Hello, DM-North readers. Jourdo couldn’t make it out to this week’s event, so I’m posting in his regular Wednesday night slot.
The new Waterdeep Campaign Box and Team Packs still have not arrived in Calgary. At least, they have definitely not made it to our host store. The event was unlimited Golden Age constructed, as per usual, but I had built a team for the night which I had expected to round out with some cards and dice from my newly purchased Campaign Box.
But there was nothing available for me to purchase, and Jourdo was busy with some parental stuff tonight, so I couldn’t borrow the cards I needed from him.
I was scrambling to put together a team with the cards and dice from the remnants of two or three half-disassembled teams that were still in my travel kit. Then our semi-regular visitor from Edmonton arrived, with a Waterdeep Campaign box in hand. He was kind enough to let me borrow two or the cards I’d planned on using, plus the matching dice. There was a third Waterdeep character I wasn’t able to use as intended, since he was being used by the Edmontonian. but it was card I could probably manage without.
What Did You Play?
The Team: Sylgar goes Boom.
(Please note that the team in the link is the team I intended to play. For the team I actually did play, substitute Rare Bishop for Gazer.)
Of course, that also required me to have an active Xanathar die, and for Sylgar to be on his Level 2 burst face.
As for the character ability, when you remember how the new Spark keyword operates, that means any time I roll a burst face on one or more dice, I can use a Global Ability for free. Not exactly chopped liver.
Sylgar is a bland, inoffensive kind of fish. So inoffensive that he (or possibly she?) has an A of 0 on all levels. Which means my opponents will have no need to block an unbuffed Sylgar, which is going to make getting him KO’d by combat damage a little bit complicated.
I can, of course, block my opponents attacking characters with Sylgars, but that simply means my opponents won’t attack indiscriminately.
I rejected the idea of a taunt global, because I didn’t want to deal with it being used against both my Sylgars and Xanathars. That left a force block.
While the event didn’t require it, I was tying to keep this team Modern Legal. Which meant I had to go with Uncommon Wrecker, since that card has the only force block global currently available in Modern.
To get a Sylgar KO’d I’m going to have to attack with it and nothing else. The Wrecker global only forces a target character to block, it doesn’t force it to block a specific character. And given the option to block something other than Sylgar, my opponent is going to do just that, even if I have given Sylgar the +1A from the second part of the Wrecker global.
Nor have I forgotten that Sylgar has to be on Level 2 for that to happen. Which is awkward, because most methods for spinning characters up or down are available to my opponent. I considered the uncommon Scarlet Witch from XFC, but decided against it because I wanted to take the team in another direction.
The method I decided upon depends partly upon my opponent – the common Kobold Trap. If I have an active K-Trap, when my opponent fields a Level 2 character die, I can put an unpurchased Sylgar die into my field at Level 2, the level I prefer.
My opponent can simply not field any Level 2 characters he rolls, but that’s still a result that should end up working in my favor.
Note that as a 1-cost fist action die, it make an excellent ‘fuel source’ for the Wrecker global. If it comes up double energy I can pay for the Wrecker global that way. If it comes up on the burst or double burst action face while Xanathar is active I can ‘pay’ for the global with Xanathar’s Spark effect.
There’s another well known double fist global in the game: the Kree Captain global. I opted to include the 2-cost blank but for the global version, so I had more potential targets for the Kobold Trap effect.
If I use Xanathar’s Spark abilitiy for the Kree Captain global, I can buy a Mimic die for a mask and one other energy. And Mimic dice have bursts on all 3 levels.
So buying multiple Mimic dice should not be a problem. I’m effectively limited to one per turn, but it’s not like I’m accustomed to buying multiple 5 costs on one turn on other teams.
For those of you who haven’t seen it coming the plan for my Mimic dice is to copy Wrecker’s ability. That allows each Mimic/Wrecker die to force a specific opposing die to block it. Then, in the global stage of the Attack Step, I switch my Mimics from copying Wrecker’s ability to copying Sylgar’s.
Since Mimic has burst on all Levels I don’t need to worry about which level he’s on. The burst effect will be triggered regardless. So basically 5 damage per attacking Mimic die.
It’s a little bit convoluted, but that’s what makes it fun.
Also, until I’m ready to make the big attack, I can have Mimic copy Xanathar’s ability, getting me a 2nd free global any time Spark is triggered.
So I still have 2 open character slots, and I haven’t talked about BACs yet. How to fill those out?
One of the character slots
went to was supposed to go to Gazer: Evil Familiar, but that was the card the gentleman from Edmonton was running on his own team. I wanted to include Gazer because two cost Intimidate sounds like a great way to get annoying control characters off the field long enough for me to do what I need to get done.
Since Gazer was unavailable for the night, I replaced him with Rare Bishop. Not that there abilities are remotely similar, but putting burn damage protection on your team rarely seems like a bad idea.
I ultimately went with Atlantis: City and Stronghold for the last ‘character’ slot. It’s ability isn’t bad, but the real reasons I went with it was it’s a cheap (2-cost) action die (thus having 2 burst faces) with a double energy global. So I was trying to get a little more mileage out of Xanathar’s Spark ability.
I considered Yawning Portal (2-cost action die) but I felt it was not a great fit for this team.
As for BACs, I opted for Invulnerability and Cake. The latter was primarily so I could get a Sidekick die into my Used Pile on my first turn. I could use the Xanathar global on it, then use said global again on my opponent’s turn, and roll 6 dice on my second turn. The plan being to use that energy to buy a Xanathar die on that turn.
