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  #3805  
Old January 31st, 2014, 05:48 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

My feelings are similar to those of infectedsloth and SG-1.

to review Karzai Munn.

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I have mixed feelings about the Utgar Mariedian Mercenary part, but that could be cool.

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  #3806  
Old January 31st, 2014, 06:34 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Well, Karzai Munn's submission is certainly heating up. (Don't excuse the pun; it was intentional. ) With the current Judges split, I'd like to wait and see what the new recruit thinks before making a decision.

Which serves as a reminder for my prior announcement: for anyone who is interested in applying for a SoV Judge position, please send in an application by the end of February.

Also, I forgot to add this into my original announcement (but I'll edit it in): along with one or two reviews, please write a paragraph about yourself telling us why you think you would make a good SoV Judge.
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  #3807  
Old February 2nd, 2014, 11:01 AM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

I have my reservations about Karzai Munn.
  • His lob attack as a 4 is too potent. Zelrig, Shotgun Sully, Deathwalker are all 3 dice attacks. Coupled with the D20 roll for all adjacent figures, I do not like the combo of these abilities. I think it is just too potent for any figure.
  • I see no reason to give him Lava Resistance, I have a hard time believing his suit is going to protect him for searing hot lava.
  • I have no issues with him following Utgar, that part sounds pretty cool. Some Mercs are in it for the money, others just like killing and let being a Merc mask their true intentions.

Have you tried Hexscape? 3D Heroscape Multiplayer Battle program!

Looking for a C3V/SOV miniature? Try one of these sites.

Last edited by Kinseth; February 3rd, 2014 at 02:17 PM.
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  #3808  
Old February 3rd, 2014, 01:15 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

The case against lava resistance made me go back and re-think my decision. I was on the fence before but that has succeeded in changing my mind. I vote to review Karzai.
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  #3809  
Old February 3rd, 2014, 01:20 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

That seals it. Karzai Munn has received 4 No votes to review (infectedsloth, Soundwarp SG-1, capsocrates, and hivelord) and has been removed from the process.
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  #3810  
Old February 4th, 2014, 05:11 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Asterios by the French HS community

Heroscape (official and VC) has mined the fantasy realm pretty heavily, especially during the D&D era, but we have yet to see a minotaur. Certainly a welcome addition, but does the design live up to the legend?

Balance

Anyone who plays Heroscape at all seriously knows that 120 points is a sweet spot, with some of the best stand-alone (or at least works well alone) heroes in the game, including Krug, Kaemon Awa, and the Fen Hydra. A stand-alone hero almost has to be comparable to them to be useful, or at least provide something sufficiently unique. Asterios is either really good or rather weak, depending on what he's up against. Against small/medium squads, the minotaur has a nice multi-hit, mobile special attack that also gives him a limited form of Disengage, and he has a whopping 6 Life / 6 Defense (unless the squad has a special attack), making him one of the toughest creatures around. On the other hand, against heroes, his special attack is significantly less useful since it can't hit a single figure multiple times in a turn, he doesn't get Disengage, and his defense drops to 3. A 4/3 creature with 6 Life with a mediocre special attack doesn't compete in the 120 point space.

So is he overpowered or underpowered? Both? Neither? Let's take a moment to compare against the Fen Hydra. Without considering all the details (such as being able to take glyphs after attacking), the Fen Hydra's four attacks of 4 is generally stronger than Asterios's Furious Charge. Furious Charge has a better threat range, but the Fen Hydra mostly makes up for that with Reach. Also, the Fen Hydra can attack the same figure repeatedly -- do not underestimate the value of that, especially against heroes. There is some advantage to Furious Charge being a special attack, but being normal attacks means the Fen Hydra's can be boosted. So initially the hydra has better offense, but he loses attacks as he loses heads, and he has less life than Asterios. On the other hand, Asterios loses a lot when facing anything other than small/medium squaddies.

