Game Preview: DC Deck-Building Game: Crisis Expansion Pack 4

By Krystyl Chwa

The following article was written by Matt Dunn, Lead Designer of Crisis 4.

This article was first published in the August 2018 issue of Game Trade Magazine.

Cryptozoic Entertainment is excited to announce the release of the highly anticipated fourth entry in its Crisis series of expansions for the DC Deck-Building Game. This time, the Teen Titans are being highlighted. As with previous Crisis sets, Crisis 4 can combine with any DC DBG base set to create an exciting, cooperative experience, or even just to add a little more challenge to your standard competitive games. Naturally, Crisis 4 works best with the Teen Titans base set, but mixing it up always keeps things fresh and exciting.  The game comes with eight Crisis Super Heroes you can play as: Beast Boy, Blue Beetle, Kid Flash, Raven, Red Robin, Starfire, Superboy, and Wonder Girl. Let’s take a look at some of the new mechanics and themes you’ll find in this expansion!



With the Teen Titans set focusing in a major way on Ongoing cards, one of the things we were most excited to explore with Crisis 4 was the idea of Ongoing cards that would be exciting in a cooperative format. This led us to a new mechanic called Unity.

Unity is found on Ongoing cards that have an effect whenever a Unity card is played (including itself). These effects start off small, but as more and more Unity cards find their way into play, their combined effects become quite potent indeed. For example, let’s take a look at Wally West.

By himself, Wally West will simply draw you a card when played, making him no more powerful than, say, Kid Flash from the first DC Deck-Building Game set. While he stays in play, though, any future Unity cards that are played allow the player to draw a card in addition to their own effects. So, if you were to play a second Wally West, you would draw two cards, one from the new Wally West being played, and another from the first one already in play. Suddenly, that second Wally West is on par with The Fastest Man Alive! Not only that, but those two copies of Wally also cause future Unity cards essentially to have a free “draw two cards” added to them as well. As you can see, Unity allows players to reach tremendous heights through the power of teamwork. Note that once played, they remain in play as Ongoing cards. You will have to find ways to get them back into your deck to play them again to see more bonuses for yourself.

It’s important to keep in mind that these effects will benefit any player that plays a Unity card, not just yourself. Thus, when playing in the cooperative Crisis environment, the entire team is encouraged to grab Unity cards and reap the benefits of their constantly rising power. When looking at Wally, you may have noticed the large, orange “U” in his text box. This is a common feature on Unity cards, making them easier to spot while they’re in play, allowing you to find at a glance what bonuses you’ll get when you play your own Unity cards.



The Teen Titans aren’t the only team found in Crisis 4. Also making their DC Deck-Building debut is the Demon’s Fist, five aspiring members of the League of Assassins that take the concept of “teamwork” in a more ruthless direction. While the members of the Demon’s Fist still benefit from having their teammates around, that benefit tends to come at the expense of said teammates. For example, let’s take a look at Mara al Ghul.

Mara generates 2 Power when you play her, then remains in play as an Ongoing card. While in play, her Ongoing ability lets you discard any Ongoing card (even herself) to generate 2 Power. You can do this as many times as you like, even multiple times in the same turn, as long as you can keep paying the cost of discarding an Ongoing card.

By herself, Mara can generate 4 Power in a turn if you simply play her and immediately discard her. However, if you happen to have other Ongoing cards in play that you’re willing to part with, she can give you even larger bursts of Power. As for where those Ongoing cards might come from, other members of the Demon’s Fist are also Ongoing cards, so they can all be used to fuel their own “discard an Ongoing” abilities or those of their teammates.

While the Demon’s Fist won’t typically be available to those playing in Crisis mode (in that mode, Villains are destroyed when bought or gained), those who choose to use the Crisis 4 cards in a competitive game will find that the members of the Demon’s Fist provide an opportunity to squeeze even more value out of their Ongoing cards.


At the heart of the Crisis experience are the Crisis cards themselves, and that’s no different in Crisis 4. However, this set takes Crises in a different direction with the introduction of Personal Crises. Rather than the huge, world-ending Crises of previous sets, these Crises are smaller-scale problems that affect individual members of the team. The Teen Titans have always been as much about the relationship between the characters as it has been fighting bad guys, after all. Much like Crises from previous sets, Personal Crises have an Ongoing detrimental effect, and many have an immediate effect on top of that. Unlike previous Crises, though, these effects will only affect one player.

Also like previous Crisis cards, each Personal Crisis lists the way in which it can be beaten. This can sometimes involve performing a particular task, but most commonly requires the contribution of cards. For example, Sudden Loss requires the contribution of two Ongoing cards to be beaten. During a player’s turn, a player may remove an Ongoing card in their hand from play to contribute to Sudden Loss. Once two cards have been contributed to that Crisis, it’s beaten, causing it to be discarded, and freeing the affected player from its effects.

While the negative effects of a Personal Crisis only affect one player, any player can help solve that Crisis. So, instead of one big puzzle to solve, Personal Crises give the players multiple smaller puzzles to work through, allowing for different approaches and strategies when determining when and how to solve each of the Personal Crises in the game. They’ll have to work quickly, though, because Personal Crises also cause the main deck to be depleted quicker while they remain in effect, which can lead to a quick defeat for the heroes if they’re not careful.



Another exciting tradition when it comes to Crisis sets is the introduction of brand-new competitive Super Heroes to play with, and Crisis 4 comes with six additional character cards to spice up your competitive games: Arsenal, Donna Troy, Nightwing, Omen, Tempest, and The Flash. Calling themselves the Titans, these founding members of the original Teen Titans are now seasoned heroes in their own right.

Whether you prefer working with your friends or competing against them, Crisis 4 has a lot to offer. Exciting new cards and strategies are waiting to be discovered, and fresh new challenges are ready to be overcome. Gather your friends, unite your forces, and battle your way to victory!

krystylchwa's picture Krystyl Chwa

Krystyl is the Marketing Coordinator at Cryptozoic Entertainment. She loves superheroes, sugary snacks, and petting small animals. On most days you'll probably find her watching Netflix with her dog, cooking up new recipes in the kitchen, or playing board games with her friends!