Well, here we are at the end of 2018. This was an interesting year for Dice Masters to say the least. The game went through a major transition from a CCG to a LCG and with that there were deep cuts with the yearly Rotation. 2018 was definitely a year that saw the game change for better or for worse.
From an actual release point of view, we saw:
- The Mighty Thor Draft Packs and Gravity Feeds
- Avengers Infinity Campaign Box
- The Kree Invasion Team Pack
- Justice Like Lightning Team Pack
- Harley Quinn Team Pack
- Warhammer 40K: Battle for Ultramar Campaign Box
- Space Wolves Team Pack
- Orks Waaagh! Team Pack
We at Dice Masters North wanted to take a bit of time and look back at what our favourite releases from 2018 were. There is no hard and fast criteria here. Each of us looked at all of the cards released and came up with out personal lists of what we feel the Top 5 Cards were for us.
Looking back at 2018, I wanted to focus this on cards that made the game entertaining for me. The cards I chose to include may or may not have uses in the competitive game, but they made Team Building fun and interesting. These are all cards that I own and have had a chance to play with this year. Unfortunately, at the time of writing this article the Orks are not in the collection. Not sure any of them would have made the list though.
Honestly, there was not a bad version of this character in The Mighty Thor. I could have easily included the Uncommon version here, but this version tops the list though as there are so many good “When Fielded” effects in the game.
The shenanigans are almost endless with this guy. You want to double up on that Nobby damage? Go right ahead. The best part of the Ability is you got to use your Opponent’s effects as well. Thankfully though, he does not double up on stuff like Shriek or he may have been burned into oblivion. Excellent card to play around with thought and I hope to get back to him in the New Year.
The Mighty Thor brought us this Draft Beast. Pretty much, if she fell into your lap you were going to win. The ability to damage your Opponent directly when any of your characters take damage is just nutty. Pump Globals are always nice as well.
Probably my favourite use of her over the past year was combining her with Infiltrate. You can read the original post here. It more or less forced your Opponent into a series of bad decisions once she was on the Field.
This was a “love at first sight” card, from the Harley Quinn Team Pack. I do enjoy goofy Ramp engines, and this one ticks that box. Like Shocking Grasp, but better. The goal is to NOT KO something with the effect, which is not that difficult. 2 for 1 Prep is always nice. The beautiful part of this Card is the ability to pivot, when needed, to ping out that small character.
This made it onto lots of Teams in our local area. It is just such a good form of Ramp, and hard to pass up. My favourite memory of using this was when I shot for the high score with Breath Weapon (here). The LOL factor was high when I managed to ping out a Kryptonian with a single brick. To be fair, Cosmic Cube did the heavy lifting but Brick did the actual work.
One of the best Ramp engines in the Game right now.
I will be honest here, in that I did not see what the big deal of this guy was when everyone was going nuts during the spoilers. Maybe it was because I did not really understand Range or how effective it can be?
This build showed me the error of my ways. Range is here to stay and will be a competitive staple going forward. The removal ability of Range is just so good and combined with a large Field, is a win condition.
If you only manage to snag one card from the Warhammer sets, this is the one you want. Believe the hype!
When I had the idea to write up with Top 5 article, there was never a question as to which card would be at the top of my list.
The Kree Captain, from the Kree Invasion Team Pack, was the all-star from that series of releases.
First off, he buffs himself. So, no matter what, you are getting a 4 attack character on the Field for the low, low cost of 3. Then you add him to a Team with existing Villains and you have a giant beat stick. Combine him with the Rare Danger Room from X-Men First Class… and you get the idea.
Once I started playing with him, I could not stop. He became my drug for a while that I had to finally cut my use off cold turkey. For me, his discovery was almost an accident when I was using him mostly for his handy KCG Global (check out the article here). My first “purposeful” build with The Captain was just as fun (check it out here)
However, my favourite use of this guy was not even on a Team that I made. It was from the October Team of the Month. Stuart made a Team that none of us really say coming. Read about it here. Basically, he used the Rare Thanos and Collector from Guardians of the Galaxy to throw a huge Kree Captain at the face of his opponent. The first time I saw him hit with it, my jaw dropped. It was amazing… and still something I want to try out for myself.
I chose to look at what cards made the game fun, or interesting, for me. Some are clear meta picks, but as you probably noticed, I like to find interesting and fun shenanigans, and this list reflects that. This is, for the most part, an ode to the cards that make everything around them better; not the win condition itself, but the support card that you need to make things work. It’s also a list where I focus on new concepts, on cards that make you rethink how you brew.