Overall, theoryscaping suggests that Asterios is more matchup-dependent than his 120pt brethren, but not outrageously over- or underpowered. He appears to be somewhat better against small/medium squads, decidedly weaker against everything else. Personally, I'm fine with that, as long as he's not too strong against small/medium squads.

Theme

First, let me discuss the figure. While he looks big and intimidating on the lovely card, the mini itself isn't as big as I had hoped. It's about the same size as a Dzu-Teh or an Ice Troll Beserker. But hey, if the Ice Troll can be Large, this similar-sized mini (or even a touch larger) can be too. His axe poses some denial issues, but not too bad. Otherwise, it's a sweet-looking figure. I have the lovely black-colored version.

As far as the design is concerned, I love the theme of Legendary Creature. Heroscape has always had a base distinction between heroes and ... uh ... not-heroes. It's classic mythology that only heroes can defeat monsters. Ok, large/huge squaddies can fight him well too, and I'm also ok with that, 'cause they're, ya know, bigger (and many of those can use the slight boost).

When I first read Furious Charge, I thought it was a good representation of a charging minotaur. After playing it, however, I now feel differently. It doesn't play like a vicious charge, it feels like a dexterious dance through enemy lines. The concept works better as a ninjutsu attack than it does a charge. It seems similar to Augamo's Headlong Charge, but the disengage ability really opens up the options. Still, it's not bad, and it's a really useful, fun ability.

Creativity

As I said in the Theme section, I love the Legendary Creature power. While Furious Charge does not play as I had hoped, the name and the concept also bring out the theme well.

Marauder is a great fit. Dauntless is not; it fails to match the theme presented by "Furious Charge," "Marauder," and the mini. It doesn't match his playstyle either; he fearfully avoids getting tied up by large/huge figures and heroes, and instead picks on the weak. I would have prefered something like Ferocious, but Dauntless isn't enough of a problem to sway my vote.

Playability

I've already written plenty about the unit's balance and theme, and I'm a bit sorry I'm being so wordy (and thanks for reading this far!), but for a unit that was feared to be overpowered he needs careful examination and clear reasoning why I'm voting the way I am. So let me revisit what I've said before in terms of actual gameplay.

How powerful is Asterios against small/medium squads? As we all know, such units are pretty common (excuse the pun). Is 6 Life / 6 Defense nigh unkillable? The answer is no, you can kill him just like you can kill anything else: you just have to throw enough attack dice at him. Are Minions of Utgar unkillable? Anyone who has played them can tell you a definite "No." It's not too hard to throw lots of dice at him either, since being a melee figure he's usually on the front lines. Now, 6 Life is no joke, and if he's rolling hot defense he can be real brutish. But he's far from unkillable. Additionally, being a melee figure that likes to stay mobile means that Raelin isn't a great help. Sure, you can use him as a close-range guardian for Q9, but a Fen Hydra will do better at that.

As for his offensive output, it's merely ok. The mobility that Furious Charge gives him is great and often allows him his full three attacks. But remember that special attacks are not boostable; while he may be able to claim height, it doesn't help him with his attacks. Three attacks of three dice is easy to come by; even defender squads like the Warriors of Ashra and the Sentinels of Jandar can do that much (and they can use height to their advantage!). Against units that are weak to special attacks, such as the aforementioned Warriors of Ashra, Asterios is devastating. But he's not alone in that regard. When there aren't multiple figures to go after, a single attack of 4 isn't anything to brag about.

Against mass common armies the minotaur shines, as he should. But heroes mixed in can be trouble, especially bonding ones. For this reason he tends to be better as a counterdraft than in a blind environment, but of course he can be counterdrafted too.

Outside of the standard tournament environment, his value is, again, dependent on what he's facing. All-hero? Bad. Heat of Battle? Great, if your opponent is running mass commons. Dungeon crawl? Curiously, he's bad as dungeon monster but great as a adventurer for clearing out those annoying drow or pesky goblins. For pretty much any scenario, his value is matchup-dependent.

