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Old February 1st, 2019, 08:58 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Specters of Aldorn by @Leaf_It

Vydar’s undead have gotten weirder. These Arctoran candidates phase through unsuspecting figures. Can these phantoms walk into Valhalla?

Balance

There’s a few squads worth comparing the Specters to. A good one to start off is the Marro Gnids. The Gnids have an extra move, and the Specters have an extra defense. Both have the ability to lower an opponent’s defense, but the Gnids’ is narrower in scope (unique heroes), and permanent. The Specters’ is only for a single turn, takes a little extra setup, but it automatically works on anybody, unique or common, hero or squad. The Specters also have Levitate, which is sometimes pretty good, and other times completely worthless, and they have Phantom Walk, which facilitates their Deathly Touch and gives them lots of flexibility.

A pretty good comparison, if slightly in favor of the Specters.

Theme

Again, the theme is really strong here. Not 100% sold on Harbingers, but I think it works in general. They’re spooky undead that signals that doom is coming on those they visit. Phantom Walk and Deathly Touch work very well together as a theme package.

Creativity

Getting a bonus through moving through somebody? Cool! Especially since it leverages a classic Heroscape power (Phantom Walk) to make it concretely useful in every game the Specters will play.

Playability

I tried several ways of adding Specters to an army. They have no real synergies, so they’re very open-ended in that regard.

Given start zone restrictions and their low point cost, the Specters of Aldorn hard to make the core of a full 500-point army. It’s similar to the struggle of fitting a bunch of squads of Romans into your army, except without a bunch of bonding heroes to use up the rest of your points synergistically.

The second way I tried using the Specters was as a screen. They’re fast, and cheap, and have decent defense, so I thought it was worth a shot. Turns out, that’s not the best use for them. Even with the ability to Phantom Walk through an opponent’s screen, Specters don’t have enough defense to withstand concentrated attacks, and don’t have any way of filling their front lines as they’re attacked (like Rats or Cutters).

In the end, I found the Specters of Aldorn most effective as a first strike force, with 2-3 squads backed by Raelin. 180 points/9 spaces fits in many hero-heavy armies, and is a good way to address some weaknesses of those hero-heavy armies (board control, mostly).

In this usage, the Specters ended up being surprisingly powerful. The defense reduction makes their attack nearly as effective as 3 attack, or 4 with height. And when you notice that the defense reduction works even when another Specter does the attacking (which is thematic), the Specters are very, very flexible in choosing their attacks. This is especially true on maps with road, which tend to funnel opponent’s figures into nice little lines for the Specters to zip through with 9 move (because Levitation is optional).

Levitation provides the Specters with Snow and Ice Enhanced Movement, Lava Resistance, Slither, and Glide all rolled into one. This is especially helpful on lava maps, where lava field is often placed onto height. That third attack die is very helpful to the Specters, even though they don’t exactly need the help.

The Specters’ only real weakness is figures with 5 or more base defense. 2 attack against 4 defense just isn’t great odds. But if you’re just using your Specters as a first strike force, you can easily add a menacer or two to your army.

Summary

I was a big fan of the Specters, and had a whole lot of fun zipping them across the battlefield. But on many common map types (road and lava), and against most enemies (4 defense or less), the Specters just come off a bit too strong.

I vote to induct the Specters of Aldorn into the SoV, but I’d love to see them back with a simple cost adjustment if they do end up failing.

customs/maps/c3v/sov

how to:
make a card/post your maps

google sheets:
ohs link generator/attack outcomes

CVN~ "I highly recommend C3V customs!"
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