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In the lab with The Beast

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One of my favorite X-Men (but not the favorite - that honor is reserved for a certain cajun card dealer) has always been the Beast. I love the dichotomy between his extreme intelligence and his uncouth, almost animal appearance. It was interesting to see how he would react to people - and how others would react to him - given his mutation and the results of his genetic manipulation.

The Beast is an integral part of this first Dice Masters set, with one of the absolute best dice that you can field on your first turn - and that's just a common from the starter set! Let's get up close and personal with dear old Hank McCoy.

<h3>The Die</h3>
The Beast has a TFC of just one, which is ridiculous for what he does - though perhaps it's that low total fielding cost that contributes to his effectiveness.

Despite being a brawny fellow, the Beast simply does not hit that hard. This is a thematic miss, though they have his intellect down pat with the abilities that they chose for his card. His abilities also make him an ideal blocker, and so he does get utilized as a bit of a tank, albeit a squishy one, but I'm getting ahead of myself. His attack ranges from one to two, and his defense from two to four. Beast features a burst on his level one face.

The fact that the burst is on level one is a wonderful tool in a world where Tsarina is so prevalent. Beast can work as a counter to her and you get the most benefit when he is spun down.

My Beast dice are in average condition. On one, the defense number is a bit difficult to read, but I've never had to do more than a double-take to figure out what I was dealing with in that situation.

<h3>The Card</h3>Buying Beast will run you a mask energy. He is decidedly within the less expensive tier of cards and will certainly see a lot of play as long as this set is active and relevant. As with the rest of the starter set characters, three cards are in the starter set and one uncommon will be found in the boosters.

The thematic draw to the beast, again, is his cunning and intellect. The game demonstrates that in two ways: first, by allowing the Beast to manipulate dice, both yours and your opponents. Second, by making his abilities trigger when blocking. Beast isn't an aggressive fellow; he's moral and smart and isn't going to seek a fight. However, when you have him on the defensive, all bets are off.

[u][*]"666" - costs 2 - When Beast blocks, draw a die and place it in your prep area. Burst: Instead draw two, put one in prep and the other in used.[*]"Genetic Expert" - costs 2 - If Beast is KO'd while blocking, gain one life. Burst: Your opponent also takes two damage.[*]"Kreature" - costs 3 - When Beast blocks, spin the blocked character down a level. If it is already level one, knock it out. Burst: If the character is KO'd by this, gain two life.[*]"Big Boy Blue" - costs 2 - When Beast blocks, he gets +1/+1 until the end of turn. Burst: He gets +2/+2 instead.[/list]
"666" is a favorite of many for one reason - churn. Because of his ability constantly giving you extra dice, he's one of the best blockers in the game. He gives you a lot in return. With 50% of the faces on a character die giving you access to that character, it's not too intimidating a proposition to reroll again.

"Genetic Expert" is also a good blocker. I noted in my Iron Man overview that there aren't many characters in the game that give life back. The burst is also a nice touch here. As I said before, one of the most prominent cards - Black Widow "Tsarina" provides easy access to Bursts. It'll be easy to get this guy knocked out, and it may well damage your opponent in the process.

"Kreature" goes the other way. If you are using Black Widow, there is the extreme possibility that many of your opponents characters will already be spun down. This will knock them out, giving you the possibility of a fairly clear board the next turn.

"Big Boy Blue" can be decent "spin-down" fodder if you plan on using him as a blocker, given that he remains powerful on level one due to the burst ability. He is an effective blocker, but brings little else to the table at present.

<h3>My Favorite</h3>

You really can't beat "666" and most things that could be said about him have already been said.

But really, all of these are pretty good. The biggest problem with the non-"666" forms of Beast is that if you have them in your squad, you can't have "666."

"Genetic Expert" is a possible Tsarina-counter due to the favorable spin-down conditions as well as the potential to do damage to your opponent. He's probably my favorite non-"666" Beast and one that I will absolutely be playing around with if I can find solid alternative methods for some more dice churn. If cards like Black Widow or other things that force you to spin characters becomes prevalent in your local meta, you may want to study up and become a certified Genetic Expert.
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