Greetings Fellow Dice Fans!

 

WizKids has decided to make starters an annual release instead of releasing them with each gravity feed (I can’t tell you how happy my wallet is right now!). I feel like this is a really good move on their part because it makes it easier to format a rotation and also makes it easier and more affordable for new players to enter into the game. To my understanding, Marvel and DC will each have an annual starter release.

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You can find my review video on YouTube, here.

Starter Box

starter

Box Contents

~ Iron Man and War Machine Rulebook
~ 2 Dice Bags
~ 12 Basic Action Dice
~ 16 Sidekick Dice
~ 16 Character Dice
~ 24 Character Cards
~ 10 Basic Action Cards
~ 4 Action Reminder Cards
~ 1 Rules Reminder Card

Rulebook

Standard rulebook, but it does not detail the first turn rule change. WizKids had already announced that the earliest rulebook to detail that change would be the DC Superman/Wonder Woman starter rulebook.

rulebook-cover

Rules Reminder Card

imwm-rules-insert

The rules reminder card is a great quick reference tool for all the affiliations and keywords in the set.rules-insert-back

The back of the rules reminder card has a bump for tournaments, which is a great promo piece.

Keywords

There are several returning keywords in this set, as well as a new one.

Returning Keywords:
Ally
Continuous
Fast
Iron Will
Overcrush

New Keywords:

Suit Up – NAME
Suit Up is a new keyword ability in this starter. Each character with Suit Up has the name of another character or characters directly after it. When you purchase a character die with Suit Up, you may KO the named die in order to field the Suit Up die at level two.

Suit Up can only happen when you purchase the Suit Up character die. It replaces the location of where the purchased die will go. If you purchase the die and place it into your Used Pile and continue with your turn, you will not be able to back up to use Suit Up.

I really like Suit Up because it lets you field that character die at level two, even though you have to KO another (specific) character to do it. This ability can be particularly useful with characters that have a When Fielded or When KO’d ability, like Pepper Potts: Stark International for Rescue’s Suit Up.

WizKids has a comprehensive list of Keywords on their site. You can also find expanded descriptions for all the keywords on The Reserve Pool‘s site.

Affiliations

New!
Stark Industries

Returning

Avengers
S.H.I.E.L.D.
Spider-Friends

Characters

howard-stark

So… I like all three of Howard Stark’s cards. I can think of several teams that each one could find a home on. Brilliant is definitely going to find a home on my casual version of Hugs that I played at the WKO. I can easily take La Jinn off the casual team build and put Howard Stark in his place. I guess Iron Will is a good benefit too, I just haven’t seen it used much. I love Expert Businessman for any of my Overcrush teams (and I have several). Father is great for any Sidekick/Ally based team because he can’t be the target of Globals on his burst side. They’re all fairly good in their own way and I’m sure folks can find at least one of these that they like. I want to throw a reminder out there for sacrifice – A sacrificed character will go to the Used Pile and not the Prep Area. I’m sure folks can find a way to use this to their advantage, but it’s something to keep in mind when playing Brilliant or Expert Businessman. They also require that you do it at the start of you turn, which is a specific timing and reduces the amount of shenanigans, but they’re still really good cards. Howard Stark could also find a place on a S.H.I.E.L.D. team. His costs are low and he’s a Mask character too. There are plenty of uses for Mask energy, even in Prime.

hulkbuster-iron-man
Rocket Powered Punches is really the only one of the Hulkbuster Iron Man cards that I like. I’m sure there are plenty of folks that like Model 36 for his ability to barrel through those cost six or higher characters, and Bustin’ Makes Me Feel Good’s ability to gain life from KO’ing a six or higher cost character die, but those are not my style. I prefer to Suit Up a cheap Iron Man into Rocket Powered Punches. It could really throw off your opponent’s game if they aren’t expecting it! I don’t think these cards are going to see much play in unlimited, but depending on the pilot, we might see some make an appearance into Prime.

iron-manor

Celestial Slayer is definitely my favorite of the three because it’s got the ability and Global of the other two versions in one card, but it rightfully cost one more to purchase. If you like just the ability or just the Global, you could get one of the other two for one less on the purchase cost. To use the Global, you don’t really need to purchase the die, so what would hurt to use Celestial Slayer instead of Earth X? I love cost reducers of all kinds, and the fielding cost on some of the Stark Industries dudes are kinda high. Spinning one dude down to decrease that fielding cost could be the difference between some wasted energy and being able to buy a cheaper dude. One energy can make a difference. I’m a little excited for future Marvel sets to see what new Stark Industries characters we get! You could definitely build a solid, casual Stark Industries team just form this starter, but the prospect of improvements is always exciting.

