• Hello, I'm New...Starter Set Acquisition



    Welcome to our next installment of my new series, “Hello, I'm New” looking into the game for brand new players and people who have just started really dipping their toes into the game for the first time. It isn't advanced strategy or detailed intricacies of the game, it will instead be basic components for the new dice master.

    As we advance in this series, I will be utilizing some of the questions I see on our site and other places from new players, along with some of your many helpful responses. Last week, we covered the pros and cons of buying packs or singles for those just starting out. You can see that HERE. This week, we will seek to answer the next question I have seen the most often and was mentioned quite a few times by people on the comments for this series:

    “Which starter set should I get? Which ones are most important for play?”

    So the question is multi-aspected. It is a question of which set gives you the best starter character cards and the best basic action cards (BACs) for play Which set has the most bang for your buck and gives you the most playable cards for team building? Which set may be more difficult to get a hold of so it is a priority sooner than later? So allow me to answer all of those questions and rank which starter sets you should try to obtain in order from least to most desirable.


    8. DC Justice League

    From a full starter set perspective, Justice League leaves the lowest long term impression for me. The basic actions give you a few great in-set options, but into competitive team building there are many other BACs that rank higher. The shinning star of the set from a character standpoint for building with would have to be Zatana to give the fielded effect of prepping dice. Best BAC in this collection would be the cards Anger Issues and Villainous Pact. Anger Issues seems to be the go-to fist pump BAC along with Cone of Cold. VP gets you a solid prep as well but is specific to your prep area being empty. So if you don't have this one yet, don’t feel you need to be in a huge hurry to add it in.


    7. YuGiOh Season One

    From a character perspective, there is not one card in this starter that I have ever used nor do I see myself using. As a set, YGO offers some solid characters but the starter is not the place to find them.

    The only thing you want this starter for is the BAC it contains. And there are a few good ones. Mystic Box is a great way to flip attacks and make small weenies suddenly become a threat. Horn of the Unicorn pumps your guys and possibly gives two characters overcrush on a burst face, along with being a bolt pump for those swinging beasts. Swords of Revealing Light gives you a way to remove blockers (there are other cards that can do that in other starter sets also). This set gives you some fun BAC cards that you can put onto just about any team build. But if you have a way to just grab the BACs, it may be enough here.


    6. Age of Ultron


    The lowest ranked of the Marvel sets, this starter will give you a few things but shouldn't be your first priority in the Marvel Universe. Captain America, both his Super Soldier and Man Out of Time versions offer you the best type of his character, and Black Widow isn't bad either, but there are better Widows.

    The BACs leave little to pick from, Coordiated Strike is a solid card in set for teamwork based affiliated characters. Hulk Out is the lone shining star of the set, giving a cheap BAC to equip Overcrush onto your characters.


    5. Amazing Spider-Man

    This is still a newer set, so this may have some movement up the list. And there is a chance, being the newest set, that you already own it. So let's look at the best in this box to put right into play. Character wise, there is one standout, and that is Spider-Man Tangled Web. He is such a solid character and paired with other in and out of set characters can make Spidey Friends a bigger punch. With just the starter alone you can put together a Spidey Friends team with some punch to it. White Tiger has a great global that is only on her starter cards.

    With the BACs, Archnemesis, True Believer and Betrayal all stand as very playable cards to round out a starter team, but pale in comparison to some other ones we will be getting at shortly.


    4. Uncanny X-Men

    This set has consistent and strong BACs along with a few characters that can be put into competitive play. The standout character for this set is the Magic Missile and other bolt global-feeding character Iceman: Too Cool For Words. This global allows you to have a large amount of bolts readily available which can be used to pump attack stats or deal damage with Magic Missile. Also, from a character standpoint he can be very strong as well. Wolverine: The Best There Is can also be a great character card paired up with any Overcrush BAC.

    The stars of this set however are the Basic Actions. The ones to start putting to use here are Imprisoned, Enrage, Transfer Power and Relentless. Transfer Power and Relentless are strongest for their globals but don’t overlook using their action dice, especially Transfer Power. You will often see these two used in competitive team builds.


    3. War of Light DC


    Or also known as the Guy Gardner box. This is the set to get if you want to build up the cheapest aggressive (aggro) team out there currently in the meta. You pick up Guy Gardner in all of his Blinding Rage to build off of. Add in Lex Luther for some dice prep and Batman for the BAC you will be using with this build, and you have a great in-set start to a competitive team. Guy alone can be a rush-down team that can be too much attack too soon in the game that it turns the tables favorably in your direction.

    And as far as the BACs go, the one to grab here is Big Entrance. There are fans and foes of this card, but at its core if you can ramp into it on your second or third turn, it can be a devastating addition. It allows you to purchase cards for a discount and add them right to your bag, increasing the odds you pull them sooner. Stealth Ops, Vicious Struggle and Relaxing are all solid additions to your mix as well. This is not a set to be missed for those looking to jump right into competitive team building.


