Recently we had a Rainbow Draft Tournament at our FLGS. As I said in the review I did for this set, I think this is a set that’s particularly going to lend itself to Rainbow Draft, due to the high number of powers and abilities that trigger off of other lanterns being in play, so I was keen to try it. I’m also still missing A LOT of cards and dice for this set, so it was a useful chance to fill some holes in the collection.
Doing a take-home draft instantly throws an interesting element into the Rainbow draft – the previous few we’ve run have been done as a way of getting some interest out of opening one guy’s gravity feed, so everyone was focused on trying to build a team. This time, the knowledge that we’d be taking home whatever we drafted disrupted the game-building a bit, especially in the obvious “if you have a (super-) rare card in hand, take it.”
I was fortunate enough to pick up two rares early on (the player next to me had two successive hands with duplicate rares), both of which I kept for the collection, but decided instead to build a team around the Teen Titans. I’ve already said elsewhere that I’m not convinced they really work as a build for constructed events, but in the past I’ve had good luck with Rainbow draft teams that only require a couple of cards, so thought I’d give it a go. I managed to pick up all 3 versions of Wonder Girl and the common and uncommon Raven, but unfortunately a couple of other people had similar ideas, and I only came out with a single dice apiece for Beast Boy and Starfire.
Due to the way that team affiliations work, Villains have always felt like they were some of the most flexible cards across the various sets, and having filled 4 slots with Teen Titans, I took villains for my other 4. The non-starter version of Lex Luthor looked like a good fit for the Villains team I’ve been playing around with in our all-commons completion, so I’d picked him up – he offers a chance for some extra dice draw, along with a bit of filtering if you have plenty of villains fielded. I also grabbed the common Lyssa Drak who was appealing as a 2-cost character (although sadly I only managed to pick up 1 dice, and I’m not really convinced about the usefulness of the ability). There was a flood of Superboy Prime in the second half of the draft, so I took a couple of his dice- expensive at 6 cost, but when active he sends KO-ed bolt characters to the used pile instead of the prep area, which is nice if someone is using lots of characters like the common Jade which rely on getting knocked out.
For basic actions, I took Teamwork, which goes in most of my builds, and offered potential boosts of upto +3 +3 for the Titans and/or the Villains. I also went for Casualties, which directly knocks out sidekicks. This was designed to combo with the rare Wonder Girl, which had the potential to damage the opponent once per turn if a sidekick was out.
My basic strategy for this team then, was to get a Wonder Girl active (for direct damage to the opponent) then a Raven who allowed me to re-roll Wonder Girl if she got knocked out, then do my level best to ensure that at least one side-kick was knocked out each round. Longer term, if I had the energy, I would get a Starfire in play, and try to field as many Teen Titans as possible, for an extra bit of direct damage, or go for a Superboy if there were a lot of Bolt characters opposite me.
– We played 3 rounds, each was best of 3 games with a 1-hour time frame. In the first game, my opponent had the Common Lantern Battery which prevents damage, along with the rare Carol Ferris who was returned to the field every time she was knocked out, and the Common Atom which cannot be damaged by characters of a higher level. Once I had my Wonder Girl / Raven pairing out, he stopped fielding sidekicks, meaning I could only damage him extremely slowly on the turns I could get my own sidekicks through: As he had a small amount of healing from uncommon Mera who triggered off of different coloured lanterns being fielded, this blunted the impact of my direct damage efffects. After 45 minutes we were still in our first game – I had him down to about 10 life, and was still on 20. I tried letting some attacks through undefended to see if I could find a space to attack through, but it was still about 9-6 when they called time on the round:
Nil-Nil: Played 1, drawn 1.
Second round I fared somewhat better. Although there were some fairly nasty characters opposite, most notably the Rare Scarecrow, who functions in a similar fashion to Storm from AvX, rerolling a character of choice – but with the added sting that if they roll energy, you K.O. all copies of that character (on the plus side, they go to prep, not used, and don’t deal damage you damage when they go). Fortunately for me, the Raven re-roll meant that I never got too thin on the ground, and as my opponent was happy to keep fielding sidekicks (and to keep attacking with character I could block with sidekicks), I was able to keep the direct damage ticking over fairly quickly. I won the first game, and was leading in the second when they called time on the round.
1-Nil: Played 2 – won 1, drawn 1.
I knew that round 3 wasn’t going to last long as soon as I noticed that my opponent had brought Magic Missile. Unfortunately, this was only after he had bought the first two, but I got the third to keep the game interesting. My strategy was much the same as before, but with direct damage coming off of the magic missiles. He also had a global to draw a dice once per turn, and things went round fairly quickly. The match went all the way to three games, and we still wrapped up with time to spare.
2-1: Played 3 – won 2, drawn 1.
Two wins and a draw from 3 games was enough for second place. I was happy enough with Alt Art Aquaman and Robin, not to mention a batmobile complete with dice (and, completely inexplicably the “no art” batmobile).
Our overall winner had won all three matches, securing himself the full set of prizes, including the rather haunting (and apparently extremely valuable) Alternate Art Joker. His team was (apparently, I didn’t actually play him) built around flooding the board with cheap characters, then chipping away at the opponent with 2 or 3 damage at a time. He had the common Fatality targeting annoying opposing characters (based on the number of different lantern colours in play), as well as the common Wonder Girl, and Miri Riam. He also allowed a fair number of unblocked attacks through to thin his opponent’s board (and move characters to used instead of KO), and allow him to get his own attacks back for the win
His top tip for future rainbow draft was to pair the uncommon Lyssa Drak and Uncommon Scarecrow – this allows you to nominate a colour of lantern then make your opponent pay lie to field characters of that colour, and make them take damage when a character of that colour enters their used pile (so they cannot buy these dice, use them as energy, or make an un-blocked attack without taking damage: a hideous combination indeed if you know your opponent will be bringing lots of Lanterns.)
Overall, it was good to get some more play in of this set, and I definitely think that Rainbow Draft is the best format for this set. I’m still not a fan of the Lantern symbols as they appear in card-text – Blue Lantern, Orange Lantern and Sinestro Corps are all much too similar for my liking, and regularly made my eyes go funny, but overall, I’d say my experience was a positive one.
There are definitely cards in here which seem good, and which will grow with time. I’ve heard rumours of a Teen Titans Robin and possibly a Team Titans Cyborg coming in the spring, which will only increase the value of cards like Raven and Starfire. The Lantern Rings and Batteries have some real potential for either boosting your hitting power, or warding off opposing attacks, and there are definitely some villains to watch for the future.
Next Rainbow draft for us will probably be Spiderman, so we shall wait and see what the new set brings.