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Customs Creation - October 2019

Posted October 12th, 2019 at 07:18 PM by HS Codex

Customs Creation
Parallax Design 2.0: Part 1
Author: superfrog
(with contributions from johnny139, Lazy_Orang, and Scytale)


Welcome to another edition of ďParallax DesignĒ! In this article series, we get several designers to come up with their take on a design using a given miniature (or in this case, miniatures).

This time around, weíve got johnny139, Lazy_Orang, Scytale, and superfrog on board to design two cards for these Starfinder miniatures:


johnny139ís designs



johnny139ís design notes

Two closely linked units always makes for a design challengeóthey have to connect in some way, but one of the two designs is going to need to carry the brunt of that synergy. For Echne Atta (classicists may recognize "techne rattus," Greek for "craft" and Latin for "rat") and Paradroid I39, I figured Iíd give the rat narrow synergy and the droid a more open approach, and let them act as natural pairs for each other.

So, I39 is a fragile Carry alternative to Theracus, particularly designed around small figures. Echne bonds with soulborg dronesóI39 is currently the only one. And, to cement them as a pair, Echne has to give up her movement to hand out a turn. In practice, sheíll just have 8 move and Flying until you shoot down her wings ...

... which leads to Scrapper! Soulborgs explode, she grabs the scraps, turns them into weapons. Shrapnel grenades, firebombs: that sort of thing. I was tempted to squeeze in Beorn Boltcutterís Sabotage, but I figured Iíd just roll the defense subtraction in there and keep her a bit leaner (and help keep the two mechanics diverse).

The "where X is equal to" verbiage isnít common in Classic but I think itís perfectly clear, and I wanted to give that "subtract from defense" bit in order to let her act as sort of a soulborg counterdraft. In retrospect, I should have put a minimum of 1 in there.

I39 could have had range, but I didnít notice the gun until fairly late in the process and frankly, I think the design is better without making it an offensive tool as well as free movement.

Soulborg for a paradroid may be a bit controversial, since thereís no hybrids on Alpha Prime ... my intent was that Echne would be a tinkerer from Arctorus, who Vydar recruited in order to help perform upkeep on his growing soulborg forces. I feel that the Zettian Deathwings are enough precedent for non-human soulborgs to let Paradroid (and possible future drones) slip through.

Lazy_Orangís comments

Drone Deployer on Echne Atta is solid and basically the sort of power we should expect on these cards at this point, though the fact that it sacrifices movement makes it weaker. Scrapper is a really fun looking mechanic to meóI love the image of her collecting scrap parts from downed soulborgs and using them to put together some sort of one-use weapon: very evocative and very creative. I will say that giving the choice between the bonus to attack or the penalty to opponentís defence seems like needless complexityóeach die has three skulls to two shields, so the extra attack die is almost invariably better unless youíre attacking someone like a Sentinel of Jandar. Since Iíve enjoyed using defence subtraction in C3G, think itís more interesting than an attack boost and it does have those sorts of interactions with defensive powers, I think the ability would have been better and more elegant if it had just stuck with defence subtraction rather than bonus attack dice and she maybe got a boost to her base attack to compensate. Iím also not sure about the necessity for the soulborg to be destroyed while adjacent to heróit feels finicky and unthematically limiting. I get that she needs to collect the parts and you canít exactly leave them lying on the battlefield, but needing her to sit right next to a Blastatron saying ďDonít mind me, Iím just going to make a weapon out of your wiring systems when youíre deadĒ feels offóan area of effect of, say, three spaces feels better to me from both a gameplay and thematic level. Then thereís also the point that, like Reever Fink and Skitter, sheís exceptionally fragile ... except even more so (same life, only two defence that canít be boosted as it can on Fink), is more expensive and, unlike those two, really needs to be on the front lines to even collect her components, let alone make use of them in combat ... sheís just going to get shot down before achieving anything, I guarantee it. I love the idea of heróScrapper is fascinating to me from a strategic and thematic levelóbut I donít feel as though that idea will translate well to actual battlefield conditions in the current draft.

Paradroid 139 has only two powers again, both fairly simpleóbog standard Flying and Light Carry, which is like normal Carry only halving your move if you carry someone whoís medium. I get confused, though, when I look at the mini and see basically nothing about it that would lend itself to a Carry power. This confusion only gets worse when I look at its stats and notice the range and attack of one despite the droneís miniature coming with a nice chunky gun attached. I suppose you could argue that the gunís actually a tractor beam and thatís how itís carrying people, but if thatís the intent itís not coming across clearly. Iím just not seeing the connection between the card and the figure here. Hmm ... now that I look at it closely, I am seeing a sort of rail trailing under it which I suppose you could grab onto, thatís being obscured in the card art? As such, the carrying concept could work, though I feel as though itíd still need a ranged attack (if only a weak one) to fit the figure properly. Apart from that, itís a mostly worse and ever so slightly cheaper version of Theracus ... though maybe being single spaced and bonding with Echne provides it with its own niche there?

