So this week, we’ve kept the same format I wrote about last time, and I went out of my way to try a different universe: WWE. Sure, there’s only one set, but it has a lot of really neat tools. I knew exactly which one I wanted to use…
Can You Dig It, Sucka?
The Team: Time to lay the smackdown.
As a reminder, the rules I have to follow:
- Every card (including BACs) had to come from the same universe (Marvel, DC, WWE, etc.)
- Every card had to be legal in Global Escalation (by which we rely on the official list found here – we also banned Jimmy Lawler so we wouldn’t have everyone running double-Overcrush Becky Lynch)
Wrestling fans have probably figured it out from the title, but my win condition here is none other than Booker T. Not for the global (which is handy), but for the action itself. It’s always been a handy backup plan, but what if it’s my main goal? Force my opponent to block how I want, and I dictate what goes through unblocked. All I need is some way to deal 20 damage and I can win.
I singled out Asuka as a good lynchpin for this. She has decent base stats and can grow stronger the more mask characters I field. Time to build a mask team then! Mankind was the obvious next piece, as his Tag Out ability means that after blockers are declared, I can Prep him to add some damage to an unblocked character. Since I decide what blocks when I use Booker T, Mankind can tie up a blocker before Tag Out triggers. In addition, not only is he a 1-cost with Asuka active, but his fielding costs are excellent (great for Tag Out) and he’s hard to KO for my opponent. Definitely a solid addition.
Asuka and Tag Out isn’t quite enough though. I need big bruisers and removal. Well, I put in two characters that kill two birds with one stone: The Rock and Bret “Hit Man” Hart. The Rock needs no introduction. He damages all of my opponent’s characters if he goes through, so he will pretty much always be blocked – he is very handy to thin out my opponent’s board. Tag Out is also great to use with him since he will be blocked so reliably. As for Bret Hart, I deviate from my mask plan here, but using him with Booker T’s global is just a dirty way to do removal straight to the Used Pile.
Next up, ramp. If I want to purchase The Rock, his global, while handy, is not enough. Enter Becky and Walk with Elias, both in for their globals. Note that I specifically avoided the Overcrush Becky because that would’ve been way too easy a crutch to rely on with Booker T’s global. Mind you, I still could’ve purchased her and tried to trigger Booker T’s action with her, but it’s extremely risky since I must declare my attackers before knowing whether I get to use the action.
The last 3 cards are utility. Big E is my main defensive piece, discounted by Asuka and great against big bruisers. Bobby Heenan punishes my opponents for blocking (which I want to force them to do anyway!) and is a great way to sneak in the last few points of damage if needed. Last but not least, Ric Flair is there for his global (while he has Tag Out, I’m not dealing with these fielding costs, blegh), to allow me to take any spare energy and use it to buff any unblocked characters.
WIth all of that said, on to the games!
I started off against a Patch + Avenger ID Card team, with R Dark Phoenix as a backup win condition. Of course I went Big E early, and she pivoted to Dark Phoenix to counter (since Big E doesn’t reduce ability damage). Using my opponent’s Superhero Registration Act, I slowly set up my win condition with Asuka and both Rock dice, and eventually managed to deal 19 damage thanks to Booker T, bringing my opponent to 1 life (but dealing 8 damage to Dark Phoenix and thus to myself, bringing me to 12).
This one was sadly decided by a misplay. On the next turn, my opponent had Dark Phoenix active and I had 2 The Rock dice active (with 13A altogether, so if both blocked Dark Phoenix I would’ve lost). However, she didn’t see this opportunity and didn’t take advantage. I won the next turn since I had more characters active. This isn’t how I like to win, but a win is a win.
Next up, another Avengers team, this time a Teamwatch build (notably R Ultimate Spider-Man from MSW) relying on Tsarina for damage and Teamwatch triggers. I made the mistake to go for Bret Hart first to try to send my opponent’s characters to Used. That wasn’t working too well; the energy investment to purchase and field Bret, as well as using Booker T’s global, just meant I wasn’t purchasing my win condition. I also didn’t have too many character dice active, and my opponent kept chipping at my life with Tsarina (I didn’t have enough characters to spin down). Eventually I did get the Asuka, Mankind and Rock engine going, and I started having enough characters active to keep Tsarina’s effect at bay (also thanks to a couple of unlucky rolls of his).
But I had the problem that my opponent’s life was just not going down quick enough – Ultimate Spider-Man’s triggers (both Teamwatch and KO) just kept his life at or near 20. I had to win with one big swing. And so I did. With 2 Mankind dice active, 2 Asuka’s, The Rock, and others, I charged in after using Booker T. Thanks to the Ric Flair global, I had enough damage to win in one swing. Phew, this was a really interesting match.
For my last match of the evening, I was up against Super-Friends. Big E was my obvious go-to here, and while he was active, my opponent was stuck. She pivoted towards her removal tools (SR Robin and the 2-cost Yellow Lantern Ring) but during that time I got Asuka set up and The Rock followed suit. Problem was, The Rock wasn’t the biggest character on the board; between Superman and Supergirl, I had some big stats to contend with. But I still charged in, forced the opponent to block, using Bobby Heenan to deal some chip damage and Mankind’s Tag Out to bump up The Rock’s stats. I was just grinding away, and as a result I had the better board presence. I bought Booker T and it was just a matter of time before I would win. After my opponent did a big attack out of desperation (on the one turn she got Big E off the field), I returned the favour the following turn, used Booker T, and charged in for the win.
-Let’s call it like it is: this isn’t a Bret Hart team, or a The Rock team – this is a Booker T team, straight up. That was my main strategy, and used with Tag Out (thanks Mankind!), it was surprisingly effective.
-I should’ve put a mid-range mask character instead of Bret Hart. His shenanigans are fun, but if I’m relying on Asuka, I need something in the 4-5 cost range that’s a mask and that is worth purchasing outside of just Big E (since reaching enough energy for The Rock didn’t always happen). I was never going to purchase Ric Flair due to those terrible fielding costs. I was wasting energy on more than one occasion because of my purchase curve.
-Speaking of Ric Flair, no regret on including him – that global was a great energy sink in the late game to either get to the finishing blow or just act as an energy sink to avoid over-purchasing dice and increase the Rock’s damage.
-If I wanted to revisit the idea in a different format, removal is important. The Rock worked okay here, but a Range effect, SR Spider-Man or some other way to neutralize low-defense characters would likely do the trick to give me the advantage in board presence I need for this to work.
Overall, for a team built out of one set and where I avoided using the #1 win condition from the set, I’d say this turned out as well as it could. The question, ultimately, is what’s next? Should I try doing something with Yu-Gi-Oh! or is that a lost cause?
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