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  #8041  
Old September 19th, 2023, 02:52 AM
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My Thoughts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadowking View Post
I'll take him back to the drawing board for now then, but I have a couple follow-ups to the reviews on Jan first:

1. Is there any opposition to a Human Champion fitting under non-Jandar generals? I'm fine with it, but I was also fine with him under Jandar, so maybe I'm just not as picky at dividing the line between who gets what historicals. I do want him to keep the initial conceit of a mounted Human Champion though.

2. I had some versions of him with the Evasive power under different, more thematic names (and it tested decently well mechanically to me), but felt it was cleaner to just consolidate it under the name of an existing power that, to me, fit the theme based on the name alone (although I agree it's not nesc. a 100% perfect fit if you look at the other units with it and what they imply it has connotations of). If I go back to the drawing board it might end up getting cut regardless, but is the problem more with the mechanics or more with the naming here (or I guess both)?
Hawthorne is a Human Champion under a different general so I have no issues there.

I stand by my original assessment that a tactical disengage like Dupuis or beefier stats would be better than Evasive.

~Dysole, briefly
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  #8042  
Old September 27th, 2023, 01:19 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

OK, after some updates and additional testing etc, I would like to submit this updated version of what was formerly Kafnirra, now renamed Brigdhe (to better highlight her reworked Scottish-Gaelic theming). In terms of exactly what's changed, other than her name & theming, she has a new power name for her 1st power to better tie into that theming and a full rework and new name for her 2nd power (I do not know if it needs to specifically state she can be chosen for Highland Fury, but since both elements happen at the same "phase" of the game, it felt like it was worth it for clarity; if not, I'm happy to remove that line as it doesn't change anything in terms of actual mechanics). None of the updates caused anything that felt problematic in the games, and hopefully she now has a stronger theme overall as well as a clearer 2nd power; I have been pretty happy with the changes.



The Jan reworks will need more time to cook & more testing against various things, but hopefully I will be able to get to an updated card for him that satisfies me at some point in the future weeks/months as well.
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  #8043  
Old September 28th, 2023, 04:27 PM
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Scytale Scytale is offline
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

I think the changes have improved the unit.

to review Brigdhe.
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  #8044  
Old September 29th, 2023, 12:03 AM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

I like this design much, much more for this mini. It feels thematic. Kudos.

The designs of the Age of Annihilation, and their ACES compatibility with VC
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  #8045  
Old October 1st, 2023, 11:59 AM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

to review Brigdhe


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  #8046  
Old October 2nd, 2023, 08:18 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Jim Whitecloud by @Pumpkin_King (submitted by @Leaf_It )

Jim Whitecloud straddles two worlds in two worlds: both a Native American and a U.S. Lawman in the old West, and both Tribesmen and Lawman factions in Valhalla.

Balance

Jim should be compared against both Lawmen and Tribesman. The first is more straightforward, as his stats and cost line up with the likes of Johnny "Shotgun" Sullivan and James Murphy, with a Tomahawk and a Lasso instead of a Shotgun and Whip. Is that about the same? Difficult to really say given how different they are. Both have high theoretical value. Shotgun can be played around, but it's that fear factor that causes inefficient movements that provides its true value. Whitecloud's abilities are far harder to play around, sometimes even impossible, but that also means it doesn't really have a passive effect.

The Tribesman comparison is even more difficult as the existing Tribesmen are cheaper and thus fit differently into armies. The Makwa Tribesman provides a similar ranged attack but don't have the solid Life or the potentially amazing Lasso, and Brave Arrow lacks range. So it's hard to tell, but the price isn't unreasonable in general. Lasso is the real wildcard.

Theme

The theme is that the Native American lawman straddles two worlds, and that comes through in the design. The stat line is standard Lawman, and Lasso is a fitting Lawman power that both plays to the in-game familiar and matches the miniature, whereas Tomahawk echoes the Mohican River Tribe while also matching the miniature.

I don't have a problem with being both a Tribesman and a Lawman, but I don't like how strangely complicated Law of the Land is. Would it change anything at all if it was unconditional? I can't think of any reason the unit would play differently if he was always both a Tribesman and a Lawman, instead of only donning his badge when a peer or lawbreaker is around. I don't see a thematic reason either.

Creativity

I appreciate how the design feels like both a Tribesman and a Lawman without feeling forced. Both sides come through, the abilities are useful and work well together while modeling the miniature, and everything feels like it belongs and is needed by the design.

