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Scaper of the Week #57 -- killercactus

Posted January 31st, 2011 at 10:49 PM by MegaSilver
Scaper of the Week Interview # 57

He's famous for his advocation of Runa. With a certain Runa-centric army he's not lost any battles thus far.

Mittens is also one of his favorite units, especially with the Vipers.

300's his best score at his favorite game -- and what would that be?

Check out the latest SotW!

-Scaper of the Week # 57!-


Who are you?

I am the terror that flaps in the night. I am the shiver that runs down your spine....(*1) oh wait, that's another dude.

I'm Frank Balog, wearing the BK crown above, pictured with some of the Youngstown crew (Brad, Time Limit Tony and phantazm21zero from left to right - none of them really well known here). This was just before NHSD Ohio, 2009 (won by Brad with a typical Ohio 4th Mass army). I'm also married with a 1 1/2 year old son, Obi-Wan (Ben).

Who, or what, is your avatar and how did you come up with your username?

My avatar is a Cactuar with an afro and a pick in his hair. It used to be just a normal Cactuar, but I wanted to spice things up a bit. Cactuars are staple monsters of the Final Fantasy series, which are really hard to kill and give you tons of experience. That actually isn't where my user name came from though. I invented it about 12 years ago, sitting in a computer lab at college trying to think of something to replace my then nethandle, ChosenOne5. I'd watched Monday Night Raw the night before, and Cactus Jack was on (Bang, Bang!), so this popped into my head. The Cactuar just fits the name well.


29, going on 18


CPA (certified public accountant) - the epitome of the nerd stereotype. Seriously, why is it that CPA's are always depicted as nerds? I've never even held a pocket-protector.

Allegiance and why?

Ullar - he really needs the help. I've always kind of taking a liking to his units for some reason. I've always really liked Vipers, and I'm a fantasy guy so Elves were up my alley, too. Plus, in real life I have 9 range, so it felt like I should go to Ullar.

When did you get into HeroScape and why?

My brother bought my an RotV for Christmas in 2006. I tried it out with a couple friends a week or two later and I was immediately hooked. For some reason, my brother (also a gamer) could just never get into it.

Favorite aspect of HeroScape and why?

The simplicity. It's not often you find a game that is this aesthetically pleasing and this strategic with such a simple ruleset. I remember going to Mechabeast's house and trying out AT-43 with him and phantazm. AT-43 probably isn't even on the complicated end of mini games, but I was completely turned off almost from the onset because of how much more complicated it was than Heroscape*. There's so much depth to this game, and it's for 8 year olds.

*Of course, part of the reason could've been that those 2 guys pretty much stopped buying and playing Scape when they got into that game. Screw you, AT-43.

What - you like AT-43, you say? Well excuuuuuuuuse me, Princess! (*2)

Favorite Unique Hero and why?

No, it's not Runa, but she's a close second. The top spot will always belong to the Venoc Warlord and his Mittens of Doom. How can you not like a huge snake with spiked gloves? Not to mention I love syngergies - especially the unobvious or cross-factional ones - and Mittens is the King of Synergy. +2 movement to all Scouts is just outstanding, and he boosts Frenzy, and he bonds with three different squads. If they've come through Valhalla, he's played with 'em. Mittens - he's the man. (*3)

Favorite Uncommon Hero and why?

The only one I've ever really played much is the Hydra, but I think the answer is the Werewolf Lord. He's dripping with theme and all-around funness. I just played the Frost Giant for the first time last night, though, and he's quickly growing on me.

Favorite Common Hero and why?

The Sahuagin Raider. I've never really gotten into Swogs or Dumutefs, and Elementals and Wyrmlings don't really feel like common heroes to me. The little fishie just doesn't get enough love. There's something to be said for tossing him into the water in Round 1 and then ambushing a wounded hero out of it unexpectedly once the opponent has forgotten about him.

I'll admit though that I've always liked the Dumutef guarding the bridge scenario in the RttFF rulebook (A toll is a toll, and a roll is a roll, and if we don't get no tolls than we don't eat no rolls. I made that up) (*4)

Favorite Unique Squad and why?

The Airborne Elite, because come on - the Krav are cheesy. The AE are the ultimate shock unit. There's just something about them when you see them drop and take aim against you that makes you want to scream RUN AWAY!!! (*5)

Favorite Common Squad and why?

The Venoc Vipers by a landslide. I'll go into this a little more later, but I love them because their 0 defense forces you to play them differently than other units, and because they work well with Mittens and look sweet.

Favorite Special ability and why?

FRENZY!!! Such an awesome, game-changing ability at times. There's nothing better than the defeating look on your opponent's face when you roll that 16 or higher.

Migol Ironwill or Morgrimm Forgehammer?

Mogrimm Forgehammer. He's better in pretty much every way. Anyone that says different is selling something. (*6)

Anything you'd change about the game - a unit, rule, or mechanic?

I would revert Hatamoto Taro to his prototype card, and make Tough work against Special Attacks. There are a couple other defensive abilities that I think I'd like to see work against Specials (Disappearing Ninja comes to mind), but I'm not sure I'd really change it.

