The PDC Store Championship Events: What have we learned?

By archivist

First, we in the PDC Staff extend to those of you who participated in these events a heartfelt thank you and to the winners, sincere congratulations!  We are very pleased with the response and enthusiasm all across the United States and Canada.  I have compiled the following data from the results of these events. This information provided insights to the demographics of the DM community and the teams that were being fielded in competition.

 

The Events

We received results from 59 participating stores. We shipped a total of 79 PDC kits, giving us a response rate of 75%. The demographic breakdown of these venues and the participants are:

  • There were 616 registered entrants (some played at more than one event): 362 participated in only one event; 73 in two events; 17 in three events, 8 in four events, and 5 in five events.  This makes the size of the PDC player pool 465 unique participants.
  • There were events held in 21 states (U.S.) and 3 provinces (Canada). Texas had the most stores participate (8), followed by Ohio (6) and California and Washington at 4 apiece.  British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario each had 4 participating stores.
  • The location with the most participants was again Texas with 89, followed by Ohio (69) and Washington (62).  Ontario had the most players in Canada with 40, followed by British Columbia with 39.

The Teams

The PDC collected team data from the 1st and 2nd place finishers from the 59 stores, for a total of 118 teams.  These teams comprised a total of 944 character/action cards and 236 Basic Action Cards (referred to as instances).  Of this population, there were 167 different character/action cards and 34 different BACs.

  • Character/Action card usage broken down by set and the percentage of the 944 total cards:

Avengers vs. X-Men: 205 instances, 42 different cards (22%)

War of Light: 170 instances, 20 different cards (18%)

Battle For Faerun: 127 instances, 18 different cards (13%)

Uncanny X-Men: 122 instances, 20 different cards (13%)

Yu-Gi-Oh: 96 instances, 14 different cards (10%)  

Justice League: 84 instances, 10 different cards (9%)

Age of Ultron: 83 instances, 24 different cards (9%)

Amazing Spider-Man: 38 instances, 14 different cards (4%)

Promo cards: 19 instances, 5 different cards (2%)

  • Basic Action Card usage by set and the percentage of the 220 total cards:

Battle For Faerun: 89 instances, 5 different cards (38%)

War of Light: 42 instances, 2 different cards (18%)

Avengers vs. X-Men: 37 instances, 4 different cards (16%)

Uncanny X-Men: 31 instances, 5 different cards (13%)

Justice League: 13 instances, 4 different cards (6%)

Amazing Spider-Man: 11 instances, 6 different cards (5%)

Yu-Gi-Oh: 7 instances, 3 different cards (3%)  

Age of Ultron: 4 instances, 3 different cards (2%)

Promo cards: 2 instances, 2 different cards (>1%)

 

  • The top 3 Basic Action Cards used were Magic Missile (38), Big Entrance and Polymorph at 31 apiece, then Distraction (25).
  • Most popular cards by set and their number of instances (note: those cards with the same Global Ability were combined in this count):
Age of Ultron Wasp Founding Avenger 19
Amazing Spider-Man Black Widow Stinger 10
Avengers vs. X-Men Black Widow Tsarina 31
Battle For Faerun Red Dragon Lesser/Greater/Epic Dragon 42
Justice League Constantine Hellblazer 64
Promo Card Iron Fist The Immortal 13
Uncanny X-Men Professor X RYM/Trainer 83
War of Light Mera Mournful Rage/Queen of Atlantis 37
Yu-Gi-Oh Jinzo Trap Destroyer 23

 

  • The Action Card used the most was Lantern Ring – Limited Only By Imagination (20).
  • Of the 167 different character/action cards, 73 (44%) were only used once (aka “1 ofs”) and 24 (14%) were only used twice (aka “2 ofs”).