Put together, Paradroidís ability to carry certainly helps mitigate Echneís weakness of not being able to bond with Drone Deployment and move at once, and I sort of get the feeling that Paradroidís mostly meant to be Echneís mode of transport while also providing a little extra flexibility. If youíve got her loaded up with scrap markers already, that move of 8 off Paradroid could make her rather effective for assassination duty, and I can see how flying up to Raelin and then letting loose with a big Scrapper attack out of nowhere could be scary. Then again, you have to build up those markers in the first place before you can get there, and when your defence is that weak and you need to be right next to the soulborgs getting killed to do it, I think youíll need to do a really good job making sure your opponent canít spare any shots to pick off Echne or her Paradroid before turning back to your soulborg front line. I think sheís so close to being a really interesting assassin unit who has to build up her power, but she feels too fragile and too restricted in how she can obtain markers. Just bumping her defence to 4 and increasing the range of Scrapper so that dead soulborgs within 3 spaces can be salvaged would be enough to really help her and let her obtain her obvious potential, but right now I think sheíll just get shot down without doing much except taking up 90 points (including the drone) that you could have spent on something else. This might be one of my favourite concepts from the competition, but I feel the executionís just a bit off.

Scytaleís comments

Thereís definitely some backstory here. Does Alpha Prime have hybrids? Or is Echneís bond with soulborgs a new thing since coming to Valhalla? That is either intriguing or problematic, depending on your personal preference. The fearless personality is entirely thematic too, though Iím not a fan of its use here. The best classes and personalities in Heroscape give a clue about how the unit is best played; I donít see how being fearless would be a benefit here. Making the drone a soulborg is an interesting decision. I donít mind that take, but I donít like it being mindless. The whole backstory about soulborgs is that they somehow have souls, so ďmindlessĒ feels un-soulborg-like to me.

Light Carry is really fun. Possibly broken with Raelin, as it essentially gives movement bonding plus flying to something else in your army when you take turns with Echne, but Echne isnít a great turn on her own so it probably doesnít matter. Obviously itís designed to carry Echne around, which is also a really cool concept. Essentially extra movement plus flying power that can be killed.

Scrapper is a neat concept too, though difficult to get much out of, which unfortunately calls into question its value. Adding another mechanic like extra markers carries some intrinsic complexity, and should be limited in use to places itís really needed. Here, itís thematically great, and is needed for the unit to have some punch, so itís arguably worth it.

superfrogís comments

Just about everything on Echne Attaís card is straightforward and as expected, but two things stand out to me. The Scrapper power is one, and itís kind of cool for a tinkerer to have a power that picks up scraps to use. Iím not exactly sure how the theme works, though. Does she fashion better projectiles or something? This seems like the sort of power Iíd expect on a big melee bruiser (a Corpse Collector, maybe). The other thing is her very low survivability. Iíd bump her defense to 3 at least.

Is ďI39Ē in Paradroid I39 a reference to 139 in your username? Anyway. Very simple here, and I like that. Light Carry is a good nerfed version of Carry, and itís convenient that it works well with Echne as a small figure. I also think it could use some range, and an attack of 2 at least. The 8 move for Echne is nice, but Iím not sure itís worth the 35 points that you have to spend on the droid.

I think this combo would play almost identical to a single hero with 8 move and flying. Of course, there is the added benefit that Echne can scrap the Paradroid if it dies, but that feels like such a small interaction for the added complexity that it takes to achieve it. I suspect in general that this duo is overcosted.

I really like the simplicity of these two, but I wish that Scrapper was a bit more useful and that the droid had some attack potential itself. That could give the combo a bit more utility while still preserving that straightforward powerset of the designs.
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Lazy Orang's Avatar
I'd just like to point out that, when the cards were sent to me for me to do my analysis, this one was one up from the bottom - as such, if parts of my analysis seem bizarre (such as when I reference the previous units) that'll be why.
(I also mistakenly said that she and the drone took up 90 points together instead of 100, it seems - must have been tired...)
Posted October 12th, 2019 at 08:19 PM by Lazy Orang Lazy Orang is offline
 
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