Summary

Asterios is great against small/medium squads, there's no denying. You know what else is? A lot of things. A squad-killer is not new to the game, nor is a squad-killing hero; if anything I'm happy to see another one, especially at this price point. He tends to be a bit better than his high-powered 120 point brethren in ideal matchups, but not overwhelmingly so. Perhaps enough to make him tournament-draftable, though I suspect not quite given that the others are not as matchup-dependent.

If nothing else, Asterios is fun to play. A rampaging minotaur tearing through enemy lines? Heck yeah!

I vote to induct Asterios into the SoV.

Last edited by Scytale; September 21st, 2014 at 05:30 PM.
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  #3811  
Old February 4th, 2014, 05:38 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

That was a really great review, Asterios sounds like so much fun.
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  #3812  
Old February 5th, 2014, 03:16 AM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Wahoo, quite a review there Scytale ! Even if we are used to expect no less from you, it's always great reading.

In fact, I'm too used to read great posts from you :
Quote:
You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to Scytale again.


Some thougths after reading your review (they are not criticism - at all -, just some random thoughts) :

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scytale View Post
A 4/3 creature with 6 Life with a mediocre special attack doesn't compete in the 120 point space.
It is true that against heroes, he is a lot like the Venoc Viper. That is to say not much (one don't take the Venoc Warlod for his stats), but still able to take some hurt and give some too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scytale View Post
Also, the Fen Hydra can attack the same figure repeatedly -- do not underestimate the value of that, especially against heroes.
We thought of it when designing Asterios. Restraining him so he can only attack a figure once in a turn was another way to further put him in the "squad killer" role.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scytale View Post
First, let me discuss the figure. While he looks big and intimidating on the lovely card, the mini itself isn't as big as I had hoped.
True ! I was a little disapointed at first when I received mine. But then you remember than Minotaur are supposed to larger than human being, but not too much, and finally, I find he has the right size. It also allow to put him on a single base. It is really important, because he would lose so much movement with a double base !

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scytale View Post
I have the lovely black-colored version.
I like the fact that there are alternate color schemes, even if the older ones are harder to find.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scytale View Post
Ok, large/huge squaddies can fight him well too, and I'm also ok with that, 'cause they're, ya know, bigger (and many of those can use the slight boost).
Yeah, that's something I really like in the design. It won't bring the Large squads back to the table by itself of course, but in a draft, why not ? Also, I like imagine a squad of templar cavalery charging the Minotaur. The only Large squads that wouldn't need this boost are the new wolves but eh, each of them is as large as the minotaur !


Quote:
Originally Posted by Scytale View Post
When I first read Furious Charge, I thought it was a good representation of a charging minotaur. After playing it, however, I now feel differently. It doesn't play like a vicious charge, it feels like a dexterious dance through enemy lines. The concept works better as a ninjutsu attack than it does a charge. It seems similar to Augamo's Headlong Charge, but the disengage ability really opens up the options. Still, it's not bad, and it's a really useful, fun ability.
It is true that Furious Charge, in gameplay, can behave in strange ways that would not be considered a charge. It was probably one of the points that was discussed for the longest time in the french forum. We tried a lot of things, varying from allowing him to charge only in a straight line (hard to word, and hard to use), restraining him to only one attack max per hex he move on (longer wording, and what if he come back on the same hex on the same attack ?) of forcing him to move a set number of hex before attacking (against longer wording, and he could run in a circle)... Then the example of Augamo (with his Headlong Charge) and the will to Keep It Simple convinced us to go for a simpler power, even if it means losing a little on the "charge" theme.
As for the disengage, at first I wanted to give him a power that allowed him to ignore the first wound of each leaving engagement attacks from small/medium common figure. It had the advantage to best convey the theme (Asterios does not disengage with dexterity like Kumiko or the Orcs, he do it by just ignoring the leaving engagement attack that will bounce on his thick hide), and a small bonus that figures with "A Coward’s Reward" power could still wound him. All in one, disengage was simpler and something already known for nearly exactly the same gameplay results so we went for it. But when playing Asterios, do not imagine him dancing instead laught at the punny leaving engagement attacks !