iron-spider

I like Version 2.0 because he’s a cheap Stark Industries character. Waldoes is too, but I’m not sure his Suit Up is all that useful. Spider-Man: “Public Menace!” is the only Spider-Man I can think of to use with Iron Spider: Waldoes. You could always use Iron Spider for itself. I’m not sure I like Waldoes at all. Hopefully we’ll end up with a better Spider-Man in the future that we could pair with him. For a Stark Industries team, I’d much rather use Version 2.0 though. Too Cool For Words, not Iceman, looks fun but he may be a little harder to maneuver as a four cost on a Stark Industries team. If there were other two or three cost Stark Industries characters, other than Rescue, I would definitely consider Too Cool For Words instead of Version 2.0. All of these Stark Industries characters make me excited to try this theme team out! Worth noting, Iron Spider is the name of this card, but the one in the Amazing Spider-Man set is Iron Spidey. That means you could use both, but Iron Spidey will not work for Suit Up.

jarvis
Oh my! An Avengers Ally!!! This could be rather useful. I really like all of Jarvis’s cards, but Chief of Staff is probably my favorite, even with a purchase cost of five. I think he needed to be expensive though, because it’s not too hard to field a bunch of zero-low fielding cost characters and then drag the game out because you just gained a bazillion life. I’m glad his purchase cost is five, and it doesn’t mean he isn’t viable in certain formats, just that he’s got the right cost for his ability. I really like that Butler has that Global that we saw on Iron Manor, but if you’re using Jarvis with Avengers, it’s not going to be all that useful. I guess that’s why he has that direct damage ability on him that does ability damage to a character die equal to the number of character dice you fielded that turn – and it counts Jarvis, so you’re doing at least one damage. I think I like Loyal Confidant and Chief of Staff equally. It just depends on the team, really.

rescue
Mark 1616 is perfect if you need a cheap Stark Industries character, but she only has a max dice of two. Resilient and Catching a Jet are both awesome for using their Suit Up abilities with their other card abilities. You purchase a Rescue, KO a Rescue in the Field Zone (sending it to the Prep Area), and then field the purchased Rescue at level two. Next turn, I get to roll that Rescue that I just KO’d and hopefully get to use her other ability. I really like Resilient more than Catching a Jet, but they each have their place. I would likely use Resilient on Stark Industries team, or almost any Prime team. Her ability works whether she’s active or not… How good is that?! It’s similar to Rescue: Stark’s Equal from the Civil War set, just hurting and not healing. Too bad you can’t use both on one team.

space-armor-iron-man
Model 5 is a cheaper Suit Up character with the Stark Industries affiliation. No other frills, just Suit Up. He’s okay, but I like Deep Space and #14-C much more! I can’t decide which one I like better. I guess Deep Space would be my pick if I didn’t want to add a six cost character to my team, and he’s got some potential for life gain. #14-C has that possible KO avoidance and Overcrush on two sides.Such tough decisions with Space Armor Iron Man!!! I like two too many!

war-machine
And yet another dilemma. I like all three of War Machine’s cards. I like Model II because he’s the cheapest and has Fast. I like “Rhodey” because he also has Fast, he has the additional ability to do direct damage to my opponent if he KO’s a character with combat damage, and he only costs one more to purchase. There are plenty of ways to boost an attack stat in Dice Masters, making this guy pretty good. I’d likely pick him over Model II, unless I just couldn’t put a four cost character on my team… But honestly – I usually have room for four cost characters. I also really like JRXL-1000, and not for his Suit Up. He’s Fast, and Sidekicks can’t block his level one side. You can always boost that attack stat to do more damage, and he only costs four to purchase.

Character Thoughts

I like lots of these characters, especially for a more casual setting. I think these are great characters for a new player to start with and build off of. There are lots of fun gimmicks and different types of abilities that make the game interesting. I think any player could enjoy building and using a Stark Industries team for any fun local event.

On the more competitive end, I think one or two characters might squeak into the unlimited and Prime formats, but overall, not many are going to find a place in the most competitive metas at this time.

I would still recommend purchasing at least one of these starters for some fun characters to build teams with. For a new player, I definitely recommend the starter for the characters, or even two starters for the max dice.

