Life Draft

Tonight, we decided to try something completely different.  We were going to have a Life Draft.  What is a Life Draft you ask?  Quite simply, it is a draft format where you will be bidding away your life points in order to purchase cards to build your Team.  These were the rules that we set out for this event:

  • You will start the Draft with 56 Life Points.  This will be the currency used to purchase cards.
  • Bring 8 cards (characters or non-BAC’s) with maximum dice.  Ideally, these were sleeved these so you knew that they were yours at the end of the night.  These were open to all Golden cards.
  • All of the dice were arranged in a Rainbow on the table, so that you knew which characters would be available.
  • All cards were shuffled and placed into a bag to draw from.  Nobody knew what cards were actually brought except for the ones you brought yourself.
  • At the start of each draft round, a player drew a card from the pool of all cards brought. That player must bid 1 Life Point on that card.  Other players in clockwise order will have the opportunity to bid more on that card in order to have it on their Team.  Bidding continued until all players have passed and only one active bidder remained.
  • Once you pass on a bid, you are out for that Round.
  • You could bid as much or as little as you want, but the life you had left over at the end of the Draft would be what your started each game with.
  • Once you had 8 Cards on your Team, you were out of the Draft.
  • Your Team build will be limited to the default 20 dice rule.
  • At the end of the Draft, you would select your BAC cards as you normally would.

Some specific In game rules (just in case it happened):

  • Where Life Gain mechanics apply, you could not heal yourself beyond the default 20 life.
  • If a situation arose, where you end up with 2 of the same cards on your Team, or different versions of the same card, you will be allowed the combined max dice of both cards on your Team.  However, you could only have one of the actual cards on your Team. For example, if you drafted two different version of Vixen onto your Team, you would be allowed 8 dice but would have to choose which single card was on the Team (the Common being the correct choice, of course).

This would be an interesting strategy.  Do you bid high early and try to snag some good cards?  Wait until later when things might be cheaper?  Do you maximize your life?  Do you spend past the default 20 life?  I honestly was not sure how I was going to play this one.  I would see what came up and figure it out along the way.

With that said…

What Did You Play?

The Team I Brought:  Turtles.

I decided to bring a combo based Team to the Draft.  If the pieces get separated, things go to hell… but if you can manage to keep some of this core together, you have something decent.  This is what I brought, but was not what I played.  I will give you a breakdown of my picks and what I ended up spending on each one.

  1. First pick went to the UC Madame Masque (5 Life Points).  She came up early and I tried to up her cost a bit for someone to get stuck with her.  That person ended up being me.  I am down to 51 starting Life.
  2. The second pick ended up being the C Morphing Jar (8 Life Points).  I fought a little harder for him as there were 8 PXG dice in the Rainbow.  He is great fuel for PXG and a good body.  Hopefully I can snag Professor X later.  Down to 43 life for me.
  3. C Doppelganger was the next win (7 Life Points).  This was a hate bid as another player had managed to get Bahamut on their Team.  There was no way that I was going to give him easy access to cheap dragons.  He would either overpay or I would maybe find a use for him.  I got him and would have to figure something out.  Now I will be starting with 36 life.  This is dropping a little faster than I thought it would.  I need to start budgeting.
  4. C Elf Thief was the next to cross my path (4 Life Points).  Again, PXG was still on the table.  If I didn’t end up with him, I would at least make it a pain for whoever did.  32 life now… not horrible.
  5. UC Grodd (7 Life Points).  Hello win condition!  I was all in on this card.  All the previous little guys now became a threat with Grodd.  Worth every ounce of life I paid.  Down to 25 with 3 slots to go.  I really need to watch what I do now.
  6. PXG!!!!!  But the UC one (1 Life Point).  I drew the card and had to make the default bid.  Nobody else joined the party.  Seems the Professor is not very popular without his Global.  24 life will be my new starting point.
  7. C Batiri Battle Stack (7 Life Points).  I threw caution to the wind here and was willing to drop below 20.  With Batiri, Grodd, and Doppelganger I could have a huge amount of damage output.  I am now down to 17 life to start.  My last pick will likely be my bargain pick as 15 was my drop dead life total.
  8. C Parallax (1 Life Point).  I only got him for so cheap as he was the last card drawn and I was the last player left to fill as slot on my Team.  I would be starting the games with 16 life.

The Team I Played:  Batiri Battle Grodd.

This was a really decent build and I think a fairly good price for what I got.  The strategy would be simple.  Buy Big Entrance, load up with little guys, get a monkey, then kill all the things.

Game 1:

This was against the big spender of the night.  His Team was made up of the following:

  • Falcon – Samuel Wilson (4 Life Points)
  • Emma Frost – Girls Best Friend (1 Life Point)
  • Blue-Eyes White Dragon – Monstrous Dragon (8 Life Points)
  • Rip Hunter – Navigate the Sands of Time (5 Life Points)
  • The Collector – Taneleer Tivan (7 Life Points)
  • Professor X – Recruiting Young Mutants (20 Life Points)
  • Gelatinous Cube – One of the BFF ones (1 Life Point)
  • Agent Venom – Losing Control (2 Life Points)

His starting life total was 8.  He included Pizza and Power Bolt as his BAC’s.  Pizza actually worked well for him as he was able to bring his life up quite quickly.  He kept PXG off his actual build as he bought it to make sure nobody had access to it.  I was still able to ramp to Grodd fairly early and then built up my army.  I took a few Power Bolts to the face but eventually had plenty of damage on board with the monkey.


