• Civil War: Are you Team Cap or Team Iron Man?

    Whose Side Are You On?

    So it turns out there's this thing, maybe you've heard of it, called Civil War? By the time this article is published, I imagine a good number of you will have seen the latest entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which I'm confidently pre-reviewing as totally awesome. But I don't think you're here to read about the movie, but about this little Dice Masters set that just so happens to be coming out this same week (a complete coincidence, I'm certain).

    Both the movie and the Dice Masters set are based on a comic book event from 2006/07 of the same name. The comic book series starts off with the New Warriors (an affiliation we see for the first time in this set) facing off against a group of baddies in the small town of Stamford, CT. One thing leads to another and a character known as Nitro explodes like an atomic bomb, killing over 600 people including 60 children at a nearby elementary school. The American public is none to thrilled with superheroes (or "Living Weapons of Mass Destruction") and a new law is passed: The Superhero Registration Act.

    All of this is somewhat standard comic fare so far, but there is, of course, a twist. The two most iconic members of the Avengers, Iron Man and Captain America, are on opposite sides of the conflict. Iron Man believes that superheroes need training, oversight, and accountability. Captain America believes that politicians shouldn't be the ones to decide who the "appropriate" villains are. Both reasonable viewpoints, but these are comics so of course this leads to battles. Sides form up between those who are "Pro-Registration" or "Anti-Registration", with Iron Man and Captain America (respectively) leading those factions.

    And this brings us to Dice Masters. I feel that this is one of the best sets so far when it comes to tying the "theme" of the set together with the comics it is based on. We can see this most clearly with the Resistance and Enlistment mechanics, personified by the leaders of the factions: Captain America and Iron Man.

    We'll start with #TeamCap. As has already been revealed elsewhere, Wizkids is doing something different with the format of the sets. Since the set is so focused around these two characters, they had to be included in the Starter Set, but they also wanted them to be draftable and sought after in booster packs. So the Starter Set only has two versions instead of three, plus the Common version and now also a Super Rare version.

    First, the die itself. Captain America gets a new die mold, with a nice mottled red/blue and a cool shield-throwing icon in white ink. Game-wise, he is once again a energy type (like he was in AvX and UXM), after being changed to a for Age of Ultron. He's a TFC-5 (1,2,2) with very similar stat line to his other versions (2/4, 4/5, 5/5). His costs range from 4 (in the Starter) to 5 (in the boosters), which is comparable to his other cards.

    Every one of the Star-Spangled Avenger's cards contains the new Resistance keyword. Thematically, this provides a special benefit to you/your characters if/when one of your characters is KO'd. When you're down and out and your friends are getting hurt around you, you step up and become stronger. We can see this mechanic on some of Cap's friends (like the Winter Soldier), his shield (Vibranium Shield), and even some Basic Action Cards (Escape Incarceration, Long Live the Resistance!). We can even see it on some Villains (Baron Zemo is no fan of the Registration Act - makes sense for a guy with a mask over his face). And, of course, Cap.

    Both of the Starter versions of Captain America cost 4, and have similar effects. Both of them spin themselves up at the end of your turn, if they are still active. The longer Cap stays out, the better he is. In addition, at the end of the turn you get an additional Resistance bonus if any of your characters got KO'd. Anti-Reg gives you 1 life, whereas Freedom Fighter will deal 1 damage to an opponent. I'd almost always go for the damage, unless you see a lot of Hulk in your meta.

    The Common Man on the Run and the Super Rare The Price of Freedom (spoiled on the original Dice Tower video) are also similar to each other. Both cost 5, and both have similar "either/or" Resistance effects. The Common allows you to KO a target Sidekick at the end of your turn, or if you had at least one character KO'd then you get to KO any level 1 character. The Super Rare is yet another Sidekick booster, that depends on the timing of when you field him. If you field him prior to any of your characters being KO'd, one Sidekick gets +2A. If you are able to field him after a KO, the Sidekick gets +2A and +2D.

    So now that we've seen all the Captain Americas, which one would I put on my team? To be honest, I like the versions in the Starter slightly more than the ones in the boosters. They're cheaper, and I like the automatic spin-up for staying active. I'd probably go for the Freedom Fighter because I like direct damage, even if it's just 1 at a time. It will make my opponent think twice about KOing my characters, kind of like a mini-Retaliation. As for the Resistance mechanic itself, I think my favorite card that I've seen so far is the Uncommon Vibranium Shield: Deflecting Bullets. Every time I BEWD I can give all the rest of my dice +2D, and this can get really fun with an Uncommon Alfred Pennyworth: MI-5 combo team.

    #TeamIronMan anyone? The genius billionaire playboy philanthropist also gets a new die showcasing his mask instead of his arc reactor, for once. He retains his energy type from Age of Ultron, but goes up from a TFC-4 to a TFC-6 (1,2,3). Do his stats justify the increase? Well, not really. He's got about the same stats as before (4/4, 5/5, 6/6) and about the same purchase prices as before (4-5). So do his abilities make up for it?

