How to beat (Advanced!) Citizen Dawn

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How to beat (Advanced!) Citizen Dawn

Villain Profile

  • Primary Damage Types: Energy, Fire
  • Secondary Damage Types: Melee, Cold
  • Most Dangerous Attack: Citizen Hammer
  • Most Dangerous Utility: Citizen Truth
  • Most Annoying: Devastating Aurora
  • Honorable Mention: Blinding Blast
  • Card you most want to see: Citizen Spring
  • Nemesis: Expatriette

Citizen Dawn and her super-powered team of minions can tear apart any unsuspecting hero team, and her advanced mode throws some extra wrenches into the works.  Her deck features Devastating Aurora, one of the most viscerally demoralizing setbacks in the game.  I’m here to show you that with careful villain management, Citizen Dawn is a threat to be respected, but defeated just the same.


On Citizen Dawn’s basic mode, you can breeze through her flipped side.  It’s a potentially dangerous speed bump, but nothing insurmountable.  To defeat advanced Citizen Dawn, that doesn’t work.  You need a plan.  This generally requires one of two strategies.  Everybody needs to work together to make sure that one of these is going to happen – if you just indiscriminately kill everything, that will lead to problems later.

  1. Using trash manipulation and outright damage, defeat Citizen Dawn without flipping her. 

This strategy involves keeping Citizens out of Dawn’s trash pile so that she never flips.  Heroes have all sorts of creative ways to accomplish this.  Visionary can take cards out of the trash.  Haka can make it so they never hit the trash.  Nightmist, Visionary and Wraith can stack the deck so Citizens never show up.  Legacy, Tempest or Nightmist can freeze draws.  Most importantly, be alert for Citizens who are not hurting you.  There are several that you just don’t need to kill. 

No matter how good your plan, you probably won’t be able to keep it up forever, especially with all the disruption Dawn can field.  The other part of the plan involves hitting her hard and fast.  Make the Citizens a non-issue, and take her down as fast as possible. 

  1. By carefully watching who you kill, make it so that her flipped side is as painless as possible. 

Sometimes, you won’t have the luxury of keeping her from flipping, due to a flurry of must-kill Citizens or a lack of appropriate cards or sufficient damage.  When that happens, things get a lot more delicate.

In this game, you keep alive any Citizens you can manage, and kill the rest.  When Dawn flips, hopefully you have enough controlled Citizens in play that she flips back quickly.  Remember, Dawn is a Citizen herself.  If she spends several turns Merged with the Sun, your odds of survival get pretty bad.  During this time, you hide behind defensive abilities, and kill any Citizens that threaten your life.  Then, after she flips back, you can kill Citizens at will and hopefully have an unimpeded path to finishing off Dawn.

At all times, it’s important to keep an eye on the environment.  You may not be able to stop it from killing a Citizen you wanted to keep alive.  (Hello, Mr. Kraken!)  If Dawn flips sooner than you intended, just stay rational and get ready to weather the assault as above. 

Citizens United

So which Citizens do you kill, and which do you keep?  We’ll run down the list.  In all cases, if you have a named pair out, you will likely have to kill at least one of them, or they will overwhelm you. 

Citizen Anvil: Watch – Damage reduction is a great reason to kill this guy.  As long as Hammer isn’t around, though, he’s not lethal, and is a potential candidate for keeping in play through Dawn’s transformation.

Citizen Assault: Kill – Citizen Assault is on the low side of the damaging Citizens, but two damage to everybody is hard to keep around.  If you can reduce his damage, he becomes much more palatable.

Citizen Autumn: Keep – Her effect is easily controlled by controlling hero hit points.

Citizen Battery: Watch – Single-target damage is somewhat more acceptable than mass damage.  Keep him if someone can minimize his threat.

Citizen Blood: Keep – He only does two damage.  To the lowest, but they’ll be fine.

Citizen Dare: Watch – He doesn’t do damage himself, but he can cause a lot of trouble if the other damaging citizens come out, or if the environment is giving you a hard time.

Citizen Hammer: Kill – And kill Anvil too, while you’re at it.  This powerhouse of Dawn’s offensive lineup is particularly manageable with Flesh of the Sun God.

Citizen Spring: Keep – She’s cute, too!

Citizen Summer: Kill – See Citizen Hammer, but Summer does far less damage.

Citizen Sweat: Keep – One ongoing is cheap.  You’ll lose ‘em all when she Auroras anyway. 

Citizen Tears: Kill – Exterminate with extreme prejudice.

