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  #3733  
Old January 3rd, 2014, 04:49 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

It's no problem. I appreciate the reminder; I actually missed that one. I only recently got control of the OP (again), and did a bunch of updates but wasn't thorough enough. Problem fixed.

Last edited by Scytale; January 3rd, 2014 at 08:34 PM.
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  #3734  
Old January 3rd, 2014, 06:59 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Ok, glad I'm not stepping on your toes so to speak. And I want you to know I meant no disrespect, I've seen your customs and I'm a big fan. I wish I had the custom making skills you do.

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  #3735  
Old January 13th, 2014, 10:34 AM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Asterios passed united fanscape evaluation and moves forward in the process.
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  #3736  
Old January 17th, 2014, 04:59 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Gruoark passed united fanscape evaluation and moves forward in the process.
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  #3737  
Old January 17th, 2014, 05:16 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Prince Al'kahora by capsocrates

In the latter days of official 'Scape, we saw a number of medium-sized fantasy heroes with no strong synergies. Prince Al'kahora steps into that crowded space as well as into the well-used 80 point range. Despite that, the knightly prince brings something a bit different to the table.

Balance

Despite there being a number of heroes in the 80 point range, none are a great comparison for Prince Al'kahora. This is primarily due to most of the candidates having strong syngeries which define them, such as Raelin, Finn, Emirroon, etc. Some similarly-costed lone fantasy heroes, such as Heirloom and Brandis Skyhunter, have ranged attacks. One of the best comparisons is Concan, who is also a fairly straightforward melee fighter with only weak synergies. Their stats are similar, with Concan's Flying more than making up for Al'kahora's speed advantage. Prince Al'kahora's offensive capabilities surpass Concan's, but Concan has the edge in survivability and synergies (more direct Knight/Sentinel synergy and a Valiant personality). Kumiko (pre-Kantono Daishi) is a good comparison point as well, though she is built more for multi-attacks and assassination tricks. Still, her stats are in the same ballpark as the Prince's. The C3V's Martial La Hire is another good comparison point: more survivability, but slower and somewhat less offensive punch. At the very least, Prince Al'kahora does not stand out as clearly over- or undercosted.

Theme

The figure works well for a fantasy-esque hero. Ok, so he's not necessarily fantasy; arguably historical, and I think the original design had him coming from the (at least partly) sci-fi Arctorus (though his origin was not part of his submission). Regardless, the figure looks the part well enough.

Normally I prefer reusable powers to have generic names for easier reuse, but in this case I like the names Razorpetal Stance and Strike of the Puma. Instead of just being a generic warrior, the names suggest a refined fighting style that Al'kahora is well-trained in. These names harmonize with the unit's stats to suggest a style that prioritizes dexterity and precision over defense and brute force.

Not everyone likes that he has a class of Knight when he is apparently a Prince. It doesn't bother me. I appreciate the weak synergies the class provides, and adds a bit more to his theme. If Empress Kiova can be a warrior, Prince Al'kahora can be a Knight.

The one thematic bit I don't like is his personality, Loyal. It's a thematic one, but in my opinion it goes a bit too far. Loyal to who? Personalities often give a hint as to how best play a unit, and Loyal usually fits that, with the Marrden Nagrubs, the Greenscale Warriors, and the Zettian Infantry all working to defend their leaders. (The Warforged Soldiers do not follow this, however.) I don't find the choice of Loyal for Prince Al'kahora wrong or bad, but I would have prefered something more fitting to his playstyle, such as Bold.

Creativity

I appreciate units with simple, easy-to-understand powers. And, as I suggested above, I like how the name, class, powers, power names, and stats all contribute to the theme. The two powers are also interesting together, giving the player some tricky choices.

Playability

A unit needs to fulfill some role to be useful in the game. There has to be some reason to draft it, and often some reason to take turns with it. Prince Al'kahora's role isn't a fancy one, but it is an important one: he kills things. He doesn't have the survivability to be a good defender, he doesn't give cheerleader boosts, and despite his good speed the lack of Flying or Disengage keeps him from being an effective assassin. But, even though his offensive potential isn't nearly as strong as higher-cost units, he packs some good punch for his price.

While he looks simple and obvious to play, he really isn't. An initial read suggests that he should easily be able to use one power or the other each turn. But no, positioning can become tricky. With his speed and Strike of the Puma he isn't afraid to rush in and strike, even if the opposing figure has height. But then on his next turn, if he didn't kill the figure, Al'kahora can no longer use Strike of the Puma on that figure, and has to surrender the bonus attack from Razorpetal Stance if he wants to circle around to a better position. I often found myself trying to decide if I'd rather claim height or make an extra attack.

Prince Al'kahora fits well in most any army with 80 points to spare, but most armies would rather have something with more synergies (Raelin, for example). His Knight synergies aren't strong enough to force him into Knight armies either. Heroes-only, Uniques-only, Heat of Battle, he performs admirably in all of them, but again probably not your first pick. My favorite place to use him was in dungeon crawls as one of the adventuring party. The best groups have a mix of heroes, all which bring something to the table. The Prince is an inexpensive way to give a party some solid offense, usually as a backup to a more expensive hero.

