Beyond 1-0: A Guide to Data Doll
At the core of Metrix is the beating- or perhaps more accurately, “beeping”- heart of Data Doll. She is the eyes and ears of Metrix’s esteemed scientists. There's a lot to say about Data Doll that hasn’t been said in an article before, in large part because of her glaring weaknesses. But today, I'm going to take you past the zeroes and show you the ones- those winning points that give Data Doll a unique playstyle and, possibly, set up a strategy you can win with.
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Let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room. Three Intellect. For such a smart character she definitely has slower processing speeds than your average human. This setback is absolutely necessary for game balance, and without it she would see high play in competitive-level events. Imagine having four intellect and playing up to four items a turn, all the while without paying for them. This is the dream for Data Doll players like myself. (No, seriously, this is the kind of thing I dream about.)
There's also the limitations of the Mechanologist Item options. The usefulness of these inventions varies widely, before even accounting for how well Data Doll can or can't utilize them. She misses out on Dash's specialization, Teklo Core, and don’t get me started on Items' lack of block! (At some point, you will draw three items.)
To apply pressure, you have to run as many Mechanologist cards as you can- both to string together chains of attacks and to banish your Items. Generics are essentially a non-starter; failing a Boost by banishing a generic card can halt your incremental and delicate momentum.
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I know so far I haven’t presented a compelling case for Data Doll. At all. But the dopamine rush of banishing Items more than makes up for the true depression that is banishing red Throttle (your only Mechanologist attack that deals more than five damage).
But look at Data Doll's ability in a different light. Dash's hero ability allows her to start the game with one Item in play, without paying its costs. Data Doll, on the other hand, can bring out any number of Items throughout the game, each at no cost, simply by banishing- something you're already likely to be doing as a Mechanologist.
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The Data Doll deck that I enjoy most has a few combos, set up turns, and key lines of play that can be extremely fun against any deck. You can see it in play on Rite Time Gaming’s YouTube channel.
Disclaimer: in the video, you see a Kayo rolling below four far too many times, but you can see Data Doll's Item banishing and a few big Throttle turns.
The deck consists entirely of Mechanologist cards, meaning you never fail a boost. Data Doll's already on the back foot in card advantage; failing boosts make your turns even smaller than they already are. It also means you will always draw at least one card with boost- essential for getting your free Items on the field and triggering Teklo Foundry Heart.
This legendary equipment helps you with pitch efficiency, since you don't have cards in hand to spare. It's also 2 more chances to put an Item into the arena.
The Mechanologist boost cards we use are also relatively cheap, which means we don't need to pitch nearly as often. High Speed Impact, Zero to Sixty, and Zipper Hit keep your deck moving even when resources are low. The deck also relies on Throttle and Zipper Hit in red for higher damage- which we'll be sticking Dominate on as often as possible.
Overall, this deck follows an aggressive strategy that puts emphasis on a “race to the finish”- which is entirely necessary, as you'll burn through your deck much quicker than your opponent. You aren’t going to block at all- you can't afford to with a three card hand!
While we're not throwing cards on the defensive, we do still look to extend our life and avoid some damage. Dissipation Shield acts as an unpredictable Sink Below, and getting it out early gives you more time to set up a big combo turn. While you don't need to use it on the first attack that comes your way, it’s important to use it earlier rather than later, as it loses some defense each turn you leave it in play.
The deck uses eleven or twelve Items, which means roughly a quarter of the deck is Items. This is important for consistent banishes- and you want Items out so their effects can offset your inherent card disadvantage. We've talked about Dissipation Shield, but what about the other items?
The most important Item to note is Optekal Monocle. It allows you to opt one at a time in exchange for a steam counter; Optekal comes into play with five steam counters, which means five opts. This effect is not a once per turn, allowing you to effectively search the top of your deck for the Items you want to boost into play. Getting Optekal Monocle out early allows for you to actively find your items, instead of relying solely on luck.
We're also looking to find Induction Chamber early, for the same reasons it's good in Dash: it's a cheap way to attack multiple times, forcing your opponent to block late game. And we know Data Doll needs things to be
cheap. It goes hand in hand with Plasma Purifier if you decide to run it- however it can get a bit too expensive loading every Item, which is why this version of the deck does not run it.
To help with resources, you have Hyper Driver. This Item is extremely useful for reloading your pistol or paying for Teklo Foundry Heart's effect. I stated above that Convection Amplifier pushes through damage via dominate, which is important for those Throttle turns.
Absorption Dome just helps to block small amounts of damage when you need to; it's better against Kodachis to stop Mask draws, or to help you block critical attacks that hit for four.When the meta shifts away from Ira, running a Plasma Purifier or more low cost attacks will be a better choice than keeping Absorption Dome in.
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One thing I love most in this world is probability theory and statistics. (Yes, I'm fun at parties.) In developing this deck, I turned to hypergeometric distribution- the discrete probability distribution that describes the probability of successes. To put it succinctly, I looked at the probability we'd boost our Items based on the number of Items in my deck.
High probability is important- but so is survival! As my odds of boosting an Item went up, so did my chances of drawing said Items. We also need to deal enough damage to stay in the game.
Probability theory is a huge part of any trading card game, but aggressive Mechanologist decks- with their emphasis on boost- have made it a core mechanic. And no hero does it more than Data Doll- at least, the sort of Data Doll deck I like to run.
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As you can see, I've put a lot of work into this dismissed character. A few people have asked me why I decided to play Data Doll in the first place. And I have to admit, it started purely because of my love for robots. I continued to play the deck, however, when I noticed how methodical her game play design was. She is a calculated and intelligent character, and it shows in her development and design. I really appreciate the care that has gone into her character, and I wanted to show the world how fun a Data Doll deck could be. I appreciate the people who encouraged me to play the deck at the calling last January, and I cannot wait to continue to develop the deck further.
Love to see all the work you've put into the deck come to light! Hopefully this will encourage more people to pick the deck up and maybe, something will be found that lets it move up a tier or two with more minds working on it. Proud of you :) <3
Great article and this looks like fun! I’ve had a Data Doll and Teklo Foundry Heart sitting around begging me to be used. This looks like a great (and different) way to transition back to blitz!
A very well thought out and calculated article! Love the focus on lesser utilized heroes.
I look forward to seeing how well this does against the new heroes. Putting it together for the next Skirmish season.
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