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scytale View Post
Marauder is a great fit. Dauntless is not; it fails to match the theme presented by "Furious Charge," "Marauder," and the mini. It doesn't match his playstyle either; he fearfully avoids getting tied up by large/huge figures and heroes, and instead picks on the weak. I would have prefered something like Ferocious, but Dauntless isn't enough of a problem to sway my vote.
I don't speack for all the french community, but I wouldn't be opposed to change his personnality. In fact, the personnality we gave him on the french forum was "Indomptable", which translate as untamable, indomitable (indomitable would be a cool personality I think). "Indomptable" was used on two cards in french, the Granite Gardians and the Greater Ice Elemental, and the english personnality for thoses cards is... Dauntless. So we didn't choose Dauntless, we choose the french equivalent of "Indomitable", and it lead us to Dauntless in english.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Scytale View Post
As for his offensive output, it's merely ok.
True. We limited his offensive output as to not make him too overpowered. Three attacks of three is not this great. In fact, all good melee squads can make 4 attacks of three, and those attacks can be boosted. The fact that he can move during attacks mimicks a little the fact that squads can attack at different place the same turn, having more than one figure attacking. It has special advantage (as being able to take a glyph after killin the holder or take height) but you are limited to attacks near Asterios, whereas squads can attack on both side of the map if they want. We tinkered quite some time with the numbers. We tried 4 attacks of 3, or three attacks of 4, but each was a little too strong. Also, we wanted his normal attack to be of use some time, and keeping it at 4 (one more than his special), boostable to 5 by height means he could still put some hurt on an opponent hero if needed, but that it wouldn't be so great.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scytale View Post
Curiously, he's bad as dungeon monster
Haha, we didn't thought of this one ^_^

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scytale View Post
If nothing else, Asterios is fun to play. A rampaging minotaur tearing through enemy lines? Heck yeah!
We share this feeling

Last edited by Lyrgard; February 5th, 2014 at 03:33 AM.
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  #3813  
Old February 5th, 2014, 10:40 AM
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Scytale Scytale is offline
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lyrgard View Post
In fact, the personnality we gave him on the french forum was "Indomptable", which translate as untamable, indomitable (indomitable would be a cool personality I think). "Indomptable" was used on two cards in french, the Granite Gardians and the Greater Ice Elemental, and the english personnality for thoses cards is... Dauntless. So we didn't choose Dauntless, we choose the french equivalent of "Indomitable", and it lead us to Dauntless in english.
Fascinating. Everyone who knows a second language can tell you that the art of translating is from a word-to-word match from one language to another. This is a case of the connotation of a word changing when translated.
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  #3814  
Old February 12th, 2014, 06:15 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Thoresby Woodsmen by Tai-Pan

Balance

Two man squads are tricky to balance; they are at an inherent disadvantage to almost every other unit type in the game. They need to have either impressive base stats or some snazzy special powers to be viable.

The Woodsmen’s’ stats are nothing special, with the exception of their above average range. This is somewhat deceptive though; each of their 3 powers can (conditionally) enhance a stat (or in Evergreen Camouflage’s case, make the stat unnecessary).

I feel their powers make them worth the points; though they’re more niche than most squads and some what match-up dependent. They’re definitely at their best when in their element with Evergreen Camouflage active, and need to be priced with that case in mind. On the right map they can be pretty devastating.

Overall, I feel they’re in a good spot at 55 points. They’re good enough to see some play (though probably not much in a standard double blind tournament), but they’re not so competitive for their cost that they’ll warp other units around them. There’s still some room for them to get a light boost from future units (either on purpose or by coincidence) and I like that; it’s always nice when a unit doesn’t restrict future design space.

