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Old April 30th, 2013, 11:51 AM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

My previous review is below--aside from the change in general, most of my concerns are unaddressed by the new version. Although I'm very happy to see Kantono Daishi following Vydar rather than Valkrill, there are still a few gameplay issues that niggle at me.

I vote NAY to induct Kantono Daishi into the SoV.

Quote:
Originally Posted by capsocrates View Post
Dashi Tokainto by qt.bangerang

Dashi is a fun, creative master-ninja by qt.bangerang that gives the ninjas some more playing time.

Balance
When I sat down to play Dashi, the first thing that leaped out at me was the lack of a distance restriction on his command ability. I was concerned that it would give him too much of an advantage on open fields. While it does prove to be an advantage on open fields, it is not broken and it is actually very thematic--why should a Ninja Master need to be close to his Ninjas to command them? My other concern, the precedence of the power, was easily assuaged by Kato Katsuro's similarly phrased power with no distance restriction.

Ultimately I found Dashi to be pretty balanced at 120 points. I couldn't find a build or matchup that I thought made him broken. For more of my thoughts on his balance, see the Playability section.
PASS.

Theme

Overall I like Dashi's theme. Phantom Walk is a given, of course, and in play he works very much like a ninja master should--darting in and out of the shadows to direct his ninjalings. His backstory as one of the originators of Ninjutsu who was a dishonored Samurai explains one of his power names as well as his use of Counterstrike. Nonetheless, the latter power does give me pause for non-thematic reasons. I don't like it that he's a human that follows Valkrill, but if anyone is going to do it, it makes sense that a master of honorless assassins would.
TENTATIVE PASS.

Creativity

Dashi has a creative set of powers and brings a unique playstyle to the game-table. I also like how well the miniature choice fits him.
PASS.

Playability
I thoroughly enjoyed playing Dashi. He was a lot of fun and required above-average strategy and at-least-average luck.

I mainly played Dashi with Kumiko, Shiori, and Isamu, often using the Ninjas of the Northern Wind and/or Otonashi to fill out the army, or in the case of the former to give the army more punch. I enjoyed using Moriko, but in general she is still overpriced--she is not the most efficient 110 points for a ninja-army. My best luck using this army was with an extra component to either beef them up, do some opening damage, or for cleanup--in one game the Krav took out half the opponent's army before Dashi had a single activation. I tried Raelin, the Airborne Elite, the Krav Maga, and Major Q10, just to name a handful. I found those combos to be effective, although the aforementioned units were rarely as effective as they would be in an army more suited to them. With that said, I suspect that a skilled and lucky player could take Dashi, Kumiko, Shiori, Isamu and cheesy-bacon to a tournament and perform well.

Dashi really makes Kumiko and Shiori shine. While they both live, the Ninja army has quite a punch. Kumiko can often shred through multiple squad figures, even if they are separated. Shiori is the only ninja with range and her Concentrated Will makes her a solid 4/4; although she is often able to get height to become 5/5. Once either one of those two ninjas goes down, the house of cards begins to tumble, and when they're both gone the ninjas are just about done for. Almost.

With 4 life, 5 defense, and Counterstrike, Dashi can be very resilient. For most armies he is not too hard to crack, but against some armies if the ninjas are played well and have a little luck he can sometimes find himself at full life against a number of melee squad figures. All he has to do at that point is grab height, await their attacks, and hope for halfway decent luck. Sometimes it works for him and sometimes it doesn't.
TENTATIVE PASS.

Summary
I like almost everything about Dashi and I loved playing him. At the same time, there are things about him that make me uncomfortable. I previously mentioned that I don't like him being a human that follows Valkrill. His leadership breaks precedent by letting him take a full turn before activating his companions. He is also a little tougher for melee squads to take down than previous commander types.

Kato is tough, with 4 defense and 5 life, and he has teeth with 4 attack, but once his minions are gone he has only that one attack per turn and melee squads can overwhelm him. Kurrock and Ulginesh both have 5 life and only 3 defense, and none of the commander types have any extra defensive abilities. In that way, Dashi breaks not one precedent, but two.

When taken altogether, I feel like Dashi has just a little bit too much going on. 5-defense Counterstrike adds "end-game cleanup" to his already useful and effective role as a double-activation commander figure. Even though my playtests showed that Dashi was definitely not broken at his point value with any army-build that I could find, I still felt uncomfortable with the number of games that came down to Dashi winning via Counterstrike. Combined with my dislike of a Valkrill human, I just don't feel comfortable adding him to the canon.

I am almost certain that the remaining judge, nyys, will disagree with me, but nonetheless I vote NAY to induct Dashi Tokainto into the SoV.

Your custom probably has too much Defense.

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