Well, here we are at the end of 2019. Overall, 2019 was leaner than most of us players would have liked… but that did not mean that we didn’t see a healthy dose of amazing cards. The LCG Format was in full effect this year, making it a little easier for people to pick up these excellent cards. The releases that we saw this year were:
- Marvel Dice Masters: X-Men Forever Campaign Box
- Marvel Dice Masters: Dark X-Men Team Pack
- Marvel Dice Masters: X-Force Team Pack
- Marvel Dice Masters: Marvel Now Heroes Monthly OP Kit
- Marvel Dice Masters: City Slingers Monthly OP Kit
- Marvel Dice Masters: Stark Industries Monthly OP Kit
- DC Comics Dice Masters: Justice Campaign Box
- DC Comics Dice Masters: Mystics Team Pack
- DC Comics Dice Masters: Doom Patrol Team Pack
- Marvel Dice Masters: Super Spies Monthly OP Kit
We at Dice Masters North wanted to take a bit of time and look back at what our favourite releases from 2019 were. Our family has grown a bit since last year, so there are more perspectives on what constitutes a “Top” card. 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.
2019 was actually full of goodies, even though the overall releases were not quite what we players were hoping for. I could have easily filled this list with just cards from Justice, as it is one of my favourite sets of all time. You really cannot beat Alex Ross art. It was actually hard to cut this down to only 5, and I probably could have swapped in some other cards very easily (KBish and Black Widow immediately come to mind). Pretty much all of these cards on this list ended up having competitive uses, but they also opened up so many shenanigan options. Here is what I loved from this past year.
AKA, Mimic – Wall of Text. Basically, this guy was auto removal of opposing characters. In addition, you had a chance of gaining a copy of whatever you removed. Any character that could potentially give you one of your opponent’s characters is a really cool ability to have access to. That was the best case scenario. The worst case scenario was you just KO’ed their character and recycled your own Mimic in the process. Giving you a chance to do this all over again. The only real downsides to this guy is that Mimic Ramp is still a thing and this forces you to choose between one of the best Ramp engines in the game or one of the better removal options in the game. This is a good problem to have.
Hey, did you know that this Clayface has a really good Global Ability on it? Spend a mask and make some more energy (whatever type you want). This was Ring on steroids. When he hit the scene, he became a staple of many, many Teams. This is how good this card is. He is a Modern staple right now. Oh… and have you seen what he can do in Golden? Check out any of Reg’s Death Race videos on YouTube if you are unfamiliar with how this pairs (too well) with the old school PXG.
Atlantis – Wealthy Kingdom may not make the list of the greatest cards of the game, but it sure is part of one of the most fun Teams I played in 2019. The “fish slap” was brought to prominence by Peter Jezik. It uses this action to spam through Sidekicks and eventually Black Widow to buff your stuff and punch your Opponent for large amounts of damage. This was such a fun engine, that I decided to take it to my first ever Worlds. It is a very niche card, but on the right Team it is a powerhouse. If you have not had a chance to run the Fish yourself, I highly recommend trying it out.
This is honestly a toss up between Maxwell Jensen and Human Atomic Furnace. Both have their place in a Top 5 list, but I am giving Maxwell Jensen the nod here. Overall, I saw more of this version on lots of different Team builds this year. He is only a 2 cost, which every Team needs. Once he hits the Field, he just sits there and buffs whatever you want. He made low attack unblockable characters a serious threat… even little old Sidekicks. Have you seen what he could do with Team Up? Essentially, a static buff on legs that can sit in the Field to block with the next turn. This guy alone was worth getting multiple copies of the Justice Campaign Box in order to have max dice.
Was there really a question of what number 1 would be on this list? There can really be nobody else, other than Plurpy. This girl changed the game for X-men Teams. Where to even start? Double up your Boom Boom burn? Sure. Bargain discounts on your X-men with Cyclops? Sure. Get cheaper copies of those expensive old school X-men? You bet! Make Infiltrate great again? Yup, she does that too. Some may say that she is a broken card… and they may not be wrong. She is just that powerful of a card. I really couldn’t choose anything else for my top spot though.
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.
Before I start my list, a couple of honourable mentions: The Atom: Professor and Energy Field. Both of these would have made the list if Wizkids hadn’t errata’d Energy Field. As it is, they’re still awesome to play with, but fall short of the Top 5. And with that said, let’s get to my list.
For starters, I want to shine the spotlight on the best villain hate card ever printed: Black Canary. Used alongside the rare Danger Room, she makes it so that the opponent cannot block, period. This makes her a staple of aggressive teams in Modern, or even a good secondary strategy for teams that already include Danger Room. She was featured in several competitive builds, such as Arge O’Neal’s US Nationals championship team, Jacob’s Top 8 Worlds team, and others. And if you’re willing to go outside of Modern, those villain-making globals (e.g. Takedown, Pandora’s Box) suddenly become a lot stronger. Seriously: don’t underestimate this card.