Pass

Theme

Robin Hood style rogues are a perfect fit for Ullar, and the Woodsmen’s powers are a good fit for the Archetype. I do have two complaints in this department though.

The first is their personality; they don’t really play like a tricky unit. I’m a big fan of having the class and personality give a clue to the unit’s playstyle when possible, and I didn’t quite see that here. They felt more like a precise unit to me, especially considering one of their powers is actually called ‘Precise Shot’.

The second is with Evergreen Camouflage; it just feels a little odd that it only triggers off of the Evergreens and not the Jungle pieces. Both the Quasatch and the Eilan Sidhe make no distinction between the two tree types, and the Eilan Sidhe’s powers are even open to work with other possible types of trees in the future. I suppose you could argue that the Woodsmen would be unfamiliar with the jungle trees, but if the Quasatch can ‘jungle track’ through an evergreen forest it seems the Woodsmen could manage to hide in the jungle.

Overall, these are minor details though and not enough of a concern for me to fail the unit.

Pass

Creativity

One of their powers is a direct copy, while two are clear derivatives of official powers. This has the advantage of making the powers easy to use, but it can make a unit feel a tad dull. Fortunately, I don’t feel that’s the case here. There’s enough of difference between these fellows and their power ‘donors’ to keep things fresh.

Pass

Playability

I’ll admit these guys can be tricky to play, and sometimes even a little frustrating if they start taking too many casualties too fast. They definitely have some bad match ups, particularly against hordes of cheap squads. They do better against more expensive figures where Precise Shot will make the other player pay dearly for each blanked defense roll.

They’re not the powerhouses that the true Wait Then Fire squads are (and they shouldn’t be). Despite Precise Shot being a strictly better WTF variant, the reduction in man power really hurts the Woodsmen in comparison to the bread and butter ranged squads. Taking them in mass isn’t really a viable option in most cases, but they fair better in a mix and match set up with another squad that can take some of the heat off of them.

While Precise Shot is always useful, their other powers are more map dependent. Evergreen Camouflage is obviously only useful on a forest map. Tracking might only be used on the first turn of the game on some maps (though that can still be helpful for a squad that doesn’t want to be moving around every turn), but it can make a big difference on larger or more hilly maps.

Overall, they need the right conditions to really shine. That makes taking them a risk in a tournament environment. However, they’re hardly alone in that boat; Heroscape has a long history of units that fair better in drafts or niche environments than in a double blind tournament. I think that is a tradition worth continuing with the Woodsmen.

Pass

Summary

The Woodsmen won’t be setting the tournament scene on fire, but they have their place. They’re an interesting thematic unit that brings some new twists to some old powers, and they can be a fun draft on the right map.

I vote to induct the Thoresby Woodsmen into the SoV.


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  #3815  
Old February 17th, 2014, 09:00 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Sundol by vegietarian18

With Sundol, vegie brings a new bonding option for the Dreadgul Raiders and a twist on DW7K’s or Brimstone’s timebomb. Sundol is a different feel of Fire Giant than Shurrak, but brings across his fiery theme well anyways.

Balance

Sundol comes in at 130 points, placing him in some pretty tough company with the likes of Kaemon Awa, Krug, the Fen Hydra, all near his price point. Compared to Krug, he has 2 less life but 1 more defense, 3 more attack, and Blaze of Glory to Krug’s Double Attack for 1 fewer points. Not too bad balance-wise. Compared to Brimstone, who has a similar area of effect mechanic, Sundol has one more life, one more attack, one less defense and a one-time only power for 20 points less. Sundol’s power is significantly weaker, though, over a bigger range. Decently balanced, on the whole.

Theme

Lava Resistant is a given. Blaze of Glory really is creative and makes you think of a fiery juggernaut running in a suicidal mission across the battlefield. Wild fits him with the Dreadgul Raiders, and Warrior is fine as well.

