As we may have mentioned before, the Sixth Ranger trope is a beloved one within Power Rangers. Support characters get their time to stand with heroes. Satisfying character arcs come to a head with a triumphant transformation. Mentors join the fight to help even up the score against greater threats.
But since this show has been around for almost 30 years now, there are plenty of fan-favorite sixth ranger members that deserve their time in the spotlight. Now, thanks to Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid's Ally Pack 2, even more of them will now have that chance.
Ally Pack 2 contains the following. You get five brand new Rangers: the Titanium Ranger, the Silver Space Ranger, the Green Samurai Ranger, the Jungle Fury Wolf Ranger, and the Hyperforce Green Ranger. Each one of them has their own combat deck, character card, and zord card. Finally, the pack includes a brand new Megazord card.
First, we'll start with RJ, the Jungle Fury Wolf Ranger. RJ was the mentor of the Power Rangers Jungle Fury team. Also, he is most well known for being a zen martial arts master who acted like a laidback surfer bro who ran a pizza parlor.
It is that fluid versatility that epitomizes RJ's entire playstyle. There's a healthy mix of just about every kind of role to be found in his cards. Wolf Fang Strike can be played after a reaction as either a 3-dice attack at no cost or add one energy to the shared pool. Go With The Flow allows you to immediately copy the effects of a different reaction card that was played. This can mean everything from Tommy's Dragon Shield protecting even more rangers from attacks or Time Force Pink's Covering Fire hitting even more targets. Pai Zhua Strike brings some survivability to the mix with allowing another Ranger to put a card from their discard pile back into their hands.
In fact, one of RJ's biggest boosts is that it incentivizes maneuver cards a bit more. His character ability, Unorthodox Master, lets you immediately add one energy to the shared pool once per battle whenever a maneuver or reaction is played. His Wolf Animal Spirit can be exhausted for a free 2-dice attack in response to a maneuver or reaction being played. The Wolf Buster attack can freely distribute damage to all targets if a maneuver is played first. Finally, RJ's biggest attack, Spirit of the Wolf, a 4-dice attack, gets 2 bonus damage if the last card is a maneuver or reaction, otherwise the cost of playing it is 2 energy rather than 3.
The only real issue with RJ is that he requires a lot more thought with each of his moves. Since he can fit almost any role in the game (battery, striker, support, etc.), it's up to the player to determine what would be more useful in this situation. Also, making sure his other abilities activate with maneuvers and reactions can be tricky to coordinate with teammates. There are a few self-sufficient combos like using the maneuver Swoop Technique for a free attack, but those are few and far between.
Next up is Joe Shih, the Green Hyperforce Ranger. Joe first debuted in the Power Rangers Hyperforce RPG Web Show as the older brother of the Hyperforce Red Ranger, Marvin Shih. He was a Time Force officer deep undercover trying to stop the machinations of the mysterious Alliance before finally joining the Hyperforce team as their sixth ranger.
Joe's playstyle can easily be described as a toxic staller. His bread and butter cards for attacks are his Hydra Coil attack and Venom Charge maneuver. Both of these attach to enemy cards and deal damage as turns progress. Complimenting that Joe's Hydra Shield reaction card which adds energy to the pool and places the 2-shield defense card on top of the deck, and the attack Enduring Strike, which lets you take a card from your discard pile and put it on the bottom of your deck.
Joe's whole strategy is to attach these poison cards to key enemy cards, then stay alive. Even his character ability, Enduring Strength, which lets you take a card from the discard pile and put it on the bottom of your deck with one energy assists this further. His Hydra Zord does this as well for any Ranger who is discarding for defense for free.
Because of this, Joe doesn't exactly have the best direct offensive options compared to other Rangers. His two biggest hitting cards are a standard Blade Blaster and his big 3-cost card, the Rhea Swords, which deal three separate attacks with 1 die, 2 dice, then 3 dice. The problem is both require a lot of energy to use, and chances are other Rangers on the team can find more economical uses for them in a battle.
All the same, Joe feels very much on brand for the Hyperforce team and a great addition.
Next, we have Ryan Mitchell, the Titanium Ranger from Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue. Due to a faustian deal between his father and the villain, Diabolico, he was taken as a child and raised by demons to fight the Ranger team. But thanks to the power of friendship and family, he was able to break their hold on him, as well as several curses, and joined the team as the sixth Lightspeed Rescue Ranger. In addition, the Titanium Ranger was the very first completely American-made Power Ranger with no Super Sentai equivalent.
So naturally, Ryan's role is a support tank. His most direct attack cards are Cursebreaker, which is a free 2-dice attack that gets two bonus dice against any Passive enemy card, and the one-cost attack Shockwave Slam which can deal one damage to all adjacent cards at the cost of losing the top card of your deck.