Part of me wanted to put this at number one for laughs, but while it belongs in this list, it’s not worth putting higher than the following cards. The Bifrost is a card where the potential is almost limitless. Instant “when fielded” effects (buy the character, field a sidekick, field the purchased character), in a meta where “when fielded” effects can be crazy win conditions (e.g. Nobby) or control (e.g. Shriek, Blob), gives you so much flexibility that it can be really hard for your opponent to adapt.
And don’t get me started on that card’s potential in Global Escalation. Remember my UC Collector + Bifrost team? Just replace the Thanos there with OP Thanos, and put Imprisoned + The Front Line as your basic actions; if you use The Bifrost, you can have a reliable T3 win condition that’s legal in Global Escalation. Sure, Wizkids’ errata of this card hurt its playability, but it’s still absolutely worth building with.
By the way, on top of everything else, this card has a sidekick-fixer global that helps you get shields consistently (for Resurrection, Splinter’s Teachings, Bloat-Drone, and many other awesome globals). Heck, the global is reason enough to run this card on its own. So yeah, this card has enough going for it that it’s a clear winner as far as I’m concerned.
Now, I know the rare is technically the better card, and it made a bigger splash in the meta, but it was really just a cheaper Adam Warlock. The uncommon, on the other hand, gave people a chance to take previously mediocre cards (like Wolverine: Patch) and make them into legitimate win conditions (This guy, used with Patch and Team Up, is just insane!). It also made C Doop into one of the most hilarious (and surprisingly effective!) control strategies I’ve ever played.
Sure, it didn’t work in more competitive contexts, but it was one of my favorite cards to brew around this year.
Before I go any further, I want to point out that my entire top 3 is essentially interchangeable. I struggled heavily to decide not what would be here, but in what order to put them in.
A recent favourite of mine if you’ve been following my posts, this card is another one of those that makes everything around it better. Thin out your bag, build up your field, and even give your opponent characters to trigger your Green Devil Mask! You can also use it with Boom Boom, Jubilee, or even Tabaxi Rogue to deal your opponent damage. In Golden Age, you could even use it to troll your opponent by triggering a bag refill before they can use the old Professor X Global!
Seriously, every time I look at this card, I figure out a new combo to use it in. It’s also perfectly costed at 3, making it expensive enough to plan for, but cheap enough to easily slot into your purchase curve. Expect this card to make a bigger and bigger splash as people find more uses for it.
Seeing this card here shouldn’t surprise you if you’ve heard me talk about it over on DMArmada’s channel (at 1:07:00). I won’t elaborate on the character’s insanely strong ability, as Jourdo already did a fantastic job of that in his list.
In my case, it’s the global that I find crazily game-changing. It may not sound like much, but purchasing 5-cost characters for 4 energy or 4-cost characters for 3 energy completely changes how one plays. Suddenly, I don’t need to go out of my way to save up for SR Mimic; 2 fists, one mask, one of anything else, and I’m set. You may also remember that a finalist at Worlds was using this guy and Ring of Winter to purchase Mr. Fixit on turn 1.
Honestly, this guy is the glue that held several of my teams together this year. He changes the way I play and makes me consider every 4-cost character differently. Seriously, everything about this guy is good.
Yep, I went there. As Jourdo pointed out previously, this guy’s crazy strong. He makes Range into such an effective removal tool that it essentially becomes a win condition. Build a big enough field, maybe throw in a Staff of the Forgotten One/Seething Corruption if you want to be a jerk, and chaaaaaaarge! It’s so effective that I recently built one of my teams specifically to counter this guy.
However, the reason it’s my number 1 card isn’t just a question of how strong it is. In fact, if it was just a broken overpowered card, it wouldn’t come anywhere near this list. The reason it’s my number 1 card is that it’s a strong card, worthy of meta consideration, that can also be countered well by cards that cost as much or less. This means that you don’t overspend energy on defending yourself, which should hopefully make for some better-balanced matchups. (I could elaborate on the exact implications of this, but this could make for an entire article in and of itself)
This shows, in my view, a shift in Wizkids’ design philosophy for the game. Rather than have cards that are so cheap and strong that most people call for them to be banned (see SR Yuan-ti), we have a 4-cost here that can be countered by Green Devil Mask, or by the upcoming OP Black Widow, or by Warbiker, or by other things. It’s incredibly strong, without destroying everyone else’s chance to have fun. This gives me hope for the meta when the next Modern rotation hits. It’s honestly good for the game, in my view.
I chose to look at what cards made the game fun, or interesting, for me. These may or may not have “meta” value, but they had value for me.
