Despite the fantastic ongoing support for Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid, certain fans have been craving a shift away from the “Zordon Era” of the show. As influential as these first six seasons of the show were, other equally beloved seasons have also aired and deserve some love in Renegade Studios' co-op board game. While the prior Ally Packs do include fan favorites from many different seasons, we haven't had a full Ranger team or major villain representation up to this point. That changes now with the one-two punch of the Dino Thunder Ranger Pack and Villain Pack 4: A Dark Turn.
Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid – Dino Thunder Ranger Pack
As the name suggests, the pack includes four of the Dino Thunder Rangers: Red, Yellow, Blue, and White. Each ranger comes complete with their own miniature, character card, combat deck, and zord, as well as a new Megazord card. In addition, it includes a new monster, Evil Dino Thunder White, complete with its own monster deck and deployment card.
The Dino Thunder team is from the “Disney Era” of Power Rangers and is most well known for it seeing the return of fan-favorite character Tommy Oliver, both as a mentor figure for the team as well as a fifth team member. Sadly, Tommy's Dino Thunder Black Ranger is not in this character pack. If you want the full team, you'll have to track down the Tommy Oliver Pack.
Dino Thunder Red, Conner, has some solid damage cards and is great against Fast attacks. His Extreme Speed is a great opening gambit since it adds a bonus die to the first attack of the battle. Outpace adds energy to the shared pool and reduces damage inflicted by a Fast keyword. His character ability, Swift Striker, lets you go ahead of a Fast enemy card at the cost of one less die for your starting attack. Even his signature card, Tyranno Staff, deals four dice worth of damage, which can be spread out to however many targets you want, but can only target enemy cards that have not resolved yet. Conner's whole playstyle is hit things fast.
On the flip side, Ethan, the Dino Thunder Blue Ranger, is all about defense. In fact, of the ten cards that make up his deck, half of them are reaction cards. Those reactions in question are his signature Tricera Skin, which can block incoming damage for himself or a teammate, and Improvise which can boost a teammate's attack or add energy to the shared pool. Finally, there is his signature card, Tricera Shield, which reduces damage and adds extra dice to the next Ranger's attack. The closest thing to dedicated attack cards he has are Low Kick, which is a four dice attack at zero cost, but all crits are treated as misses. Ethan even has some minor support built into him with his character ability, Clever Solution, which lets any ranger draw an extra card from their deck if a miss is rolled.
Next is the Dino Thunder Yellow Ranger, Kira. The most generous way to describe Kira's playstyle is risk management and support. Her Ptera Scream for example is a 1 cost reaction that drops the health value of an enemy card until the end of the turn. This is great if you need to down a monster or boss card but don't exactly have stellar cards. In addition, her Rapid Spin attack lets you re-roll any misses as part of a second attack. Then there's her signature attack card, Ptera Grips, which is just a 3 dice attack but it lets another ranger immediately attack with an extra die added to it. All of this combines with her character ability, Perfect Pitch, which adds energy to the shared pool if she rolls a crit. If she doesn't hit something or add some energy to the pool in an entire game, something has gone wrong.
Finally, we have Trent, the Dino Thunder White Ranger. If Conner's whole strategy is hit the enemy fast, Trent's playstyle is more to hit the enemy where it hurts. His Arrow Shot attack can ignore the Guard keyword. His Laser Arrows is an X cost card that spreads excess damage to all enemy cards adjacent. On the more technical side, Trent's Drago strike is a four dice attack that costs 2 energy, however if it's revealed for defense, the next attack gets an extra die. Combine some savvy defense with Trent's signature card, Drago Sword, which lets you play any card from your discard pile for free with three extra dice, and you potentially have an eight dice attack waiting to unleash hell. This pairs really well with his character ability, Fierce Impact, which lets you deal extra damage to all cards adjacent to the target if you deal three or more damage at once. When it comes to crowd control and splash damage, Trent is all the artillery you need.
As for the Evil Dino Thunder White monster, it's a solid addition to the menagerie of misery. In addition to some solid attack cards, this monster has some energy drain attached. Dark Laser Arrow deals extra damage based on how many energy you have in the pool and his Brutal Persona Passive card drains energy from the pool every time a card is revealed for defense.
While I have focused on Rangers as individuals, the appeal of Heroes of the Grid is seeing a team of Rangers work together, and the Dino Thunder team can best be described as a group of extremes that work great together. This is especially felt with Conner, Kira, and Ethan's decks all sharing a copy of the Thundermax Saber card: a 1 cost two dice attack card that essentially doubles any effect that gives bonus attack dice and can spread all damage across multiple targets.
https://twitter.com/SteamforgedLtd/status/1473684757661638656?s=20https…My only real criticism of the group comes from this hyper specialization. While each member of the Dino Thunder team are exceptionally great at one dedicated role, that rigidness can lead to problems. While playing as Ethan my combat hand was full of nothing but reaction cards. Kira's supporting Ptera Screams went to waste because Conner's attacks whiffed. Worse still, while there are highly situational abilities that can create energy, there is no dedicated power battery role in this team, which can limit Trent's crowd control potential. This means that when the team does well and the rolls are in your favor, the Dino Thunder team is unstoppable, but when a bad hand is dealt or too many misses pile up, the failures cascade.
