It has been a minute since I have had the chance to play in person. Life has settled down, and with it a return to live play. With all of the new toys from Kryptonite Crisis available, what would be the first card to focus on?
Yup. We are looking at a Basic Action Card for our Constructed Dice Masters Team. The action ability itself is… ok. You could use it as a removal tool for Sidekicks or other low attack characters, but it is really the Global Ability that I am interested in. The Global Ability states:
Pay [Shield]. Target character die gets +2D.
This is great to protect your characters from being pinged out of the Field by something, but what if we could turn it into something more offensive? When I first saw this card, I knew it had to be paired with this fine lady:
With a single shield, you can put absolutely any character into range of Deathbird’s ability. If I can then KO that character, Deathbird deals an easy 3 damage. Not a bad deal if it can be pulled off. Deathbird and Bold Last Stand are the core combo that I want to put together. Now to find things that can efficiently make use of this in order to maximize the damage payoff.
OR… we could go with an overly complicated Theme Team!
What Did You Play?
Theme Team it is! As I started building this, the theme kind of built itself and I decided to lean into it. Full disclosure: There may be more efficient ways to build this. I chose to go the other way here.
So, we want Deathbird to do all of the damage here. The best way to do that is to have a good sized opposing Field and enable mass KO’s somehow. Ideally use the Bold Last Stand Global to ensure characters have the magic 3D in order to get the damage to happen. Obviously, Sidekicks are going to be the big target/issue here. If they are in the Field, they are easy enough to KO and at the same time will be a huge energy sink to use the Bold Last Stand Global on. Thankfully, there are some good options that will get my Opponent’s Sidekicks into Deathbird’s range.
For the first time ever, I busted out this card. Rigorous Training takes up a card slot on your Team and pumps ALL Sidekicks to 2D. This will instantly make it harder to KO Sidekicks as you need that one extra damage for each in order to remove them. This gets them closer to Deathbird… but still short.
Enter Supergirl from the recent Superman: Kryptonite Crisis set. Kara is super cheap for her stats, but the trade off is that you pump your Opponent’s Sidekicks by +1A/+1D. Normally, this is not ideal, but Ms. Danvers now puts every single opposing Sidekick right in Deathbird’s sweet spot. If I can figure out a way to trap these Sidekicks and mass KO them, the damage should stack up pretty good.
The trap is the tricky part here. How do I give my Opponent Sidekicks AND prevent these buffed characters from doing me damage. Problem number 1 can be solved by a few different things. Mister Sinister and his Global is the obvious choice. Just having the tempation there, it is very likely that my Opponent would use it. However, it does not fit the Team Theme (and it has been a crutch for me that I want to try and stop using). If we want to stick with the Theme (which may not be totally obvious yet), we are looking back to Amazing Spider-man. White Tiger has a Global Ability that states:
Pay [Fist]. Once during your turn, each player must field a Sidekick Die from their Used Pile if able.
She is on the Team for sure. Instead of giving my Opponent prep, I am helping to thin out of my bag as well as bringing in targets across the board. Now for the trap. I can force the Sidekicks into the Field Zone easy enough, but I need them to stick. Karai, from the Heroes In A Half Shell Dice Masters set prevents ALL Sidekicks from attacking. She is the perfect trap card on this Team. Once the Sidekicks hit the Field with Karai and Deathbird active, it is only a matter of getting the KO in order to get the damage.
Let’s get to that (finally). All of the pieces that I have here are just to get the Sidekicks to 3D and prevent them from attacking (they can still block, but I am only planning on attacking when it matters). I need something that creates a mass blocking situation and ideally guarantees the KO. There are a few different options here: Doom Lance and Deadly? Foetid Bloat-Drone? Sure, these would work.., but are they “themey”? Nope. The whole Team is female so far. We are going to continue that theme and more or less get the same result.
Madame Web, from the Guardians of the Galaxy Dice Masters set, can create the mass blocking situation that I want (as long as I have the spare energy to do so), but she alone cannot KO many dice. However, if you were to feed her something… say a Free Chimichanga (from the Deadpool Dice Masters set)… she just might be able to do what I want in order to let Deathbird do the damage I want her to do.
