The marketing machine for Dark Phoenix Saga is in full swing and one of the stand out elements of the new set is the brand new keyword being added to the list of Dice Masters keywords called “Founder”. I thought I’d take a few minutes to share some of my thoughts on the keyword and highlight a handful of spoiler cards (including some never-before-seen ones with full game-texts! Another MoD exclusive) that demonstrate its potential use and impact on the game.
Incidentally – all of our exclusive spoilers (including the new additions in this article) can be found in our Dice Masters Spoilers From Unreleased Sets gallery for future viewing, and keep an eye out on the Ministry of Dice YouTube channel for some interesting video content with some spoilers included coming very soon.
Right, onto the keyword then…
What is the Founder Keyword?
The “Founder” keyword identifies one of the Xavier’s original students from the very first line-up of the X-Men. It carries no specific effect of its own – it is just an identifier – but there are bonuses and effects that will happen when characters with the Founder keyword work together.
This is not unusual; there have been a number of keywords over many Dice Masters sets that don’t have a specific effect of their own but act as an indicator or have a character specific effect rather than a blanket one. For example: all the way back in the Uncanny X-Men set we had Heroic.
The characters from the set we know at time of writing to have the Founder keyword are:
- Jean Grey
These are the original 5 members from the very first issue of “The X-Men” back in 1963, and Moira McTaggart, who was a major supporting characters of the Chris Claremont era but was retconned into a more sgnificant “Founder” role in the recent “House of X” storyline written by Jonathan Hickman . Let’s take a look at all the Founder cards we’ve seen so far, and some of the new ones we have exclusively available here at BritRollerSix:
Couple of notes before moving: there are still a few rarities of these characters yet to be seen, and Wizkids have confirmed that there are further Founder cards to be revealed, so who knows what other juicy effects there are yet to be seen.
Also – some of you may notice Moira McTaggart’s “Loyalty Counter” effect. This is a +1/+1 token that gets added, but Wizkids noted in their e-mail that it is NOT an Experience token.
How Does Founder Work?
From the cards we’ve seen spoiled it can vary what effect it has and is defined on the card itself. Some cards appear to have the keyword with no additional effect (as the aforementioned indicator), whereas others call out a specific reaction when a Founder card does something.
Notice the use of the same “First Class” subtitle on a Cyclop & a Beast. I wonder if there will be a Jean Grey, Iceman and Angel all with the “First Class” subtitle that have Founder related effects? All the other versions of their characters have unique subtitles so far but there is still one of each yet to be seen.
As you can see – the use of the keyword will impact in different ways during different points of your turn. Beast is a ramp effect that will happen during your Attack Step, whereas Cyclops deals damage to characters during the Main Step and is initiated by the act of fielding a Founder character (Including himself, I think, he doesn’t say “Other”.) Angel is just a static effect that applies a bonus to them all.
So it looks like Founder will work in different ways depending on which characters you use. I can’t wait to see the outstanding Founders yet to be revealed.
Thoughts on its Use
It’s yet to be seen how the Founder keyword is placed in Dice Masters: will it make a competitive build? Is it more of a fun theme to play with? Or is it solely designed to be a focus of your drafting efforts?
I’m glad to see that it doesn’t look to be about throwing all the Founder characters that have a Founder effect into team and you’re done. There is potential in the game-texts of the Founder characters that simply carry the keyword without a direct Founder-related effect. Take Jean Grey – Marvel Girl for example: she’s a Founder who’s has a really useful “While Active” effect that Founder has no bearing on at all, but might be a strong include as a Control piece with another Founder card. I like all the cumulative benefits though – I definitely like the idea of using a Dark Phoenix global to KO & re-field a Beast or an Angel over & over to make a massive Moira for a laugh in a draft.
It’s appealing to me to see a thematic drive behind the keyword – I love when Dice Masters draws heavily on the comic book source material to influence the game design. (Incidentally; we made a guest appearance on the Rollin’ Thunder podcast recently where we debated this idea in some depth. Check it out: Rollin’ Thunder S2E16 “Theme Itself”.)
Despite the impact of the Pandemic on face-to-face play we also have to remember that this set is designed to cater to draft play too, so I’m curious to see how much of a draft impact the keyword will have. It looks as though the Founder keyword is going to be across the rarities of the Founding Five characters (plus Moira, but she’s only a Founder on the Rare) so the odds of seeing them in a draft pick are higher and makes it potentially viable as a focus for your drafted team. As the stacks go round it’s likely you’ll see a few to build around.
I know this is a “Keyword Profile” post, but I’ve got to take a moments pause to acknowledge the continued efforts on Wizkid’s part to really up their game with artwork choices. These are going to look lovely out on the table in my teams, they really stand out.
I also think that the full art impact on the text box is a bit better than they were on Infinity Gauntlet. Maybe? I feel like the text is much easier to read & see with the transparency and artwork behind it.
For the comic book fans – here are the artists and the original titles these images appeared in, with HUGE appreciation and thanks to Saor Alba on Discord for his encyclopaedic knowledge of the X-Men…
- Angel, by Greg Land, from Uncanny X-Men #7
- Beast, by Kevin Sharpe, from X-Treme X-Men: Savage Land #2
- Cyclops, by Marco Checchetto, from the House of X #1 Variant
- Iceman, by Mike Deodata Jr, from Iceman #8
- Jean Grey, by Artgerm, from the X-Men #1 Variant
- Moira, by Pepe Larraz, from House of X #2
There we go then folks – everything on Founder so far. We hope you enjoyed my little look at Founder and a peek at some new, exclusive spoilers.
Don’t forget to keep your eye on the Ministry of Dice’s YouTube channel for even more Dark Phoenix Saga content, including some cards we’ve seen, but couldn’t read the game-texts on… until now 😉
What are your thoughts on the Founder keyword? Is it an interesting new addition to the glossary of Dice Masters keywords or is it going to be a bit of a dud? Are you into theme? And how do you feel about the artwork? Let me know in the comments below…