What do you enjoy most about Heroscapers.com?

Discussing strategy elements of the game, and all the people I've met in the community. It's really been awesome to meet all of you that I have - you won't find a better group of gamers.

Favorite HeroScape moment:

GenCon 2008 - Round 1 of the Classic RotV draft tournament (single-elimination). My draft included Mimring, the Krav, the AE and Ne-Gok-Sa.

My AE hadn't dropped yet, and he had a lot of his army left. After Drake killed Mimring, he charged into my starting zone to go after Ne-Gok-Sa, my last figure, but didn't know I had the #3 OM on him.


All of the sudden, I controlled his Drake. Then I got the Drop, won initiative, and bombarded him. His own mind-controlled Drake struck down the last Izumi Samurai to win me the game. It was the biggest turning point of a match that I'd ever seen. I went on to finish 3-0 and win my bracket.

Causual, Competitive, or Both?

It's gotta be both, and I oftentimes combine the two. I like bringing units to tournaments that some would say are more "casual", and trying to prove their mettle. I get some weird sense of accomplishment out of it.

Another board game you enjoy and why?

Summoner Wars and Small World.

Three true things and one lie about yourself:

1) I've bowled 5 (3, sir!) er... 3 games in league play of 290 or greater - and lost all 5 (3, sir!)... 3 of them.
2) I have 5 (3, sir!) er... 3 lifetime hole-in-ones.
3) I've single-handedly caused an errata by exploiting a loophole.
4) I partly paid for college with a golf scholarship.


Other interests?

I've been a bowler since I was 6 or so, and I played golf in high-school and still love it. I also play ultimate. Also, I'm a big fan of movie and somewhat obscure TV quotes (I use them in conversation all the time), which is what all the (*#) is about. Can you identify where all of these came from?

Five Fun Favorites

Favorite TV Show:

Family Guy

Favorite Movie Of All Time:

I can't possibly name just one. I'm a huge fan of the LotR, Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean and Harry Potter series'. I also really like the Princess Bride and many, many other movies.

Favorite Book:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by a mile.

Favorite Sport:

Another tough one, but it's probably golf.

Favorite Food:

Corn on the cob, and my wife's outstanding chicken and stuffing.

Many Heroscapers know you for trying to make Runa a competitive Unit. How would you rate your success thus far? Will you take her back on a date to improve her status again?

I think I've done very well with Runa competitively. The whole Runa thing came from another collectibles game I used to play competitively - WWE Raw Deal. For anyone that used to watch the WWE, X-Pac was a fairly notable superstar, but in this card game, he was considered to be terrible. My friends challenged me to make a deck with him that was good, so I did and won a fairly large tournament in Columbus (containing one of the game designers and some of the top players). Since then, I've always felt that game designers know a bit more about what they're designing than sometimes the players give them credit for, and I'm always out to prove that. When I first joined Heroscapers, the first unit I saw people bad-mouth was Runa, so I took up the call. I also won my first tournament in which I played Runa, though it was very small (6 players). However, my 4 wins were all against regulars in the Ohio tourney scene that have done well themselves, so I still count it.

How have the Venoc Vipers treated you lately? Care to give us some hints to play them competitively? (As a Viper fan, I'd like some insights as well. )

I actually haven't played the Vipers since GenCon, though I've played Mittens a few times. The biggest things about playing Venocs in my opinion are 1) use their movement to your advantage and 2) play something else in your army to draw the opponent in. The biggest problem the Vipers have is obviously their 0 defense. You know they're going to die, but in order to keep them effective, you need to be able to sustain multiple attacks per turn. So, to make them truly effective, I try to force the battle to take place close enough to my starting zone so that I can replace the fallen in one Order Marker. This isn't really that hard with 7 / 9 move. My favorite supporting units to dictate the position of the battle are Q9, the Krav and Syvarris.

Also, don't rely on Frenzy unless you're desperate. Try to keep Vipers out of the threat range of the opponent when you end your turn - don't rely on Frenzy to get you into engagement.

Which Summoner Wars abilities have you given Heroscape names? Any you slipped in saying wrong during a match?(From his SW signature, for those that haven't visited the site yet.)

Fury was the first one - it became Frenzy to me immediately. There are also abilities that mimic Cyberclaw, Engagement Strike and Combat Challenge that I just fell into calling those things. A funny story - just 2 weeks ago at our first combined Heroscape / Summoner Wars tournament, I slipped while talking to truth himself and called Fury "Frenzy".

What's your highest bowling record? Any "big names" you've faced?

I haven't faced any big names that would be recognized nationally, but I did beat the guy that's locally recognized as the best bowler in the tri-county area in a tournament once (though I needed my handicap pins to do it, and he had a really bad game). I do have one 300 to my credit in league play.

Any Heroscapers member you'd really like to play against?

dok, Matthias and R˙chean

What message do you have for the community?

Keep playing. WotC can't stop us from playing Heroscape. The only ones that can truly kill Heroscape are us, the players.

Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid. {*8}

Runa's awesome.

