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Old October 5th, 2018, 08:18 PM
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BiggaBullfrog BiggaBullfrog is offline
 
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Rujin by @Sir Heroscape

Man, just one more letter would have given us Ryujin, the Dragon God of the sea. We’ll just have to see if Rujin, troll savage of the swamp will cut it on Valhalla.

Balance

The obvious comparisons to make with Rujin are the Feral Troll and Ice Troll Berserker, closest being the Feral Troll with the same life and defense. The big difference here is Rujin’s ability to regenerate 2 life per turn on a swamp map (which are pretty common), a huge advantage over the Feral Troll. Offensively they’re similar; Feral with 3 attack and Rujin with 4, both with bonuses to take them to 6. With such similarity and being better on swamp, Rujin seems like he’s looking to overshadow his Feral brethren.

The Ice Troll has the same regenerative potential as Rujin, but with half the life, so opponents have a lower threshold to aim for than with Rujin. For only 15 more points Rujin has double the survivability and a wider terrain use (swamp being more common than snow/ice). This is concerning, though factors like bonding squads may even that out.

Speaking of, when working with Durgeth Ravagers, Rujin is fighting for attention against Pel (and possibly Uzog, if he passes in the future). While Rujin seems to be the strongest regenerating troll, Durgeth lack consistency, and he falls into the background as Pel works better on the frontline, though Rujin still has his uses in the build (to be elaborated on in Playability).

Comparing Rujin to other heroes at his point range, his ability to regenerate up to 2 wounds per turn means figures will have to consistently deal at least 3 wounds per turn in order to kill him. Against other strong heroes like Crixus, Jarek Guy, and even Pel, Rujin will usually come up the victor just with his survivability. It also means that Rujin will never be defeated by a 2 attack figure (though there aren’t many of those) and only by a 3 attack figure if it gets insane luck, which is very concerning. While the Ice Troll Berserker has similar healing ability, its lower life threshold means one good roll will finish it off, while Rujin will take three or more such rolls sequentially.

Theme

Rujin is a big ol’ swamp troll from Toril. It is worth mentioning that his mini doesn’t fit in with the other trolls from Toril, though it certainly matches the big ugly swamp monster theme well, and his powers turn him into a scary swamp thing waiting for its chance to jump out and attack unsuspecting figures who wandered off (which works well for the Durgeth tie-in). Swamp Regeneration is a thematic re-skin for the power set, and Lurking Assault works well, although the shadow mention seems off in an otherwise completely swamp-themed unit, despite its origins from Othkurik.

Creativity

Rujin’s right-side stats are standard for a Toril troll, and his left-side stats fit well. Both of his powers are re-skins of old powers to make them new and swamp-monster themed (though Lurking Assault could have just been Lurking Ambush since they’re so similar). The combination does well in making something new that hails from something from Classic ‘Scape.

Playability

Since, as other judges have mentioned, Rujin becomes a slightly worse Feral Troll when without swamp, we’ll assume this section concerns only maps with swamp for him.

With a regenerative power and a power that gives him a strong first strike, Rujin shines the most in a cleanup role. If your initial forces take out your opponent’s heavy hitters, Rujin can generally coast by healing 2 wounds per turn alone. Lurking Assault is helpful when trying to hunt down figures, but unless a completely ideal situation happens (and your opponent plays into it), it will usually only see use once or twice a game (though the attacks of 6 are helpful when they come).

Rujin also gets a squad to work with in the Durgeth Ravagers. With them he gets a little flexibility outside of cleanup as he can make a good mid-game skirmisher, taking out figures on the flanks while healing any wounds he takes (sometimes in conjunction with Pel, who takes the earlier activations and tanks on the frontline). As long as a player doesn’t overextend Rujin, even if the frontline Durgeth die he’ll be safe enough that in order to kill him the opponent will have to expose themselves to more Durgeth attacks, which means more Rujin activations, which means more Rujin regeneration. Then, as endgame comes and OMs go onto Rujin, he gets the constant healing that is so potent.

Usually, Rujin wins in the endgame by turning it into a grind where he outlasts the other figures. Since his healing potential is so high, opponents have to be aggressive to take him out, as a few turns unmolested means your Rujin is back at full health. Even when exchanging blows consistently, opponents have to hope to at least deal the requisite 3 wounds a turn for progress, and an untimely blank is devastating as Rujin gets double healing turns in.

This grind is my major gripe with Rujin. He slows down the game and has what I call the “groan factor.” While a grindy endgame isn’t necessarily terrible alone, what makes it worse is the despair an opponent feels when they don’t deal 3 wounds every turn. Even figures that can usually do good damage can panic against the troll, while low attack figures have no chance and would rather fight Q9 since at least damage done there doesn’t go away. Statistically, a singe attack of 5 or two attacks of 3 will struggle to win a grind against Rujin, and a single attack of 4 or attacks of 2 will only rarely beat him. And if the main part of your army didn’t just waste away during the fight, Rujin will usually be facing good odds.

Summary

Rujin has thematic potential as a swamp (occasionally shadow?) monster for the Durgeth Ravagers to play with, but the grind he presents is awful. His best matchups are no-win situations for his opponents and most others let him drag the game on in an unfun way. Though maybe not broken in the most competitive play, I felt his flaws were too big to ignore in an SoV inductee.

I vote Nay to induct Rujin into the Soldiers of Valhalla.
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