We all love when new sets arrive and we spend the time trying to find our favorite cards and combinations. Finding what fits our current competitive teams and we improve them. What is in this set that will make an effect on the game? Is there something that stops that pesky Bard?
Zack and I had a chance to put together our top ten cards. We all have our different playing styles. Not every card on this list will fit your playing style and you may not agree with where we rank them, heck we may have even missed your favorite card out of the set. We encourage you to have a read and find out why we like these cards as each of our top 10.
Prior to reading my CW Top 10 cards I believe it is important for you to have an idea of my play style. I tend to play more control style teams. I love to mix in just enough aggro for a win condition. I have only played one competitive-level tournament with a team that would be considered “fast”. The team was a 6 turn sidekick team I ran in the 2015 Salt Lake Comic Con Regionals, finishing in the top 8. I believe that one of the strongest abilities in the game is the ability to KO yourself, as you will see from some of my picks in this set. My Top 10 is based on this style and what I believe this set has to offer the overall game
#10: Captain America, Iron Man, Goliath
#10B Captain America- Man on the Run
Cap brings us a new keyword RESISTANCE. In this specific instance Resistance allows me to KO one of my opponent’s characters. With Captain America active at the end of my turn I have choice on a level 1 character of my opponent’s to KO, as long as I have had someone KOed during my turn. This adds to an already beloved Blue Eyes White Dragon Global. During my Main Step I may pay a bolt, KO a sidekick, purchase a die for 2 less and at the end of my turn I can then KO one of my opponenet’s Level 1 character. I have the control on this KO allowing me to control who I want out of the field moving into my opponents turn. Unfortunately the timing eliminates advantages during an attack step, also providing an opportunity my opportunity field their character again during their turn. Keeping him at just the #10 on my list.
#10A Iron Man- Secretary of Defense
ENILSTMENT is another keyword seen one cards in the set. In my opinion, Iron Man is the strongest of these cards. In this version, I force my opponant to make a choice. When fielded he must choose if he will have the ability to block or not. If he wants to have the ability to block he must KO a character of his choice. Anytime I can force my opponant into a difficult choice it’s a point in the match I have “control”. It is also a chance for the game to change, choices are what makes piloting such an important part of the game. Forced decisions keep the game in your favor. There are situations that this ability could hurt you. An example is if your apponent would have a Nitro (covered later) in the field. Keep in mind your fielding order, this Iron Man it could have an adverse effect. Due to the possible adverse effects I leave him at #10.
Each of the Goliath cards can be in good in their own way, but most people will want this character for it’s global ability. In the past we have seen global abilities that will allow you to add +1 attack, or +1 defense, however, this is the first time we have seen a global add both attack and defense for only one energy. This makes it more diverse in play. If you need a boost to an unblocked die you can do more damage. If you need to protect someone you can boost the defense. One example in set could be to boost Nitro’s defense to allow his abilities to be broadened. As for the cards, the uncommon has the best ability if you were to purchase one, however, the rare could be fun in unlimited to buy for 1 cost (you’ll just have to really pay to field him).
#9: Baron Zemo and Superhero Registration Act
#9 Baron Zemo- Evil Leadership
He’s a 3 cost mask character that has decent stats and can be unblockable. To make Baron unblockable, make sure that one of your characters is KO’ed prior to attack. Outside of the Civil War set this pairs great again with BEWD or a team with the fabricate (from the Dungeons & Dragons set). Fabricating allows you to gain the benefits of purchasing and hitting your opponent for some damage. Great card as he is his unblockable is conditional on the KO will keep him at #9 for me.
#9 Superhero Registration Act – Basic Action Card
If you are against using the Professor X Global for ramp, this is a good option that can allow you to get more dice to buy those higher priced characters and cycle through your bag faster. It is an action that helps you throughout the entire game, unlike something like Big Entrance that is most helpful early on, but can hurt late game. Be aware of opposing teams that benefit from KO’ing a character (Solomon Grundy, Nitro, etc).
