• D&D Faerun Under Siege - Starter Review

    It's no great secret that I love D&D Battle for Faerun. I liked Dice Masters a lot before it came out, but Battle for Faerun is really what cemented my love for the game. It should then come as no surprise that I've been incredibly eager for a second set for a long time. Even with my excitement there has still always been a little voice in the back of my mind making me worry that the sequel might not live up to the first installment. Thanks to the wonderful folks at WizKids!, I got an early opportunity to take a look at the starter for D&D Faerun Under Siege, and that little voice has been completely silenced and another voice has taken over that is just constantly screaming with excitement. This set is looking like everything I dreamed it could be.



    Bronze Dragon

    The Bronze Dragon is basically the anti-dragon and only the second dragon to carry a good alignment. The Lesser Dragon with it's Anti-Breath Weapon it a solid counter but requires sitting on a energy to use, and it only cancels the Breath Weapon attack. Master Dragon is the much more interesting alternative. While your opponent's Breath Weapon still happens and damages you and all your characters, they get a taste of their own medicine when Bronze Dragon reflects that damage back at them and all their characters. That's certainly enough to make someone second guess if they want to pay two life to use Red Dragon: Greater Dragon's breath weapon. Both of these anti-dragon counters may not be as useful out of set unless your local meta is very dragon heavy, but dragons are strong enough in-set, in-universe, and in unlimted having the Bronze Dragon in your back pocket may be worth the character slot.


    Cockatrice

    An extremely deadly mythological creature, the different versions of Cockatrice and their varying KO abilities are thematically appropriate. While cards in other sets may outclass the Cockatrice as a form of removal, in-set and in-universe, its one of the more effective forms of removal available. Cockatrice: Minion Monstrosity likely provides the most reliable form of removal of the three Cockatrice versions, providing a nice way of dealing with annoying low cost characters such as the Human Paladin, a Fiend offering cost reductions, or any character in the game with the Swarm ability.




    Glabrezu

    While the first two characters are solid and fun additions, this is the first one to truly excite me. All three versions of Glabrezu offer some perk to Fiend character types and Glabrezu itself is a Fiend. Recall there was Pit Fiend in BFF that offered some tribal perks to lessen fielding and purchase cost, but he was a tribe of one. The Pit Fiend finally has some friends! The cost reduction and the immunity from action dice for fiends are both very solid, but Glabrezu: Apprentice Fiend making it so your fiend dice can only be damaged by combat damage is huge. While they can still be taken out by character abilities and targeted by global abilities like Relentless, they're effectivly immune to Hulk: Green Goliath and my biggest fear in-set, Delayed Blast Fireball.


    Gnome Ranger

    The first Adventurer of the set, Gnome Ranger has several really strong versions making it really hard to choose a favorite (and I may be choosing a different favorite than I did in my video review). Being able to sit back and give all other attacking characters +1A is a pretty great ability, but with a fairly strong attack and a really low defense, Gnome Ranger seems like it should be throwing itself into the fray often. Gnome Ranger: Minion Harper is the best of these to be throwing at your enemy as much as possible. Its when fielded ability deals two damage, easily enough to KO many of the smaller Swarm characters and many other annoyances, also potentially getting itself (and all other active Adventurers) an Experience Token just by being fielded. The four damage when fielded at level one and with two experience tokens is some nice icing on the cake, but I wouldn't count on that damage.


    Half-Elf Bard

    The second of only two Adventurers in the starter, the Half-Elf Bard seems poised to quickly be in as heavy use in unlimited as the Human Paladin, and gives Adventurer teams a much needed shot in the arm. Once again, the other two cards are completely viable and many may even prefer the Master Lords' Alliance which turns your characters into mini-Guy Gardners getting +1A and +1D for each other different character dice, Half-Elf Bard: Apprentice Order of the Gauntlet seems like a much more useful character. Protecting all your characters of equal or lower level from opposing character abilities, the Bard effectively becomes a firewall between all your characters and Umber Hulk, or Black Cat, or Hulk. The Bard will almost always need to be targeted first, or will be the only one affected by the ability. Him and the Human Paladin: Lesser Emerald Enclave are sure to make sweet music together with the Bard and the Paladin both making each other harder to deal with.


    Hell Hound

    Let the age of the Fiend commence. There are four different Hell Hounds that are going to be vying for your love and affection, though sadly the two cost blank is likely to stay tied up in the yard. The other three however all have their benefits and are going to be much harder to choose between. The Master Fiend essentially has a built in Relentless when it attacks, making room for more attackers, but the Apprentice Fiend's Cheetah-like ability seems like the slightly stronger option, especially when the one damage can target an opponent OR a character. This allows for the Apprentice Fiend to still easily clear out sidekick blockers or just ensure some easy damage to your opponent. Though not available in the Starter, the Lesser Fiend's ability to reduce the purchase and fielding cost of your fiends by one energy is pretty substantial as well if you're going for Fiend tribal synergy, but the Apprentice Fiend is obviously the much more useful in general non-tribal teams.


    Hill Giant

    At first glance the Hill Giant seems shockingly good. His surprisingly cheap purchase cost and solid stats are definitely enough to sit up and take notice of, but his fielding costs should also be enough to make people second guess him as an auto-include. The blank two cost, like most blank cards is acceptable but easily forgotten. The familiar ability of the Master Giant's declaring he must be blocked by at least two characters is decent, but of the three in the stater, the Apprentice Giant is easily the most tempting. Coming with Overcrush out of the box makes the Hill Giant's high fielding costs much easier to get over. His low purchase cost makes it seem like he should be an early buy, but buying him early and rolling him on his level three face on a turn three or four can definitely be soul crushing and can greatly hinder those vital early die purchases. You're likely better off buying multiple of him later and throwing him at your opponent and pumping up his attack with the globals from Anger Issues or Cone Of Cold (if blocked). The question is, does he carry a big enough stick to hurt your opponent and make him worth it.