For those that are not familiar with Free Chimichangas, it is an Action Die that states:
Target character die gets +2D and gains Deadly.
Hitting this die at the right time will make Madame Web Deadly which will KO anything that she touches. If there are enough things in the Field, the damage from Deathbird could be decent.
If my math is right, I have 8/10 of my Team slots now taken up. Even though my Team is on the cheap side, it would be nice to have a little bag control. Resurrection is a classic for this, and the Shield energy type works well with the Team. For my final slot, I decided to add one more lady to the mix. Black Widow (Agent) was put on the Team just in case someone was feeling pingy. Deathbird is vulnerable at her lower level and Sidekicks are still easy enough to KO at 2D. If someone is going that strategy, I’ll put Widow into play.
So, that is the probably overly complicated build that I decided to run tonight. The strategy goes kind of like this:
- Get Deathbird into the Field as quick as possible to start the threat.
- Try to line up Supergirl and Karai to line up close together in order to prevent my Opponent from removing their Sidekicks easily.
- Get Madame Web into the Field and attack with her when I have Free Chimichangas and 2 spare energy.
The Team requires 5 dice to line up (which is possible, but not easy). Thankfully most of these are characters that can just sit until the action die shows up. As long as force attacks are not a thing, I should be ok. The next problem is that I need the right defensive stats across the Field. I should have the Sidekicks covered, but other characters could be an issue. In the event there are characters with less than 3D, I can buff them with Bold Last Stand in order to guarantee the Deathbird damage. The other issue is I need my Opponent to have a decent sized Field. If they somehow avoid this, the damage from Deathbird will be limited. However, Supergirl gives a solid backup plan herself. If they choose not to Field things, I can always swing with Kryptonian stats.
With all of this in mind, let’s see how the machine ran…
The first game of the night was up against a Rare Superman/Supergirl Team, using Jimmy and Lois to further pump up the Kryptonians. Mix in a Thrown Car and you are looking at some serious Overcrush damage. Even though my Sidekicks would not be able to attack, they will still be able to block and hopefully the +1D will help against the damage. The surprise annoyance on Team was the Uncommon Monsieur Mallah. His ability states:
Monsieur Mallah gets +2A while blocking. While Monsieur Mallah is active, at least one opposing character die must attack each turn.
This is potentially a problem. When the monkey is active, I can’t use my Sidekicks as fodder. It will have to be one of my combo pieces. Essentially this meant that I needed spares. Either Deathbird or more likely Supergirl would be the choice here. I got set up with the basics (Deathbird, Supergirl, and Karai) pretty good. Due to some sketchy rolling, it took some time to get to Madame Web. As a result, I had to take some Krytonian hits along the way. Eventually I got to Madame Web and hit the Chimichangas. The first hit was ok, but not lethal. At least it forced him to refield his board after that. The buffed Sidekicks definitely helped with defense to some extent, and did help minimize the Overcrush. The Chimichangas cycled through pretty fast and set up what would have been a OTK had it been earlier. Technically, I think I had this game earlier with just Madame Webb and stats on multiple Supergirl dice… but where is the fun in that?
The second game of the night was up against a Living the Dream Team, using the Magneto/Madelyn Pryor/Mystique engine… and also the Rare Monsieur Mallah. The rare monkey states:
Monsieur Mallah can block an additional character die. While Monsieur Mallah is active, at least one opposing character die must attack each turn.
Did I miss the memo tonight? What is with the force attacking monkeys? Mallah would force my stuff to attack and easily KO his Mystique dice. This will pump out the Loyalty Counters on both Magneto and Madelyn Prior leading to Living the Dream threat in no time. Again, I am going to need spare characters here as my Sidekicks will not be helpful to prevent losing key pieces.