The one issue I have thematically with Sundol is his price point. At only 130 points, he is the cheapest of the Giants, and near the cheapest of the Huge figures. I expect a little more out of a Huge Giant. Given that is a a small sculpt, it is not a huge deal, but it did strike me as odd.

Creativity

Sundol is very simple. Lava Resistant only comes into play on certain maps, and Blaze of Glory is a once (or even zero times) per game power. Reusing the 14 from Searing Intensity was smart. The overall creativity of the design is great. It is both simple and innovative, an impressive combination.

Playability

Sundol was designed as a bonding hero for the Dreadgul Raiders. Without them, he doesn’t perform very well. A few scattered attacks, and he can fall pretty easily without doing much damage. With the Dreadguls, he still struggles. His 3 defense is too low to keep small attacks from getting to him, and his 5 attack only does so much. His main usefulness comes out of his distraction. Because a good Blaze of Glory roll can do so much damage, the opponent will often try to take down Sundol, even trying too hard and leaving himself exposed. Baze of Glory is very hard to set up, however, and rarely pays off. To get him near so many opponent’s figures without dying is a nearly impossible feat, especially against ranged squads. Sundol always seemed at least a little overpriced to me. Not so overpriced as to kill the design in and of itself, but noticeably underperforming.

Summary

Sundol is a nice creatively packaged design. It is really run to think of him sweeping across the battle. But his low cost, combined with a disappointing offensive output, makes Sundol not play like the Wild Giant that he was designed to be. This was a very hard decision for me, but I (unfortunately) have to vote NO to induct Sundol into the Soldiers of Valhalla.

I hope to see him join VC in some essence, either this version or another.

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Last edited by superfrog; February 17th, 2014 at 10:33 PM.
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Old February 18th, 2014, 04:37 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Gruoark by the Toogwick_tuk

Gruoark is a hefty brute that holds sway over other trolls, presumably by being the biggest and baddest. Does he help Heroscape trolls? Do they need it?

Balance

It's difficult to get an exact feel for Gruoark's worth as there really isn't a leader like him; leader figures do not normally require being effective front-line combatants to doll out extra turns. In terms of raw stats, one can use the Ice Troll Berserker as a baseline. Groark's Move and Attack are only slightly better than his stumpy blue cousins (and not really Move, due to Ice Troll Charge), but he also has twice the Life points. That's certainly a sizeable advantage given Regeneration; the longer he sticks around the more Life he can Regenerate. So the big guy obviously needs to cost significantly more, and he does. Unfortunately the value of the comparison stops there, as their powers and bonding options are wildly different.

I'll just say that 140 points is a serviceable cost; I'll talk a little more to this point in Playability.

Theme

I'm not a big fan of giving all the factions in Heroscape a command unit. From the beginning Heroscape has been a mix of tightly-bound factions, factions with little to no synergies, and individuals, and I don't want to see the game lose that variety.

That said, Gruoark doesn't feel so much like a commander to me, more like the biggest bully on the playground. Very fitting for a troll leader. He also doesn't strongly define troll builds; unlike units like where Romans I feel the need to bring a Warlord with them, I wouldn't feel the need to draft Gruoark if I have a troll. Drafting Gruoark does suggest the need to grab at least two more trolls, but even without doing that Gruoark isn't bad for the points. Overall, I like the concept here despite my usual reservations.

Merciless fits him quite well. I'm not entirely sold on Conqueror, but it's alright.

Creativity

Troll Warcharge is a clever twist on a bonding power. Requiring Gruoark to kill a figure to activate the bonus turns means he needs to be up front bashing away to get the most out of him; quite different than other leaders. And kill things he can, with that 6 Attack hammer of his. Well, squads anyway, and that's another good thing about the power: that it works regardless of one's opponent, but is subtly better against squads (there are already plenty of anti-hero powers).