Game 2:

My second game was against the player who grabbed some of the tools I was hoping to get.  However, I was too low on life when the cards came up and could not afford to go in on the bidding.  This was what he bought:

  • Bahamut – Dragon of Justice (8 Life Points)
  • Wasp – Founding Avenger (6 Life Points)
  • Venom – Spidery (3 Life Points)
  • Gorilla Grodd – Supplanting Solovar (1 Life Point)
  • Rocket Raccoon – Rigging Up Destruction (2 Life Points)
  • Guy Gardner – Blinding Rage (5 Life Points)
  • Green Devil Mask – Lesser Trap (2 Life Points)
  • Harley Quinn – Dr. Harleen Quinzel (1 Life Point)

His BAC’s were Resurrection and Candlekeep.  Guy and the GDM were the ones that got away.  When they came up, I was already so low on life that I could not afford to get into a bidding war for them.  I wanted GDM as I knew it would make my life more difficult.  Guy would have been great with the monkey.

His starting life was 28, which gave him an immediate advantage.  I decided I had to go hard and fast to get the playing field leveled out.  I was able to get Jars and Stacks out quick and swung early and often.  I eventually took the life lead as a result.  He was able to set the GDM trap though and I had no choice but to run right through it.  Luckily, I manage to reroll half of my characters and only lost a couple of Sidekicks at the time.  I loaded the Field after the trap tripped and continued to push.  Because I was on the offensive, he had to be more defensive and had trouble getting to his Dragon.  The turn finally came where he was able to manipulate his bag to get the Dragon out on the turn he bought him.  Thankfully for me, he was short on energy to fire the Breath Weapon though.  That would have killed me.  I won the next turn with a Batiri swing.  It all came down to that last turn though.  If he had rolled the energy, he would have had this game.


Game 3:

This guy stole my Turtles Team.  Well, he started to anyways.  Here is what he put together:

  • Metalhead – Dissociative Disorder (7 Life Points)
  • Supergirl – Crisis on Infinite Earths (2 Life Points)
  • Donatello – Technologic (6 Life Points)
  • April – No More Damsel (6 Life Points)
  • Barry Allen – Super-Sonic Punch (4 Life Points)
  • Yondu – Whistle While You Kill (2 Life Points)
  • Kate Bishop – Young Avenger (1 Life Point)
  • The Joker – Arkham Asylum (1 Life Point)

His BAC’s were Improvised Weapon and Scorching Ray.  Metalhead came up early in draft and I was in on the early bidding.  I bailed when I realized that paying so much for him would make getting the other Turtles more difficult.  His starting life was 27.  This would be a challenge again as I needed to make up ground right off the bat.

I whiffed the first roll and had to buy a Morphing Jar and Improvised Weapon, while fielding a lowly Sidekick.  I stabilized and started to build the Jar/Stack army.  Ramped up to Grodd fairly quick and got him out.  His rolls were not working out so well.  At most, I think he got April and maybe a couple other characters out.  Nothing really threatening all game.  I wore him down and took the win with the Overcrushing weenies.



I am not going to spend much time on the Team here.  It was a good build and functioned exactly as you would expect it to.  No surprises here.  Parallax actually helped tremendously in this build.  Professor X was purely a placeholder.  Madame Masque, Elf Thief, and Doppelganger were not needed tonight.

I want to spend a little time on the Format.  I really enjoyed this one.  The strategy was difficult to figure out.  I felt I spent a little too much too early and really got lucky with Grodd.  Having that card available gave me the flexibility to overspend more and take a hit on the starting life.

The process itself was fun too.  Part of the game was bidding up something and hopefully sticking it with someone.  This happened a few times throughout the Draft.  The personal highlights for me were these:

  1. One of our younger players was able to stick Barry Allen on another player.  It was an unexpected thing to see from someone so young.
  2. The player who got April was not really paying attention to the bidding and jacked it up to 6 accidentally.  He definitely could have got this cheaper as nobody was really going that hard for her.
  3. PXG going for 20 Life Points.  Just wow.

If you enjoy Drafting, then this is something that I would recommend trying it out.  We did decide that we would make a few changes to the Format going forward.

  • We would drop the initial Life Point total to 50 points.
  • We would institute a one time use “Mulligan”.  If nobody else bid on a card you drew, and it was not a card that you wanted, you would be allowed to pay 5 Life Points to put it back in the bag.  Sometimes, the draw really sucked and you got stuck with something you may not have wanted.  If you are willing to pay the penalty, then this would give you an out.

Beyond those changes, we felt the Format worked really well.  I am looking forward to seeing what shows up next time.

Have you ever tried this type of a Draft?  What did you do differently?  Would you go into this as a big spender or try and outpace your opponent with higher starting life?  What is the most you would see yourself spending on a specific character?  We would love to hear from you in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

– jourdo


One Reply to “Life Draft”

  1. In Raw Deal, we did a draft that was not exactly the same but did have some similarities. Since some of the starters were better than others, you would get 5 booster packs to use to bid and buy a Starter. If you won a Starter, you would place the pack cost of your win onto some of the other Starters in the pool, which would help make them more appealing as you would get extra packs for bidding on weaker Starters. By the end, depending on group size, you could have 4 or 5 extra packs on a known weaker starter but those packs would give you additional options, especially if they had cards that worked well with the cards in the Starter. The cost of the Draft was prohibitive, since you had to buy a Starter and 5 packs but it was pretty fun.

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