Playability

Jim Whitecloud obviously fits in two different factions, as well as doing fine as a solo add-in (especially as a cleanup figure). He isn't particularly great at any of them, though.

Another Lawman working under Clayton Pierce is nice to have, but he's not a necessary addition. For the most part his role in that army is better filled by Louis "Mad Dog" Malone, who holds out longer in a melee fight and fights back arguably better. They're also both Aquilla, so Ranjit builds aren't improved by his inclusion. With Mad Dog holding the line, Jim's meager gunman skills aren't much to add to a Shootout, and Lasso loses most of its potency when Jim isn't getting full turns.

As a Tribesman he's fine, but nothing special really. As a figure that takes potshots while moving up Teeth of the Makwa, he doesn't really offer much beyond what a couple of Makwa Tribesman do (and he can't spread out to different places like multiple Mawka Tribesman can). It's the same story when using him as a pseudo-bonding option for the Mohican River Tribe, and Brave Arrow offers some other value as a melee bonder.

Mr. Whitecloud is also fine as an affordable filler, but nothing amazing. He can do great in cleanup if everything goes his way, but that's true for a lot of units. His abilities give him some nice options, including a long range and some melee tricks, but there are other units who do a lot of what he does better.

Summary

Jim Whitecloud is decent at a bunch of different things but doesn't excel at any. And that's probably for the best; there's value in having options. Lasso is potentially game-changing, but it's usually risky and it's not consistent enough to rely on, so it ends up being more of an occasional bonus than a strategy. Jim isn't a superhero, but I think there's a place for him in Valhalla.

I vote Yea to induct Jim Whitecloud into the SoV.
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  #8047  
Old October 5th, 2023, 10:20 AM
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Vydar_XLIII Vydar_XLIII is offline
 
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

All good changes. This design has come far.

to review Brigdhe.

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  #8048  
Old October 11th, 2023, 04:29 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

The Annunhounds by @Blue Trails did not pass United Fanscape Review and are removed from the process. It was a close vote without strong feelings on either side. The downvotes largely reflected the downvotes from the initial review vote: does not tie well to the Cŵn Annwn theme, availability concerns, and some discussion about improving the power's name.
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  #8049  
Old November 6th, 2023, 07:36 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Masha Shingai by Astroking112


It looks like I have the deciding vote here, lovely, no pressure.

I just want to say from the beginning that I was not a judge for the previous version of Masha Shingai, so I don’t have that frame of reference to build from for this review. No need for anybody to waste time looking for a previous review from me that doesn’t exist.

Creativity/Theme
All right, we have a Yokai Samurai. Samurai have been in the game since the beginning and the Yokai are brand new. The Yokai, from my understanding and from the info provided with the submission are from Japanese folklore. This is a pretty wide net of a species encompassing everything from the terrifying Oni to the cute Tanuki. This gives me a bit of pause, but it’s no more overarching than Undead currently is.

The miniature really does evoke the theme that is equal parts warrior and Demon. It just looks awesome on the table.

Masha is the first non-human samurai, so none of the human samurai precedents need to apply. I like how Masha doesn’t have Counterstrike. Fiery Retribution fills the same role of an “attacking while defending power” on the card and does it with a very fitting demonic theme that matches the miniature quite well.

Terror of the Honorless is the highlight of the design. It is the first large aura attack debuff in VC. Taking this step certainly raises some warning flags in terms of playability and fun, but I think it hits the theme right on.


Balance
The other reviewing judges covered most of the bases in this section, so I’ll try to summarize. Masha is a Menacer/Cheerleader-Hybrid which makes a lot of direct comparisons difficult.


Uzog is a close comparison. He has a defense reduction power where Masha has an attack reduction power. Akumaken has both debuff and damage-on-defense powers, but his powers have a significantly smaller area of effect. Torin is the only other figure that has a damage-on defense power that affects more than just himself. You could put Ataraxis in this chart for her defense reduction aura, but the Nanobots and Range make her a really poor point of comparison.

All 4 in the chart are comparable in terms of raw stats. Masha is on the faster and stronger end, but the lowest in terms of “Lifense.” It would seem that from a direct comparison to these 3 other heroes one would expect Masha to cost more than 110, but (and this is the only reason I include current delta prices in the chart above) the delta group has determined that the comparison points are relatively overpriced (to roughly the same degree, notably). Masha at 110 might be more accurate than the 110-120 of the others. This led me to be more cognizant of Masha’s points than I have been of other reviewed submissions. After playtesting, I think 110 is close to right on.


