Hey folks, Dana (aka General Nemesis) here to chat about my recent experience at this year’s online Canadian Nationals.
My day started like any other typical Canadian morning; I woke up early to feed the local geese population and scrape the summer snow off my car before heading inside for a shot of maple syrup and a healthy slab of Canadian bacon. And yes Canadian bacon is different from regular bacon…though I’m sorry for correcting you aboot that.
I came into this event fresh off of a surprising win at the MODPDMUKGE (or UK Nats for those not familiar with that 10 character mouthful) and was hoping that I could keep the magic flowing long enough to pull off another win on home turf.
So…did I become the first ever Intercontinental National Champ, primed to live the rest of my days off of those juicy Dice Masters sponsorship deals? Or did I end up as a one and done flash in the pan, left to wallow in a pool of sorrow and maple syrup? Let’s read on and find out!
What Did You Play?
The Team: Thor, God of Sidekicks.
I knew the core of my team was going to stay intact from UK Nats. I was able to eke out a 75% win rate and didn’t drop a single match (if it ain’t broke and all that) but there was definitely a bit of wiggle room to tweak around the edges.
The main win-con on the team was the new SR Thor from the Infinity Gauntlet set. The goal was to get him out early and start flooding the board with sidekicks to simultaneously ping my opponent for damage and build up a protective wall of chump blockers. To help me amass my sidekick horde, I relied on The Collector and his fabulous global while the new rare Black Widow provided a constant stream of masks to fuel my many global needs as well as some pseudo removal in a pinch.
Thor is a hefty boy, coming in at a 6 cost so the bulk of my team was dedicated to ensuring that I could reliably purchase him on turn 2 and field him on turn 3 (dice gods permitting). First up is Kree Captain. I opted for the rarely seen 2 cost so I could cheaply buy him turn 1 and then use him to pay for his own global turn 2 thanks to the always reliable Clayface. Intellect Devourer let me exchange sidekicks into energy so I could get the fuel I needed for Thor turn 2 and in subsequent turns, spin down sidekicks to help field even more sidekicks via The Collector. Finally, Atlas was there to make sure that Thor consistently made an appearance turn 3.
The remainder of the team consisted of my control package; Static Field to fend off attacks, Confront The Mighty to remove pesky God Catcher tokens and the rare Spider-Man for non-God Catcher removal. This is the one area of the team with the most room for play. Static Field is a mainstay but both Spider-Man and Confront The Mighty are flex cards that can shift with the meta.
I briefly considered dropping Confront for Gazer. While Gazer is arguably a superior card against God Catchers as it doesn’t require me to sacrifice one of my own characters AND it’s a character itself to help get additional triggers from Thor, it ultimately did not fit well into how I plan to play the first three turns of the game. I needed something that required either fists or neutral energy and Confront The Mighty fit the bill. I previously ran Drax in the last spot but found that I rarely got use of him. Drax is great preventative control but didn’t fit in well with how I planned to use him. So Drax was out and Spider-Man was in.
With the team all set, it was time to roll some dice!
Game 1: ccm00007 (aka The Canadian Wizard)
Well sh*t. With such a star studded turnout you’re bound to run into some tough customers early in these types of events. As nice as he is, the former Worlds runner-up and reigning Canadian National champ was not who I wanted to see round one. Laurier was running an off meta fish slap team and trying to see if it could hold up without Ally support. While this felt like a good match-up for me I knew how deadly the fish can be if they got the right rolls, especially in the hands of an experienced pilot. Thankfully for me, those rolls did not come and no amount of magic could save Laurier from the wrath of Thor on this day. There were some tense moments and a lot of back and forth, but ultimately I was able to squeak out a pair of wins to take the match.
Game 2: Yort (aka The Bot Master)
Another round and another unexpected team. Yort was running an Orbital Strike team with some swarming Kang shenanigans for good measure. Orbital Strike is a swingy card that always gives you a puncher’s chance and Yort is an experienced pro, but I went into this match-up feeling cautiously optimistic. First game went relatively smoothly with Thor making an early appearance and laying down the sidekick pain. Yort made a valiant effort to climb back in, but it was ultimately too little too late. Game 2 did not go as planned. Thor would not roll. Ever. The big guy was tired and apparently needed a break. We traded minor damage back and forth in a relative stalemate until Yort was able to amass a large enough field to push through for sizeable damage. The game ended at time but I was on life support at that point anyway and would have lost no matter what. With no time left on the clock, we ended in a draw.