    2. D&D: Battle for Faerun

    This set gets a slight advantage to me over Uncanny X-Men and War of Light even though they all offer solid BACs. The difference here is that there are a few significant characters in this starter that can be put into teams for competitive play. If you want to flesh out your BAC collection, this is the starter set to do it with. I could write another article just on the rankings of the BAC cards here. But in short, they all offer great additions to your team and the standouts are as follows: Magic Missile, Resurrection, Polymorph, Dimension Door and Cone of Cold. The good cards here even have good globals to go along with them.

    Character-wise, there isn’t a single go-to character but there are a few standouts. The Beholder and Gelatinous Cube offer great corners to build from and punish your opponent. Both the Green Dragon and the Blue Dragon let you play around with Breath Weapons and build up from them. The Halfling Thief also offers some good anti-meta play or way to gain life. Honestly, after writing this up I think it may be the most well-rounded set but not necessarily the strongest one in terms of characters.


    1 Avengers vs X-Men

    There is no question that AvX has stood the test of time as other sets have come out after it. War of Light is a close with the advent of Guy Rush teams, and D&D is so well rounded, but this set is your go-to for all things you need to get sooner then later. Beast, Hulk, Human Torch, Spider-Man and Storm all offer you very competitive and playable versions of their cards in the starter. Jade Giant is the answer to all the meta teams out there running Green Goliaths or other characters you want to ping off. Spider-Man Webslinger is another fun one to play around with.

    From the BAC end, they may not be as strong as the ones found in D&D, but with Invulnerability, Distraction and Power Bolt you have three great BACs. The globals on the first two alone are great, and Power Bolt becomes another great way to deliver damage to an opponent.


    This was tough to rank the last two, and honestly even after writing this I see a reason to rank AvX or D&D as #1. But either is a great purchase and addition to your budding set collection of starters. Which do you already own? Which universe appeals to you more as a player? Or, if you are a seasoned player, do you agree or disagree? Let us know below!
    Comments 19 Comments
    1. Necromanticer's Avatar
      Necromanticer -
      I'm shocked to see UXM so high up the list, especially with YGO so low.

      UXM is hands down the weakest starter set, offering: 1 good unique BAC, Imprisoned; 2 good characters, Angel - Inspiring and Iceman - Too Cool For Words; and two gimmick characters, Wolverine - The Best There Is and Angel - Air Transport. The rest is pretty much trash with the possible exception of Kitty Pryde.

      YGO has no characters, but the second best spread of BAC's in the game: Crush Card Virus, Horn of the Unicorn, Mirror Force, Monster Reborn, Mystic Box, and Swords of Revealing Light. It won't buff your character roster, but it has one BAC global for every energy type and fantastic effects on many of them as well. It's simply some of the best bang for your buck you can get for BAC's besides D&D itself.

      Edit: Also, no love for Justice League's BAC's? Anger Issues is arguably the strongest Overcrush BAC, period. Casualties is one of the best lifegain effects in the game when matched with any sort of board clear like breath weapon or even something simple like Vibe. Phantom Zone is a mini Imprisoned that also sends the character to prep when it's released (albeit with a slightly easier release condition). Finally, Villainous Pact is outright better than Resurrection with a slightly worse global on an easier energy type and a top-tier die to go with it. I really can't understand this stellar lineup falling in behind the lackluster Marvel starters of UXM and AoU
    1. Shadowmeld's Avatar
      Shadowmeld -
      Quote Originally Posted by Necromanticer View Post
      I'm shocked to see UXM so high up the list, especially with YGO so low.

      UXM is hands down the weakest starter set, offering: 1 good unique BAC, Imprisoned; 2 good characters, Angel - Inspiring and Iceman - Too Cool For Words; and two gimmick characters, Wolverine - The Best There Is and Angel - Air Transport. The rest is pretty much trash with the possible exception of Kitty Pryde.

      YGO has no characters, but the second best spread of BAC's in the game: Crush Card Virus, Horn of the Unicorn, Mirror Force, Monster Reborn, Mystic Box, and Swords of Revealing Light. It won't buff your character roster, but it has one BAC global for every energy type and fantastic effects on many of them as well. It's simply some of the best bang for your buck you can get for BAC's besides D&D itself.
      #noTransferPowerlove

      As a side note, the reason the YGO starter is probably so low is that buying it DOESN'T increase your character roster, and those BACs you mention, other than Crush Card Virus, are basically duplicates of BACs in other sets, specifically sets that are higher on the list. Sure, some of those BACs offer different global/effect combinations, and there is some versatility there, but buying the AvX and DnD Starters are definitely more of a priority, which reduces the value of the YGO starter even more.
    1. Necromanticer's Avatar
      Necromanticer -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shadowmeld View Post
      #noTransferPowerlove

