by The Brown Messiah
Wubba Lubba Dub Dub all my Glip-Gloppin Dice Masters! Brown Messiah here ready to bring you all my review of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Heroes in a Half Shell (HHS). I am really excited to be reviewing this set for you all. In preparation for it, I took the opportunity to use this set to teach a new player, my girlfriend. She is very new to CCGs, and most board games in general, so I was a little concerned she wouldn’t be too excited, but after explaining the game a bit, and taking a few turns, she was having a blast! Her favorite thing was just filling up her bag with all the dice she had purchased. HHS was perfect for teaching her because it’s a small self contained finite set and after the first initial play through I decided I really liked it. After the last TMNT set I was left underwhelmed and disappointed. Overall the set was just very lack luster. Casey Jones: Mutant Hunter and the Foot Ninjas were pretty much the only reasons to buy the box. I ended up finding the six cost Shredder: Oroku Saki as a cool idea and hope to one day make him work. Beyond those cards the whole set just wasn’t so great. Heroes in a Half Shell is the complete opposite to the first set in all regards and I look forward to using these cards in, and seeing how they affect, Unlimited and Prime.
Hooo boy! I had a lot of fun playing with Heroes in a Half Shell. All the dice and cards look really great and the variety of playable cards in and out of set is much higher than the first one. For the good guys, the beloved Casey Jones was hit pretty hard by the nerf hockey and is now just underwhelming and restrictive. The one I liked the most was ‘Penalty Box’ that says “when Casey Jones KOs a Sidekick character die, gain 1 life.” and has a global, “Pay Fist. Target Sidekick character die must block this turn, if able.” I used this against the KO King to prevent him from using his Foot Ninja that had Swarm. I don’t really see him making much of an impact out of set and even in set he is just kind of ‘Meh.’ Unless your opponent is using cheap characters or likes to use Swarm when playing Turtles only, I’d maybe keep Casey the binder.
Renet Tilley was another card I was very excited for when spoilers came out, and now, with cards in hand, I am beyond stoked! All versions of her are amazing. My personal favorite was “79th Dimension of Null Time” which lets you switch the side of an action face to any other side while she is active. But it is very closely tied with “Impeccable Timing.” This version is very true to the subtitle and requires some really good timing but can be very useful. I see this card making more of an impact out of set in Unlimited or Prime. In set, without a super reliable way to ramp, I found it rather difficult to get it to work because I was usually rolling four dice per turn. With her fielding costs it wasn’t as effective as I would have liked to be. However, slap PXG or Superhero Registration Act and you’ll be in business.
Hamato Yoshi also caught my attention. His abilities are pretty neat and his stats reflect that. My only complaint is his cost but with what he does the costs make sense. I didn’t get around to playing it much but it was played against me a few times. Hamato Yoshi: Protective Parent was the one the KO King used against me in our games. He paired it with the Basic Action: Haymaker (Anger Issues reprint) and would attack with him. IF I chose to block, Hamato Yoshi’s effect would go off. If I let him through, any fists he saved he would use to pump up Hamato Yoshi and get more damage in. In set, this is a fairly solid win condition by nickel and diming your opponent into submission and out of set I could see it being pretty good with a “Force Block” global. Now my favorite thing about HHS is how much better they made the Turtles. And they got better with the help of a non-Turtle character.
April is back and this time she is bringing the Turtle Power keyword to help you reduce the cost of all your other all your Turtles! Add one or two of the other Turtles with Turtle Power you’ll be buying up them all up! Like last time they all have a version with Turtle Power, they all have a version that offers direct damage by paying a cost of their corresponding energies, and they each have a unique version that make full on Turtle teams awesome.
Donatello: Technologic is the best example; when he attacks he will do one damage to your opponent for each of your other Turtle affiliated characters of which there are four. Donnie is gonna be swingin that Bo staff mighty strong once he and his brothers gets going.
Add Metalhead: Dissociative Identity who makes your non-Metalhead Turtle affiliated characters unblockable and you’ll really be bringing the hurt. In set, the Turtles are a pretty solid win condition that can be a lot of fun especially if you like runnin around with the whole shellin’ crew! When I think of Prime I think if you tinkered around with it.
The villains in the set are solid as well. Slash is a boss. ‘Specimen 6’ is probably the best one when you’re playing in set. When Slash is blocked, he will deal damage equal to his A to a target opposing character die that is not blocking. With his stat line of 3-4, 5-4, and 6-5 you opponent is gonna be having a hard time deciding if he wants to take the damage or block. When Unlimited and Prime come to mind, The other versions may be a bit more handy with Blue Eyes White Dragon as they have KO abilities.
