Shockingly Negative

After a bit of a weather and health related hiatus, our local group finally got back together.  Since, plain old Modern is a little on the bland side right now, we wanted to do something a little themey.  The theme du jour was “Keywords”.  You were to pick a Keyword to be the centrepiece of your Team.  All of your cards did not need to have the Keyword you chose, but it should be a central part of the build.

There are certainly lots of Keywords to choose from in the history of Dice Masters.  Many of them are pretty easy choices when building a win condition… but where is the fun in that.  We are going to dig deep and grab something from the garbage pile and see if we can make it work.

That’s right, we are going to take a swing with what might be one of the abosulte worst super-rare cards currently in the game… Hulk: Warbound, from the Amazing Spider-man Dice Masters set.  I guess that means that Aftershock will be the centrepiece to the Team. 

Let’s see how we can construct something out of this potential mess.

What Did You Play?

Aftershock can only trigger if my Opponent removes my character from the Field Zone.  With Hulk having very beefy stats, I do not really see this being easy in combat.  The best option is to probably try and give their characters an ability that will almost guarantee that they can remove Hulk.  Enter Mister Sinister… no… not THAT one.  We are going to rely on the Common Mister Sinister (Geneticist) here.  This version has the Global Ability that states:

Pay Double Bolt. Target non-Sidekick character die gains Deadly.

This should guarantee that Hulk is KO’ed against any non-Sidekick character die for the small price of two bolts.  However, this does not really help against Sidekicks.  There is a character that will help us out with that problem.

Wolverine (Trainer), the rare from the Dark Phoenix Saga Dice Masters set, has an excellent Global Ability that will help us with Ramp, but it is the actual card ability that we are focused on here.  Wolverine states:

Awaken: Target sidekick character die gains Deadly.

If I pair Wolverine with something like Energy Field, which will allow me to spin characters up and down, I have a way to give both Sidekicks and non-Sidekicks a way to get remove Hulk from the Field Zone.  Hulk is big enough that something will likely block him and I can maybe make use of these abilities to trigger Aftershock.

That is not a bad core to make combination, but Hulk is still not screaming win condition to me.  Let’s chuck in some more Aftershock characters and see if we can help things out a little more.  The pool is not honestly that large for this type of a character, but a couple of characters stood out to me:

Catwoman is a great character who can get you coming and going.  When she is fielded, the Opponent loses one life.  When she is removed, her Aftershock kicks in and my Opponent loses one life.  Yes those are both papercuts, but she can definitely soften up the life total to hopefully allow something else to kick in for the win.  A good low cost character, and the mask energy will pair with Energy Field.

Negative Man has a little more interesting of an Aftershock ability.  When Negative Man is removed from the Field Zone, all opposing Sidekicks are KO’ed amd 1 damage is dealt for each one that was KO’ed.  This has some actual potential.  Let’s keep Hulk on for the memes now… but this has turned into a Negative Man Team now.  The core I was going to use to deal with removing Hulk, will still help me with removing Negative Man.  Energy Field will also help me lower his level to being him into a better KO range if we are talking straight up combat damage.

We have a tool with Negative Man that will provide us with mass KO’s of Sidekicks that translates into damage.  What if we could increase that output, and also get around things like Mystique or Black Widow who reduces this type of ping damage.  Enter Scarecrow (Professor of Psychology) from the Justice Campaign Box.  This character will cause my Opponent to lose one life for every Sidekick of theirs that is KO’ed.  Essentially, Scarecrow and Negative Man double the damage for every Sidekick of KO’ed (assuming that Aftershock fires off).

Of course, my Opponent could just not field Sidekicks and my whole plan falls apart.  Let’s take care of that right off the bat by including Instant War, a Basic Action from the Warhammer 40K Campaign Box, to help us take the decision out of their hands.  For those unaware, Instant War reads:

Each player draws 3 dice and fields all Sidekick dice drawn this way. Each player places the remaining dice in their bag or Used Pile.

Hopefully this allows me to help thin out my bag, while loading up their Field.  We’ve got Sidekicks under control now, but still need a way to force them into KO’ing Negative Man.  A Force Attack Global would make sense, but I already have some Global energy sinks with Mister Sinister and Wolverine.  I do not want to add another.  The force attack will also be an easy way to remove Mister Negative and Scarecrow.  How about we go back to Calgary’s favourite primate with Monsieur Mallah?  There are a couple of versions that will work here, but we will pick the uncommon (Brilliant Scientist, from Superman Kryptonite Crisis) as it is the cheapest version.  The part of the ability that we are concerned with is:

While Monsieur Mallah is active, at least one opposing character die must attack each turn.

This means that every turn that monkey is out, something has to attack me.  Hopefully I can encourage whatever it is to KO Negative Man.

If my math is right, I have one slot left on the Team.  I’ve got some really terrible fielding costs on this Team, and even the purchase costs overall are a little all over the place.  I’m going to include Yawning Portal (Comfortable Inn) here to help with both of those.  Free fielding is always good and getting a bit of a discount on purchases is not terrible either.  The added bonus is the bolt energy will pair well with what I want to do with Mister Sinister’s Global.

