• Superman and Wonder Woman Starter Set: Basic Actions Preview

    So, we finally got a look at the Superman and Wonder Woman Starter Set. My favorite part of previewing Starter Sets is taking a look at the new Basic Actions. That may be even more true now that we are getting less Starters than when the game was in its early stages. And with the addition of the Modern format, we have had our pool of Basic Actions drastically cut for constructed events. It’s not a far stretch to say that the available Basic Actions can make or break what team builds will see success. We got five brand new Basic actions, and five reprinted from earlier sets to make them available in the Modern format. First, let’s review the reprints.



    Dimension Door – 4 cost. “Target character die you control cannot be blocked (until end of turn).” This one never saw a lot of competitive play before. Meta win conditions will always cycle. When the game started it was typical to attack with a single character for 16+ damage and get the win. We’ve moved away from that, and saw direct damage become more prevalent with the rare Lantern Ring. We also saw the Half-Elf Bard come and go, providing a win condition through combat damage, but with many characters attacking instead of just one. The super rare Ultraman seems to be a popular choice in Modern. It’s not a far cry to think we could once again get to a point where the win condition would be powering up a single character, and activating Dimension Door to attack for the win.



    Resurrection – 4 cost. “Roll a die in your Used Pile and place it into your Reserve Pool. Global: Pay . Once per turn, on your turn, draw a die from your bag and Prep it.” Finally! It’s a shame (depending on who you ask) this won’t be legal for the World Championship this year, because this card was such a staple for so long, regardless of format. You need your constructed team to operate like a well-oiled machine triggering bag refills at opportune times? Use Resurrection. You don’t like how your rainbow draft went, and aren’t confident how you’ll be able to roll 4+ dice per turn? Use Resurrection. I know we have globals with similar effects. But all of them are situational. This one has no strings attached, and I welcome it back.

    However…

    I need to be honest for a moment. I’m glad that WizKids is familiar with common terms that we use as players. “Prep a die” means to put a die in your Prep Area. But the verb to “Prep” something has never been used in official Dice Masters card abilities before, and to my knowledge is not defined anywhere. I would much prefer that WizKids sticks to using defined terms and keywords, instead of using slang that their players develop. There’s a lot of current complaints with Dice Masters. Some are legitimate, while other are more of the “hater’s gonna hate” variety. Most of these complaints are rooted in the language on the cards not being uniform or properly defined. I, for one, would love to be playing a game with a clearer, more concise vernacular in which I didn’t have to wonder if two cards had the same ability because their wordings are mostly the same. I agree with updating card text for reprinting as called for, such as the Thrown Car basic action. The reprint uses the Overcrush keyword because it didn’t exist when Thrown Car was first released. There is no such case to be made for Resurrection. Moving on…



    Save Civilians – 3 cost. “Whenever you field a Sidekick this turn, reduce the fielding cost of another die by 1, draw a die from your bag, and Prep it.” Another Basic Action like Dimension Door that never saw a lot of competitive play. If you have a way to field sidekicks on demand, like with the White Tiger global or Ring global, this could be an easy way to gain some acceleration. Instead of paying an energy to field something, you turn that energy to a sidekick, and reduce the fielding cost by 1. You are using the same amount of dice, but netting plus one body in your field. AND you get to draw a die and “Prep” it. (I’m fine with that being an official term for the game as long as we get it defined in the rulebook.)



    Take Cover – 3 cost. “Character dice you control get +2D. */** Target character die gets an extra +3D. Global: Pay . Target character die gets +1D (until end of turn).” This one is straight forward. There’s not too many instances you want your characters to have higher D stats on your own turn, but the situations do exist. Because of its low rate of usefulness, I wish it only cost two energy, but alas. It’s three. The global on it can be useful if your opponent is using Overcrush, to let less damage get through to you. I don’t love it, but it’s another tool in the toolbox.



    The Outsider – 3 cost. “Draw a die from your bag. If it is a Villain die, field it on its level 2 side without paying its fielding cost. Otherwise, place it in your Used Pile, and if it was a Sidekick die, Prep this die. Global: Pay . Target Villain character die gets +2A (until end of turn). Character dice may only be targeted by this Global Ability once per turn.” Oh man! A reprint of an older OP Prize card. It’s nice to know that other OP Prize cards are still on the table as well for future reprints. This could be really good with all of the flip cards we now have where one side has the Villain affiliation. You could make sure to flip to the Villain side the turn you know this die is coming, increase your chances to get that free fielding on level two. The global is nice. Not stellar.

    Alright, on to the new Basic Actions!




    Misdirection – 2 cost. “Swap target active character die you control with a character die in your Used Pile, placing it on the same level. */** Also, draw a die from your bag and Prep it.” Wow! This is like Polymorph/Mutation action, except it can only be used on your own characters. I also like the “…placing it on the same level.” part. I have a feeling this is going to see a ton of play. It would probably still be viable at 3 cost, being able to bring in a level 2 or 3 character. But it’s only a 2 cost? Sure, sign me up. I don’t know how much I like the burst effect to draw and Prep a die. I mean, drawing dice is nice. But most teams I run want to know when I will be able to draw and when I won’t to streamline bag management. I don’t like that 33% of the time when you use this action you will not draw and Prep a die. Still, this action could really be game defining moving forward.