    White Dragon

    We started with a dragon, so it's only appropriate we end with a dragon. The White Dragon offers a solid alternative to the Copper Dragon to those looking for a shield energy dragon. White Dragon: Master Dragon also offers a means of punishing teams relying on Good aligned characters, making them unable to block when hit by a breath weapon unless your oppoent pays one energy for each character they want to block with. While fairly useful in-set and in-universe, in unlimited play he's a bit more of a toss-up with an ability not terribly useful out of set, but still solid Breath Weapon damage. White Dragon: Apprentice Dragon is the much more universally useful version, causing an auto-Relentless effect on all level one dice hit by its breath weapon. There's generally a good chance your opponent's character will be at level one, and attempting to get them at level one could finally be a good use of the Energy Drain ability of the Vampire and Mummy from BFF.

    Thanks to The Dice Tower and Tom Vasal, we've already seen all of the Basic Actions from the set. Screen captures can be found here and the original Dice Tower review and video is here.

    Once again a D&D set has some of the best Basic Action cards in the game. Each of them are completely usable and several are sure to become staples of unlimted play. Blink Transmutation easily ranks among the top of these offering Distraction's global as well as a much better action ability. “Each of your blocked character dice deals 1 damage to the defending player in addition to normal damage”. This almost guarantees your wall of characters that just turned into attackers all deal at least 1 damage to your opponent, and if your opponent blocks in a way you don't like, you can still use the Global to remove the attacker from the attack zone and it will still do one damage to your opponent. Cloud Kill and Delayed Blast Fireball are two others sure to see competitive play, but really this starter has the best array of Basic Actions I think we've seen in any set so far.

    One of the most interesting things from the starter's Basic Actions is the inclusion of two equipment cards. Admittedly these may not excite those who are looking for Basic Actions for their unlimited team, but for those heavily focusing on D&D characters they offer an interesting opportunity to bring Basic Actions that literally CAN'T be used against you if your opponent isn't playing with D&D characters. They're solid cards, they don't take up a character slot, and they make your characters stronger. Kobolds wearing Chainmail Armor certainly makes it a lot harder for your opponent to get them off the field.

    While I love Battle for Faerun, I recognize there are a few deficiencies in the set, so my love is not blind. However just from the starter of Faerun Under Siege I already see several of those BFF weaknesses being fixed and opening up strategies from the first set that didn't quite work before. From this limited preview of Faerun Under Siege we're already seeing these two sets gel and complement each other in a way we haven't seen from any two other sets released so far.

    There's already so much here to get excited about, and we've only seen a small fraction of the set. Thankfully, we here at The Reserve Pool have a few more surprises up our sleeves. Along with the starter, I also got to open five booster packs. Be sure to check out my video review (coming tomorrow) for a peek at those extra surprises and in the coming days be sure to keep checking back with The Reserve Pool for a full look at the Faerun Under Siege Super Rares, including one I have affectionately dubbed “The Trubie Killer”. I love it because I hate it.

    Flexei / Trubie
    Comments 8 Comments
    1. agentj's Avatar
      agentj -
      Thanks for the review. Now where are those videos you talk about?
    1. Flexei's Avatar
      Flexei -
      Quote Originally Posted by agentj View Post
      Thanks for the review. Now where are those videos you talk about?
      My video is currently being edited and will be posted tomorrow. Stay tuned!
    1. fun4willis's Avatar
      fun4willis -
      Is there a thread for the Basic Actions?
    1. pk2317's Avatar
      pk2317 -
      Quote Originally Posted by fun4willis View Post
      Is there a thread for the Basic Actions?
      http://www.thereservepool.com/thread...-Sticky-Thread
    1. RastaBot808's Avatar
      RastaBot808 -
      This will be the first time I'll buy a gravity feed, I need a whole set of Siege, the art is amazing and I cant get enough of the Dragons!
    1. StrangeBrew's Avatar
      StrangeBrew -
      Hell Hound Apprentice Fiend: Cheetah in Fist Energy, variable target...I have a new pet. Question: Could I bite my own Green Goliath to set him off? The language doesn't say opponent's character.
    1. Shadowmeld's Avatar
      Shadowmeld -
      Quote Originally Posted by StrangeBrew View Post
      Hell Hound Apprentice Fiend: Cheetah in Fist Energy, variable target...I have a new pet. Question: Could I bite my own Green Goliath to set him off? The language doesn't say opponent's character.
      Yes you coudl ping hulk with Hellhound. If you're looking for that type of 3 cost fist, I also recomend Injection Fairy Lily Uncommon.
    1. StrangeBrew's Avatar
      StrangeBrew -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shadowmeld View Post
      Yes you coudl ping hulk with Hellhound. If you're looking for that type of 3 cost fist, I also recomend Injection Fairy Lily Uncommon.
      Thank you very much, both for the answer and for the suggestion. I'm just now starting to get and use more D&D and YGO cards, so I appreciate all the help I can get mining for hidden gems. (It was your article last October about starter set cards that prompted 2 of us locally to buy D&D starters in the first place.)