This same principle can be found in the team's zords. Overall, they are just double down on the team's strengths. The Tyrannozord gives you extra combat dice and a free reroll. The Tricerazord blocks some damage and lets a player get a card back from their discard pile. The Pterazord weakens an enemy card that hasn't been hit yet. And the Dragozord deals additional splash damage off of a defeated card. Even the team's biggest hitter, the Thundersaurus Megazord's biggest ability is that it can immediately ready an exhausted Zord card four times per round of the game.
Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid – Villain Pack 4: A Dark Turn
Of course, a team of heroes are only as good as their villains, and the Dino Thunder Rangers have their opposites more than covered in Villain Pack 4: A Dark Turn. The pack includes the dark knight Zeltrax, femme fatale assassin Elsa, and the scheming dinosaur-human hybrid mad scientist Mesogog from Dino Thunder. In addition, it includes Ecliptor and big bad Astronema from Power Rangers in Space.
Starting with Elsa, she's the most sadistic of the Dino Thunder monsters in this pack. This is because her attacks actively go for the weakest Ranger in the team. Her Apostle's Blade is a Fast Guard attack that deal damage than forces the Ranger with the fewest cards in their deck to mill one card. Pair this with her Blast Cascade, which forces all Rangers in battle to mill cards until their combat decks match whoever has the lowest and it becomes an exercise in desperation. Then there's her Guard Passive ability, Harsh Discipline, which makes all of Elsa's attacks explicitly target whoever has the fewest cards in their combat deck. Basically, if Elsa sees a weak link, she will exploit it.
Alternatively, Zeltrax might be one of the cruel monsters in this pack. Zeltrax has a Nemesis ability where the Lead Ranger takes bonus damage from his attacks. His most common attack, Thunder Gladius, hits the entire team then the Lead a second time. Grim Vendetta forces the Lead to take damage equal to how many cards are in their hand. Then there's his Guard Passive card, Shield of Zeltrax, which forces players to remove all but two combat dice results from every attack performed while it is active. Zeltrax is the definition of a slow death by a thousand cuts and it will hurt every single time.
As for the villainous Mesogog, he is a direct response to the Dino Thunder team's best strategies. His Guard Passive card, Oppressive Aura shuts down bonus attack dice or damage effects. Merciless Plan is the game's very first enemy card with the Fast, Guard, and Passive keywords, and it lets Mesogog resolve two attack cards per round instead of one. This combines with some pretty brutal attacks like Ripclaw Rush which not only deals damage but forces the defender to discard cards. As fitting such a coldblooded villain, Mesogog knows his enemy well and will exploit any weaknesses he finds.
As for Ecliptor and Astronema, they are a solid addition to the game as well. In many ways, they make a great compliment to the Rise of the Psycho Rangers big box. Ecliptor's Mirror Image is a Passive that deals damage at the end of each enemy turn. Eye of Ecliptor forces teammates to mill half of their deck. Then there's Regeneration, which restores all of Ecliptor's defeated cards if it resolves. As for Astronema, her cards are appropriately weighted against the In Space team. Psychokinesis prevents cards from leaving the discard pile. Astral Vortex drains energy everytime a card without Guard is attacked. Finally, Dark Matter Wave deals damage to the team based on the shield value of a card revealed at random from the hand.
If there is a complaint I do have about Villain Pack 4, it's mostly the art direction. The artist for the pack's cards, Afu Chan, has a more simplified, almost cartoonish art style compared to other packs in the game. It works for the more human looking characters like Elsa and Astronema, but seems a bit off when applied to Mesogog.
The Bottom Line
All in all, if you are a huge fan of Power Rangers Dino Thunder and want to see that season of the show represented in Heroes of the Grid, then the Dino Thunder Rangers Pack and Villain Pack 4: A Dark Turn are a must. The new Rangers stand out with their, albeit highly specific, movesets and play fantastically as a team out of the box. The monsters and villains provide a great escalation of challenge with Mesogog being the absolute stand out.
Get These Packs If....
- You Like Dino Thunder
- Like Superpowered Dinosaurs
- Like Villains With Pink Hair
Don't Get These Packs If....
- You Don't Like More Stylized Art
- You Have A Phobia of Reptiles
The Dino Thunder Ranger Pack and Villain Pack 4: A Dark Turn Pack were provided to the author by Renegade Game Studios.