Basic Action Cards

This starter has some really interesting Basic Action Cards that are new to the starter, and it has some revamps of older Basic Actions Cards. If the characters weren’t enough to prove this starter is worth buying, hopefully these Actions will!

w-armor-wars-bac

I’m not a fan of this card. Suit Up is too new and there are only ten cards with the keyword. I guess if you were playing in a semi-limited type format where players were supposed to use Iron Man and War Machine cards, then I could see someone possibly using it. This card is likely not going to be in the unlimited major meta or even Prime, unless Rescue finds a place, which I doubt too. One thing that I do like about this card is that it causes loss of life and not damage. That’s typically a big deal because you can’t effectively redirect or avoid it. Life loss is a mechanic you would need life gain to overcome.

w-cone-of-cold-bac

Cone of Cold from Battle for Faerûn has been revamped! It needed it too. They updated the wording and for those that didn’t want Dungeons and Dragons Dice Masters, they now have access to this BAC. It’s a great way to spread the damage around, but if your opponent only has one character die and you have two, your dice are getting blasted too – unless that’s what you want. I like that both Cone of Cold cards say that you can’t use that action if there aren’t at least three character dice in the Field Zone. I like that Global for teams that use a force block ability as well. Overall, I like this card for both the Action and the Global. The revamping of the wording makes it much easier for newer players to understand.

w-hypervelocity-bac

Wow! What?! This card is so crazy. This Action Die hangs out in the Field Zone and slowly depletes each player’s life if they don’t attack. Hypervelocity causes loss of life and not damage, which is a great way to get damage across with minimal resistance. You have to keep an aggressive streak or you’ll start to lose life as well! It looks like action removal is going to be a major addition to many teams, because unless this is on one of the two burst sides, it’s not leaving! There isn’t a ton of action hate in Prime – if any… so watch out for this in Prime. Folks may be adding some life gain cards to their team to help balance that loss of life.

w-one-against-many-bac

Here is yet another great direct damage card. This card is ability damage and not loss of life, so any abilities to reduce, alter, redirect, etc are viable for folks to use against this ability. I still really like this card for some of the Prime Storm: Extra Lightning teams floating around. It’s not a huge deal if your opponent doesn’t field many characters because it’s still going to do a minimum of two damage. It’s a little expensive to purchase against a team that doesn’t look like it’s going to be putting dudes in the Field Zone though.

w-smash-bac

Here we have a revamp of Smash! from AvX. They have updated the wording on this card as well. I love seeing these older BACs being revamped. This makes them available for Prime, and also more easily accessible for new players. I’m not big on using Smash! for the action, but the Global is great against Overcrush. If Turtle Van isn’t your style, you can always go for Smash! if Overcrush is a problem you’re running into.

w-suprise-attack-bac

This is a revamp of Surprise Attack from Age of Ultron. This is another card with updated wording that definitely reads better than it’s AoU version. I haven’t used this card a lot in the past (if at all…), and I guess this is an okay BAC, but there are definitely better ones out there. I’m still not a fan of this particular card, but even so, glad they revamped it for newer players!

Upgrade BACs

The last four BACs in the starter are all called Upgrades and each have a specialization. They all cost two energy and they each have a risk/reward for using them on specific energy type characters. I like this idea a lot and I can’t wait to try some of these on some Prime teams! These also make for great limited additions when you can’t decide what to use and you don’t want to bring Power Bolt because your opponent may want to buy it too. I also really like that they called them all Upgrade – Specialization. That leaves room for them to make different BACs that have a name like Smokescreen that’s different from Upgrade – Smokescreen.

w-upgrade-fortification-bac

Upgrade – Fortification
The name sounds stout and sturdy, like a character with Iron Will. When you use this action, your character will gain Iron Will. The risk to doing this is that you will lose two life if that character is not a Shield energy type. It’s a risk vs reward type of card, so if you want your Gorilla Grodd to have Iron Will, it’ll cost you two life. And since it’s loss of life, you can’t get around it as easily without life gain. I like this Upgrade because you don’t typically see Iron Will on any team. There are several characters with Iron Will, but they just aren’t worth playing in a competitive meta. I think this Basic Action may make Iron Will a more usable keyword.

