I know what some of you are likely thinking. “Wait…a live event? In 2020?” Yep, our store has now resumed live Dice Masters weekly events (with a plethora of safety measures), so for the first time in around 5 months, we got to meet up again and have some fun. After a long hiatus, it is time to…
Awaken, Dice Masters!
The Team: Wakey Wakey!
Format: Casual Golden Age (Modern recommended)
The core strategy is to use The Collector’s ability to bring in surprise 3-cost characters from out of nowhere and use those for offence and defence. I included two characters specifically for this purpose: Jubilee (to deal damage directly to the opponent) and Parasite (to counter an offensive threat just before the attack step).
For this strategy to work, I need a way to easily spin The Collector up and down, and I’d also need another character to spin up, preferably someone with Awaken. I went with Energy Field for the spin up/down antics (keep in mind that this card was errata’d to state that the die being spun down cannot be the same die that you then spin up), and out of a bit of nostalgia, I went for The Atom for Awaken shenanigans.
Now, if you’ve never run Awaken, keep in mind that you want masks…a lot of them. I put two cards for this purpose. First, Black Widow. She’s a 2-cost that encourages me to get energy and potentially provides some pretty mean removal (spinning to energy essentially leads those targeted dice to go to Used at the start of the next turn). And to get a larger amount of masks out of those Widows, I also put in Clayface. I know, a 2-cost with Energize and Clayface to enhance it…also like I did in Canadian Nats last year. But what can I say? It’s a play style that works with Awaken, one of the most efficient ways to get a ton of masks.
As for the last 3 spots, I put in some utility. Villainous Pact serves to give me some well-needed ramp and bag fixing, Kree Captain discounts Collector and Atom, and Kate Bishop helps me keep aggressive teams at bay. And here’s a fun bonus: both Kate Bishop and Kree Captain are 3-cost characters, and thus eligible for The Collector. I thus have extra options to Collector in, giving me tons of flexibility.
And with all of that said, on to the games!
I started off against a Warriors Three team with Scarlet Witch, etc. My opponent hadn’t had a chance to change his team since rotation. Alright, fair enough. But hey, he brought me a second Clayface! This ended up defining the game. By turn 4, I had both Collector and Atom on the board, with 2-3 Widows floating around, and I was using Awaken left and right since there were 2 Clayface globals. Collector may only trigger once per turn, but Atom doesn’t have that limitation. On top of that, between Kate Bishop’s global and Black Widow’s Energize ability, he couldn’t get any attackers through, and what attackers he did have got spun down and made substantially weaker over time (or even spun to energy). I simply outpaced him with burn and won.
I went up against a 4-cost Becky team this time. And my dice betrayed me on T2, giving me 4 sidekicks (after roll and reroll)…yeah, that happened. But it inspired my strategy from there onwards. I bought one Collector die and all of my Widows, and just kept fielding sidekicks to thin out the bag. That way, I would trigger Energize on Widow and have masks to use Energy Field and thus Collector’s Awaken ability. The downside is that I had one of my Widows on the field at all time to spin up and down alongside Collector, but it worked out. My opponent’s field remained lean thanks to Widow, and unfortunately for my opponent, she brought Becky…but she also had Mastermind. Which I could field by using Collector right before she attacked. She simply couldn’t get any damage through. Since she had nothing on her side of the board, I started bringing in Kree Captain with Collector, dealing 5 damage at a time. And bit by bit, I chipped away and eventually won.
Out of the frying pan…onto a team with R Drax, R Typhoid Mary, using Obscure unblockable damage. The plan for this one was simple: buy my Widows ASAP (so their removal can get around Drax) and get a Collector on the field. That way, if my opponent buys Mary, he must choose between blanking Widow or Collector. He ended up using Drax on Collector after I’d already fielded him, hoping to get him off the field, but that never happened. What ended up happening: he got some ramp, and a bit of his win condition, but the second I got Collector and a Widow on the field (again, yes, I didn’t get around to buying Atom), I started using Awaken to get his Drow dice on my side and deal him 3 unblockable damage on my turn (using his Thrown Brick to make Drow unblockable), then I’d use Awaken to field Jubilee to deal him another 2 damage on his turn. I chipped away at his life total bit by bit, and Widow allowed me to disrupt his plans just enough to outpace him and win.
-Black Widow’s Energize ability is fantastic in an Awaken team. This should come as no surprise; in my Canadian Nationals team last year, I was running Psylocke (despite its relatively weak ability), and it really helped the team run smoothly. Getting mask energy on a 2-cost die is incredibly useful for Awaken, so triggering Energize, even for a slightly weaker ability, will still come in handy. After all, what you want from the die is energy, so whatever else you get is a bonus.
-That rare Collector is going to be a problem in Modern. He gives you so much flexibility. He’s weaker than the old Collector, of course, but can still be triggered during the opponent’s main step, and thus neutralize an opposing threat entirely with Parasite, for example. Not to mention that you can also bring in opposing characters on your field for the turn (I don’t like relying on this, but it’s important to keep in mind). And on top of all of this, Collector also has a great global to field sidekicks and thin your bag (which really helped tonight). Pretty ridiculous card all around.
-I was technically lacking in pure control. I don’t have rare Drax or rare Typhoid Mary as of the time of this article, so I had to bank on flexibility and consistency instead. Maybe I should’ve brought Angela. Still, lack of control didn’t backfire on me tonight (knock on wood).
-On the safety measures we did due to COVID: Obviously, we took all measures to make sure everyone was safe, in a way that met the guidelines set by public health authorities. This included a number of special rules. I’m sure some people would like to know the specifics of what we did for reference…but I’m not ready to share those yet. This was a first attempt, and we have to work out the kinks. Once we figure out a way that we feel works well, maybe I’ll share details of how we set things up.
-There are some new Awaken cards I didn’t tinker with yet. R Nebula (because I wanted to try out Atom), C Loki, R Rocket Raccoon (don’t have that one yet)…definitely other options to look at in the future.
So overall, pretty mean team, and quite eye-opening on how Awaken can still hurt, especially with the new tools we have at our disposal. But more importantly, it was great to sit down and play some live Dice Masters again. I have some interesting teams lined up for the next few weeks, so stay tuned!