Happy Birthday To Me, So Let’s Run Becky

As most of you are aware, a major online Dice Masters event happened last week: Earth X Origins. And it just so happened to land on my birthday! Thanks to some help from my wife and my parents, I got to participate. But if I was going to go in a top competition, I was going to take it seriously, and thus…

Happy Birthday To Me, So Let’s Run Becky

The Team:  Becky-palooza indeed!

Format: Modern Age (post 2020 rotation)

Alright. If you’ve been playing competitive Modern recently, this team will not be a secret to you. The core of the team is, of course, Becky, Booker T and Jerry Lawler. Becky combines removal, large stats, Overcrush, and even ramp (with her global). Booker forces opponents to block, and since Becky has Overcrush, when you use Jerry’s global, you can easily deal 10+ damage to your opponent in one turn.

You don’t win in one attack, but dealing 20 damage happens pretty quickly.

Now, this is a complete win condition in 3 cards, with ramp and removal included. You now have 7 spots left on your team. Depending on your style, you may choose to invest in:

  • counters against control
  • stopping opposing win conditions
  • additional win conditions
  • consistency

In my first version of this team (see here),  I wanted consistency as a key part of the team. So I included Kree Captain and Intellect Devourer for their globals. Intellect Devourer is especially important: If I’m going for a Turn 2 Becky, I need 2 Shields (Becky global and Becky herself) and 2 Fists (Kree Cap). And once Becky hits the field, I also need a shield and a fist for the Booker and Jerry globals. Getting the right energy at the right time is key.

For this to work, I also needed a 2-cost to Prep that was either a Fist or a Shield; using Becky’s global to Prep that 2-cost on T1 would significantly increase my consistency. So I figured: why not both? I put in Gazer and Istrid Horn. Istrid Horn is a solid way to counter opposing global abilities (which you must tech against if you’re running Becky, otherwise Wallop or Static Field will wreck you), and Gazer is the best way to remove God Catchers, which is one of the bigger threats in the meta.

For the last three cards, I decided to try a secondary win condition. Enter Deadpool. He can just be as damaging as Becky, for one less energy, so long as you can flip his attack and defence. Of course, that meant Bizarro had to be in too. Deadpool was also there because of his global. It’s a fantastic complement to Becky teams. Pay a fist, and that’s 2 more Overcrush damage that goes through. And if you’re up against Poison Ivy: Red (who doesn’t take damage from non-villain characters), that global gets around her damage prevention.

The last card of my original build, I wanted some way to stop giant characters. I considered Poison Ivy, but realized that I was giving my opponent a way to stop her with Deadpool’s global, so that was a no. Enter Joppa. He takes no damage while he’s blocking. And not just from characters. Meaning he’s also immune to Deadpool’s global, which is now more one-sided. He is vulnerable to Vulnerable Dreadnaught and other damage taking place before combat, but I figured the trade-off was worth it.

Alright, so that was the core I was going to work from. But it’s not exactly what I ended up running. You see, I eventually realized that going for two win conditions, I was putting one card (Bizarro) solely to add tech to a secondary win condition I would hopefully not rely on. Why not use this to make the existing win condition better, or counter my opponents more reliably?

So I knew Bizarro was out (but I kept Deadpool for the global). What to replace him with? I debated this one a fair bit. I originally considered the 4-cost Mimic (he’s a mainstay and one of the best removal cards in the game). But wait…I already had Gazer and Becky Lynch as removal. Why add more to this same function? In the meantime, one card had caught my eye: Triple H.

I know he is, at best, a more expensive Blob, but since Blob rotated out, there’s nothing in Modern like this. But its wording is weird. How exactly does it work? You name a die and it can’t be purchased…wait, does that mean you name a die that’s still on the card? Or does it have to be on the field? And what if the die you name goes back to the bag and mixes up with others like it? I approached the tournament organizers and asked for an advance ruling. They eventually ruled that he works like a 6-cost Blob, meaning you name a card, not a die. Also, contrarily to Blob, you can’t name actions. Ok, I can work with that.

It also helps that, while testing solo, I quickly realized that my team could accommodate a 6-cost easily. After all, going first, I can Prep a Gazer, then on T2, I roll Gazer and 4 sidekicks. If I get Gazer on double energy, that’s 2 shields. If I get 2 fists and 2 other energy on my sidekicks (not hard since I’m also using Intellect Devourer), I pay a Shield for Becky’s global, 2 fists for Kree Captain…and I can then buy a 6-cost, like Triple H, for 3 energy and send it to Prep thanks to Becky.

I was quickly convinced that Triple H was absolutely worth adding. But I wasn’t done tweaking. While testing with jourdo (thanks for your help!), I realized that Istrid was not ideal. If my opponent runs Static Field, I need to field her on the exact turn she’s needed. And the only time where I would like to counter any global before the attack step would be stopping Nihiloor against a Hope/Rachel team…But then, why don’t I just use Becky or Gazer to get the characters out of the way? After all, neither of these abilities KO the targeted characters, so neither would trigger Hope/Rachel.

Therefore, as much as I liked having Istrid Horn for the fist energy, Eddie Guerrero would simply be better on this team. Instead of fielding him at the right time, I can have him sit in the field for a turn or two while I set things up. He does have the disadvantage that my opponent can block him instead of Becky, but if I have to rely on Eddie, I will try to get more than one Becky die on the field so that it’s simply too much damage for my opponent to take, and force them into bad choices.

