• War of Light: Starter Set Review

    In this week's episode of The Reserve Pool, we kicked off our War of Light release coverage by talking about some spoiled cards that we were anticipating most of all. Today, we continue that coverage by sharing some images, thoughts, and analysis of this newest of starters, the second entry in the DC Dice Masters saga: The War of Light, coming to a store near you on September 16th.

    What's a War of Light?

    Of course we would be remiss if we didn't explain the eponymous war at the beginning of the set.

    Those who aren't comic fans (or fans of the DC Universe) may be unfamiliar with this major event that involved Lantern Corps of all colors and creeds. It's also something of a loaded topic because the seeds of the War of Light were carefully planted for a few years before the events of "Blackest Night" brought everything to a head, and it can get confusing. We'll stick to the very basics here.

    At the end of the Sinestro Corps Wars, two exiled Guardians of Oa (leaders of the Green Lantern Corps, for the uninitiated) confided in the Human Green Lanterns that there was a prophecy known as the "Blackest Night." It states that the two existing corps (Green and Yellow) would be joined by five more colored corps, each powered by their own emotional driving force, just as the current corps were fueled by Will and Fear, respectively. The prophecy goes on to say that this would lead to the destruction of everything.

    Of course, this prophecy proves to be true! Go figure, right?

    It all becomes very, very real for our heroes in the "Blackest Night" event, where dead super heroes begin resurrecting as Black Lanterns, powered by a malevolent force. The predicted chromatic corps begin to show their faces in extended appearances and it all goes from there. It's a fantastic event and you should pick up the trade paperbacks if you want to know more.

    How does it connect to Dice Masters?

    It connects wonderfully. When you open the starter, of course you'll get the expected haul - a stack of character cards, basic actions, and cheerfully colored dice that are just waiting to get on a playmat and kick some tail.

    The next thing that you'll see are the new-style Tyvek bags that are included, which feature artwork. We've known this was coming, but they're great to see. There was nothing wrong with the old ones, but the new artwork should temper any criticism of the included bags. While the materials are the same, these just win more mindshare.

    After that, what you'll immediately notice is that, if you put out a spread of the starter set like the one pictured below, the colors on the cards really pop. The artwork was quite well selected this time around, and it really drives home the theming of the set. The interaction between the various lantern corps is wonderful and gives a wholly new nuance to the tribalism that we sampled with the Justice League set.

    But how does it play?

    What would a new set be without some new cards to talk about? If you listened to TRP # 64, you know that there are many cards that have us excited from the starter alone - forget what comes in the boosters! Though, those are awesome, too, and we'll be talking all about that before long.

    I'm going to assert right here that this is one of the strongest starter sets that we've had the pleasure of playing with to this point. Got your attention? Good. Let's take a look at some of the most exciting cards from this set.

    Batman: Bruce Wayne of Earth

    Any time something says "unblockable," we pay attention. This card is no exception to that rule. Batman continues his thematic dependence on action dice, as we saw in the Justice League set, but this time it really makes him into a force. Pair him up with a single "Robin: Circus Star" and you have as much as ten unblockable damage going through.

    And perhaps we know of some basic actions that would give some extra attack power? We have several - including the addition of Heroic Defense in this starter set. This will be a fun card to play with. It works well in-set, and has an immediate connection to characters from other sets.

    Honorable mention to "Instill Great Fear," which allows you to move an action from used to prep when he attacks.

    Lex Luthor: Greed

    This is a fitting ability for an Orange Lantern. "Greed" is a fitting subtitle for an Orange Lantern. This corps is fueled by avarice and greed, which means that no one should be surprised that a shrewd billionaire businessman found himself selected by an orange ring.

    Moving past the thematic elements of the card - which are reason enough alone to like it - we have an ability that only requires you to be marginally ahead to earn and gives you an excellent chance at staying there when you are.

    We're always looking for more options to increase the amount of dice rolled in a turn, and this gives us a strong one. It is also a card that could make the inclusion of incidental life gain worth including in your team. Could.