They were either cards I found particularly enjoyable to play with, or particularly challenging to play against.
One thing I want to note: Between how late in the year W40K came out, a couple of ‘special rules’ weeks held by my local group, and one week I missed, I have had extremely limited exposure to the W40K cards, so I did not consider any of them for my choices.
I have a suspicion Range is going to be the dominant keyword ability of 2019, but I decided to limit my choices for this list to card I’d actually played with and against.
On to what I found to be the most fascinating cards of 2018:
A very interesting card. Can be a very useful source of ramp, and allows you to build some interesting teams based on characters whose abilities are triggered by taking damage – take Green Goliath as a classic example.
The caveat, which applies to any BACs a player plans on actually buying, is the risk of your opponent buying them out from under you. The more useful the Basic Actions you include are, the greater the temptation for the opponent to buy them himself, both to deny them to you, and benefit from them himself.
Still, it’s hard to deny that in the right circumstances, this is a very useful, and very interesting ability.
Is anyone going to try and argue Attune wasn’t the dominant keyword ability of 2018? Granted, the biggest part of that was the 2-cost SR Yuan-Ti Pureblood, and its ridiculous (for the cost) ability.
The way WizKids used Attune is frankly baffling to me – there are 5 and 6 cost characters in the game whose only ability is Attune (who are going to see about as much play as if they were blanks) and they gave the SR Yuan-Ti’s crazy ability to a 2-cost.
Still, If you’re running a team that utilizes action dice it’s simple enough to include cheap Attune characters (or conversely, build a team around action dice and cheap Attune characters). And if you’re going to do that, why not include this character, who gets a nice buff for every action die you use?
Granted, her fielding costs can be a little bit problematic, but she works nicely with a couple of those Avengers I.D. Card action dice that came in the box set with her.
This was a very fun card. Not so much as a win condition, but just for the shenanigans he lent himself to. Not that he wasn’t a possible win condition (against casual teams at least – I wouldn’t consider him a viable win condition in serious competitive events). But it was almost like every Dice Masters player had to play at least one game where the objective wasn’t so much on winning the game as seeing just how huge you could make Fixit’s A. Magic Missile was a favorite for that of course, especially since Thrown Brick didn’t come out until later in the year, when a lot of players has gotten the idea out of their system. The awkward thing is that if you wanted to make him into a win con, you needed to either give him Overcrush, or make him unblockable and the usual ways to do that are BACs. The common ways to damage Fixit to buff his A up to those absurd levels generally made use of BACs. And he is a 6-cost, so you’re probably going to want to include some ramp on your team, so you can get him out in time to do you some good. With only 2 BAC slots, if you’re using, for e.g. Proton Cannon and Magic Missile for Fixit’s fun and games, you can’t use something like Resurrection for ramp. Still a fun and interesting card that led to some memorable games.
A 3-drop that gets buffed by every active Villain character die – on either side of the field. It’s not like opponents running Villain teams is exactly unheard of. Even if your opponents aren’t cooperative like that, he can still get huge in a hurry, especially if you include something like Uncommon Malekith or Rare Danger Room on your team. Especially since he buffs himself AND he’s cheap enough planning on buying multiple dice of the character is a viable strategy. Get two of them out and they’re both 5/3 minimum.
This is the one card that all three of included on our lists, and there’s not much more I can think of to say that isn’t just repeating what Jourdo or ccm0007 already said.
The Warriors Three were probably the signature ‘team’ of the Thor set, and Volstagg is the card that made them work. I’m not saying Hogun’s Intimidate isn’t useful, but the Overcrush Hogun gains from Volstagg is more important, than the Intimidate Volstagg gets in the other direction. Of course the +2/+2 buffs the W3 all give each other is certainly helpful as well – that’s Fandral’s real contribution to a W3 team as the Deadly is largely irrelevant. I’ve seen a lot of W3 teams win without buying Fandral, and some such builds where Fandral wasn’t even included on the team.
So taking a W3 team and leaving one of the 3 off it, still leaves a dangerous team. But the one where you remove Volstagg is notably less dangerous than the ones where your remove either Fandral or Hogun. And that’s why Volstagg is my choice for Favorite Card of 2018.
These are what stood out to us for 2018. What do you think? Agree? Disagree? What would you say are your Top 5 Cards that came out in 2018? Let us know in the comments below!
Happy Holidays and all the best to you in the New Year!
Thanks for reading, and hanging out with us this past year! We are looking forward to a great 2019 in the world of Dice Masters!
– jourdo, ccm0007, and Son of L