Now that the competitive Dice Masters season is over, my local group decided to go back to 2021 Modern, to try out some of the synergies between the new sets and the Campaign Box era. And suddenly…
What’s Old is New Again
The Team: With this team, victory is…in Range.
To be honest, I wasn’t too sure what to do with this team at first. All I knew is: I wanted good stats, and I wanted to use Asuka to make some of those great mask characters from SKC cheaper. Two of them came to mind: SR Harley Quinn and R Shazam. Harley makes my sidekicks stronger and turns them into some handy removal. As for Shazam, since he gives Range 2 to my characters, my opponents won’t be able to keep much of anything active with him around.
Since I already have a mask team going, might as well go full out. If I’m going to KO opposing characters to win, might as well benefit! Enter Ork Nob, who gets buffed for every KO’d character. When a 2-cost can reliably reach 6+ attack, you won’t have a hard time getting to 20 damage. And for any strategy that relies on one energy type, you need consistency, so I added Intellect Devourer to use his global and get mask energy more reliably.
But with SR Harley, I also want to get some sidekicks. Enter Clayface and Batman. Clayface allows me to get my Ork Nob dice on double mask energy, and easily trigger Batman. By doing so, I field sidekicks, who are buffed by Harley and KO opposing characters. If I time this right, I can avoid my opponents fielding sidekicks from the effect as well. Note: I went with SR Batman in this team because the R is far less useful when you don’t have a plan to reliably KO your own characters.
The rest of the team is utility. Villainous Pact is there for bag management (and the action is a backup plan, of course), Confront The Mighty is there to counter opposing control pieces, and Typhoid Mary is there for a bit of control, since I know my strategy takes some time to set up.
And with all of that said, on to the games!
My first game of the evening was against a very focused SR Mary Shazam team. Interesting matchup: a “go wide” strategy that overwhelms the opponent with numbers against a strategy that brings one huge, overcrushing beatstick at me. It certainly started well for him, as he got his Mary Shazam to 11A, and I had all of 2 toughness on the board to stop him (a lvl 1 Asuka). So obviously I didn’t block. But then I bought Shazam, and once he hit the board, the game’s dynamic changed. Suddenly I could withstand Mary’s stats much better (especially when using my opponent’s Orion global), and I started keeping more characters active. Then, Harley hit the field (after not rolling 2 or 3 times, to be fair). Then, even though I took more hits, I managed to last long enough to do one big attack, KO his entire board with the Range damage from Shazam, and win. I was down to 5 life by that point, but I made it.
My second opponent had a Hope/Colossus team with Awaken shenanigans. This was a change of pace, as my opponent saw my strategy, and his first purchase was U Angela to neutralize the “When fielded” effect Harley gives my sidekicks. I bought Harley anyway (discounted with Asuka) as I didn’t have a better option at that cost. But he was dealing steady damage with Hope, so I knew I needed to turn the situation around quick. Buying Harley paid off even without the “When fielded” effect, as my buffed sidekicks gave me a lot of damage on the board. My opponent seemed to have the situation under control, but when Shazam was fielded, I KO’d my opponent’s whole board and dealt enough damage to win (also helped by a Range-fueled Nob). It was very sudden, and made me appreciate just how powerful that Shazam is.
For my last game, I went up against SR Jubilee used alongside R Batman. So this one was going bad in a hurry for me, as her SR Jubilee hit the field and she rolled a ton of sidekicks. I was quickly down to 8 life before I ever got my strategy going. But then I got Typhoid Mary on the field, blanked Jubilee, and my Harley eventually hit the field. With Harley on, my sidekicks allowed me to thin out my opponent’s board. My opponent did try to use the Batman global against me…except that I managed my bag correctly, and as a result, I would get to field sidekicks too, allowing me to take out her newly fielded sidekicks. She tried to get her own Typhoid Mary, but it was too late by then, and I managed to make a big enough attack to win.
-It is seriously unfortunate that Clayface rotated out around the time SKC released. The Batman global is so much easier to trigger when you have an easy way to get double mask energy like this.
-In terms of my raw damage output, something in there was definitely overkill. I was consistently dealing 25+ damage on my winning turns. Some of that damage output could definitely have been switched for something else.
-I hadn’t played that much with Shazam in a constructed setting yet. One thing I’m noticing is that with him around, the entire dynamic of the game changes – blockers are much less of a factor, if at all, if his Range damage is left unchecked. Plus, with his own stats, you already get 25 to 35% of the damage you need to win. If he hits the field after you build a decent board presence, it’s just game over.
-Now, on a couple of low-hanging fruits I didn’t include: no, I didn’t put SR Wonder Woman. Sure, it would’ve been cool, and very easy to purchase thanks to Asuka, but honestly, that would’ve gone too far. Also, R Brainiac instead of Shazam would certainly have been a far easier purchase, but I really wanted to try Shazam this time, and I don’t regret it.
-The whole evening, I wanted one more mid-range (4-5) purchase cost mask character, or at least one I’d want to buy multiple dice for. Asuka makes those so much easier to get, and I had no incentive to buy multiple Harleys. I guess this is why Asuka works so well with the 5-cost Poison Ivy (Criminal Because of Love).
So there you have it. We’ll likely be sticking with the 2021 Modern format until at least the release of Secret Wars, to allow for some fun and variety. Now, keeping in mind that I’m staying away from the obvious big bads, are there any SKC cards you’d like seeing used in combos with 2021 Modern?
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