#8: Goliath and Nitro
#8 Goliath- Giant Genius (Inspired)
Goliath comes in at #8 on this list for his Global ability. When I first drafted this set it was not a tempting card for me. It looked the same as Owlbear from the first D&D set, a 5 cost fist with just a Global to boost Attack.(Goliath Common). I quickly learned the benefit he provides in set. He was not part of my draft team but he was on my opponent’s team. As a result I was able to use it against him. Boosting the uncommon Nitro’s Defense up to make him unblockable. The Global on Goliath provides an added +1 attack AND +1 defence much different than many of the previous global abilities that only provides a boost to either an attack OR defense. I prefer the UC to boost him and provide overcrush in set. In an unlimited environment I would bring him only for his Global, in that case I would add the Rare. He is 1 less to purchase for every Global my opponent uses. In a game where PXG or BEWD are prevalent he quickly becomes a 1-2 cost character. Granted his strength to the team would be his Global so he would not always be purchased. Since his strength is his global, he can also assist my opponent as a result. I put him at #8.
#8 Nitro – Explosive Personality
This one can work well in set with Superhero Registration Act or in unlimited with BEWD or Fabricate. It’s defense can be boosted with the Goliath or Agent Venom Globals to reach characters with higher defense. It has decent removal ability at a low cost, which also makes a good blocker for control teams.
#7: Iron Fist and Speedball
#7 Iron Fist- Pure in Spirit
I know that this specific rating at #7 may be surprising to some people. As I have explained I like to KO my own characters to gain the benefits of abilities provided through the KO. As a result, I lose a character (or two) on the field. Iron Fist is what I look at as a one man field. One Iron Fist can KO one character and block another. Yes, my opponent has the ability to choose and many times will just KO a sidekick, which is why he is only #7 on the list. But paired with a force attack global, you can force your opponent to keep his field numbers down. Field 2-3 Iron Fist and he can stop up to six attackers, all while allowing you to KO your characters, with BEWD or Fabricate, without too much fear of retribution.
#7 Speedball – Robbie Baldwin
Common Speedball can be a very dangerous play, but can also be very effective if you use the ability correctly. He needs to be a blocker of big hitters to really perform well. If you have multiple Speedball dice blocking one or more dice you should be able to have all characters KO’d at the end of your opponent’s turn. This enables you to reroll all of your character dice and hopefully swing in for a lot of damage. Just be careful because if you don’t do lethal damage your opponent will be rolling all of their characters next turn that you just KO’d and might be doing even more damage to you.
#6: Captain Marvel and Punisher
#6 Captain Marvel – Kree Powered
I know there is a debate out there about this card and of its usefulness. I have it all the way up at #5 for one reason and what it can provide to already top tier teams. Captain Marvel adds a new step to your turn, a second attack step. I believe that any card that alters the basics of the game can and should be explored to see what it can provide. WizKids continues to slowly introduce different abilities that shift purchasing and now we have an additional attack step. There are two specific teams I expect that Captain Marvel can improve a powerful win condition. The first of these teams is a Patch (Nick Fury) Avengers Team. Why would this work? Patch doubles the attack of all Unblocked Avengers if played correctly you will have a kill shot. Either your opponent will block in your first attack clearing their field allowing an unblocked attack or you go in unblocked on the first attack. Captain Marvel can swing in for 14 herself. Add a few Tsarina’s to your attack for double the attacking spin pain. The other team I believe Captain Marvel adds a prefect win condition is Bard. Now Bard should hit hard and fast when played correct, he can typically win within five turns. No need to add a 7 cost character to this team…or is there? Against many good control teams I have seen a Bard team stall out and struggle many times while still securing the win, but only after dwindling down your opponent’s wall. Add Marvel to your Bard team and the win becomes simpler, nobody can survive two strong attack steps from a good Bard team. The only weakness to this card is that pesky 7 cost.
#6 Punisher – War Journal
I have been beat by this a couple times in drafts and it can be a game ender if you play it right. This requires a team with a lot of characters that you will be fielding at the same time as Punisher. Which means you will need to team him up with cheap characters (Kobold, Morphing Jar, Common Justice, sidekicks, etc.). Ideally you want to get to a point where you field as many characters as your opponent has in the field, then swing in for big damage with all your characters. Like with Speedball, you need to be careful to do enough damage that your opponent doesn’t swing in the next turn with lethal against you. This is usually a game ending strategy and not something you will rely on all game for the win.