Playability
It would seem that the linchpin of this review is whether or not I agree with Bigga in that Masha is “frustrating to play against.” In agreement with superfrog, the premise that “it's no fun to play against figures that are no fun to play against,” is 100% accurate and so I really want to make sure Masha doesn’t fall into this category.

Overall, I find myself enjoying the thematic armies that include Masha. Tagawa Samurai Archers + Raelin (or Taro in delta), and Unique Samurai with Tomoe. These are fun, balanced, and thematic, so I’m not going to focus on what isn’t the pain-point.

Let’s be frank, trying to get through 6-defense Rats with debuffed attacks is rough, like really rough. And if Terror of the Honorless didn’t require a revealed OM, this review would be an easy thumbs-down. No question. But it does, and I think that caveat is exactly how it needs to be balanced.

Imagine we’re playing VCheese against the classic Q9 army with Masha instead of a Hydra. On the surface, this looks way worse for melee, but I don’t think the math works out that way. Typically, 4-figure melee squads are rolling 12 attack dice per turn (4 attacks at 3 dice each) without buffs or bonding. Q9 is always rolling 9 dice. So, again roughly, 36 to 27 attack dice per round. Adding Masha to the mix; the melee squad is rolling 8 attack dice per turn (4 attacks of 2 dice each) without buffs or bonding. And Q9 is still rolling 9 dice, but only twice-a-round. Totaling 24 to 18 attack dice per round. That’s the exact same ratio. Obviously, this is surface level, as I’m not a statistics guy, and there are many other factors that can come into play. Are you taking an attack of 5 with Masha on each of his turns? If you are, then he’s likely vulnerable, getting attacked and won't be doing his job protecting the Rats for much longer. Can the melee player get 5 dice worth of buffs or bonding across the round to match Masha’s attack? Probably. None of Gilbert, Alastair, Grimnak, Chomp, or Commander’s Strike are factored in here. And they could just win initiative getting a turn with no debuff. Additionally, the melee player gets significantly better numbers when comparing quantity of attacks. Masha doesn’t change that for them, but he does limit Q9 (or Krav, or Borgs, etc.) to 6 attacks a round. So, at best, Masha does not change any odds, just makes the games take longer by reducing offensive output of each army by roughly a third each round. Or at worst, he’s increasing variance against his own player. Not ideal in a cheese format. These matchups will still come down to how well the melee player can manage to maximize the value of all the figures in their army. They have a harder job, but more time to complete it.

That’s just one example, but I’ve already written over 1000 words, so I don’t necessarily want or feel the need to provide more.

I feel confident in saying that playing into Masha + Rats + Rae is not a fun game. Especially in an uphill matchup. (Quahon still doesn’t care, of course.) But on the other hand, Masha doesn’t make the "Rats + Rae + Range" armies better by including him. And a game with 3x Rats a side is probably worse. Making Rats the problem. Shocking, I know! I’m fairly confident that Masha won’t see much play in Cheese-tier armies, so I’m not incredibly worried about seeing the combo too often. (Especially with the recent prevalence of delta.)


Summary
All that to say that I agree with Frog #1 that Masha + Rats + Rae is not fun, AND I agree with Frog #2 that the builds that Masha makes un-fun are mostly better without Masha. In Masha’s best and most thematic armies his powers complement the army without being overwhelming or problematic. The Creativity and Theme of this design are on point, and the bio, ahh, chef’s kiss. Really well done.

I vote YES to induct Masha Shingai into the SoV.

Congratulations @Astroking112

"I disagree. You're kind of right, yes, but Vydar and I are entirely right." -superfrog

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Last edited by Vydar_XLIII; November 7th, 2023 at 10:28 AM. Reason: added link to original submission.
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  #8050  
Old November 6th, 2023, 08:33 PM
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ThrasherDarkrai ThrasherDarkrai is offline
 
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Congrats to @Astroking112 ! It's great to see Masha Shingai finally get into the SoV.

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  #8051  
Old November 7th, 2023, 03:26 AM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion


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  #8052  
Old November 7th, 2023, 11:33 AM
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Myriadite Myriadite is offline
 
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

A very cool addition!
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