On the defense side, Ryan's Titanium Power reaction card adds energy to the shared pool based on the shield value of a card revealed for defense. Sturdy Blow is a single-shield card that is treated as two shields with revealed for defense. Finally, there is his character ability, Unbreakable, which lets Ryan immediately get three shields' worth of cards put back into his deck if he is ever defeated, making him one of the first Power Rangers in Heroes of the Grid too angry to die.
As for support, Ryan has a few surprises but they need set up. His Max Solarzord can be exhausted to shut off all Passive enemy cards for a single turn, something that can turn the tide for a big combo attack. It's a nice back-up to have just in case Cursebreaker doesn't handle the others.
The trickiest cards in Ryan's arsenal has to be both of his big hitter cards. The Titanium Laser deals a fixed amount of damage equal to how many cards are in your combat deck and ignores guard. The Titanium Axe deals a fixed amount of damage equal to how many cards are in your discard pile and can be spread across multiple targets. Both cost 3 energy to play. It's a minor version of the deck strategy the Magna Defender has, but with Ryan it's more situational. The axe can be saved as one last hail mary after using Unbreakable, potentially dealing nine damage total. Alternatively, the laser is a great opening gambit if your teammates can provide the energy.
Continuing on we have Cam Watanabe, the Green Samurai Ranger from Power Rangers Ninja Storm. Cam started out as the team's mentor and technical assistant before an incident involving time travel and his family history (it's a long story don't ask) where he got the Samurai Amulet, letting him become the Green Samurai Ranger.
As for his overall strategy, Cam can best be described as a role switcher. He can play really defensively with abilities that increase shield value or bring cards back into the deck rather than discarded. Or he can play really offensively with abilities that give multiple attacks or additional attack dice.
This is because almost every single card in Cam's deck revolves around the Samurai Shield card. Each card has two different abilities, one that activates if Samurai Shield is in your hand, and one that activates if Samurai Shield is discarded or not in your hand. Even Cam's character ability, Super Samurai Mode, forces you at the start of each battle to put Samurai Shield into your hand from the deck or discard pile.
The only card that doesn't revolve around Samurai Shield is Cam's zord, the Samurai Star Chopper, which can be exhausted either for damage reduction or letting a Ranger reroll damage dice.
The biggest issue with Cam is if you can't freely control where Samurai Shield is, either through other teammates' cards, you can feel locked in to a certain playstyle.
The last ranger in Ally Pack 2 is Zhane, the Silver Ranger from Power Rangers in Space. Zhane was the best friend of the Red Space Ranger, Andros, who lived together on the planet KO-35 before it was attacked by the forces of evil. Andros survived but Zhane was knocked into a coma before he was revived thanks to the Rangers.
Zhane's whole personality is boisterous and confident, which is perfectly represented with his aggressive energy generating playstyle. Total Confidence let you bet on a teammate taking out an enemy card, rewarding you with energy. Argent Charge is an attack card that not only adds energy to the pool but lets you reroll damage dice. His Silver Strike is an attack card that immediately returns to your hand after use if there is at least three energy in the pool. Finally, his Silverizer Blast and Silverizer Slash cards hit multiple enemies based on how much energy you spend. If you need to build up energy and deal with crowd control, Zhane is your guy.
In fact, Zhane's energy generation can carry over between battles. Zhane's Silver Charm ability lets you increase energy gained from a card once per battle. One extra energy in the pool can mean the difference between victory and defeat, speaking from experience here. But the biggest boost is Zhane's Mega Winger Zord. It can be exhausted at the end of a battle, where it takes all unused energy still in the pool and banks it. That banked energy can then be added to the shared pool in another battle. In fairness, it can only bank four energy, but that can make a world of difference in a pinch.
If there is a weak link in Ally Pack 2, it would have to be the Lightspeed Solarzord megazord card. On paper, it's a solid defense-oriented megazord. If you reveal a single-shield card for defense, you can either deal damage to an enemy, or increase the shield value by one. The most obvious synergy it has is with more defense and support oriented characters like Ryan and Joe. But compared to more flashier megazords already available, ones that work with more aggressive combos, I get a feeling this megazord won't be as beloved.
The Bottom Line
Once again, Jonathan Ying and his team have done a fantastic job of translating these beloved Power Rangers characters into Heroes of the Grid. My complaints and critiques aside, there is genuinely not a single Ranger in Ally Pack 2 that is flat out bad. Half of the fun of this game is seeing how these different strategies compliment other team configuration. In the games I played, Zhane's energy generation combined with RJ's more aggressive cards to make a self-sustaining bulldozer. Ryan's ridiculous defense and support mixed well with Joe's death of a thousand cuts and Cam's more straightforward offensive. And in that respect, this is yet another must-have addition to your gaming table.
Get This Pack If...
- You Want More Versatile Characters
- You Want to Enhance Pre-Existing Ranger Teams
Don't Get This Pack If...
- You Don't like Purple
- Want a More Aggressive Megazord
The copy of Power Rangers: Heroes Of The Grid Ally Pack #2 used in this review was provided by the publisher.