Throughout the history of Dice Masters, there have been an elite few cards so awe inspiring, so powerful that few players dare bring them to their games for fear of being unable to harness their raw power. The mere mention of names like Vixen, Kate Bishop and Bret Hart bring chills to even the most elite of players. Every now and then, Wizkids takes an opportunity to add to this incredible tier of characters. With the recent release of The Dark Phoenix Saga, we have seen the latest addition to this class.
That’s right, tonight we are going to take the newest power card out for a spin. Ronan The Accuser has historically had some special cards in Dice Masters, but this one may honestly be the best of the best. Ronan The Accuser has a very unique ability which reads:
When fielded, each player loses 3 life.
Now, you may be asking yourself… “How is this good?” Well… it’s not. Like Bret Hart and Kate Bishop before him, Ronan The Accuser has a real terrible ability that you really have no reason to play. However, I am not one to give up so easily. When I first saw this card, I decided I needed to make something work with it… even just once.
Join me on this journey where we try and take is disaster of a card and try to turn it into a win condition.
What Did You Play?
This is a meme team. Let’s get this out of the way right at the start. If you are ok with that, please keep on reading. If not… thanks for getting this far.
When I first looked at the ability, I joked that combining it with Absorbing Man: Ol’ Ball and Chain from The Mighty Thor would be hilarious. Who doesn’t want to lose 6 life when you field Ronan the Accuser? So that is exactly what I did and it was the second card I added to the Team. With Absorbing Man active, all I need to do is field Ronan The Accuser four times to win. Not bad… except I will die in the process. If only there was a way to minimize the life loss on my end to prevent the whole self inflicted wounds thing.
Luckily, there is a tool in the Dice Masters toolbox to kind of help with this exact problem. Brought to the forefront by one of the members of The Federation of Elite Dice Masters Player, Andy England, shared the magic that is the “Fish Food” Team. It uses Aquaman: Saving the Seven Seas (from the Justice Campaign Box) to recover life by sending unfielded characters up to the Used Pile. Now, Sylgar is not really in the plans for Ronan, but the man who talks to fish is definitely on board.
So, here is the basic plan of attack. Have Aquaman and Absorbing Man in the Field Zone. Field Ronan The Accuser for 6 life loss to both me and my Opponent. Hopefully have characters sitting in the Reserve Pool that I can punt over to the Used Pile to recover some of the damage done to myself. It is a plan so crazy, that it just might work. However, it needs some help.
In the “Fish Food” Team, Andy used Sylgar as a cheap character to feed to Aquaman in order to make the life gain mechanic more viable. The cost is great here, but the energy type is not going to work for what I want to do. First, I am going to be leaning on the Dark Phoenix Global Ability to help purchase Ronan The Accuser. Therefore, Bolts are going to be more valuable to me than Shields. If KO’ing things is going to be part of the strategy, why not lean into that a little bit? For that reason, I decided that Grell: Xanathat Guild Bodyguard (from the Trouble In Waterdeep Campaign Box) would be a suitable meal for the King of the Ocean.
First, Grell is a cheap character at a 2 cost. We want to feed Aquaman food that is inexpensive here. Not all of us can afford to eat like royalty. Second, Grell is a Bolt character. When the rolls are missed, the energy will be more helpful to use on Globals and purchasing Ronan The Accuser. Finally, Grell has a great “When KO’ed” ability which states:
When Grell is KO’d, you may draw 2 dice from your bag. Prep one and place the other in your Used Pile.
Ramp and churn may be a little wonky on this build and I will take whatever I can get here. Grell will be meal fit for a King.
Next, I wanted to give me some flexibility when it came to fielding multiple characters on the same turn. Potentially Ronan The Accuser could have higher Fielding Costs, and it would be nice to negate that when energy could be tight. Remember I want to potentially roll characters just to not field them. Yawning Portal slips into this slot nicely. I decided to go for the Prep version (Adventurous Clientele) here. The energy type fits great with the plan, and the free Fielding Cost is an excellent tool. Now to make Yawning Portal available on back to back turns.
For this we reach back to The Kree Invasion Team Pack and grab Supreme Intelligence (it doesn’t matter which one you choose here), for the Global Ability. With it, we can essentially Prep any two cost from our Used Pile once per turn. With that available to us, recycling Yawning Portal (or other 2 cost dice) should be relatively easy.
I think there is some semblance of a Team here. Not a great Team… but maybe something, dare I say… functional? We still have things to add to help it out more.
Like I said a little earlier, Ramp is a little wonky on this Team. So far, we are depending on The Dark Phoenix Global and Grell to get us extra dice to roll. It needs more than that for what I want to accomplish though. I dipped back into my current drug of choice to include the Mister Sinister: Dark Experimentation for his spectacular Global Ability. This should help me filter Sidekicks out of the way a little faster and has the added benefit of some extra Ramp. One day, I will quit this habit… but today is not that day.
If my math is right, my Team slots are now filled in the character department and we need a couple of Basic Action Cards. I decided that it might be beneficial to actually attack with Ronan as his stats are pretty good. There is also the potential to slip other damage through with some Grell chip attacks. As I should be rolling lots of Bolts, I decided to go with an attack pump Global for the first BAC. Excessive Force (from the Justice Campaign Box) was the winner here as it not only gave me the Global Ability that I was looking for, but it also gave me a removal option by being able to deal 6 damage to a character die. I really have nothing else to do that, so why not?
