DC Dual Force is finally on its way! Comparisons have been made to Marvel Snap but this seems to be purely because of the comic book comparison. What we have here instead, is a different take on a more traditional collectable card game and today I am going to discuss the impressions from the game over the Streamer Weekend.
Instead of trying to tell you what the day 1 meta will be in this piece, I am instead going to try and lay out what the initial game environment supports and enables and what you need to be ready for going into this new game.
This is the biggest 'innovation' the game is making. Leader cards sit outside of your base 40 cards. They all have abilities which 'charge' each turn and are then activated via tapping the icon on the card. These can range from incremental value effects (Batman and Harley Quinn) to potential game ending effects (Black Adam). As effects they operate outside of the other resource systems in the game.
This is key to understand, as using these effects can negate your opponent's use of resources and maintain your resources. Due to this restriction Leaders with effects which impact the board immediately and often had an early advantage during beta. This is likely to carry over to the early days of DC Dual Force so focusing on Leaders such as Batman, Wonder Woman and The Flash could be to your advantage as they can trade with early game recruits.
The game is played on a 6 x 6 grid and at the start of the game two of these spots are taken up by your Leader cards. So you have 4 board slots for your 'Recruits'. Recruits have various effects and unlike other card games there is a range of power at all Resource levels. This creates the first limitation you must consider when deck building. We can fill the spots left behind by our Leaders if they fall. Getting on board early makes a big difference, so good value bronze resource cards are premium.
40 cards is a large deck and your hand can run dry quickly. I felt this early in the Beta. Early decks I put together relied on generating extra value and did not include much draw effects. As we entered day 2, it became apparent that draw cards and cards which do a thing and draw a card are extra valuable in DC Dual Force. The resource system increases the value of these cards as you can play two cards a turn easily, quickly running out of cards to play without card draw or generation.
Synergies across factions are important
Each faction has multiple different Leaders and areas they are strong with. The range of options in the base game is ambitious. Although the core set up of the game in my opinion leads to favouring fighting for the board, there are already a range of ways to build the decks.
Early testing seemed to indicate picking factions which complement each other and enhance the strengths is the best approach. This should hold true for the coming beta weekend. Example, Anarchy and Energy complement each other. Energy gives you more ways to over the top to finish the game and Anarchy gives you access to an aggressive early game.
After you finish the tutorial you gain access to the below set of cards which makes up your starter decks.
These are all serviceable decks but during the streamer weekend against full collection players I found they were quickly outpaced. The one I would start with is Batman and Wonder Woman as this combination has good board presence and ways to control the game with Batman.
What Does 100 Packs get you?
I entered the Beta wanting to experience the limited collection experience, opening 100 packs then building with what I had. Now although this means I don't think the decks coming up are not optional they hopefully will show you some ways to build decks in DC Dual Force.
The following screenshot shows how many cards I opened with 100 packs. We have also included some currency screenshots. With this pack opening I opened all Leaders within the first 60 packs also. I won't attempt the maths on this but we know this information will be important to many of you and wanted to include it here. There are also subscriptions and bundles in the store to expand your collection, details in the below screenshots.
What I Built With 100 Packs
The resource system changes how you should build decks. Gold resource is not the same as other card games as regardless from Turn 5 you can play a Gold card and one Silver or Bronze card. So including 'high cost' cards is not the same cost on your deck as other card games. However you still only draw one card per turn and with 40 cards in the deck this heavily incentivises having lots of Bronze and Silver options so you never miss your early turns. You also must include cards from both factions, this however doesn’t mean you can't focus more of your early game on one faction and your late game on another.
Darkseid and Poison Ivy
This first deck focuses on drawing Darkseid or Poison Ivy, playing then on Turn 5 and using their strong effects to win the game. It aimed to do this by combing the Tactics survival tools and draw with the Reduction effects and removal tools of Tyranny. This was tested with Lex Luthor instead but the constant value of Poison Ivy's Savage Vines hero effect ended up being more reliable. The deck can put out recruits constantly then play Friends in High Place to hit Darkseid or Poison Ivy.
The way Seek works and costs work in Snap allowed us to add two other Gold cost cards in Sinestro and Batman. We have 4 options from the Seek effect and if we draw two of these cards we will usually have something for the card to draw. With the Batman Leader we pick Grapnel Hook when we can, this will allow us to replay Darkseid after Turn 5. With the good draw we use Friends in High Places on 3 or 4, Play Darkseid on 5 with Grapnel Hook, then play Darkseid again on 6, destroying two spots on our opponents board. If we get ahead with the early game we can even play Darkseid to remove the spot in front of the enemy Leader, hit the following turn, then bounce him for the following turn.
I would have liked to have opened two Commissioner Gordon's for this deck as it is one of the best value cards in the game but I didn't have him at the time.
Harley Quinn and The Flash
The second direction which went well for me is far from the best version of this deck. I did not open any Naomi cards which I would include immediately. Anarchy and The Flash is an excellent aggressive combination to try and build due to the combination of Speed cards, Iris West making The Flash an incredible removal tool and other aggressively stated cards.
Ambush and Speed effects surprised me in game. Ambush allows you to trade without taking damage and Speed allows you to attack enemy leaders on Turn 1. This deck aims to explode onto the board and win as soon as possible. The entire gameplan is play as many bronze cards down, trade favourably and send everything to the Leaders. Flurry effect help us achieve this and Iris West allows us to use The Flash to clear cards. Few cards in here were for fun such as Black Lightning and Heart of Darkness. Note however the rest of the deck is almost entirely playable by Turn 3. If we lose the board and they set up a strong enough defence we lose, but in Beta this rarely happened.
Aquaman and Batman
This last one again doesn't feel finished but was what I could build with what I had. This is potentially the best starting combination to play. This is because both leaders create value and can scale their recruits. We can also include key draw effects and Lucious Fox upgrades your gadgets to allow even more draw. Aquaman scales each time you hit the effect and upgrades all the Sea Creatures going forward. So every time you hit the button they get bigger.
One card brings it all together, Throne of Atlantis. This can be played on turn 3 alongside a Leader activation, putting a Sea Creature into play and buffing the ones in hand. Batman supports Aquaman's board presence with gadgets which keep you ahead. Plenty of improvements can be made with card openings such as Superman recruit and another Commissioner Gordon.
The part of the game which impressed me the most though was the PvE experience. Whether these would get stale overtime is unclear, however the way they have incorporated the comic into the story is impressive. You really get the story from the comic and you complete key fights during the narrative. The way these could evolve with the vast library of DC Comics will be interesting to follow and could be enough to keep myself coming back. The battles are sometimes puzzle based and you pick up scripted buffs throughout the journey. At the end their are cards to collect from these stories also. So you get to brush up on your DC lore whilst increasing your collection, win-win.
The game has potential and is clearly in beta. If you join up this weekend, be patient and enjoy the new game experience. It won't be for everyone but if you have played games like Hearthstone and Legends of Runeterra this is worth taking a look at as a new take on the traditional digital card game.
This Friday, another Beta is starting, and not just for the streamers! Anyone with the Beta key can access the game (more details here), and we have a few more to giveaway! To enter, simply join our Discord server, tag me @safetyblade in the DC Dual Force channel with your favorite DC Character, and we'll get you hooked up (while stocks last).
Good Luck, Have Fun and Stay Safe!