Leatherhead is probably the best for anti-Turtles when you’re playing HHS since all versions of him have to do with Turtle affiliated characters. When you field Leatherhead: I Guarantee you name a Turtle affiliated character and while he is active your opponent can’t purchase or field the named character. This can be pretty devastating if you roll with all the Turtles so be on the lookout. His other versions are good too but as stated before, he is really only good when only playing Turtles.
All of the Tiger Claw cards are cool but are really expensive. I will admit that with the abilities on them, a high purchase cost is probably needed. My favorite was Tiger Claw: Lost Humanity. “When fielded, deal 3 damage to each opposing character die.” I love “when fielded” abilities and one that can be a board clear makes me smile. His stats are great for re-fielding purposes and his attack stats are great too but if you like to keep attacking Tiger Claw: Seeking Vengeance may be better since when he attacks he will deal your opponent 2 damage. In set I think he is great as a finisher but his costs make him a bit harder to get the value you want when out of set.
The Foot Ninjas are cool but definitely not as powerful as those in the first set. Foot Ninja: Shinobijutsu has Swarm which is great however, I really wish it was on Foot Ninja: Stick to the Shadows. Stick to the Shadows says “When two or more Foot ninja character dice you control attack at once, deal damage to target opponent equal to the number of attacking Foot Ninja character dice.” I feel like when you Swarm into a bunch of characters, attacking seems natural. Sans that, they are all solid.
Shredder seems to be a bit underwhelming too as I didn’t get a chance to play with him. Shredder: Dining on Turtle Soup! Is one that on paper looks alright but requires some setup. Perhaps I’m just stuck on Oroku Saki so much that I’m not ready to move on to a new Shredder.
Finally we look at Triceraton and I have mixed feelings about him. For a character that is 4 and 5 cost his stats are decent. ‘Loyal to a Fault’ has Overcrush but i just don’t see a character being 5-5 as that threatening outside of set but in set it’s not too bad. The one I came to like more was ‘Orders from Captain Zora’ who gets +3A when he attacks until the end of turn. If you bring the Basic Action: Haymaker, Triceraton becomes a problem for your opponents and outside of set there are cheaper ways of giving him Overcrush in Hulk Out! And Pym Particles.
The Basic Actions in this set are pretty decent too despite the fact that a lot of them are reprints. Haymaker, Splinter’s Teachings, Mutation, and Unstable Cannister are all reprints of the Basic Actions Anger Issues, Transfer Power, Polymorph, and Magic Missile respectively. Reclaim is a half reprint of Escape Incarceration.
It’s one energy cheaper and it doesn’t have its Enlistment ability but I still found it effective. Outside of set it could be pretty useful and I’m excited to see how it works out. I also liked Mysterious Shredder Transport which makes each player sacrifice one character dice. Sacrifice isn’t the best mechanic out there but it is still a form of removal.
I like this because it’s almost like Brother Fights Brother with some obvious differences being “sacrafice” vs “KO.” It also doesn’t have the global on it which is good as that was the issue I have with Brother Fights Brother.
Nefarious Broadcast was one the guys and I had some discussions about and we even talked a little bit about it on the show. When you play it you cancel any active effects of previously used Global Abilities and Global Abilities cannot be used until the end of the turn.
This is a really interesting Action but I am not 100% on how it would work but it’s that second part that intrigues most anyone. Shutting down globals is a really cool idea and is something I hope Wizkids will address at some point. But stopping your opponent from using PXG or using a taunt or even buffing globals could be very detrimental. It is very situational and I am excited to see how it is played because I can see the potential.
The KO King would never forgive me if I didn’t mention Momentum. After playing around with it I will say that this is not a “willy nilly put on any team” action. In set three isn’t as much to help it along but outside of set I could see this being YUGE! Being able to buy and prep on turn one and starting shenanigans is just one thing. I won’t go too much into it as the KO King will be talking all about this action in weeks to come but I will say that to use it requires finesse and excellent timing.
That’s all for me folks. This set is a lot of fun and I definitely recommend picking it up. It may not be the set with all the meta cards but it is a solid one and is a lot of fun. Do what I did, get it and teach it to someone new and you’ll see that as a standalone set it still holds up. I hope you are all as excited as I am to keep playing Heroes in a Half Shell. It will be interesting to see how all of these cards will be played in Prime and Unlimited. So order some pizzas and grab a few 2 liters. Get ready for a shell of a good time and Cowabunga dudes and dudettes!