    Basic Action: Big Entrance

    It's not shocking that this card enters the discussion. This card has excited combo players since it was first spoiled, and with good reason. With smart use of global abilities from other sets like Villainous Pact, this action could set up an enormously powerful third turn for a player who gets the right roll of the dice.

    Speaking as someone who does love a good combo, I must agree with the excitement. This might be my favorite basic action of the set, and it does well in both limited play as well as unlimited. I'm already looking forward to this card making a Big Entrance at my local store.

    Honorable mention to the basic action "Fighting," which forces your opponent to KO a die for each of your own dice that are KO'd during the attack step. On the surface, it seems unspectacular, but remember that it needn't be one of your attacking dice that gets KO'd...

    Kyle Rayner: Artist

    This card gets awfully big in quite a hurry. If playing with other Green Lanterns, the possibility of a 9/9 for just 3 , as well as a reasonable fielding cost, means that this card must get some respect. Now, it's possible that this is a "win more" situation - after all, if you have three other unique Green Lanterns fielded, there's the chance that you overbought or could win anyway, without his help. Still, when playing in-set, that's not necessarily the case.

    Further, even the +2/+2 benefit for being with a single Green Lantern is not too shabby for such a low-cost character, so I wouldn't write him off so easily.

    I've always understood Kyle Rayner to be something of a fan favorite, so I'm glad that he got some abilities worth experimenting with for those fans!

    Basic Action: Stealth Ops

    We'll close the individual card highlights with another exciting basic action. This has two key elements to it, and both are significant. Most obviously, this makes a die unblockable. As stated above, within the Batman discussion, anytime the word "unblockable" appears, we must turn our heads. Further, this action enables the target die to be treated as if it were level one - meaning that it is immune from effects that impact dice of a higher level.

    It also brings a global ability to the mix, one that enable you to spin down a character one level. This is useful for when you're seeking to power down your opponent's board or for when you need your own character on a specific face.

    For all of that, it only costs three, which is quite affordable for a basic action - especially one that can flip-flop the game. An unblockable character is a lot of potential damage.

    The fun doesn't stop here! There is much more release coverage to come for Dice Masters: War of Light! Stay tuned to our podcasts and articles leading up to the big release on September 16th!
    Comments 8 Comments
    1. Necromanticer's Avatar
      Necromanticer -
      I'm waiting for the Guy Gardner hype. So much stats for such a stupid cheap price, I love it!
    1. Shadowmeld's Avatar
      Shadowmeld -
      The non-starter Guy Gardner is even better
    1. Dave's Avatar
      Dave -
      @Necromanticer - I was close to mentioning him, but as @Shadowmeld indicates, patience
    1. IsaacBV's Avatar
      IsaacBV -
      love the tease of all the WoL goodness!
    1. Zeriphem's Avatar
      Zeriphem -
      Judging between the starter picture and the picture of Bruce Wayne of Earth, the die appear to be the exact same as the Batman from JL. Does anyone know if they used a different shade of yellow to make them brighter/darker?
    1. Crestfallen's Avatar
      Crestfallen -
      Quote Originally Posted by Zeriphem View Post
      Judging between the starter picture and the picture of Bruce Wayne of Earth, the die appear to be the exact same as the Batman from JL. Does anyone know if they used a different shade of yellow to make them brighter/darker?
      From the Dice Tower video, it appears to have a slight green tint.
    1. CeeQue's Avatar
      CeeQue -
      Quote Originally Posted by Zeriphem View Post
      Judging between the starter picture and the picture of Bruce Wayne of Earth, the die appear to be the exact same as the Batman from JL. Does anyone know if they used a different shade of yellow to make them brighter/darker?
      I think the green lantern looked the same in both sets too. Is that real?
    1. pk2317's Avatar
      pk2317 -
      Quote Originally Posted by CeeQue View Post
      I think the green lantern looked the same in both sets too. Is that real?
      The Hal Jordan die is a translucent green, as opposed to the solid green Green Lantern from JL. Stats are identical.