Wingspan Asia Bird Card Tier List Update
A New Way of Looking at Point Bombs
One core and fundamental aspect of Wingspan game play is to drop large point birds in the late game. This list previously favored cheap and efficient resource gathering birds (which are highly impactful in the early game) and point scoring engine birds (impactful in the mid to late game) while undervaluing the late game impact of large point birds.
In the absence of a very powerful point scoring engine, these large point birds often represent your best option for scoring a lot of points in the late game or are otherwise the point scoring expression of strong food producing Forest engines. These late game point bombs have traditionally been relegated to Tier 2, unless they demonstrated some superior quality that pushed them to another level, such as Atlantic Puffin or Red Knott.
In the Oceania Metagame, these expensive big point birds become even more valuable, as food is generally more plentiful and they are easier to get onto the board. Since games can generally see more birds on the board, this inflates the value of bonus cards that inherently rely on the total number of birds to score well.
All Eight and Nine point birds are moving to Tier 1. All Six and Seven point Bonus Card Birds from Core Set are moving to Tier 1. All 4 and 5 point, two food cost Bonus Card Birds from Core Set are moving to Tier 1. Atlantic Puffin is moving to Tier 0, since it generally has the best point scoring potential as a late game point bomb behind Bonelli’s Eagle and Eastern Imperial Eagle.
Wingspan Core, European, and Oceania Tier List Changes
Abbot’s Booby: T1 to T0: This bird is an amazing filter for Bonus Card Quality. Look at three new bonus cards and discard two. Not only that, but you can get rid of dud bonus cards you already have. This breaks the mold for what traditional bonus card birds can do. The fact that this bird only costs two fish and comes with a five point body is just icing on the cake.
Snow Bunting: T1 to T0: Its ability to “counter” your opponent’s first tucking bird is powerful. The fact that this is tacked onto a five point body that’s easy to play and can be dropped as your first Wetlands bird is icing on the cake. Card Cycling is one of the best effects in the game. Just make sure to keep a card in hand.
Barn Swallow: T1 to T0: Cheap and flexible in habitat placement. Over a long period of time, card cycling has proven to be one of the best effects in the game. Stacking these brown power effects in the Grasslands is especially potent. A three egg start nest is just extra good.
Purple Martin: T1 to T0: See Barn Swallow. No star nest on this one.
Australian Ibis: T2 to T1: White Stork has been making a big impact on the meta and Australian Ibis is cut from the same cloth. Not only can you “draw” a card from the Grasslands, you can tuck that card if you wish.
Black Headed Gull: T1 to T0: The Premier disruption card in Wingspan. Black Headed Gull is a great way to produce food in the wetlands and harass your opponent simultaneously. Its a standout among the other “stealing birds” in that you can use the food that you steal. This can be less effective in the OE metagame since food is generally more plentiful and your opponent can go back to the birdfeeder for Nectar.
Grey Teal: T2 to T1: As of OE, about 48% of birds can live in the Wetlands. Notable cards include: Killdeer, Franklin’s Gull, Common Raven, Bonelli’s Eagle, White Stork, House Finch, and Barn Swallow. Being able to look at three cards off the deck and keep one wetlands bird is pretty great. If you get a dud, you can tuck it for points. This power is attached to a two point body with a five egg nest which just icing on the cake. Its food cost is very manageable.
Black Redstart: T0 to T1: This bird has proven to be difficult to manage effectively and it can often be difficult to justify playing it after you already have an established plan.
Lesser Whitethroat: T0 to T1: This bird has proven to be difficult to manage effectively and it can often be difficult to justify playing it after you already have an established plan.
California Quail: T1 to T2: Despite its ability to lay eggs in the Forest, its expensive food cost and low point value make it hard to justify playing this bird. In a head to head choice, it always loses out to Mourning Dove, Chipping Sparrow, and Pileated Woodpecker.
Wingspan Asia Tier List Additions
For Wingspan Asia, I will only be commenting on placements of Tier 1 or higher (as well as providing the links to previous writings about birds from spoiler reveals). Some of my original opinions about spoiled birds have changed since I first wrote about them. Keep in mind that this is just my “first draft” of the Asia Expansion Metagame. As always, practice and experience will shape this list in the coming months as we learn more about obvious power houses and discover hidden gems.
Rosy Starling: T0: This bird is cut from the same cloth as Maned Duck and Mute Swan. Those two birds have demonstrated that they can produce very high scoring games when properly supported. Rosy Starling should be no different. It can even live in the Grasslands and Forest and behave like a mid to late game Chiffchaff/Chaffinch, turning junk cards into a lot of points.
Scaly-Breasted Munia: T0: This bird has the flexibility to gain food or score points from both the Grasslands and Wetlands.
Blue-Rock Thrush: T0: This bird’s migrating power is unproven but on paper this looks like it could be one of the most useful and fun effects in the game. Drawing three cards is great, and there are a lot of tactical situations in which you can place this bird in your opponent’s weakest habitat, disincentivizing them from using it themselves. This potential power is balanced by a zero point total. Thankfully, this bird is cheap, just like Song Sparrow.
Spotted Dove: T0: See Blue-Rock Thrust.
Brambling: T0: This is a mini Ruff. This is a great way to cycle two cards each round.
Eurasian Coot: T0: See Rosy Starling. Eurasian Coot doesn’t give you any extra resources, but this mass tucking power is attached to a 4 point bird with a four egg nest and only costs a single wheat.
Great Indian Bustard: T0: This bomb has a lot of potential to be huge. Scoring your best bonus card twice is amazing.
