So this week, after a week off caused by outside circumstances, I figured I’d try a King Black Bolt team. But with no Cosmic Cube, it turns out that King Black Bolt is more like…
Prince Black Bolt
The Team: Really Knowhere to go with this.
Ok, so this core should be familiar to experienced players. Katana hits the field as soon as she is purchased, and I can use Knowhere to swap her out immediately for King Black Bolt. This is important since King Black Bolt is very hard to purchase, due to his 4-type crossover cost. And from there, King Black Bolt can be targeted and hurt my opponent each time he is targeted.
Now, in a “traditional” King Black Bolt build, you use the rare Cosmic Cube so that he hits for 3 damage each time he’s targeted. Unfortunately the Cube is banned, but I have some unusual tech I decided to try: Cyclops (with the hopes of using Knowhere into Cyclops and Knowhere’ing my way back to KBB). As a crossover of all energy types, King Black Bolt is technically a bolt character, after all, so Cyclops increases his damage output to 2 per action or global that targets him. To make him easier to target, I put in R Agent Venom since his global costs generic energy. Meaning any energy I roll can translate into damage. To further increase consistency, I put in Quasar. The global here is key to use Katana’s Impulse ability consistently, as I can spend a bolt to get a question mark.
That covers the main strategy, but I wanted a couple of backup plans in case it didn’t work. Jubilee is first. I know I’m going to need bolts for Quasar, and her damage is increased if Cyclops is active so…why not? And then, there’s Firestorm. He’s another target for me to “Knowhere” Katana into. If King Black Bolt is active, I have all four energy types active, and Firestorm’s stats get doubled. That can get out of control in a hurry.
As for my BACs, they’re utility. Villainous Pact is there so I can fix my bag to guarantee a T3 King Black Bolt. And Raised Shields…well…if I’m attacking with huge Firestorm dice, I need a way to get that damage through. Also, I’m going to be using bolt energy anyhow, so that global is perfect for this build. Or so it should.
And with that, I should’ve had a solid team that could’ve hurt…or so I thought.
I started up by going against SR Ultraman. This was weird. I had some weird rolls in the early game. I couldn’t buy what I wanted and fix my bag properly to get the strategy going. And I never recovered from it, because my opponent bought Ultraman quickly, got a lucky draw to get UC Dwarf Wizard, Ultraman and Kryptonite on T5, and…yeah. Dimension Door plus One Against Many plus other actions buffing the Wizard…I took more than 20 damage. It was an all or nothing move, and it paid off for my opponent. She won.
I had the bye this round. At least I’m not going winless. Woo! 1-1
This round, I went up against Overcrushing Dum Dum Dugan’s. That team sounds like it should be quicker than mine, but it didn’t end up that way. Despite suboptimal rolls, I got to King Black Bolt relatively quickly, and because of a bad roll, I purchased Raised Shields. This turned out to be a good idea. I got a Katana on the field, used her as a blocker to get her KO’d, and she got refielded at level 3. Thanks to Knowhere, all of a sudden a lvl 3 Katana became a lvl 3 Firestorm, with King Black Bolt active. And I got Raised Shields to give both of them Overcrush. Between those two and a big of ping damage from King Black Bolt, I had enough damage to eke out a win. Not how I was planning to win, but I’ll take it!
For my last match, I went up against an Infiltrate team (that was undefeated so far). So, that should be a fun race for damage, right? You’d think so, but it really wasn’t. On T2, I only had one mask (not even a bolt to convert to a question mark), so the T3 approach was right out the window. From there, I couldn’t roll masks or bolts reliably, and my opponent just set up with SR Angela and R Black Widow (both from GOTG) on Turn 3, and dealt me 4 damage per turn 3 turns in a row. Then his Black Viper hit the field, and my opponent dealt me 9 more damage. My early game missed rolls meant I had no chance to keep up with his damage output. He won.
-This team under-performed for sure, and all because of one key thing: speed, or lack thereof. Changing Katana into King Black Bolt is amazing if KBB can win quickly (which he traditionally does with Cosmic Cube). Having to get a 5-cost to increase his damage output just slows everything down to a crawl, especially since I didn’t put the fastest ramp tools.
-I couldn’t even use Jubilee with Cyclops with the team relying on minimal ramp and Knowhere shenanigans. So even my backup didn’t fire off. Heck, the one non-bye win I got was by using Firestorm’s damage, with King Black Bolt only being complementary damage. The strategy I intended simply didn’t work in this setting.
-Now, this may seem a bit harsh. Looking at both my losses, my rolls were really bad in the early game, and that put me on the back foot against two teams that just got their optimal setups done. But the fact that the team wasn’t prepared to deal with those bad rolls is a sign of it being poorly built, which is on me. I had literally no use for shields and fists other than Agent Venom’s global, and my only way to “fix” my energy was by rolling bolts…that I’d want to roll anyway. It was inefficient and I made poor choices here.
And there you have it. A team that could’ve been good, but ended up going Knowhere (pun absolutely intended). So tell me, have you been able to make King Black Bolt work without Cosmic Cube? If so, how did you increase his damage output?
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