w-upgrade-proton-cannon-bac

Upgrade – Proton Cannon
Wow, that sounds like it could shoot thru anything, like a character with Overcrush. This Upgrade will give one of your characters Overcrush, but if they aren’t a Fist type character, they get KO’d at the end of the turn. This is another risk vs reward, but for certain teams, that risk may actually be the reward. I think Lady Bullseye: Attack on Two Fronts just got a a Proton Cannon attached to her.

w-upgrade-smokescreen-bac

Upgrade – Smokescreen
This Upgrade sounds like something a ninja would use to sneak away or sneak around a bunch of folks. When you use Smokescreen on a character die, that die gets +1A. If it’s a Mask type character die, it can’t be blocked. So there isn’t a risk on this Upgrade because you get the +1A no matter what. You benefit more if it’s a Mask type character die that you use it on. I can think of a few Mask type characters that would great to pair this with.

w-upgrade-unibeam-bac

Upgrade – Unibeam
And lastly, the Unibeam. It sounds like something a character would use on a more focused attack, maybe to take someone out before they had a chance to do anything to them. When you use Unibeam on a character die, it gets +2A – not too shabby for a two cost action. But if that character die is a Bolt type, it gains the Fast keyword. That sounds about right for a Unibeam! So like Smokescreen, no real risk, just an even better reward for using it with a Bolt type character die.

BAC Overview

There are quite a few new BACs that I really like, mainly the Upgrades, but a few others too. I like the assortment of abilities on the BACs, and I’m really digging the increased use of loss of life instead of just throwing damage in there. With the increase in abilities that use loss of life or paying life mechanics, we might actually see an increase in the use of cards that have life gain. Hypervelocity is definitely my favorite of all the Basic Action Cards and I can’t wait to start building around it!

Action Reminder Cards

action-reminder-cards

There’s nothing super special about the reminder cards. They’re Cyan, Orange, Pink, and Gray.

Dice Bags

bags

I most definitely like the artwork bags more than the plain colored bags. I like to collect these bags too.

Starter Dice

Sidekick and Action Dice

sidekick-and-action-dice
You get a pretty standard assortment of Sidekick Dice and Action Dice.

Character Dice

You only get two of each character die in the starter. If you’re wanting to put three or four dice on a particular character, you will need to buy a second starter (or trade, exchange, etc.). It’s never a bad thing to have duplicates of the character cards and BACs.

character-dice

Final Thoughts

The only negative thing I have to discuss about the starter is the number of character dice. I’m not sure if WizKids is entertaining other options or not, but I would like to see this changed in the future. I would be okay with certain characters only having a max dice of two while most of them have a max dice of four, and then changing the packaging to accommodate the extra dice. The TMNT characters have a max dice of three… but a box big enough to hold more than four of each. I’d pay five more dollars just to get max dice with my characters. If Mr. DDK and I both want to use Howard Stark with max dice, we will have to buy four starters… Maybe releasing the starters in the big box format, like the TMNT boxes, would be a solution to the max dice issue because they would have plenty of room for the dice. They could keep a lot of the characters as a max dice of four, and reduce some of the more expensive characters to max of two and put the max dice for each character in the box. I have never found a moment that I wished I had three Splinter, Shredder, or Krang dice… they could have easily been a max of two to allow for a fourth die on the cheaper dudes, like the Foot Ninjas. Maybe this is something WizKids can look into doing? I’d rather buy two big box releases, like TMNT, than four starters to accommodate two players.

I really do like the starter contents though. I like how fun and easy the characters are to use and understand. I love the new and revamped BACs. I really hope they continue to make different ‘Upgrade’ styled cards for BACs. Those fit very thematically in the starter and all of them have fun and interesting abilities, especially for a draft team! I love the idea of a Stark Industries themed team and can’t wait to build it and play it – after I buy a second starter for the additional dice I need. I like the Suit Up ability too, but I hope they continue it and add more of the needed characters with abilities that will have better synergy. It’s still a fun and unique ability to play around with and I plan to use Rescue and her Suit Up in my Stark Industries team.

This is a great starting place for a new player. You can add a Team Pack to the starter and roll with it!

What are your favorite cards?
What cards do you think will make it into the unlimited or Prime metas?
Leave me a comment here or message me on Facebook at Dice Dice Kitty and thanks for reading!

Special thanks to WizKids and The Reserve Pool for the use of their sites.

Roll on, Dice Masters!