Citizen Truth: Kill – This guy causes problems.  He’s much like Anvil, but must be killed to continue.  His lack of offense means you might take the chance to keep him a round or two until Dawn flips back, but be warned you’re playing with fire.  If Dawn floods the field with high-damage Citizens, this guy needs to be dead.

Citizen Winter: Kill – Same as Citizen Assault, with higher numbers.

Sun Spots

Citizen Dawn employs 6 dangerous ongoing cards, so ongoing destruction is critical to defeating her.  Channel the Eclipse and Luminous Leadership have no effect if you destroy them right away.  Channel the Eclipse even hurts Dawn the first time it comes into play!  If your ongoing destruction is light, you might be able to play around Luminous Leadership, but leaving the others in play makes for a difficult fight.

Return with the Dawn is the worst of the three, immediately bringing back hostiles you already killed.  If you don’t expect to be able to kill Return with the Dawn anytime soon, just eliminate all targets and hope she brings back the nice ones.  If this would result in her flipping, you have to judge whether you can handle the lethality of the Citizens currently in her trash.

Healing Light doesn’t kill you, so rejoice.  It’s worst when you’ve labored to take Citizen Truth down to one hit point, only to see that you have to do it all over again. 

Devastating Aurora is just that, devastating.  It can be rough to play characters that require a lot of setup against her, because they can lose it quickly.  Equipment is a safer investment than ongoings – Citizens Autumn and Sweat see to that.  If you have any deck-manipulating heroes, keeping them on alert for this card is a good idea.  Absent those, my best advice is to make sure to hold something back, so you have something you can do if – when – she destroys everything you have.  The fact that the card kills environments as well is a positive side effect most of the time, but it does mean you can’t rely on ones you like to stay in play.

Finally, Blinding Blast is another frustrating card.  Discarding your cards means you have less flexibility to respond to new situations, like Devastating Aurora.  The existence of this card is what makes me declare instant death against Tears.  Even though she doesn’t hurt you, the possibility that she will knock your hand size down to a point where Blinding Blast makes you run out of cards is a threat that can’t be ignored.


Citizen Dawn doesn’t have very many weaknesses at all.  Her difficulty is well earned, and covers all threats.  One blind spot is her reliance on her trash pile.  She needs it for Citizen Anvil, Return with the Dawn, and her entire flip mechanic.  If you can mess with it, either by taking citizens out of it or by making sure they never get there, you’ll have a much easier time with her.

Try Using

Visionary.  She is the undisputed master of trash management, with both Suggestion and Brain Burn at her disposal.  She doesn’t rely on having cards in play, so she avoids the worst of Dawn’s effects, and Enlighten can draw the heroes out of a discard-induced slump.  Mental Divergence is great to counter Dawn’s ongoings, and Telekinetic Cocoon can absorb a lot of damage.  Being able to stack the villain deck to avoid Devastating Aurora wins her a lot of friends.


Lots of setup.  While I have seen all heroes excel in battles with Citizen Dawn, those who require a lot of cards or particular cards in play are the most likely to be disappointed.  Repeated plays of Blinding Blast or Devastating Aurora will punish heroes looking for combos or relying on a single card.

arenson9's picture
Last seen: 21 hours 34 min ago
Joined: Aug 08, 2011

Nicely summarized.


After months and months of playing Rook City, Infernal Relics, and Shattered Timelines villains, when I returned to playing Dawn and Voss recently, it was something of a rude awakening to realize how hard each of them can actually be.

Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

Last seen: 3 hours 45 min ago
Joined: Nov 16, 2015

Re: trash management, Haka with Savage Mana and a Rampage?  Wipe out a bunch of citizens and put them under Savage Mana all in one swoop?  You run the risk of getting your Savage Mana destroyed by Autumn/Sweat/Devastating Aurora, but if you have a deck manager character out there, you can hold on to it until the very last minute, and laugh at Return With The Dawn while it lasts.

The Burning Stickman
The Burning Stickman's picture
Last seen: 2 months 3 days ago
Joined: Feb 28, 2015

Re: Citizen management, Fanatic can actually do a lot here. With Zealous Offense, if she can keep up 3 HP of damage a turn (an easy feat if there's any boosting out), that's two damaging citizens that you can just ignore. Chastise will also help toward this -- slap this on a high-damaging Citizen and not only can he or she not hurt you, but the Environment can't whack them either. Final Dive can also help get rid of pesky Citizens who either have DR or are otherwise immune to damage thanks to Truth.

And, if worse comes to worst and Dawn gets totally out of hand, she can deploy End of Days so you can start fresh.