I debated on the second BAC, like I always tend to do. In the end, I decided to put something on that might be annoying to my Opponent but should not affect me too badly thanks to Yawning Portal. Might of the Astartes (from the Battle for Ultramar Campaign Box) makes fielding characters more expensive. Maybe I can try and slow things down a bit by messing with the economy of the game. Yawning Portal gives me access to the coupon needed to get around this action if it were to be used against me. Remember, “free is free”.
What started off as a joke, looks like something that could work. Here is the plan:
- Purchase Grells and Yawning Portals early to get access to cheap characters and Bolts.
- At the first opportunity, reach for Aquaman and Absorbing Man (in whatever order the rolls allow).
- When the Field Zone is set up, start buying and fielding Ronan The Accuser. Hopefully, he shows up with other character that I can then use to gain my life back thanks to Aquaman.
I will be happy if I can get this to fire off even once. Let’s see how it ran.
The first game of the night was up against an old school AVX Cyclops Overcrush shenanigans Team. This Cyclops deals his full attack to all blockers, so Overcrush can get out of hand quickly. To make it worse, he mixed in a Giant Spider for for all my Sidekicks to block and Mutation to swap in Cyclops. Note to self… Keep Sidekicks to a minimum in this game.
We stuck to the plan with low cost purchases early and using the Sinister Global freely until Cyclops was ready to show up. I got Aquaman and Absorbing Man into the Field and then purchased Ronan. Then the shenanigans began. Ronan hit the Field to drain us both. Grell became fish food to bring back some of the life loss. The Dark Phoenix Global would then KO Ronan for the next turn. Some Supreme Intelligence movement of Yawning Portal meant that I would be set up again for the next turn.
Luckily for me, he only rolled Cyclops on level 1… in fact most of his characters landed on level 1, so he had nothing to spin up with the Mutation Global. He was also struggling to line up his Overcrush trigger, so it gave me time to continue the Ronan onslaught. In the end, I had gotten him down to 2 life before he was able to get a good swing in with Cyclops. I was able to absorb the damage since my life was constantly being built back up. On the next turn, I rolled my final Ronan with enough life left not to kill myself. It worked!
The second game of the night was up against Hope Summers and SR Jubilee (from The Dark Phoenix Saga). Pretty obvious what was going to happen here. Hope copies Jubilee and you die quickly. I’ll be honest, that I don’t remember that I actually was able to buy Ronan in this one. Aquaman did force him to deal me more than 20 damage… I guess that counts for something. The Team was fast and deadly.
Brotherhood of Evil Mutants was next on the menu for the evening. To make things even better, he had Magneto: Master of Magnetism there to spin out all of my stuff. He also brought Thrown Brick… and I bought Thrown Bricks. These Thrown Bricks messed up my flow badly and it took longer than I planned to recover. I struggled to roll the energy for Aquaman and Absorbing Man early. Eventually they came out to play, but with his removal options, they did not stay long. My engine stumbled badly in this one as it struggled to line things up. Even the life gain mechanic was not enough to help as he was able to swing through an open Field in the end.
You know what? I actually liked this Team. It was a silly combo that really should not have worked… but did.
The trio of Ronan, Aquaman, and Absorbing Man was superb. This Team does not work without them. You absolutely need Aquaman to counter what Ronan does to you. There is no way to prevent life loss in the game, so relying on life gain is key here.
Yawning Portal was great for reducing my fielding costs, but honestly I found myself wishing for the discount Yawning Portal on many occasions. If I were to try this again, I might make that swap. Either way, Yawning Portal stays.
Grell was… good, but not great. The ability came into play a few times, but not enough that I want to rely on it. I would probably honestly swap this out for a 1 cost Chwinga next time. I think the 1 cost fish food is a better deal than a 2 cost.
Supreme Intelligence and Dark Phoenix are what they are. Excellent tools on this build. Mister Sinister also did what he was supposed to. These are all well know commodities, and do not really need further explanation.
The buff Global from Excessive Force came into play a few times, and I did buy the action once or twice. Like Grell, this was good but not great. I would probably keep it on the Team as I really have no other good options for removal. Might of the Astartes was really “meh” on the Team. I never once considered buying it. It would be much better to add in a utility Global of some sort. Ramp and bag control would definitely be high on the list here.
I think Wizkids prints some of these terrible cards, like Ronan The Accuser, just to throw down the gauntlet for players to make something of it. I really have no other theory as to why else they would do it. On the surface, but players losing life is a terrible mechanic to play with. Working out a wombo combo to negate that and turn it into a win condition was a fun puzzle to attempt to solve. It turned into a fun casual type build that would work well for those who play the “green” type events.
Would I play this again? Honestly… yes I would. It was way more enjoyable than I thought it would be. It does not do well against more competitive or control oriented Teams, but plays well for what it is.
What do you think of these cards that look less desirable on the surface? Do you take them as a challenge to try and make them work? How else could you make Ronan The Accuser a win condition? 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 Sentry Box, starting between 6:00 PM and 6:30 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!!