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Old January 10th, 2017, 04:40 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Executioner 616 by @Dysole

Explosions are fun, robots are fun, and exploding robots are even more fun, right?

Wrong. Have you ever played DW7k? It’s pretty disappointing. Let’s see if Dysole’s version of robot explosions fares a little bit better.

Balance
Compared to Major J15, the executioner looks okay. He doesn’t have the autoskull against large/huge or the range attack, but he does have deadly strike, which becomes deadly on height, and the ability to explode figures from a few spaces away. We’ll see if it’s worth his 20 extra points.

Theme
Nice reuse of deadly strike here. I’m glad he’s from Isadora, he seems to fit the theme of a cruel prison guard soulborg. The differing chances of explosion based on the size of the figure is thematically workable too. And tormenting is a good personality for the playstyle and backstory of the figure.

Creativity
I think it’s about time we had a figure that can explode other robots. It’s just such a common trope that it deserves to be ported into ‘Scape. I’m impressed by the idea of changing probabilities based on the size of the figure.

Playability

Because Executioner 616 requires other soulborgs to be the most effective, it’s important to consider what kind of soulborg works the best with him. Ideally, the figure is as big as possible (bigger figure ----> bigger explosions), as cheap as possible (lower price ---> lower risk), and as melee as possible (more engaged figures ---> more exploded figures). Gladiatrons might be okay, but you want to keep them alive for your Blastatrons, so they’re not a prime target. Zettian Deathwings are cheap, but they’re small, have a powerful attack of their own, and don’t want to get engaged. Soulborg heroes are generally too expensive and worth too much while still alive. Unlike many other species, it’s hard to tell if a soulborg is “almost dead”, because they tend to die all at once. This leaves you with a few options left: Deathreavers, Deathstalkers, and Hoplitrons.

Deathreavers work pretty well, but Dysole was smart enough to let small figures only have a small chance of success. In general, although Deathreavers are cheap and thrive off engagement, there isn’t enough upside to waste a turn and a Deathreaver to try to deal a wound or two.

Deathstalkers are an intriguing option for 616. They are large, double spaced (which allows extra figures adjacent to them), and are even cheaper than Hoplitrons (33.3 pts each). Their problem is that they are too fast. Developing the Executioner early is dangerous, as it allows him to be picked off from range. Developing the Stalkers leaves them vulnerable while the Executioner moves up. While it’s enticing, Deathstalkers are not quite the best option.

Hoplitrons were my favorite to use with the Executioner. As large figures, they have a good shot of exploding correctly, and a not insignificant chance of hitting the 20 to deal 3 wounds. They have the added bonus of bonding with him, which allows you to take a turn with another Hoplitron even in a turn where you explode one, and allows you to keep 616 near his exploding targets without extra OMs. Hoplitrons + Executioner is good against swarm based armies who rely on many attacks to get through the Hops’ defense of 6. If they fail to get through that, they’re set up for a devastating explosion.

And of course, if the Executioner himself has 2 wounds and is in a bad spot, self-exploding is not a bad option.

Armies with Executioner 616 are lots of fun to play, a big risk/reward interaction. He can certainly kill his points worth, especially with a good explosion (like one time he got 3 Dreadguls and 3 wounds on Jotun by exploding a Hoplitron). There are plenty of armies that do well against Executioner armies (ranged armies, high-attack squads), but given a good matchup, Executioner is both fun and powerful, without being broken.

Summary
I loved playing the Executioner. He brings new life to some old figures (Deathstalkers), and new uses to other well-used figures (Rats and Hops). It’s a really thoughtful design, and a blast (ha, ha) to play.

I vote to induct Executioner 616 into the Soldiers of Valhalla

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