 

  • The Top 10 Character/Action cards used (note: those cards with the same Global Ability were combined in this count):
Rank Instances
1 Professor X Recruiting Young Mutants / Trainer 83
2 Constantine Hellblazer 64
3 Red Dragon Lesser/Greater/Epic Dragon 42
4 Mera Queen of Atlantis / Mournful Rage 37
5 Human Paladin Lesser Emerald Enclave 35
6 Parallax Source of Terror / Fear 32
7 Black Widow Tsarina 31
8 Hulk Green Goliath 30
9 Miri Riam Beacon in the Dark 28
10 Guy Gardner Blinding Rage 27

 

So, what does all this mean?

The Top 10 is the Meta, sort of. Most, if not all, competitive players search for that high percentage winning team comprising of the best cards.  Of the 118 teams, the breakdown of Top 10 (T10) cards used on each team was:

  • 5 teams used seven T10 cards (note: 3 of these 5 teams were 1st place finishers)
  • 6 teams used six T10 cards (note: 2 of these 6 teams were 1st place finishers)
  • 26 teams used five T10 cards
  • 20 teams used four T10 cards
  • 25 teams used three T10 cards
  • 22 teams used two T10 cards
  • 9 teams used one T10 card (note: only 2 of these 9 teams were 1st place finishers)
  • 5 teams used no T10 cards (note: only 1 of these 5 teams was a 1st place finisher)

 

When you look at the Top 10, five (or 50%) of these cards have significant Global Abilities, and of the top 5, only Constantine is without a global.  Those teams that used 4 or more of the T10 cards tended to be a control archetype, while those teams using 3 or fewer T10 cards, tended to be an aggro archetype.  So the Meta is based more on a particular player’s style of play than on a static deck of 10 or so cards.  However, the winning PDC teams generally had an average of three T10 cards apiece.  

To bring PXG or not?  Of the 118 teams, 70% of them used Professor X.  This opens up some strategic choices for the player competing in major tournaments: do you forego the use of this card to insert another character/action, given that it is highly probable your opponent will be using Professor X?  Do you insert a counter (e.g. Prismatic Spray) to disrupt your opponent’s game? (note: Prismatic Spray was only used 11 times)  With the popularity of this card, an interesting situation presents itself pertaining to the evolution of team-building if PXG gets rotated out of being competition legal in the future.

We are starting to see more variety.  While the AvX set is still the most popular, the War of Light set is a near second, which is good for newer players in that this set is still readily available.  Another interesting fact is that 58% of the unique cards used were only used once or twice.  This can be attributed to there being more cards to choose from, but it also shows that many teams did not use a common set of cards, outside of the Top Ten cards.  This is a positive trend in the game in that there are so many winning combinations available that do not rely on the same 5 or 6 cards.  

Constantine is the Control Card.  While several of the more widely known control cards were used by the PDC participants, over 50% of the winning teams used Constantine, confirming the already known utility of this card.  It is also by far and away the most popular card from the Justice League set.  The second and third most used cards were Constantine’s Antihero version and Joker – Clown Prince of Crime at a paltry 5 and 4 uses apiece.

The Classics are still popular, but there’s a new kid in town.  Tsarina and Hulk are still stalwart favorites, for good reason.  While there are several counters to these cards available, their abilities are still too attractive and versatile across a number of playing styles: the inexpensive “death by a thousand cuts” and “dice manipulation” i.e. spinning down posed by Tsarina and the board clearing, all around brutishness of Hulk.  However, we are seeing the emergence of a new member to this character club, Guy Gardner, with his force multiplier attack and inexpensive stats, he will be a staple in many future teams.   

The Dice Masters community is growing.  While this is mostly a subjective statement, given where the scene was last year to now, with the number of stores across North America holding organized events, the data we’ve gathered from the PDC Events indicates a more positive vibe in the community.  I will concede that 465 PDC participants is small compared to similar games, but Dice Masters is attracting more interest, not just for the collectible aspects, but because of the enjoyment of fielding a team of superheroes, fantastical creatures or a mash-up of the two, chucking some dice and outwitting your opponent for the win!

This gives us here in the PDC Staff encouragement to organize future events for you.  We hope you enjoyed participating.