      As a side note, the reason the YGO starter is probably so low is that buying it DOESN'T increase your character roster, and those BACs you mention, other than Crush Card Virus, are basically duplicates of BACs in other sets, specifically sets that are higher on the list. Sure, some of those BACs offer different global/effect combinations, and there is some versatility there, but buying the AvX and DnD Starters are definitely more of a priority, which reduces the value of the YGO starter even more.
      Eh, I can count on 3 fingers the number of starter sets I'd rather have than Yu-Gi-Oh. I get that it doesn't help with characters at all, but you really shouldn't be looking to starter sets to fill out your character roster since most are pretty much awful and all of them require booster support to be remotely competitive.

      Starter sets are made to give us BAC's, a gem or two of characters, and sidekick dice. YGO simply does this better than most of the other sets on this list by giving a great list of versatile BAC's that allow you not to worry about having the right BAC for the team you want to play. YGO offers the Jack-of-All-Trades approach that gives new players the freedom to play whatever they have the cards/dice for.
    1. bahamut7's Avatar
      bahamut7 -
      I have to agree with Necro that Yugioh should be a bit higher. I understand that you are comparing characters and BACs, but the few gems in that Starter (Red Eyes Black Dragon that reduces all bolt purchases by 2) are great. Yes, this set should not be top priority, but the unique actions it does provide are major game changers. Spell Binding Circle doesn't get much use, but I have used it to great effect.

      I understand being torn between AvX and D&D as the top contender, that really is a hard choice. I feel D&D won the BAC selection and AvX won the start set character selection hands down (Storm Goddess of the Plains, the Hulks, Beast, Iron Man, and Spiderman just wow). I would personally tip my hat to D&D being top only because I have to look at the entire set as a whole (you grab a starter you typically grab boosters) and I feel that there are far more better cards in D&D overall.

      Besides deranking Uncanny a little, I feel your rankings are pretty spot on. Great Article.
    1. ccm00007's Avatar
      ccm00007 -
      Hmm...Hmmmmmm...

      I was going to agree that Uncanny X-men should be ranked a little lower, but then I remembered that in addition to the action dice already mentioned, UXM has Ambush and Selective Shield, both of which can be great to use in the right setup. So that's at least 6/10 actions that are excellent to play with. Yeah, on second thought, UXM is fine where it is.

      Though for D&D, I'm surprised you left out Human Paladin from your description. Yeah, I know there is a better version of his character in the boosters, but you still get his global, which makes Lantern Ring, Gobby, etc. into actually manageable threats. For a newer player trying to get into competitive play, he's a must.

      So overall, I agree; good list.
    1. ninjahonor's Avatar
      ninjahonor -
      I may leave some comments later about this as I dwell on it some more, but I wanted to point out that in the UXM set you are referring to Magic Missile when I think you mean Power Bolt. Veteran players know what you are talking about, but new players will likely be confused. Thanks for writing the article and I will comment again when I have some time to ponder.

      ~ninja
    1. Shadowmeld's Avatar
      Shadowmeld -
      Quote Originally Posted by ninjahonor View Post
      I may leave some comments later about this as I dwell on it some more, but I wanted to point out that in the UXM set you are referring to Magic Missile when I think you mean Power Bolt. Veteran players know what you are talking about, but new players will likely be confused. Thanks for writing the article and I will comment again when I have some time to ponder.

      ~ninja
      I was confuse by that at first, but he was simply referencing why Iceman is good when he mentioned Magic Missile.
    1. Jwannabe's Avatar
      Jwannabe -
      Great article. Can't really disagree with much. Rankings are always subjective. Most readers will look at card highlights and you got the majority. As mentioned, human paladin isn't Included by name but is anti-meta along with halfling thief.

      I like the series for sure!
    1. IsaacBV's Avatar
      IsaacBV -
      Thanks for the comments guys. Yeah, I did have the UXM set as more of a 6 initially, and then I thought about the globals. They are all so solid.