Rolls were rough early on in this one by rolling Sidekicks more than I wanted. Yes, I wanted them… but I wanted to buy things first. Definitely got off to a poor start here. Eventually I got to purchasing Deathbird (a few turns later than planned), and since my rolling was sketchy I jumped at Karai the first chance I could. Once he saw what she did, he decided not to Field his Sidekicks. It took some time, but I eventually mixed in Supergirl and she was my main Mallah fodder. Unfortunately, this is exaclty what he wanted as his Mystique dice died quickly but always seemed to come back for more. I mixed in the odd Bold Last Stand Global a couple of times to try and punish this when I could, but the Loyalty Counters were flowing freely.
During all of this, I was running out of dice in my bag. Both a good and bad thing. I could have easily been burned by my own White Tiger Global here. Eventually the thin bag allowed me to get Madame Web into the Field, followed by a couple of courses of Chimichangas. They were able to do their thing before the Living the Dream machine fired off.
The final game of the night was Foetid Bloat-Drone/Wolverine: Lord of Vampires combo. This was a cool one, as he used Kevin Owens show to get to Wolverine early. He then used the promo Iron Fist: Immortal to prep it right away. Very efficient way to get this die out quickly. We are both going for the Deadly board clear strategy, so this should be interesting.
I started getting set up and so did he. Wolverine was in play early, but lucky for me he was shy to come out the first few times. His Bloat-Drone meant that I would lose my entire Field any time it attacked. Once Wolverine hit the Field, this turns into damage for me and life gain for him. He too decided to stop Fielding Sidekicks once Karai hit… strange. Even my Jedi mind tricks were not working to get him to do so.
It was a bit of back and forth as we both had the ability to clear out the board. His was just a little more efficient than mine. Eventually, my characters decided that they had had enough and chose to stop coming back. I think they may have been tired from all of the KO’s. Eventually, he just outnumbered me and I did not have enough blockers.
I really liked this Team. Yes, there were probably better ways to build it. Foetid Bloat-Drone is the obvious addition for what I was trying to accomplish. It would replace two cards (Madame Web and Free Chimichangas), but would be super vulnerable to a Force Attack Global. I didn’t really want to deal with that threat, and decided to go with what I built. Deathbird was solid. She did exactly what she needed to do, and all of the potential defensive buffs made her incredibly efficient.
Karai was actually a great card on the Team. By trapping my Sidekicks, my bag could thin out a little easier. She proved to be more of a deterrent for my Opponents though. When they knew what I was up to (which was not too hard to figure out), they would just stop fielding Sidekicks. This opened the door for Supergirl. If I did not have tunnel vision on trying to pull off the combo, I could have been swinging more with Supergirl. Getting her up to her 8/8 face was not hard with her built in spin-up Global Ability. This same Global gave me another way to get my Opponent’s stats where I wanted them for the Deathbird machine. So far, I am happy with all of the ladies on the Team.
The White Tiger Global was good, but I did not get to use it as much as I wanted. I still think Mister Sinister might have been the better choice here. Alternatively, I could have swapped to Wolverine for his Prep Global and dropped Resurrection for something like Instant War. There are other ways that I could have gotten Sidekicks out on both sides.
Rigorous Training is a super niche card, but this Team was one of those niches where it works. A super easy way to buff Sidekicks for Deathbird. Black Widow actually never even came up tonight. Not a bad card to have, but definitely a flex spot. If I chose to remove her, I am not sure what I would put in. Likely one of the other Global Abilities I was considering earlier.
Overall, the Team ran well. I love these types of machines that require multiple parts to make work. Obviously, if I chose to break the Theme, there are better ways to build this Team. The mechanic of Deathbird as a win condition is really interesting and I think she has some solid potential. She just needs the right pieces to help her out.
Would I play this again? Maybe not this exact Team, but I want to play around more with Deathbird. Bold Last Stand is a solid pairing with her and has some potential that I definitely want to explore some more.
What do you think of Deathbird as a win condition? Do you think she has some modern legs on her? How would you build the board clear version? Let us know in the comments below, or on our Socials (@dmNorthTV), or join the conversation on our Discord.
Finally, if you are in the Calgary area, feel free to join us every other Wednesday at Shoebox Games & Cafe, starting around 6:00 PM local time. If you want to join a great group, get in touch with us on the Calgary Dice Masters Facebook Group. Come join a welcoming community and play some Dice Masters live!!