#5: Punisher and Venom
#5 Punisher – War Journal
Another form of board clear added to the game is INTIMIDATE. There are many abilities in Dice Masters that trigger when a character is KO’ed. Intimidate works around that by only removing them from the field. Using this card as a win condition has worked well for me within set and I believe it will have its place on the right team in unlimited. The best use of this card is to have him as last purchase with cheap characters. Add him to a Guy team and he removes all the blockers from the field. As you are just removing them from the field it will not trigger adverse KO effects. Fielding characters needs to be done in the correct order. One card to watch for is Constantine Hellblazer, which keeps Punisher at #5 on the list.
#5 Venom – Symbiotic Organism
Venom has a nice control element combined with a direct damage ability. It’s a 5 cost card with decent stats and good fielding costs. Since it is a “While Active” ability it is not a character you will need multiple of in the field. Once fielded you can help prevent the number of sidekicks in the field and then do direct damage when you field a sidekick. Since your opponent will most likely not have a lot of characters in the field due to the sidekick fielding tax, which means less blockers. Transfer power works well in those cases, or a sidekick army or a bard team with a lot of attackers could work well with him.
#4: Deathlock and Luke Cage
#4 Deathlock-Death Machine or Timetraveler
I am a fan of both of these cards; the choice would be decided on what kind of team you want to run. Paired with a BEWD I can KO for the discount, spin up or down and either pay 2 life or gain 2 life. For the rare I am paying a bolt to gain 2 life and get a -2 discount on my next die. I prefer the common even though you would need to pay the 2 life to keep him in the field; you gain a stronger character with a high overcrush attack. He is a very difficult character to get out of the field through combat. I learned early in this game that life is an asset, use it as your tool. With this card I believe you are gaining enough to alter the outcome of the game with just 2 life. When used correctly on a build he is worth the #4 ranking in this set.
#4 Luke Cage – Knuckle Up!
If this was a 4 cost character it would be a meta card, but at 5 cost he can be good in some situations. I can see it being used in a couple scenarios either fast, or control teams. If you are fast enough to do more damage to your opponent (while preventing some damage to you a bit with his ability) you can then ping each character as much as possible with the global. This can backfire on you if your opponent is able to surprise you with big damage when you don’t expect it, so be careful with that strategy. The other option is to get some control elements and do a long ping with his global and ability combined. One damage each turn can take a long time so it would be good to combine with other control elements. In set I like the pairing it with UC Venom. If you are planning on absorbing an attacking die’s attack be careful if your opponent has a fist waiting to hit you for one (with his global) before the attack goes through.
#3: Luke Cage and Ronin
#3 Luke Cage- Knuckle Up
Luke is another one from this set that has been on each of my CW draft teams. Pair him with Rocket Raccoon, a two cost that deals both players one damage while inset. Matched with the Global on his own card you can just ping away. Out of set, bring =Vicious struggle to start some fun shenanigans. Each turn you have the opportunity to take 1-2 damage, anything more than 2 redirected and your opponent can pay the 2 life to give you the damage. As powerful as Luke’s ability is, it is limited as your opponent may pay life to avoid hitting you for more than 2. There are many options with this card as he provides some defense and an ability to damage your opponent with his global. There are still many combinations and tricks to be played with Luke Cage and that’s why I put him at #3 on my list.