I know it will come as a bit of a surprise that this card is so low on the list. I mean, it was a key piece in my “fish slap” Top 2 Worlds team. The reason is simple: this card’s use is fairly narrow. But in the right team, oh my goodness can it hurt. Atlantis can supercharge sidekick teams and make them into legitimate powerhouses that can outpace almost any opponent. You get to draw and roll dice, hoping to get more sidekick (or Allies!) and keep that engine going. Don’t be surprised if you even run out of dice to draw! That’s a lot of firepower for a 2-cost action. Use with the Supreme Intelligence global for best results.
This card took an affiliation that was mediocre in Modern and single-handedly made them into a legitimate competitive contender (and even a Worlds championship team!). Green Lantern takes the old school Lantern Ring ability, and gives it to all characters…so long as they’re part of the Justice League. All of a sudden, The Question became playable, and people looked at Aquaman with curiosity. Anytime a card has that kind of impact, you know it might be a winner. Like another card later on my list…
Some of you will remember that I rang the alarm on this card’s insanity when it came out. And since then, people found more and more ways to abuse this global. It makes everything easier. Kree Captain global? Just Clayface in a Fist-type character. Need bolts to ping Iceman? Just Clayface in a Chwinga and you get 2 bolts for 1 mask. And don’t get me started on what happens when you use this card alongside old-school PXG. This global transformed the economy of the game and enables all kinds of shenanigans. And don’t forget that the character is a viable secondary win condition! This is an insane card, hands down.
Let’s face it: like jourdo, there was no way I could choose a different card. Hope Summers is the biggest enabler of shenanigans in a long time. Take any X-men character’s ability text, and put it on a 3-cost. Jourdo already listed a bunch of examples, but beyond the crazy win conditions, the fact that she makes control pieces so cheap is awesome. 3-cost Bishop? or Jean Grey? Those cards were never meant to be 3-costs, and Hope helps bring them to the forefront.
Despite her shenanigans, though, she’s just short of being overpowered: being limited by one affiliation (albeit a fantastic one) means that she is very playable in a competitive setting without outrageously dominating. She is surprisingly well-balanced. Let’s hope for more powerhouses like this in the future.
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. On to what I found to be the most interesting cards of 2019:
This card didn’t really leap out at me when I first saw it. And I’ll admit I had something of a mental bias against Mystique from her AvX/UXM cards. Her 1-0-2 fielding costs seemed excessive for her Sidekick level A/D stats, and I never really thought the abilities on any of those cards justified their costs.
But Mystique: O Bitter Victory is different. And not just because WizKids switched her XMF fielding costs to 0-1-2, even if they used the same mold for her dice.
OBV gets +1A/+1D for each other character die in the field zone. On both sides. Not each active or unique character – each other die. So if I have a Jubilee and two sidekick dice in my field with Mystique, and my opponent has a Mimic and two sidekick dice in his, Mystique is 7/7. She can get very big very fast – I did not appreciate how big and how fast until I actually saw her used against me. That made me a convert very quickly.
I will mention the character ability, but this card made the list because of the global ability – a global ability that changes the game more than any since original flavor PXG from back in the Uncanny X-Men set. You do need the right dice in your Used Pile to make use of it, but it basically allows you to pay a mask and get a free point of energy. While it’s once per turn, it can be used on each player’s turn.
It speeds up the early game by providing players with an extra energy to spend. And, of course, if both players are running it, things can get pretty crazy fast.
Also, the character ability is a strong one, if not particularly easy to activate (although the global can help with that). +5/+5 with Overcrush is nothing to sneer at, especially on a character whose stats are reasonably beefy to begin with.
If you don’t attack with him, you can buff the A and D of a character who is attacking with Parasite’s stats. Very useful if the character you end up buffing is either unblockable or has Overcrush. Parasite’s baseline A of 2-2-3 is usable, if not game-breaking, but remember he’s a 2-cost so buying multiple dice for him is a viable option. Also, you can increase Parasite’s A before you use it to increase the other target character’s A. He’s double affiliated (Legion of Doom and Villain) so he can work well with the Team Up BAC.
The 0-1-2 fielding cost is a slight detriment, but not enough of one to knock it off the list.
This card shuts down any character ability that deals one damage at a time, and it mitigates any character ability that does more than that. E.g. it nerfs characters with ordinary Infiltrate and cuts the effectiveness of Iceman in half. Your opponent can’t target her with global abilities, which mostly means your opponent can’t get her out of the field using force attacks or force blocks.