And that’s how I got to the build I eventually took to Earth X Origins. I was betting hard on Becky, seeing as I scrapped my secondary win condition, but I figured I had enough tools to get things done consistently and get around opposing control. I was ready to roll.

Now, I won’t go in as much detail on the games as I usually would; after all, every match was a 2 out of 3, and this article’s already going to be pretty long as it is. But I’ll do my best to highlight what made a difference.

Game 1:

I started off against Elliot, who was running a Deadpool team (fun fact: in the last TTTD, I played against him, which brought that Deadpool to my attention), with Bizarro in there so that Deadpool could work as a win condition. This was my first encounter against the 2-cost God Catcher. And likely his first encounter against Triple H. I used my own Deadpool to get around his God Catcher, and shut down his Deadpool with Triple H. I won that match 2-0. His team honestly deserved a better fate, and he’s a solid player.

1-0

Game 2:

Next up, I went up against Spug.  He was running a Becky and God Catcher team that went all-in on the offence. My memory of the specifics is fuzzy, but I remember attacking with Becky a fair bit, and dealing him damage through his God Catchers (thanks Deadpool global!). It came down to his Yellow Lantern Ring not working for him at key points, which gave me just enough of an edge to make it through. It was a very, very close game that I won through the skin of my teeth. Fun fact: outside of the Finals, he’s the only guy who won a game against me. I won 2-1.

2-0

Game 3:

For this match, I went up against James, a perennial top player who is one of the best in Europe. He was running a God Catcher and Becky team. It was two aggressive teams going rock ’em sock ’em Dice Masters. The game was recorded and you can watch it here:

(thanks for the party had on that Beholder logo jourdo!)

You can see how it went. We both went for lean fields, and I ended up getting Kree Captain to make him pay for that. It worked out, but it wasn’t a comfortable matchup by any means.

3-0

Game 4:

And next up, I went up against Peter, who’s also one of the best players in Europe. He decided to go off-meta and run Iceman. This was also a weird and uncomfortable matchup. He could not keep characters active (due to Becky) without risking getting absolutely wrecked. This match was also recorded, and can be watched here:

I squeezed out a win here, but this was probably my most interesting match of the day.

4-0

Game 5:

Petrus was my next match. He was running a Becky team of great Becky-ness. We had some different meta calls (e.g. he used Ivy), but his team looked like something I could’ve run instead. But here’s the thing: I had anticipated and built my team for this matchup. Triple H to stop Becky, Deadpool to get around Ivy…while we both had Becky, my meta picks allowed me to outpace him and won.

Note: this game was also recorded. Once it’s uploaded to Youtube, I will also add the link here. EDIT: It is now uploaded:

5-0

Game 6:

And it all comes down to this. I’m 5-0, the other guy’s also 5-0, and no one else is. Grand Finals time

Honestly, Alan’s team has been broken down very well on DMArmada’s channel, between his meta breakdown and his interview with Alan. The short version is: this is a God Catcher team that also has Becky. But it has Under Surveillance to make God Catcher unblockable.

And that…is where my team struggled. I had nothing that could stop unblockable characters. Not to mention that his team could easily pivot to Becky if the game stalled. And while I did manage to sneak in a win on game 2, game 3 was a nightmare: I never had the right roll to get Becky. And by that point, he realized that he could outpace me with God Catcher + Under Surveillance, so he went all-in on that strategy. I simply couldn’t stop him and he won.

Note: this game was also recorded. Once it’s uploaded to Youtube, I will also add the link here. EDIT: It is now uploaded:

5-1

Post-Mortem:

-This is a classic case of planning counters for some teams, and getting blindsided. I expected God Catcher (hence Gazer), but I didn’t tech against unblockable teams, so I had little to counter the combo of God Catcher + Under Surveillance. Big E would likely have been a huge help here.

-With that said, every card on the team was useful at some point in the day. Triple H in particular caught people off-guard, as people didn’t realize I had a strategy to Prep him on T2. When you realize that you have to play around a Blob-like character, in this meta, it turns the game on its head.

-Deadpool’s global was another all-star. My first reason for including it was to annoy Poison Ivy, but it was actually really helpful against God Catchers, to help Becky deal more damage. Without it, I might have been outpaced by teams using the 2-cost God Catcher for defense.

-To address really quick: I did a big mistake on Game 3 of the Finals. At one point, Alan thought he had the game by mistake, I believed him (my brain was fried by this point), started putting away my dice…and then we realized that he did not have game because he did not have a God Catcher to make unblockable with Under Surveillance when it was used. With Alan and the judges’ approval, I restored the game state and we were able to finish the game properly (it didn’t change the result). Thanks to Rob of CR Game Room for pointing out the situation, as neither myself nor Alan would’ve wanted the match to end this way. I sincerely apologize to all involved for this mistake, and big thanks to Alan and the judges for allowing me to correct it.

So overall, that was really cool. Stupid mistake aside, this was a very fun way to spend my birthday. Major kudos to CR Game Room, Rollin’ Thunder, and all of the people who were involved in the organization and execution of the event. Also, a big thank you to Wizkids for providing official prize support for online Dice Masters! Let’s hope this is the first of many.

Update: added video for Round 5, and added final sentence that somehow didn’t stick when I originally published.
Update 2: added video for Round 6

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