How have you dealt with the end of production of Heroscape? Do you think (and hope) that another company will pick up the game?

I'd love for another company to pick up Scape, but other than that my Scaping hasn't really changed much. Unfortunately, the players around me don't play much anymore unless I really try to get them to play, but Ohio has an awesome tourney scene that keeps me going.

What Units would you like to see in the next Unit Debate?

Runa vs. Sudema

Who do you pick for the next 'Scaper of the Week?
southwest ninja
Total Comments 17


Chardar's Avatar
Originally Posted by Killercactus
A toll is a toll, and a roll is a roll, and if we don't get no tolls than we don't eat no rolls. I made that up
I wonder how the Dumutef Guard would look in tights?
Posted January 31st, 2011 at 11:06 PM by Chardar Chardar is offline
ZBeeblebrox's Avatar
I'm going to say #2 is the lie....but I'm curious of what errata you caused

MegaS another great interview.
Posted February 1st, 2011 at 12:23 AM by ZBeeblebrox ZBeeblebrox is offline
dok's Avatar
1) Dunno
2) Dunno
3) Provided we replace Mittens with the name/pronoun of choice, probably a million movies, but Kill Bill Vol. 2 comes to mind.
4) Dunno. Man, maybe I shouldn't post this?
6) Life is pain, your highness.
7) See 5
8) Ep. 4

So... I got the four really easy ones, maybe got one other, and missed all the remotely obscure ones. Uhh... high five!

3 hole-in-ones sounds like a real stretch, unless you spend a ton of time on par-3 courses.
Posted February 1st, 2011 at 12:34 AM by dok dok is offline
Aldin's Avatar
Let's see...

Spoiler Alert!

~Aldin, guessingly
Posted February 1st, 2011 at 01:01 AM by Aldin Aldin is offline
I Hate Atlaga's Avatar
Yeah, number six is by Miracle Max. (Princess Bride).
Posted February 1st, 2011 at 09:31 AM by I Hate Atlaga I Hate Atlaga is offline
killercactus's Avatar
Thanks for the interview, MS! And also to lefton4ya and Lamaclown for nominating me.

Chardar, a DG in tights is a disturbing thought. It would make for a funny custom, though.... we could call it "Little Dumutef".

Enough people have gotten #6 right that I can talk about this - I've never read the book, so didn't know that Westley wasn't the person that originally said that line. If what IHA says is true, it wasn't even in the same part of the story. Interesting.

And yes, Aldin, I like some cheesy stuff. Cheesiness isn't always bad, especially if they know it's supposed to be cheesy. Ever see Snakes on a Plane? I thought that was hilarious.
Posted February 1st, 2011 at 09:46 AM by killercactus killercactus is offline
Updated February 1st, 2011 at 09:52 AM by killercactus
rym's Avatar
Nice interview. Only quote I managed was Episode 4
Guess I'm not low-brow enough.
Posted February 1st, 2011 at 10:15 AM by rym rym is offline
Shockma Ranyk's Avatar
It's got teeth! It can leap! I think the errata one is false.
Posted February 1st, 2011 at 04:13 PM by Shockma Ranyk Shockma Ranyk is offline
lefton4ya's Avatar
Great interview. I am thinking of doing a Mohican and Mittens army for your Army Draft Birthday Bash so you have something to bid on!
Others got the movies, I'll go with 53 hole in ones. Speaking of that, I just gave everyone 50/50 on my lies now.
Posted February 1st, 2011 at 07:31 PM by lefton4ya lefton4ya is offline
Updated February 1st, 2011 at 07:47 PM by lefton4ya
MegaSilver's Avatar
Posted February 1st, 2011 at 11:03 PM by MegaSilver MegaSilver is online now
Lamaclown's Avatar
Great interview!
And if the errata isn't the lie i sure would like to know what it was.

Fun way to weave high art culture into your responses, BTW. Very classy indeed.
Posted February 1st, 2011 at 11:44 PM by Lamaclown Lamaclown is offline
killercactus's Avatar
All will be revealed on Friday.

Also, I'm very happy with the Unit Debate so far - lots of votes going both ways. Hopefully it will get some people to dust off Runa and Sudema and give them another go.

As far as the quotes go, #1, #2 and #3 seem to be giving people the most trouble, so I'll provide some hints:

1) Let's... get... DANGEROUS!!
2) Comes right after Captain Lou Albano
3) Sequel to the "roaring rampage of revenge".
Posted February 2nd, 2011 at 01:20 PM by killercactus killercactus is offline
ZBeeblebrox's Avatar
I"ll give the quotes a shot:

Spoiler Alert!
Posted February 2nd, 2011 at 06:33 PM by ZBeeblebrox ZBeeblebrox is offline
killercactus's Avatar
Nobody finds it odd that I can bowl 290+ (including a 300) 5 (3 sir!)... 3 different times and never win?
Posted February 3rd, 2011 at 03:22 PM by killercactus killercactus is offline
ZBeeblebrox's Avatar
So #1 is false...so what was the errata???
Posted February 3rd, 2011 at 07:35 PM by ZBeeblebrox ZBeeblebrox is offline
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