    Plot Twist – 5 cost. “Draw up to two dice from your opponent's bag and roll any character dice, returning the rest to their bag. You may field them for free under your control. Place them in your opponent's Used Pile at the end of the turn (regardless of their location).” Man… this could be back breaking if used at the right moment. What’s really nice, is that even if you draw a character and it comes up energy, the die still gets sent to their Used Pile at the end of your turn. So, even if you don’t get to take advantage of using their character, you force them to go through their bag again to get it. I think this Basic Action will see most of its play alongside characters like Ultraman that can use basic action effects. 5 cost is just too much to spend on an action that might yield no effect.



    Small Step For Man – 3 cost. “Spin all character dice in the Field Zone to level 1.” Short and sweet. Very straight forward. I could see it working well with a character like the OP Scarecrow that wants opposing characters to have low A values. I feel like I’m missing a potentially game-winning combo with ensuring all of your opponent’s characters are level 1. Nothing is coming to mind. Maybe the uncommon Colossus from Deadpool that deals 2 damage to all level 1 characters. You could use it with your own rare Lois Lane to make sure your own Superman affiliated characters are all level 1 to gain Iron Will. I don’t know. I feel like it could be REALLY good, but we just don’t have the pieces around it yet.



    Team Up – 4 cost. “Each of your character dice get +1A and +1D for each different affiliation among your active character dice minus 1 (until end of turn).” My first thought was one of frustration. I really enjoy building thematic teams; especially ones that are all affiliated. Call it a quirk. It frustrated me that we get a Basic Action that rewards you for having non-thematic, unaffiliated teams while a Basic Action that DID reward affiliated teams, Teamwork, felt vastly underpowered and ignored. Personal nitpicking aside, I started thinking of how this could be used. We have characters with multiple affiliations, and globals that can give affiliations. You could use the 2 cost Lyssa Drak that is a Yellow Lantern and Villain, the 3 cost Guy Gardner that is a Red Lantern and Green Lantern. Include one of the versions of Spider-Man that can give one of them the Spider-Man affiliation as well. Throw in a couple of sidekicks to give everything on your side +4A/+4D. Wait… a 4 cost that can instantly turn a couple of cheap characters in to an incredible offensive force? Say “hello” to the spiritual successor to the Half-Elf Bard. Team Up require a little more focused team building, but it gives the buff to all of your characters. You’ve been warned.



    Truce – 3 cost. “KO up to two character dice you control. For each character die you KO this way, your opponent must KO a character die they control.” This provides an instant answer to a character very popular in the current meta: Raven. Raven protects other mask characters from being targeted by the opposing player, making removal of those characters very difficult. This Basic Action gets around that by targeting the opposing player, making them choose the characters to be knocked out. Yes, it comes at a cost. You must KO two of your own characters, but that’s easy enough to plan for with an extra sidekick or two.

    So, there you have it. I cannot wait until this Starter Set comes out. I am so excited to start building and testing new teams and combos with these Basic Actions. I think Misdirection and Team Up are going to be rock stars among Basic Actions. Resurrection is great to have back from a Modern perspective. Is there anything I missed? Maybe something that you guys are looking forward to that I glossed over. Have your own killer team builds already in mind for these new Basic Actions? Let us know in the comments. Until next time, roll on.
    Comments 6 Comments
    1. ccm00007's Avatar
      ccm00007 -
      Oh, come on. Small Step for Man; really? REALLY? -_-

      I will need to do some testing here, but this BAC may just make White Dragon: Apprentice Dragon legitimately scary. Admittedly, you'd need rare Hawkgirl to spin your guys back up though.
    1. memmek2k's Avatar
      memmek2k -
      Quote Originally Posted by ccm00007 View Post
      Oh, come on. Small Step for Man; really? REALLY? -_-

      I will need to do some testing here, but this BAC may just make White Dragon: Apprentice Dragon legitimately scary. Admittedly, you'd need rare Hawkgirl to spin your guys back up though.
      There it is! We knew there was a card we were forgetting. Thanks!
    1. Axyz's Avatar
      Axyz -
      Small Step for Man will work great for the new X-men First Class set. A lot of the characters will want to be spun up for their Awakened abilities. By dropping everyone to level 1, you can use With Great Power, Focus Power, Field Promotion, or Polymorph/Mutation global to spin them up to get their abilities again.
    1. Axyz's Avatar
      Axyz -
      Quote Originally Posted by ccm00007 View Post
      Oh, come on. Small Step for Man; really? REALLY? -_-

      I will need to do some testing here, but this BAC may just make White Dragon: Apprentice Dragon legitimately scary. Admittedly, you'd need rare Hawkgirl to spin your guys back up though.
      You could also use Stealth Ops or Smokescreen and make them unblockable and then spin them up 1 level 3.
    1. Yort's Avatar
      Yort -
      Quote Originally Posted by Axyz View Post
      You could also use Stealth Ops or Smokescreen and make them unblockable and then spin them up 1 level 3.
      Stealth Ops won't work, unfortunately - you "treat" the die like it is Lvl 1 no matter what level it is actually at. Smokescreen should work, though.

      Stinking Cloud would have been an interesting combination.
    1. StrangeBrew's Avatar
      StrangeBrew -
      Great article and analysis. Thanks for the heads up.