Invulnerability would potentially allow me the opportunity to deal less than lethal damage with a Mimic or two and bring them back to repeat the process on my next turn.
So that’s how the team was intended to work.
How did it measure up in actuality?
Uncommon Malekith to make his Sidekicks into Villains, Penguin which deals 1 damage to a player when they field a non-Villain and Instant War. His other BAC was House of Mystery (an old OP card) which puts any dice in the Field Zone that are identical to another die in the Field Zone into the owner’s Used Pile.
He got me a couple of times with Instant War with Penguin active, for a total of five damage. Then he used House of Mystery to get all my Sidekicks out of my field zone (and his own out of his).
I used Wrecker to punch out Penguin a couple of times, and had a Mimic copy Malekith’s ability to give me immunity to Instant War.
I did manage to roll a Sylgar on Level 2 this game, and had him go off for the five damage when my opponent attacked with a Sidekick wave. He got one Sidekick through for two damage (Malekith buff) so the exchange was not exactly in his favor.
I had him down to 8 while I was in the low double digits where I was rolling a Sylgar and two Mimics with Xanathar and Wrecker active. I got Sylar and one Mimic on the initial roll, and the other Mimic on the re-roll. So my Mimics copied Wrecker when fielded, forced opposing dice to block, then switched to copying Sylgar in the global stage of the Attack Step.
Time was called just about as they were KO’d and did their five damage each for the win.
This was against a new face. It sounds like this person is going to be here in town more often than not on a work assignment for the next several months, and will likely be coming out to many of our events during that time period. We’ll be glad to have an addition to our group, even if it’s not exactly permanent.
He was running a fist-centric team with Kobolds, Goblins, Stirges, Green Dragon and the Grodd energy fixer. Also, a Bane with the force attack global, which neither of used all game. (At least one of us probably should have.)
This was another fairly slow game. He was trying to use his Goblins for Swarm. I kept punching out his Goblin dice with Wrecker and, on occasion, Mimic channeling Wrecker.
I did get one Mimic/Sylgar to go off.
He had a Green Dragon in his Field Zone for nearly the entire game, but never attacked with it. Eventually when he had a 1D Kobold, two Sidekicks and a Green Dragon in his field, I re-fielded a KO’d Mimic and chose to copy Green Dragon’s ability, then attack with its Breath Weapon 1. That KO’d everything but his Green Dragon and allowed my unblocked characters to get through for another 11 damage.
Time was called at that point. He was down to 3, I was at 20, so he needed to deal 18 damage on his final turn for the win. I had a Xanathar and a Kobold Trap in my Field Zone. I was also able to put a Sidekick in my Field Zone.
After he’d fielded everything, which resulted in him triggering my Kobold Trap and me putting a Level 2 Kree Captain die in my Field Zone, he only had 8 A. That’s 9 damage total with Green Dragon’s breath weapon, so I didn’t even need to block.
Rare Jinzo. Need I say more?
Probably not, but I will, just to be courteous. He also had Goblins for Swarm, Kree Captain, Ring of Winter, Beholder, Black Dragon and Dracolich
The only thing that went well for me in this game, was in the early game I kept producing a Sidekick to block his Beholder that he was trying to get KO’d to re-use its ‘when fielded’ ability.
It wasn’t enough however. I bought a Mimic die and was going to use it to copy Jinzo’s ability and even the playing field. It wound up being one of the last dice out of my bag that cyle. The turn before I pulled (and fielded) him my opponent used four globals: both Kree Captains, Wing of Rinter, and (I think) Xanathar. Yes, with energy from his Reserve Pool, not his Beholder ability.
It might have been a different game if I’d had Gazer. Probably not different enough that I’d have won, but maybe I’d have made my opponent actually break a sweat in order to claim the victory.
I did get Mimics to get KO’d for 5 damage multiple times in Game 1 and once in Game 2. But this is not the fastest of teams. You need Xanathar, Wrecker and Sylgar in the field before you can start KOing your Mimics. On the other hand, if you have multiple Mimic dice in circulation by that point, you can do a lot of damage in a hurry.
I only had one Kobold Trap trigger all night, and that one was basically irrelevant, coming on the last turn of Game 2. Still, the team isn’t reliant on those traps triggering.
On the other hand, I’m not entirely convinced I made the right choice in leaving the Uncommon Scarlet Witch off the team.
Xanathar’s Spark ability was useful until Jinzo put a spanner in the works. I wouldn’t exactly describe said ability as consistent, but I wasn’t really expecting it to be. The Xanathar global is exactly what it looks like – a less restricted version of the Counterstrike global (once per each player’s turn, instead of once on your turn.)
I never bought an Atlantis die, although I did make use of the global. The BACs I think are good choices on the team, but I could be convinced there were better ones I’d overlooked.
Wrecker was a fantastic fit. HIs ability means he offers a form of removal, at least for low D characters, as well as an important part of the process by which Mimics blow themselves up for the 5 damage.
You’re not going to see this team, or anything like it, at any WKOs or National/World Championships. But that doesn’t mean players can’t have fun with it (including winning some games) at less demanding events.
Do you have other suggestions to make Sylgar’s burst ability a useful weapon? Let us know in the comments!
Thanks for reading, and Happy Rolling!
Son of L