Red Avadavat: T0: https://wingsplain.com/wingspan-asia-expansion-red-avadavat/
Rose Ringed Parakeet: T0: https://wingsplain.com/wingspan-asia-expansion-asian-koel-rose-ringed-parakeet/
Red Junglefowl: T1: https://wingsplain.com/wingspan-asia-expansion-red-junglefowl/
Sri Lanka Blue Magpie: T1: This nine point bomb has a great teal power that opens the door for food spamming strategies. It combos well with the bonus card Pellet Dissector.
Black-Naped Oriole: T1: This is a compelling, passive resource generating bird. Birds like Australian Raven can make use of that extra food at the end of round 4.
Common Iora: T1: Another bird that can lay eggs by activating your Forest. Takes a little bit of set up since you need to lay the eggs on birds in that column.
Common Myna: T1: Did your opponent play a Raven or Killdeer? No problem, just copy it! Since it can only copy the grasslands of the player to your left, this will be less effective as you add more players. In a two player game its golden though.
Desert Wheatear: T1: An interesting new option to gain food from the Grasslands. The conditions should be easy to meet.
Fire-Fronted Serin: T1: Another teal power that lets you lay some extra eggs each round. Similar yet different to the Lesser Whitethroat and Black Redstart.
Golden Pheasant: T1: This bird can be a great bomb but it hands out two eggs to all opponents. You get four eggs out of it. Combined with the flexible food cost of three wild food, this can be a great egg bomb for a Forest engine that needs a few eggs to keep going.
Graceful Prina: T1: This is a weaker version of a crow. Discard one egg and you get one worm. Still, a good option for gaining food in the Grasslands. The silver lining is that this is a five point bird.
Grandala: T1: This is a great Grasslands point scoring bird as long as you keep laying eggs on it. Unfortunately, it only has a two egg nest so you have to find a way to burn up those eggs to keep going. This pairs incredibly well with Crows, Ravens, and Killdeer.
Green Pheasant: T1: This seven point bomb can lay eggs in the Wetlands but it hands one out to all players.
Himalayan Monal: T1: Here’s another bird that can lay an egg from the Forest. The cost is handing out one wheat to all players though.
House Crow: T1: This caching crow allows you to employ food spam strategies and score points off of the unneeded food, much like Common Starling from the European Expansion.
Ibisbill: T1: This eight point Wetland bomb hands out one worm and one card to all players. You get an additional card.
Large-Billed Crow: T1: Paired with food gaining and card drawing effects, this Crow is a strong point scoring bird.
Little Ringed Plover: T1: This cheap four point bird is a reverse Killdeer. It even looks similar to a Killdeer. Discard one card to lay one egg on it. This is a good way to lay eggs in the Wetlands.
Mandarin Duck: T1: This teal power is pretty great, and its attached to a solid egg bank. Looking at five cards at the end of every round is really good. You get to keep one, tuck one, hand one to an opponent, and discard the last two.
Oriental-Bay Owl: T1: This teal power will facilitate some crazy predator games. Triggering all of your predator brown powers at the end of each round will hopefully rack up a lot of extra points. This is a really interesting power.
Rhinoceros Auklet: T1: This bird makes it into Tier 1 simply because its worth five points for the cost of a single food.
Rook: T1: Rook is another great point scoring Grasslands bird. When paired with a food gaining bird, it will score two points per activation by caching one food then tucking one from the deck as a result. Its cheap and effective.
Ruddy Shelduck: T1: This is a better version of Mandarin Duck, since you don’t have to give one card to your opponent. It costs three food instead of two as a result.
Small Minivet: T1: This cheap bird is an evolution of the OE Play Another Bird (PAB) powers. You can ignore one worm OR one egg when you are playing your second bird into the Forest off the Minivet’s power.
Smew: T1: I think this is a really interesting power. This bird costs three food and is only worth four points but its when played power lets you draw four cards. You then tuck two and take the other two into your hand. Drawing four cards, keeping the best two, and tucking the worst two is a really good effect.
Trumpeter Finch: T1: Similar to Small Minivet, Trumpeter Finch cost two wheat and lets you ignore one wheat or one egg when playing a second bird into your Grasslands.
Twite: T1: Another mini Ruff.
Willow Tit: T1: This is the latest in a long line of cheap and flexible food gaining Forest birds.
Indian Peafowl: T1: https://wingsplain.com/wingspan-asia-expansion-reveal/
Great Hornbill: T1: https://wingsplain.com/wingspan-asia-expansion-great-hornbill/
Eurasian Eagle Owl: T2: https://wingsplain.com/wingspan-asia-expansion-rulebook-box-new-bird-cards/#Eurasian_Eagle-Owl
Olive Backed Sunbird: T2: https://wingsplain.com/wingspan-asia-expansion-rulebook-box-new-bird-cards/#Olive-Backed_Sunbird
Red-Crowned Crane: T2: https://wingsplain.com/wingspan-asia-red-crowned-crane-revealed/
Green Bee-Eater: T2: https://wingsplain.com/wingspan-asia-expansion-green-bee-eater/
Desert Finch: T2: https://wingsplain.com/wingspan-asia-expansion-desert-finch/
Common Tailorbird: UUT: https://wingsplain.com/wingspan-asia-expansion-rulebook-box-new-bird-cards/#Common_Tailorbird
Sri Lanka Frogmouth: UUT: https://wingsplain.com/wingspan-asia-expansion-sri-lanka-frogmouth/
Bearded Reedling: UUT: https://wingsplain.com/wingspan-asia-expansion-rulebook-box-new-bird-cards/#Bearded_Reedling