft winners were called. Matt & Laurier had already been called and guaranteed spots the night before, so when another of Matt’s tickets came up, he handed it to me. All three DM North attendees got to preview draft together.

I dropped from Pauper at this time. I was actually sort of bummed to drop because I was having so much fun…but…PREVIEW DRAFT! Once in a lifetime opportunity. Thanks Matt!

PREVIEW DRAFT

World Champion 2019 Ben Said Scott, across from me at the Preview Draft

The art on these cards, as you have seen, is amazing. The abilities put them over the top. We drafted 3 basic actions, and then we drafted the cards. My opponent was new World Champion, and fellow current Torontonian Ben Said Scott. He passed me the rare Spider-Man, because he had a SR Star-Lord in his hands.

Ben, I am not sorry. Your face was one of the highlights of my weekend. I just wish I had two so you could have gotten one as well.

This is my absolute favourite card that I saw in the draft. Basically every card is cool, but this one is fantastic. Let’s talk about it. When Spider-Man attacks, you may spin target die to any energy face. So when Ben was all excited for his Collector (image below), that allowed him to prep dice when he blocks, I attacked with Spider-Man, and said, you can spin Collector to double energy.

“Wait, WHAT?”

I wish I had a picture of his face. Video would have been even better. Beside us were Nick W and Matt, and on the other side was Jimmy from WizKids, and we were dying with laughter. He was very upset with himself for not drafting that card, and I understood why. Matt and Nick wanted to know why I even gave him double energy, and I said, he can’t do anything with it, he already used his Collector ability to field a sidekick this turn, so why not?

Of course this was all in good fun and Ben may forgive me in a few years for not trading him the Spider-Man after the game ended. I traded it to Matt, who gave me the Golden Ticket (literally) to get into the draft. Despite all this, Ben still called me wonderful in his article about the weekend (he said some other things too, but just ignore them 😁). I managed to get Ben down to 3 life, and on my last turn, I needed to roll Ghost Rider on a level 3 face. If I did that, Ben would take 3 damage and I’d win. Of course, Ghost Rider didn’t roll, and Ben managed to beat me on his next turn. This was one of my favourite moments of the entire weekend, drafting a team, having the exact cards to mess up my opponent, and still losing in the end. It was a super fun game.

I can’t remember what the card with the glare was…

 

One final highlight of Sunday was looking up at the stream, in the middle of this game, to see Troy eating an ice cream cone while playing on stream in Pauper. Later, I looked up the video. Andy May was commentating with DMArmada. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend it, it’s in the same stream linked above, at about 2h24mins into the video. Troy, you are one of my heroes.

Sunday was a much more low key day; people were chilled out and having fun after the stress of Worlds. Unfortunately, a number of people, due to travel, had to leave either Saturday night or Sunday morning. It makes me wish I had remembered my Sharpies on Saturday. However, thanks to everyone who signed my First Ever Worlds Mat on Sunday, and I look forward to (hopefully) doing this again next year!

I got some awesome prizes, met great new friends, and even bought a Yu-gi-oh Factory Set from World Champion Ben Said Scott.

Thanks to everyone who came, played, streamed, volunteered time, travelled, and made the effort to make Dice Masters 2019 Worlds awesome. My local Clix players were super jealous of our stream and coverage, thanks to the efforts of DMArmada, Ross & Ryan. We appreciate you.

If you made it to the end of this epically long tale, thank you for reading. It was awesome to meet you, or I look forward to meeting you next time, as the case may be.

Keep rolling those dice. #RareSpiderMan4Ever

-jbouwme

 

 

 

2 Replies to “Trolling the Meta in Memphis

  1. I love, love, LOVE your Collector build. I’ve looked at that Nurgle nd not made the connection at all (Except maybe in a PXG world) What a tremendous choice.

    Ties are the best – it means you gave your opponent a great game.

    You’re photos are great too – looks like you were having the best of times. #jealous

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