Summary

Prince Al'kahora isn't a groundbreaking hero. He lacks strong synergies and a defining role. But he packs a good punch for the price, and (in most games) you need to kill to win. The whole design speaks to his theme, and the powers are simple but his play has subtle complexities. People won't be building armies around the knightly prince, but they likely won't be disappointed if they splash him in.

I vote to induct Prince Al'kahora into the SoV.
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  #3738  
Old January 17th, 2014, 05:46 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Now I wants it.

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  #3739  
Old January 21st, 2014, 10:50 AM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

The fire ants by Scytale seem interesting. I can't see anything flagrant about them for them not to be reviewed and play-tested further, and I'm totally fine with them being soldiers. Some species of ants are already known to have soldier, worker, and queen classes, and for all we know these presumably Valhallan ants are sentient to boot.

I don't see any problem from them benefiting from Marcus's leadership because of their class. Does it make any sense that American soldiers from WWII and the American Revolutionary War can understand and benefit from the leadership of an ancient Roman general? Marcus is a great tactician, and the insights he provides for troop movement can be a boon to any one trained as the rank and file of a soldier, be they man or ant.

They seem to be all the same miniature for each figure, but given that I wouldn't particularly be able to tell ants apart in the first place and they are made to be played with multiple squads, I wouldn't sweat it. Otherwise, I think it's great to see another insect for Aquilla in general. Hopefully they prove to be a good inclusion for the game, but I guess we'll have to see.
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  #3740  
Old January 21st, 2014, 10:59 AM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

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Gruoark passed united fanscape evaluation and moves forward in the process.
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  #3741  
Old January 21st, 2014, 11:41 AM
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Scytale Scytale is offline
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ixe View Post
The fire ants by Scytale seem interesting. I can't see anything flagrant about them for them not to be reviewed and play-tested further,
Expect an update on them soon. They have been on hold for a while for reasons that will become apparent.

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Gruoark passed united fanscape evaluation and moves forward in the process.
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I have sent a PM to Toogwick_tuk.
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  #3742  
Old January 21st, 2014, 11:56 AM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

For Shaitan, I am a little concerned about his Rejected by Death ability and how it interacts with being able to take multiple turns per order marker. I have not played Marvelscape, but I believe that official units didn't have any means of taking multiple turns per order marker and Thanos still was given an insane point total.

I am concerned that having access to so many turns per order marker may inflate this power further. Imagine just him with some death Knights and a few skull demons. Since he rises again on a 19-20, you are expected to have him return within just 5 turns as opposed to the normal 10. The thralls, while able to give more turns, will still give 2 on average and leave you in the same position. If thrown into an army with Kurrok even Katono Daishi, he could perform a suicide runs and be expected back in just over a round. A glyph of Lodin being involved or another unit being made that boosts undead d20 could bring him back in under a round on average with this aggressive use of turns. That army may not be the best tournament army out there, but in a heroes only format it may prove dangerous. Just because it is based off an ability from Marvelscape does not mean that it needs to be exactly like it. It could easily be given a different name where it only only activates once per order marker instead, and then is just a cool long-shot that you can end up winning. Then again, I haven't actually tested these so I don't know if it is only unreasonable on paper. I imagine with the death knights that you don't even need to waste order markers to suicide him and can use him as soon as he comes back without even having to wait to place order markers again.

I am not that concerned with the undead march and allowing two Death Knights to become extra speedy. Otherwise, it seems to provide an interesting tactical decision between using him or moving your units. Soul Weapon is a very cool power and good to see on a slightly higher attack unit. It fits perfect in the theme of him being a death knight commander.

Otherwise, I think it is a beautiful looking figure with some great flavor. I'm not in love with leader as a class, but Migol set precedent for it so that's good enough for me. I'm just a little worried about that first ability. For all I know it's fine, but being able to bring to abuse what technically counts as turns so much is worrisome on paper to me. I'd feel much safer if it were only by order marker reveals before turns i.e. "After Shaitan has been destroyed and you reveal an order marker from an army card you control, before taking a turn with that card, you may roll..." though this may lead to questions about what happens when you don't take a turn with that card through abilities it has. Maybe just on the order marker reveal, giving powers like revealing an X a slight boost with him, but still only giving an extra use once per round as opposed to up to 6 extra attempts by my count. Just spit-balling ideas.

Last edited by Ixe; January 21st, 2014 at 06:30 PM. Reason: typos
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  #3743  
Old January 21st, 2014, 12:05 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Thanks for sharing your concerns, Ixe. We do have our eyes on those things. Have you done any playtesting for C3V yet?

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  #3744  
Old January 21st, 2014, 12:42 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Yep, I've been playtesting with C3V as I can. I've done the ones they currently have up and they've already filled the one I haven't. I read that a way to become more involved with the customs community is to post constructively on these threads, so I'm offering opinions as I can. It is okay, right? Let me know if I'm overstepping my bounds.
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