#3 Ronin – UC
Although the uncommon Ronin’s ability is similar to the super rare, it is quite different in use. With the uncommon you can prevent the damage just to you, so when paired with the Luke Cage Global it will damage just your opponent. The downside is that you have to KO the die, so you usually don’t want to KO a character to save a single point of damage to you. Here are some good examples when it would be beneficial:
Cloudkill, Delayed Blast Fireball, or Mjolnir being used against you
You block one attacking character preventing damage to you, and then redirect another attacker’s damage that you let go through (and it ends up in the used pile)
Prevent a “ping” to UC Hulk, or one of your important characters (or even you)
#2: Ronin and Baron Zemo
#2 Ronin- Between Employers
Ronin will have long staying power in the game, expect to see him in many events moving forward. While his UC is also strong,I specifically want to rank his SR #2. In my opinion Ronin is the best SR to come out of the last few sets. It’s a three cost that can direct damage from ONE source. Why would this be a good ability? I can redirect a breath weapon or a Cloud Kill that would damage ALL my characters into just one. You want to ping your Hulk? I will redirect that Magic Missle into my Ronin. This specific trick would take more manipulation as there is the easy work around of just pinging Hulk twice. Add a global punishment or global tax like Oracle. There are many aspects to this Ronin that will continue to show why it is such a great card.
#2 Baron Zemo – Evil Leadership
With Relentless being added to the ban list it can be more difficult to have characters go unblocked. Baron Zemo has an unblockable ability. Combine this with Fabricate or BEWD to be able to easily KO a character the turn you want all your Baron Zemo dice to go unblocked. It might be a little harder to pull off in drafts due to the difficulty of being able to KO one of your characters before attacking, but in unlimited formats it can be done more easily. Due to the lower stats (decent for only a 3 cost) the characters would need to be boosted to do damage quickly. His ability combined with boosts like Goliath’s Global, Transfer Power, Invulnerability/Iceman – TCFW, Mordenkainen’s Sword, etc. can make it a good way to deal combat damage. Be careful around teams with the Mera global, and Jinzo. If you want to ping more slowly this could work well in a control team
#1: Nitro and Ronin
#1 Nitro- Explosive Personality
Even though this is just a common, Nitro – Explosive Personality is easily my favorite card out of this set. A 3 cost bolt that is a cheaper version of Solomon Grundy. While I am limited to his defense it will eliminate many of the foes. Again this fits my play style. In many of my competitive teams I have a number of ways to KO my own characters. Add him to a team with BEWD and Fabricate and there are many options to when and how you can trigger this action. Fabricate two Nitro and take out two of your opponent’s characters. I see this being very handy vs a Hellblazer. When fielded there is a good chance your opponent will call Nitro blanking his text. Save a bolt on your turn, pass turn to your opponent, when priority is passed on your opponent’s turn, BEWD your Nitro and KO his Hellblazer; eliminating his ability on your turn. This is just one of many examples of why I love this card and at 3 cost he is my #1 card to come out of Civil War.
1. Ronin – SR
While Ronin is active, once per turn, you may redirect all damage from one source to a Ronin character die.
Although the Super Rare Ronin’s ability is similar to the UC, it is quite different in use. With the Super Rare you can’t prevent the damage just to you, so when paired with the Luke Cage Global it will prevent both the damage to you and the opponent. The good thing about the Super Rare is that you don’t have to KO the die, so you can redirect the damage even if it is just 1 damage and Ronin should survive to redirect damage the next turn.
Here are some good examples when Ronin would be beneficial:
- Jocasta, Gobby
- Wasp, Slifer, Magic Missile, etc. Globals
- Cloudkill, Delayed Blast Fireball, or Mjolnir being used against you
- Unblockable characters
- You block one attacking character preventing damage to you, and then redirect another attacker’s damage that you let go through (and it ends up in the used pile)
- Prevent a “ping” to UC Hulk, or one of your important characters (or even you)
In my opinion this is the best Super Rare since pre-nerfed Jocasta, and Constantine before that.
It’s relatively cheap, it’s a mask (good with PXG if you roll energy), and has a great ability.
Bonus from Russell: HM- Speedball- Easily could have made this list and with more testing and building my turn into a favorite.
So there you have it, Zack and my Top 10 lists for Civil War. We can both admit that this list could evolve and grow over time. Will we still believe these are the best cards six months from now? Will Ronin really prove to be as great as we both believe he is? Only time will tell. We want to thank you for taking the time to read and look forward to sharing more with you in the future.
What other great card do you see in this set that you feel we missed? Let us know in the comments below.