Her stats might not be anything to get excited about, but at least as a 3-cost she’s affordable. She’s double affiliated (a S.H.I.E.L.D. affiliated Black Widow, finally!) always a bonus in a world with Team Up.
The closest thing to a problem with this card is that there are other good Black Widow cards in the game, and you can only include one of them on a given team.
This card is nuts. When you field her you can add the text of any X-Men card on your team to her text box. Regardless of the target card’s purchase cost, or whether any of its character dice are active. Some of those cards have high purchase costs because their abilities are so powerful, but as a 3-cost Plurp-E (my personal shorthand for the Pluripotent Echopraxia subtitle) allows you to sidestep that – or the energy cost requirements for X-Men affiliated What If? Characters.
There are so many powerful X-Men abilities you can copy with Plurp-E that it can be hard to decide which ones to include on the team. The Cyclops that buffs and reduces purchase costs for other X-Men is the most popular in my experience, but he has lots of compettion.
2019 was an exciting year for me as I officially joined the DM North team and attended my second Canadian Nationals and my first-ever (but hopefully not last) World’s Event. If you read our Out of the Shadows feature, you know that my focus here at DM North is talking about underrated cards. Since I don’t want to repeat myself, I’ve tried to (mostly) pick cards for this Top 5 that I haven’t focused on before.
Yes, she’s a 7 cost. But she’s also an X-men affiliated character with ridonkoulous stats. I would argue that X-men is one of the strongest affliations in the game, especially with Hope Summers: Pluripotent Echopraxia in the meta to copy any of your own X-men cards. I like the removal options with Rachel (KO any other X-men character and everyone disappears except her) for the board clearing shenanigans. This is a card I had my eye on and was building around, when Balzacs took it as part of his Top 4 at the 2019 WizKids European Open. Watch out for Rachel – she might just slap you in the face.
When I first saw this card in the Justice Campaign box spoilers, I knew I wanted to build around it. I went the Deadly character with Doom Lance route and had some really good times playing with this action. Originally I tried to use a Deadly character with a beefy defence to keep him in the field, but found it a bit challenging to try and buy 2×4 costs, and instead added a Static Field/Kate Bishop global to pull back my cheap Deadly character each turn. Dice engaged with the Deadly character still get KO’d, so Doom Lance’s effect goes off, and I get to keep Deadly around for my opponent’s turn. Also, since it deals “life loss” instead of damage, Bishop: Butterfly Effect will not stop Doom Lance.
Anything that makes an opponent think is a good card in my mind. Mimic: Calvin has that ability in spades. He becomes a copy of whatever non-sidekick character die your opponent fields, and stays that way until your opponent fields another character die. Your opponent will have to be particular about the order in which the dice are fielded, as your Mimic will get to be a copy of whatever that last die is. It seems thematic as far as abilities go, and can be a handy way to snag your opponent’s win-con. I think there are many fun teams to be had here, but the caveat is, Mimic is a supplement, not a win-con in and of himself, as you don’t know what is across the table before you sit down. You wouldn’t want to depend on him to win the game, but may want to have him around in case that copying ability is useful.
With all the direct damage that’s kicking around in the meta, either 1 or 2 little paper cuts at a time, whether it’s to a life bar or a character, Black Widow: Agent makes the list for the ability to either prevent or halve that direct damage, provided it comes from a character ability. I’d argue she’s the best/most effective promo card of 2019, and that the threat of her involvement really took down the Range keyword at 2019 US Nationals (seeing as all Range 1 would be negated by her ability). She is a defensive utility card, and since she can’t be targeted by Global Abilities, she can be a challenge to remove from the field. She’s also the most “meta” card on my list.
I know I said I didn’t want to repeat myself, but I couldn’t give the top spot to any card except this one. Human Atomic Furnace is my absolute favourite card of the year. Paired with my good friend, The Collector: Taneleer Tivan, this is just bonkers, because you can bring him in for just one bolt on each player’s turn. If you buy him, the fielding cost on level 3 is a bit pricey, but for the ability, he’s worth it, at least in my mind. I think one of the key things to remember with this card, is that the targeted die loses it’s ability until end of turn. So if you field Parasite, name something, and immediately KO him, the targeted die is still blank until end of turn. The shenanigans here are pretty much endless, as long as there isn’t anything in play to stop ‘when fielded’ effects, and I’m continuing to look for new and fun ways to play him.
While my actual top 5 would probably have been very similar that all the others would have selected this year. The list would have included:
(Black Widow, Clayface, Hope Summers, Iceman, and Parasite)
So I went a different route, and the cards I chose to include as my top 5 cards are ones that I didn’t really notice when the spoilers came out, but liked them after the set was released
and a card that I found myself building a team around that I first might have overlooked that became my favorites. All of these cards I played with only a couple times, but was a fun experience when I did.