Playability

As I've said before, Gruoark needs to be up on the front lines bashing things to get the most out of him. Because of that, and because of Regeneration, he plays like a shark. Once he gets going, he's going to get all of your order markers as long as you think he can hold out. Depending on the map and your opponent(s), you may want to spread some order markers to his troll underlings to move them up a bit before the bashing starts. Just don't let your opponent get too many freebee shots before the merciless attacking begins.

With the Conqueror's significant cost, and the cost of other trolls being sizable, you often don't have much in your army other than trolls. The good news is that you don't really need any troll underlings beyond two, since Gruoark is likely to be the first to fall, unlike other leaders. This allows you to mix your army up a bit; just know that when the trolls get rolling you won't have time to spend order markers elsewhere.

The various trolls, the Ice Troll Berserker, the Feral Troll, and Krug, are already pretty decent. Feral Trolls tend to perform the worst, but mostly that's due to their inability to deal with squads. Against heroes they are pretty good and as such make good dungeon crawl villains. A troll army led by Gruoark is a pretty decent force, capable of putting up a fight against against even some powerhouse squad armies. They're really luck-dependent though; much of the army's value is dependent on how long Gruoark survives. Note that when playing him, strategy doesn't make too much of a difference--you just want to kill something every turn. If your opponent's attack dice are poor, or Gruoark's defense dice are unusually good, you can really put on the hurt. If Gruoark drops fast, your individual trolls aren't likely to make up for the point deficit.

Beyond the usual double-blind, a troll army tends to be pretty darn scary in lots of game types. In Heat of Battle, not needing to move the other trolls into position provides a serious boost. Trolls are naturally good anti-hero units, so Gruoark and the trolls can be powerful in hero-only games and as a baddie in dungeon crawls. While he cannot activate Troll Warcharge unless he gets kills (against heroes that is not nearly as common as against squads), his massive Life total and Regeneration allows him to shrug off incidental leaving engagement damage and go straight for soft targets such as Raelin. In these scenarios Gruoark is really good for the points... almost too good.

As I was playing, however, I came to realize that not all of his abilities are as useful as they appear. You may notice I have not mentioned Troll Leadership yet, and for good reason: it has little gameplay effect. Most other forms of Leadership (Devout, Guard, Kyrie, and Soldier) affect slow-moving (4 or less) squads. The big exception, Scout Leadership, provides a bigger boost, again to squads. In almost all cases, it's a significant boost that affects many units, and is useful not only for getting into combat position but for bringing up reinforcements. Troll Leadership only affects a couple of figures in one's army. (It could be more, but an army of lots of trolls is dangerously one-dimensional.) This bonus is only in effect as long as Gruoark is alive, and as I mentioned he's typically the first to fall. Sending the other trolls out first to maximize Troll Leadership only minimizes Troll Warcharge. Really, only on occasion does it give a troll that one extra space to get off an attack, or claim height for an extra attack dice. Maybe once a battle, if you're lucky.

I'm not against little-used powers if there's a purpose, either situational or thematic. Troll Warcharge is a general-purpose boost, not a situational one. As far as theme, Troll Warcharge and Conqueror tell me all I need to know; Troll Leadership doesn't help further paint the picture. If anything, it feels less thematic, as it's more of a "smart leader" power than a "bully" (though I imagine he's just whipping them into working harder).

Summary

Gruoark provides something different to Heroscape, and is quite the imposing unit to go up against. In game types outside of standard double-blind, the Conqueror can really shine, almost to the point of being too strong, though I don't think he quite crosses the mark. However, one of his powers ends up having little gameplay effect, and, at least to me, has little thematic value as well, making the power extraneous. (He doesn't need the slight value boost it gives either.) In the SoV we're looking for great units, not good ones, and in this case the unit feels one step down from being fully refined.

I vote to induct Gruoark into the SoV.
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