 
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Comments
  1. My only problem with this starter is that it’s not really suited to be a proper starter to start the game with at all.
    All those suit up abilities that require Iron Man, yet the starter doesnt contain the main man himself to make those abilities work (or Pepper Pots in Rescue’s case, but that one at least can suit up on herself aswell). So the new player starting with this set is left with a bunch of suit up characters they cant fully utilize.
    I also agree on that they should really consider including max dice for the characters. To buy two of the same starter just for the dice can be real off-putting for newer players and is sorta countering one of the most widely used reasons to play DM, which is “it’s cheap”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree about Suit Up – somewhat.

      Where I disagree – There is only one character that has Suit Up – Iron Man on all versions and that’s Iron Manor. But if you look at the other abilities, that card can be played without needing to use Suit Up. The Space Armor Iron Man has a version without Suit Up. Suit Up is an additional ability on the cards and they do not require you to use those abilities to play the cards.

      This is where I agree about Suit Up – Would it have hurt to put an “Iron Man” in the starter? Probably not. I could do without ‘Space Armor’ Iron Man. Or if they allowed you to Suit Up a character with the name somewhere in the title and didn’t require that the name be exact – that would have been acceptable too. I like Suit Up, but there are definitely things I don’t like.

      The max dice thing is really starting to annoy me. Mr. DDK and myself would both like to use War Machine: “Rhodey”. He’s such a great card – after seeing him in action. But as of right now, we can’t both play him at the same event because we only have two dice between the two of us. We need to purchase FOUR starters for both of us to play him at the same event. That’s ridiculous. We only purchased two Dr. Strange Team Packs and we’re going to have to purchase two more at some point. Same for all the other Starters and Team Packs. A little repackaging wouldn’t hurt.

      But overall, I still really like this starter as a jump in point for a new player. The one Iron Manor character isn’t enough of a put off for any new player that I’ve shown this starter to. But the max dice thing is definitely something that I’ve heard many complaints about from new players and veterans alike. I’ll continue to point out how silly that choice is until WizKids changes it for the better.

      Like

      • But when you think about it a starter is supposed to be enough for two players to play with, then you have to realize this starter puts a lot of limitations on the two players by not including iron man, making most cards in it -while not unusable- but still quite unfun to play. There’s the cool ability, and the new players cant even use it.
        Just imagine when a guy gets this starter as their first ever DM product, advertised as a “2-player starter set” (even double checked my own box now to be sure it’s there), calls over a friend to play it, then see that 7 out of the 24 character cards have a Suit Up ability with no character in the starter required for it.
        Rhodey is indeed awesome, been meaning to build a deck around him, include a Gaint Spider with the global to force blockers, and see the opposing characters willingly walk into the slaughter house to be butchered.
        Is Rhodey’s ability a “per KO’d die” or goes off only once regardless of how many blockers I force in front of him for KO?
        Thinking about getting the extra needed die individually off of some website that offers singles, but being from Europe with no DM groups nearby at all, I’m forced to order from overseas.
        Ohwell, there are things Wizkids should really look into and take a new direction with, including but not limited to:
        -include max dice in starters without associated booster packs
        -same for team packs
        -better quality control over cards’ strength, wording, and have a healthy parallel in cost-value (it just makes me shake my head when they release some character with high purchase cost and its ability doesnt justify it, yet some cheaper ones get released with game-breaking effects, or the probably famous case of the Cockatrices with the identical abilities. Quality control and proper testing both in and out of set would make the game more enjoyable, and we’d get released sets of similar strength to one another, but as of right now DC just seems superior compared to what the marvel sets have to offer)
        -better marketing strategy: the game is barely played outside of the US, and that’s probably because WK focuses mostly on their immediate area, both in terms of held events, prizes handed out and pack availability, when they could have loving fans all over the world if only they would give us some love too.

        Like

  2. I regards to the ability on “Rhodey” – He deals his damage each time he KO’s an opposing character die with combat damage. If he’s level three with four attack and four Sidekicks block him, he could potentially deal eight damage to the opponent, depending on how Rhodey’s owner divides the damage up. Guess he’ll be my CCW for today.

    I’m sorry you don’t like the Starter as much as I do. I build ‘starter’ teams from each starter, just to see if it’s good for beginners. I had no trouble building two starter teams from this starter that were easy to use and easy to learn the game with. And neither team suffered from not having an Iron Man for Suit Up.

    I read all of your concerns about quality control and such, but I would recommend contacting WizKids directly over those issues. I am not affiliated with WizKids in any way and they don’t read my articles or the comments on my articles. The best way to let them know about your concerns is to tell them.

    Like

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