By chance today, I came across the Yu-Gi-Oh Dice Masters starter today at Target. I’ve been watching for this whenever I’ve been out (along with the AvX Starter, which I will find eventually) so naturally I grabbed it. Rather than only opening it and having the stuff for my own collection, I figured I may as well share it here along with a bit of initial thoughts. So, here we go.
I will work through these in the same manner as I have the images laid out at the following link: Images of the contents
The box is well laid out, definitely showcasing the brand. The movement of the dice throughout the images also helps to keep things feeling active. The colors are bright, grabbing the attention of the viewer. The use of Dark Magician and Dark Magician Girl for the sides of the box makes sense, as they are nearly as recognizable as Blue Eyes, who adorns the front of the box. However, Dark Magician Girl is a bit misleading, as she is not in the starter set, which was a bit disappointing.
Unlike the Uncanny X-Men Set, each character only has one card in this set. This somewhat feels limiting, but at the same time, I do like that it makes the starter something unique, but does drive the purchase of boosters. The biggest thing I appreciate about the characters in this starter is that each one can only have two dice on it, which makes each card at its maximum use right out of the package. This fixes one complaint that I had about the X-Men set, which was that many of the characters in the box allowed up to four dice, but only two of each character’s dice came with the set.
The characters included are Blue-Eyes White Dragon (Blue Titan), Celtic Guardian (Elven Warden), Dark Magician (Friend to the Pharaoh), Harpie Lady (Furious Fowl), La Jinn the Mystical Genie of the Lamp (Mighty Genie), Kuriboh (Cute Furball), Red-Eyes B. Dragon (Plated Body), and Time Wizard (Time Roulette). The images of each card is available in the images linked above.
Many of the characters utilize the burst abilities, which I really appreciate seeing. This makes each unique from one another, rather than only having different stats. The abilities of each card also have their own individual flavor, even moreso than the comic characters have seemed to. Dark Magician, although he doesn’t have a burst ability, is one I’m really looking forward to using. Having the option to pay two life to draw and immediately roll two dice can be a game changer. La Jinn’s ability to knock out sidekicks is also something that I look forward to using, which can help shut down the turtle plans of some players.
Ten basic actions came from this starter, representing the spells of Yu-Gi-Oh. Because of Basic Actions being something that can be purchased by either player, it is critical to have things that benefit your own game and may not fit the game plan of your opponent. One way to utilize these beyond the purchase of the action dice is with Global Abilities, which there are four basic actions in this set with a global. But, these globals are all things that we have seen before (creature cannot block, +1 A, swap attack values, and preventing damage to a blocked monster). So, the actions themselves are what to look at more directly. Swords of Revealing Light shuts down a major attacker (Wolverine, anyone?) until your next turn, giving you time to find another answer. Spellbinding Circle totally shuts down one die from being able to attack (until it is knocked out, at least). Monster Reborn lets you take a die from your used pile, roll it, and if you roll a character face, field it. If not, it goes into your bag. So, worst case scenario, it is in your bag to be hopefully drawn the next turn. I’m ok with that. Mirror Wall cuts a die’s A and D in half until it is knocked out. So many answers are provided in these basic actions that it will definitely be interesting to see how it changes the overall game.
The cards and dice feel a little different from this set. The cards feel a bit thicker, which is fine, as that may help keep them from bending up in the gravity feeds. The die that stands out the most to me as different is Harpie Lady. The die is actually completely clear. Most of the Emma Frost dice I have seen have at least a bubble inside them, but both of the Harpie dice are totally clear. They do have a little different texture, but not enough that it should be noticeable when reaching into the bag for dice. The bags are still the same “air sickness” quality, but that is expected. The rulebook feels sturdy and able to hold up to the inevitable flipping through several times.
A couple final thoughts – Looking through the dice, it was impossible to not notice a serial number printed both on the dice and on the cards. So, to the rule book:
So what this means is that if someone give you an extra card, it is useless unless you also have at least one die with the same number on it. WizKids has confirmed that this was ONLY for the Yu-Gi-Oh set, so it must be something related to the licensing requirements. It is a bit frustrating to see, but not something that is super difficult to deal with. At least not ALL dice have to be matching. That would be beyond frustrating.
The only other thing that stood out looking through the dice is that, while the quality of these is still good, more of them seemed to have a bit of an issue with the symbols being fully filled in, as shown in the picture below.
This isn’t something that is a huge deal, as they will still hold up just fine, but something that stood out while looking through. At the price of the starter, it’s a nitpick to point out these truly minor flaws.