Game 3: EPICat (aka I Own The Floor)
God Catcher. The big baddy on the block, with all the bells and whistles. While I’ve done really well with this team against God Catcher in the past, the combination of Nefarious Broadcast and Under Surveillance is a terrifying sight to behold. One mistake and it’s lights out. Right out of the gate, I was able to get Thor up and running doing his thing. So far so good. Then the statues woke up. Turn after turn those rock monstrosities crashed into my lines testing the limits of my sidekick and Static Field defenses. Thankfully, Thor was able to roll back when needed and I was able to hold out long enough to take the win. Second game was very much a carbon copy of the first. Thor co-operated and my opponent just couldn’t quite get all the pieces he needed to arrive and roll at the same time, allowing me to pull out a win before the statues broke through.
Game 4: RonathanPxPx (aka Rushin’ Ronnie)
Ronathan is one of the few players that have been able to successfully field Rush based teams in a competitive environment. And kudos to him for cracking that nut. Right on brand, he decided to run a God Catcher based team with a Rush flair to help with churn. Game 1, he conceded first turn to me to help set-up a more optimum bag for an alpha strike. Thor rolled early and was quickly followed by a handful of sidekicks and a Kree Captain. Between direct damage and a full team push, I was remarkably able to swing for lethal on turn 4. Game 2 passed by in a similar fashion; Thor was red hot and didn’t give my opponent any room to maneuver. The field was flooded with lightning before the statues could fully assemble.
Game 5: BenSaidScott (aka World Champ Ben Said Scott)
Oh boy, here we go. Second straight major tournament where I’m entering the final match one win away from taking home the crown. I’ve played Ben once before in my short Dice Masters career and he absolutely mopped the floor with me. Looking across at his team I saw Typhoid Mary, Drax, Istrid Horn, Eddie Guerrero and the red headed devil herself, Becky Lynch. Yikes. This is just about the worst match-up for me piloted by one of the world’s best players. With plenty of ways to shut down and roll out Thor and two different ways of shutting down Static Field, I was already on my backfoot before the match even began.
Game 1 actually started out ok. Thor eventually made his way to the field and began to chip away at Ben’s life. Surprisingly, things were actually looking pretty good. Then I stumbled. I made an ill-timed attack and then when Drax and crew started to show their faces I should have reached for Confront The Mighty but for some reason decided against it. Big mistake. You give players like Ben an opening and they will take it. I was able to get him down to 2 life but just couldn’t find that extra bit of damage before Becky steamrolled through for the win.
Game 2 was another tight one. Ben locked down Thor early with a combination of Drax and Typhoid Mary. Between Spider-Man, Confront The Mighty and Black Widow I was able to get back in the game and hold off Becky long enough to get Ben down to a single point of life. But Becky doesn’t stay quiet for long. She again broke through for massive damage reducing me down to all but 1 life as well. With time quickly running out, I was able to get rid of Typhoid Mary, field Thor and push a sidekick into the field for 2 damage just as the bell sounded, stealing the game and locking the match at a draw.
The ties dropped me down to 4th place overall, just missing out on the prizing. So close yet so far. While it’s not the finish I had hoped for, it’s hard to complain. Thor performed well yet again, netting me an 80% win rate and never dropping a single match for the second straight tournament in a row.
As a silver lining, I learned a lot from Ben in that final match. If you re-watch the game, you’ll notice that when I had him on the ropes, he switched entirely to a defensive strategy. He stopped buying dice and invested all of his energy into fielding sidekick fodder and maintaining masks for Static Field. He sat on a mountain of energy for several turns in a row biding his time and waiting for the perfect moment to strike. When I faltered, that gave him the opportunity to switch back into offense and move in for the kill. Having the presence of mind to know when to put on the brakes and when to go for broke may have been the difference between a win and a loss and it’s something I hope to personally work on in my matches to come.
Looking forward, it’s all but guaranteed that I’ll stick with Thor heading into worlds. I’ve been toying with some unique control teams but I think given my recent success, it would be silly to drastically change things up at this point. With the exception of one slot, I’m really happy with the team and how it’s been performing. Spider-Man is unlikely to stick around. He just didn’t do enough to earn his spot and I don’t need the redundancy with Confront The Mighty.
The team is susceptible to builds that have ways of rolling out or spinning down Thor. I don’t have enough churn to quickly get the big guy back if he disappears into the bag. I’m also lacking an answer to teams who can shut down my Static Field and plow through my sidekick defenses with Overcrushers like Becky. Whatever fills the last slot on my team will hopefully address at least one of those weaknesses.
Congrats again to Ben for the win and to DM-North for running an awesome event! With that, I’m off to tend to my herd of Canadian geese. They get moody when they’re hungry and they are not to be trifled with…
General NemesisRoll For The North Guest Article: General Nemesis