*Full disclaimer : when I ran this, I had no clue rotation was about to be announced. Suddenly, what was run as a break from the WWE stuff became a farewell to a crazy win condition.
I promised my locals there would be no Asuka this week, or Becky. But with them running amuck, I need strong stats, a reliable win condition, and something that can surprise these beefy bruisers that my locals suddenly love to use. I guess it’s time for some dragons. And with the upcoming rotation, I guess this is…
A Farewell to Dragons
Format: Casual Golden Age (Modern recommended)
Alright. If you’ve played against Dragons since Tomb of Annihilation came out, you will know most of the core: Ring of Winter gets dragons out straight from the Used Pile (on top of the global discounting some of them), Silver Dragon makes dragons cheaper, and Gold Dragon is a big beefy dragon with Breath Weapon 3 and Attune.
Where this build diverges from the classic versions is that it includes the new Aurinax (same stats as Gold Dragon, but cheaper and “just” has Breath Weapon 2). It also includes the Supreme Intelligence global to Prep my Ring of Winter from Used (I take no credit for the idea; jourdo ran this strategy in the third Legacy Two-Team Takedown tourney and it worked out well for him). I also threw in Kree Captain as a way to discount all of my dragons before Silver Dragon comes out. It’s also another 2-cost that gives me easy fists to trigger his own global. Can’t go wrong with that.
The rest of the team is counters and utility: Shriek for blanking, Acererak to counter Scarlet Witch (glad those two are rotating out together), Smash! to counter Becky Lynch shenanigans, and Walk with Elias was added to throw in some extra ramp in here.
And with that said, on to the games!
I started off the evening against a Warriors Three team that had Becky as a backup. Honestly, the game was defined by speed. Prep (Becky) a Ring T1, then Ring in a Silver Dragon T2, then Gold Dragon through the Ring T3. Yeah, that got out of control in a hurry. My opponent barely had time to field anything from his win condition. My opponent wasn’t happy with me, and I don’t blame him. I won pretty quickly.
Next up, here’s a mass KO (Grey Hunter + Staff) team using buffed Ork Nobs to swing in after KO’ing everything. Oh, and he ran Asuka to discount his characters like crazy. Honestly, neither of us could roll characters/actions reliably to save our lives. It made for a hilarious, but extremely odd game. He would miss characters, and buy more characters. It made his bag a mess. I would miss my Silver Dragon discount, and hard-purchase dragons instead. My team was better set up to recover from nasty rolls, so in the long run, this played to my advantage. My opponent’s main defense was Big E, who would slow my dragons’ combat damage down substantially. So I waited for a turn where, between Gold Dragon’s Attune and breath weapons, I managed to deal just enough damage to get Big E off the board and swing with an army of dragons for the win.
Next up, here comes Iceman. Needless to say, Shriek was a key play here for me, as I can’t just Breath Weapon into Iceman. This was a game of tough choices for both of us. I often found myself taking large amounts of damage to get characters off the board (one turn, he was forced to attack with Scarlet Witch so he could keep Iceman back). Having 3 dragons helped here, as he blanked Gold Dragon (he noticed how Attune helped last game), forcing me to get Aurinax on the board to get my stuff going. Eventually, I gritted my teeth and let a big attack through (went down to 3 life), but thanks to some removal, I had an empty board to swing into. I needed 16 damage, and ended up with 14A between my characters and enough energy to deal 4 damage with Breath Weapon. I won, but just barely.
For my final match of the night, went up against Infiltrate. Yep, we’re talking SR Angela, Cable, Ricochet, etc. In theory, this is a good matchup for me, as dragons can KO the Infiltrate characters pretty easily. However, that assumes that my stuff will roll. Unfortunately, things didn’t go according to plan. Some unlucky rolls (rolled sidekicks way too much) meant I didn’t get my dragons out for way too long. Mind you, when they did come out, I managed to do some damage. But my opponent had the momentum; by the time my dragons’ Breath Weapon got characters off the board, Ricochet ramp had already been established, so re-fielding those Infiltrate characters was far easier. My opponent just kept up the pressure and won.
-So, two of four games involved wonky rolls. I really should’ve run a sidekick fixer for better reliability.
-It seems my locals are getting bored with Becky, so Smash! didn’t see much use. I’m glad to see that, as hopefully, this means the meta will see more variety in future weeks.
-Ring of Winter and Supreme Intelligence is such a gross combo. The one-sided speed this combo generates is far better than you can imagine. It felt like dirty pool when my stuff rolled.
-The stats on Aurinax, combined with that Breath Weapon 2, are surprisingly nasty to deal with for his cost. I wouldn’t be surprised if Aurinax stayed relevant post-rotation, as the only Breath Weapon still legal in Modern (especially if used with Seething Corruption; he gets around the Widow’s damage reduction too, since he deals 2 damage instead of Manshoon’s 1).
-Walk with Elias may not have been the best choice here; it didn’t fit very well with the pacing of the team (since I’d often need to save 2 energy on T2 for Supreme Intelligence, hard to find the energy to use that global on top of it). But hey, you live you learn.
So overall, I think my locals will say “good riddance” to dragons, but I had fun with this. In a sufficiently competitive field, definitely worth running, as it can hold its own.