I present my top 5 cards I didn’t think I would have played in 2019, but became favorites.
When I first saw the 3 available cards for Gorilla Grodd, I went straight to sleeving the other 2. I had tested a full Strike Keyword team and it wasn’t all that I thought it would be, but with the Call out keyword attached, he was something special.
I believe with Kree Captain, and Clayface available to team builds, a 6 cost was no longer an issue to play it for a fast building team list.
Put this version on a Fist team with a Global Attack increase Global, and you have something special on this team. I think he would have been a very meta card if it wasn’t for the Static Field global.
What wouldn’t a list be without Deadpool card on one of my lists. The Card while it isn’t a win-con, it was definately fun to build around.
I also included that Bizarro character for the swappy-switchy global, and was able to deliver some fun shenanigans the week I used Mr Wade Wilson.
What I still don’t get though, is why any of his printed cards were not attached to his own affiliation…
Deadpool has appeared 3 times, and only once he has been allowed to play with his loyal friends his own backyard.
What a fun Basic Action card. Especially when Doom Lance is paired with any other card with the keyword Deadly.
(This was a featured card for me in the December TOTM)
With all the characters with action discount globals these days, you can pick up a Doom Lance much cheaper, and even paired correctly (see Dani Moonstar and Static Field) and this can cause some serious unexpected damage.
Definitely a card most players have come home happy from a night of dice masters and enjoyed in 2019.
Usually I hardly ever play Iron man cards in Dice Masters as his abilities are usually around gaining life.
While the OP package included the Black Widow we all have learned to love and hate, when I got my hands on this Stark promo, I instantly built a team around him and Pepper Potts. Fielded with the Rare version of Pepper made her combat stats buffed huge and was hoping it could have dented the meta. However in the end, the team wasn’t as competitive as I thought it was going to be, but it was a fun team to build around finally using a version of his cards.
Of all the cards this year, This version of Jubilee was the card that I played once to see if it actually could be pulled off and it was so much fun. In fact, I tried for weeks to turn this card into a meta version, but it just was too slow with Iceman in the game at the same time and she never took off.
On the team was Big Entrance, Techno, and the Kitty Pryde that discounts other X-men. While her fielding costs could be horrible on level 3, it was amazing to pull the very simple combo off when it did. Normally, you just buy her over and over trying to get 4-5 in the field waiting for lethal. But Timing was everything to execute it, but when you could purchase up to 5 of her dice and put them in the bag it was great to try to roll as many as you could on the lowest level doing on a roll and OTK all at once.
Picking top 5 cards was very tough for me. I had not played with majority of the cards from the sets but a few OP cards. I like to play non-meta cards. I try to build teams that are fun and come up with combos that hopefully will work together. The top 5 cards I picked were cards I found myself coming back to and were on teams I had built for tournaments and local play.
You want to build an infiltrate team, you need Cable on your team. If you have the right supporting characters and a nice board with infiltrate characters, he can do quite a lot of damage. I was quite surprised how effective he can be, especially if you have two of him. Only thing, he is a five cost but there are lots of discounts out there.
I never thought this card would make my top 5 as it’s a basic action card but this card was practically on majority of my teams for the global, not really the ability. Res and Villainous Pact are probably still the best for ramp but I like that you can prep a sidekick with any generic energy. If you were left with one energy that you couldn’t do anything with at least you can prep a sidekick if you had a used pile. Only downfall, it’s only on your turn.
When I was building for the two team takedown teams for season 2, I came across this card and thought, this was a neat card and grew quite fond of it. I paired it with Absorbing Man: Ol’ Ball and Chain that allowed me to use a copy of a ‘when fielded’ ability. I would be doing 4 damage for each die. She is a cheap purchase cost with max 5 dice! Just put a fabricate character on the team and you can cycle her pretty fast.
I never noticed this card until I had it played against me. I thought he was such a good card that ‘when fielded’ he can take out any character you wanted from the field that was causing you headaches. The best part, Mimic can become a copy of the character that was KO’ed (if both dice rolled character faces and the opponent die being KO’ed). He was a must have on all my competitive tournament teams and saved me quite a few times.
This was my favourite promo card from the Super Spies OP Kit. She was on my Team Up team for online tournaments not only for her ability but the double affiliation on her card and cheap cost at 3. Her ability shuts down any damage dealt to your characters or life that was from a character ability by 1. Pretty powerful when you have abilities such as ‘Range’ and any damage that will deal your characters or life by 1. I thought I would see her a lot on teams during tournaments but she didn’t make much of an appearance.
These are what stood out to us for 2019. What do you think? Agree? Disagree? What would you say are your Top 5 Cards that came out in 2019? 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 2020 in the world of Dice Masters!
– The Dice Masters North Team