      As far as YGO, the best BACs out of there are in other sets (Transfer Power, Hulk Out) and there isnt a single character I would use.
    1. StrangeBrew's Avatar
      StrangeBrew -
      Here are a couple of thoughts from a casual player trying to up his game, and about my local "meta" (6 people and counting). As old school (accent on "old") gamers, comic book fans, and SF and Fantasy geeks, the Marvel and DC releases were the ones that came to our attention first, intrigued us, and made us want to play Dice Masters. I don't think D&D was as well solicited around here at first, either. Our "core 4" players all started really getting interested when UXM was the main offering locally, we've bought cards since from newer releases and have also done some "catch up". Articles like this one have upped our game considerably as well. We all play around with themes, and we're all learning that the BACs are amazingly important. For us, YGO is by far the least represented set for 3 reasons. As one of the older sets, we all had to decide whether or not to go back and get it while still trying to stay current with new releases. Also, it is the franchise we see listed the least in articles like this with the exception of one card, BEWD. Finally, it is the franchise property we are the least familiar with (after our time) and the one with the art that we all universally think is the worst. For top players, which we are not, I'm sure play must always take top billing, but all of us want to play with cards and dice that are as cool to look at as they are effective in game. If this didn't represent at least some percentage of the casual to semi serious players out here, I doubt the alternate art cards would be effective prize support for OP. Anyway, those are the notes from the peanut gallery, thanks again for a great article.
    1. bahamut7's Avatar
      bahamut7 -
      Quote Originally Posted by StrangeBrew View Post
      Here are a couple of thoughts from a casual player trying to up his game, and about my local "meta" (6 people and counting). As old school (accent on "old") gamers, comic book fans, and SF and Fantasy geeks, the Marvel and DC releases were the ones that came to our attention first, intrigued us, and made us want to play Dice Masters. I don't think D&D was as well solicited around here at first, either. Our "core 4" players all started really getting interested when UXM was the main offering locally, we've bought cards since from newer releases and have also done some "catch up". Articles like this one have upped our game considerably as well. We all play around with themes, and we're all learning that the BACs are amazingly important. For us, YGO is by far the least represented set for 3 reasons. As one of the older sets, we all had to decide whether or not to go back and get it while still trying to stay current with new releases. Also, it is the franchise we see listed the least in articles like this with the exception of one card, BEWD. Finally, it is the franchise property we are the least familiar with (after our time) and the one with the art that we all universally think is the worst. For top players, which we are not, I'm sure play must always take top billing, but all of us want to play with cards and dice that are as cool to look at as they are effective in game. If this didn't represent at least some percentage of the casual to semi serious players out here, I doubt the alternate art cards would be effective prize support for OP. Anyway, those are the notes from the peanut gallery, thanks again for a great article.
      Unfortunately, they were only allowed to use screenshots from the anime, which didn't give any of the cards decent art at all (though a few had some great screen shots to make them tolerable). I urge you to look through the set as a player, there are many amazing cards besides BEWD and combos that most players won't see coming.
    1. Drfunsox's Avatar
      Drfunsox -
      Great Article Issac, really helpful to us new players. thanks for taking the time to write it.
    1. GRider10's Avatar
      GRider10 -
      Thanks for the list. I mainly got into the game for the comic aspect, but i found that i definitely needed the d&d starter for the great BACs. I have never really noticed any of the YGO starter cards as must haves and it is the lone starter i have not purchased. For some reason villanous pact is one of my go to BACs and i might rank DC a little higher, but i agree with your top 3.
    1. StrangeBrew's Avatar
      StrangeBrew -
      Quote Originally Posted by bahamut7 View Post
      Unfortunately, they were only allowed to use screenshots from the anime, which didn't give any of the cards decent art at all (though a few had some great screen shots to make them tolerable). I urge you to look through the set as a player, there are many amazing cards besides BEWD and combos that most players won't see coming.
      Thanks very much, especially for the explanation as to why the art doesn't work for us. I plan on getting more of the YGO cards as I can, I've only recently been getting more of the D&D cards (like Prismatic Spray) and I've seen how much they expand what I can do. I take any and all advice and information I can get here (or at my FLGS). Thanks again.
    1. bahamut7's Avatar
      bahamut7 -
      Quote Originally Posted by StrangeBrew View Post
      Thanks very much, especially for the explanation as to why the art doesn't work for us. I plan on getting more of the YGO cards as I can, I've only recently been getting more of the D&D cards (like Prismatic Spray) and I've seen how much they expand what I can do. I take any and all advice and information I can get here (or at my FLGS). Thanks again.
      No problem, if your local scene tends to rely on globals more often try out the Rare Doom Caliber Knight. He shuts down Globals in ways prismatic spray could only dream.
    1. BenSaidScott's Avatar
      BenSaidScott -
      I really feel that Crush Card Virus doesn't get enough love. It can be used as a Blue Eyes replacement, trading the lack of cost efficiency for some targeted removal, I really really like it.
    1. DaveS_WI's Avatar
      DaveS_WI -
      Thanks for this column. It is really helping. I hope the next topics are how to start building. Help people figure what style of deck fits their personality then start to build.
    1. ninjahonor's Avatar
      ninjahonor -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shadowmeld View Post
      I was confuse by that at first, but he was simply referencing why Iceman is good when he mentioned Magic Missile.
      Ah, that makes sense. Glad I wasn't the only one confused at first. Thanks for the thoughts!
    1. Therewolf's Avatar
      Therewolf -
      So, now that Civil War is out, where does it rank?