WHYP: Ultra-mean

This week, it’s the introduction of a new format for the group, one that will encourage us to go old-school. And as a result, it’s a perfect excuse to be…

Ultra-mean

The Team:  I expect this team will be a lot of people’s Kryptonite.

Our group’s new format asks: what if Wizkids established Modern Age as a format in 2016 and banned the 2014 cards? (AVX and UXM) For this, only sets from 2015 and 2016 are legal (YGO to DP). We have a very short ban list in addition to this (essentially, Half-elf Bard is banned – you know which one – as well as the cards that are banned in Golden Age **Initially this said Global Escalation. This was in error. Sorry.**). Should be a fun way to mix things up and bring back some old favorites.

As for the team itself, those cards will probably look like a nostalgia trip to old-school players, and you can probably guess what they’re all for if you played back in those days, but if you didn’t…

Ultraman is the centrepiece of this team. Have him active, use Kryptonite, trigger all of the BACs, and use this to ultimately win. The version of Kryptonite I’m using is no surprise – the common allows you to ignore an opposing character’s text. This is useful if an opponent targets Ultraman with control. Roll 2 Kryptonites, use one to neutralize the control, and the second to try to win. A classic, and well worth using.

 

Good plan, but what BACs will I try to win with? Pretty simple: Dimension Door and Betrayal. This allows me to have complementary strategies. Dimension Door allows my biggest character to go through unblocked for combat damage, and Betrayal allows me to deal non-combat damage. This makes the team much harder to shut down, especially since the damage is not happening at the same time. This is useful against one of the best defensive cards in this format (which I put in this team): Ronin. Using Ronin, I can redirect damage from one source to him once per turn. Amazing against most strategies, but if my opponent takes this out against me, either you can shut down Betrayal’s damage or hold out to stop one character’s worth of combat damage, not both. 

I’m including Storm and Dwarf Wizard to complement both strategies. Storm, who had Attune before that keyword existed, gives me additional non-combat damage when using Kryptonite and the BACs (5 damage total per Kryptonite + Ultraman trigger if I can use all four BACs). Dwarf Wizard, on the other hand, gets up to +10/+10 per Kryptonite + Ultraman trigger, and needless to say, he’s the perfect target for Dimension Door. What also help is that they are both 3-cost, which is a fantastic sweet spot, cost-wise.

So I have a win condition, blanking, defense, support for my win condition…but I need some ramp. Chalkboard, Blue-Eyes White Dragon, and Merlyn fill these roles out nicely. They are all present for their globals, and they serve to give me enough dice and energy to get to Ultraman’s 6-cost. Bonus: Merlyn also acts as an excellent secondary win condition since he’s so hard to block. Blue-Eyes White Dragon, used with Dimension Door, can also be a backup win condition if worse comes to worse (hey, that’s 9 to 11 damage with his ability!).

And with all of that said, on to the games!

Game 1:

First up, I was up against Teen Titans. Great pieces in this team, but thankfully for me, slow at winning. Since I had the speed, I pressed the advantage and went for a Turn 2 Ultraman (after using Chalkboard to Prep a Kryptonite T1). The one disadvantage I had is that my opponent had Wonder Girl active, meaning I couldn’t target Teen Titans with Kryptonite. This forced me into awkward targeting decisions, but it was fine. After a while, I had Dwarf Wizard and Ultraman active, used Kryptonite and all the actions, dealing massive damage for the win.

1-0

Game 2:

Next up, I was up against a Manta Retaliation team. I had the advantage in speed again, which is a good thing, because it took me time to set up. I used the same Kryptonite into Ultraman set up going first, which made my bag messy for a time. Now, while it took me a bit of time to set up, when it fired off, I rolled 2 Kryptonite dice with Ultraman and all the shenanigans of the Wizard and Storm active. I won with absolutely massive overkill.

2-0

Game 3:

Next up, time to go up against Lantern Ring, specifically Bolt Ring. Started with me rolling 3 sidekicks on character face on T1, after reroll (yes, really). So I did absolutely nothing T1, but this time, on T2, I actually managed to Prep my Ultraman instead of messing up my bag. This tremendously helped. From there I had the advantage – my opponent saw I had my big win condition, kept looking for a good opportunity to buy the Lantern Ring but was never sure he had the right setup. I eventually got Ultraman and a Kryptonite set up, and I used his own Cloudkill against him to get just enough combat damage to edge out a victory. I won.

3-0

Game 4: 

For my last match, it’s Ultraman against…Ultraman. Yep, really, a mirror match. Except it’s a mirror match where my Ultraman literally did not roll all game. If you haven’t noticed by the previous games, Ultraman is a comparatively quick team that is unforgiving to go up against, so you can imagine how that went. After consecutive Kryptonite madness, my opponent ROFLstomp’d me before I could get anything going. She won. 

3-1

Post-Mortem:

-What is there to say? Ultraman was always a mean and very effective win condition (that was JUST shy of top competitive play due to the prevalence of Bard back in the day), and in this format, without all of the busted AVX/UXM cards, it’s definitely one of the best strategies available. The fact that my only loss was against another Ultraman team is rather telling.

-With that said, is this the best BAC combo to use here? Of course not. Cloudkill and Front Line would arguably be better. But this was fun to use and didn’t lead to everyone hating me, so I count that as a positive.

-A common theme is that since I ended up going first, I would go for a T2 Ultraman with no Prep. Looking back, it was ok for a casual context, but it’s really bad bag control. I had no churn in this team, only ramp to bypass the bag. My opponents were letting me go first when they would win the rolls probably to avoid me being able to Prep an Ultraman T2, forcing him to go through my bag. A logical strategy in retrospect.

-Having a main control piece that’s vulnerable to the mirror match (Ronin) clearly backfired on me. Should’ve gone for UC Cold Gun to stop my opponent’s Dwarf Wizard from attacking.

So overall, not a bad first attempt at this new nostalgic format. We’re thinking of sticking with it probably until January unless we get a new set. Any old favorites you’d like me to try building around from the 2015+2016 sets?

Let us know in the comments below, on our Socials (@dmNorthTV), or join the conversation on our Discord.

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