I think we have something that looks like a Team here.  With that in mind, here is the plan:

  1. Get Monsieur Mallah, Scarecrow, and Negative Man out as fast as possible.
  2. Mix in Wolverine if there is time to help encourage Negative Man’s death by Deadly.
  3. Wait for things to attack, and hopefully let Negative Man die… many times.

This machine has many pieces in order for it to work.  Let’s see if Aftershock can shake out a few wins.

Game 1

This man went with Turtle Power for their Keyword.  As far as I am concerned, they win the night just for playing Turtles.  We both had slow Teams, as he needed to buy Turtles to get the discount to buy more Turtles to eventually swing with an army of Turtles.  He worked on his clan of ninjas while I slowly built up what I needed.  Catwoman did early work with papercuts on her way in and out.  Negative Man hit, but was still a little slow at dealing damage.  Once Scarecrow hit though, things escalated very quickly.  With him active, Sidekicks were not the ideal chump blockers they once were.  When Negative Man’s Aftershock hit, it hit hard for 8 damage when combined with Scarecrow.  He hit with some solid damage with the Turtles, but eventually I got him low enough that Catwoman finished him off when she was fielded.


Game 2

The second, and last, game of the night was up against Infiltrate.  It was a mix of Kuo-toa’s with Obscure and things that would buff the Infiltrate damage (Black Widow from Guardians of the Galaxy and Black Viper from Adventures in Waterdeep).  He was also going to attach the Cloak of Elvenkind to buff things further and essentially allow each Kuo-Toa to deal 4 unblockable Infiltrate damage when the action is used.  This would add up fast, and my Team is slow.  This meant that I had to change gears and mega ramp on turn 1 and do the only sane purchase I could on turn 2.  I got 6 energy and bought all of the Cloaks.  Hey, I knew I was going to likely lose this match from the start.  I was going to make him at least work a little harder for it.  I did get lucky and the Cloaks rolled on their action face each time they could which allowed my to get them out of circulation at least.  Buying those slowed me down even more and I think I got a couple of hits in with stuff, but never really got the combo to fire before I died.  At least I forced him to buy my Energy Fields to have the cheap action.  Not quite as effective as the Cloaks would have been, but still pretty good.



Let’s get the Hulk sized elephant out of the room right off the bat.  I really wanted to use this Hulk on a Team to show it is not as bad of a card as it looks.  I couldn’t.  I ended up buying him once, but really did not make use of his Aftershock.  It is annoying, but certainly not really a way to win a game.  This card is straight up bad.

Let’s look at the good parts here first.  Negative Man, Scarecrow, and Monsieur Mallah were a great trio.  I especially loved that when Scarecrow hit, using Sidekicks as cannon fodder was not always the first choice for my Opponent.  When I was able to get Negative Man KO’ed with everyone else active, the damage output could be really decent.  I think many of the other pieces included on the Team took attention away from this core and that was a mistake.  If I were to do this again, I would 100% focus on just flooding my Field with these characters.

Instant War was great and really a decent way to get Sidekicks out for the engine to run.  It stays for that reason.  Energy Field never really played into the Wolverine/Deadly combo that I wanted… but did help me out significantly in lowering the level of my Negative Man dice in order to make them a little easier to KO.  I feel that the Basic Actions are good for this Team.  Focus might be another option here though as that Global is just a straight up spin down Global (which is really what I always will be wanting to do).

Catwoman was… ok.  She did provide some damage along the way, but honestly the 3-cost proved just awkward throughout the night.  I think that a cheaper mask character might be a better call here (assuming we are not restricted in how we are building).  Poison Ivy (Power Over Men) might be a good choice here due to her overall utility.

Similarly awkward was Mister Sinister’s Global.  I think I was able to use it once all night, but honestly it was not as good as I had hoped.  I think in version 2 of this Team, I would lean into a stat bump Global that I could use to buff my Opponent’s dice.  If we are dropping Deadly as part of the plan, Wolverine would be out too.  He worked well for Prep, but his ability never came into play.  With all of the masks on the build, I would stick with Prep and swap in something like Joker or Magneto for their Global Abilities.

I am on the fence with Yawning Portal honestly.  I did like the fielding discounts that it provided, but didn’t always come out when I wanted it to.  The Robin Global might be a better call here, but unfortunately does give the tool to my Opponent as well.  Probably worth a try… just not sure that it would be better.

Let’s circle back to Hulk.  With the big green guy obviously off the Team there is a spare slot here.  Maybe something like Bizarro (Less Than Perfect) from the Justice Campaign Box could work to make use of the stat flip Global?  It could make Negative Man that much easier to KO if they block him on his higher levels.  Definitely something to consider here.

Overall Aftershock proved to be better than I honestly expected.  It is a Keyword that I have never played with before as I always found it awkward.  While it is a little difficult, I think it can work in a casual setting.  If you want something with lots of moving parts, this is one of those Teams to play.

Would I play this again?  Surprisingly yes.  This was one of those Teams that immediately after playing with it, I saw ways to make it better.  It was a little goofy and combo womboy, which is right in my sweet spot.  This is definitely one I want to try again some time.

Questions about the Team.  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!!

– jourdo

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