    Iron Man features another new, thematic keyword in this set: Enlistment. These are different abilities that trigger when something happens (fielding, attacking, getting KO'd) but give your opponent the ability to cancel them by KOing one of their own character dice. I really like how in this set, I can field a character with Enlistment, my opponent can KO a character they control to stop it, and that will then allow one of their Resistance abilities to trigger. This keyword is also found on some of Iron Man's loyal allies (Maria Hill, Captain Marvel) and even some Villains who know which way the political winds are blowing (Bullseye, Radioactive Man).

    The Starter contains the only Iron Man without Enlistment: Pro-Reg. This is also the cheapest at 4, but its ability leaves a little to be desired. If you roll him on a face (only level 1) and field him, one of your characters gets +2D. Otherwise, he's basically a blank card. I'd rather use...any of the AoU ones then The other, Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., is a 5 with the permanent ability that anyone he blocks gets -2A. In addition, his Enlistment ability KOs anyone he blocks immediately (before Globals or combat damage) unless your opponent immediately KOs a different character. Definitely forcing some bad choices on your opponent if you have Iron Man out as a blocker.

    The common Iron Man: Secretary of Defense has two abilities. First, if you roll and field him on his level 1 face, you gain 1 life. That's a nice bonus, but his Enlistment bonus is where he really shines. When you field him, he makes your opponent choose between KOing 1 character or being completely unable to block. The biggest downside, of course, is once again his TFC of 6.

    And now, our first look at the Super Rare Iron Man: Extremis! Each and every turn, as long as he is active, your opponent has to choose between KOing one of their characters, or having to pay 1 more energy to field their Sidekicks. I do think this is a cool ability, and would be a lot greater if it weren't for 3 facts: if your opponent doesn't want to field Sidekicks that turn, they don't care; it allows them a "free" KO if they want/need it to trigger abilities; and 2 versions of Venom in this set do the exact same thing without giving your opponent the ability to avoid it (and the Common does it at 1 less purchase cost). I really wanted to like this card a lot more, but overall I'd have to go with the Common for the "best" version in the set.

    About the Enlistment mechanic overall? I think the best character with the ability is (ironically) Falcon: Aviary. You gain 1 life each time your opponent fields a Sidekick (unless they also KO a character). But shouldn't Falcon be on Cap's side...?

    What's also cool and thematic about the mechanics is how Mary Jane interacts with them. In the comics, Peter Parker was a poster child for the Registration Act, publically revealing his identity for the first time...ever. But after learning more about what is being done to heroes who oppose the Act, he switches sides. In the game, the Common Mary Jane: Supermodel works on a Resistance team, the Uncommon Mary Jane: Watson-Parker works very well on an Enlistment team, and the Rare Mary Jane: Hostage in my Own House helps both sides.

    So which side are you looking forward to playing? #TeamCap and Resistance? #TeamIronMan and Enslistment? The Thunderbolts? The New Warriors? Let us know! And once again, thanks to Wizkids for the privilege of spoiling some of these cards!
    Comments 7 Comments
    1. Mactavius's Avatar
      Mactavius -
      I'm rooting for the side that provides a good defensive card for dealing with action dice.
    1. gladiator_posse's Avatar
      gladiator_posse -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mactavius View Post
      I'm rooting for the side that provides a good defensive card for dealing with action dice.
      I'm still digging World's Finest myself.
    1. StrangeBrew's Avatar
      StrangeBrew -
      My side is Team Bolts. Rare Radioactive Man is very cool. Rare Pepper Potts plus Common Iron Man is plus one life every time she tips over (or just use her common and give him a D of 7 at Level 1).
    1. chrisrhenke's Avatar
      chrisrhenke -
      Quote Originally Posted by StrangeBrew View Post
      My side is Team Bolts. Rare Radioactive Man is very cool. Rare Pepper Potts plus Common Iron Man is plus one life every time she tips over (or just use her common and give him a D of 7 at Level 1).

      Am I missing some application of rare Radioactive Man? Doesn't sound that great to roll a die post-combat. What can you even do with it except hold the energy for a global. You draw a good character or action die, and it's just cycled out unused.
    1. IsaacBV's Avatar
      IsaacBV -
      Nice write up. And yes I would agree that MJ is pretty great!
    1. fun4willis's Avatar
      fun4willis -
      I just started reading the Civil War series via Marvel Unlimited.

      Found the following promo code for first month free. Expires 5/15/16. Use Promo Code TEAMCAP or TEAMIM.
    1. Shapeshifter's Avatar
      Shapeshifter -
      In the movie, I'm team Ironman. I think his argument was stronger than Cap's who seemed more concerned for winter soldier than the right to freedom away from registration.

      In dicemasters, I will have to side with neither. There just isn't enough content there to build a resistance or enlistment based team. Sadly my fav appearance of the two sides appear on basic action cards (registration act and escape incarceration)