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  #6745  
Old December 20th, 2019, 03:00 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

The Thrawls notoriously fall lower on the power curve making adding another one that is worth fielding but does not out shine other tough.

Nothing here tells me it is incorrectly balanced without testing. Maybe it outclasses the others maybe not.



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  #6746  
Old December 20th, 2019, 07:26 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

What about this theme or mini suggests the unusual move of 7? Setting aside whether it's priced correctly, that looks like a design appendage to get it to play a certain way, rather than a distinctive feature grounded in theme.

I am also concerned about the power level being higher than that of other thralls. I do not take that concern lightly. Having a Best Thrall significantly diminishes the fun and interplay of the entire faction.

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  #6747  
Old December 20th, 2019, 07:29 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Soontir Van by @Arch-vile

Quote:
Originally Posted by superfrog View Post
Soontir Van by @Arch-vile

The Mariedians are built around a synergy web that keeps the front lines filled. Does Soontir Van’s Move Enhancement add enough to the faction to earn a spot in Valhalla?

Balance

As a single-attacking ranged hero (without bonding options), Soontir Van has only a few comparison points. One easy one is Zetacron. They have comparable attack (4 vs. Deadly Shot 2) and survivability (4/2 vs. 2/4). Soontir Van has a defensive power and a cheerleader power, has 3 less range, and costs 10 more points.

Another comparison is Garrett Burns. Here, they have similar survivability, and Soontir swaps Quick Draw for Move Enhancement. Garrett has more range, but Soontir again always has 4 attack. Comparatively, Soontir is easily better (but that might be the outlaw’s fault).

Theme

I like the reuse of Exosuit here, and Mariedian Move Enhancement is a thematic way to boost the M-43s (who major in movement and board control, and minor in attack output). I’m not sure I buy 2 defense, to be honest. I know the suit improves the survivability overall, but it seems like he shouldn’t have less baseline defense than his unarmored counterparts.

Creativity

The only new thing here is the Move Enhancement. It’s not too unlike Hrognak’s Aura, but it is a good way to show his Leader-like qualities, and it’s certainly preferable to an attack boost.

Playability

I tested Soontir Van both with and without Rendar Fy. They actually worked pretty well together, but since Rendar hasn’t passed yet, I won’t go into much detail in that interaction.

Most of my games with Soontir followed a predictable pattern: I’d put him near the front of the start zone, and use Guerilla Tactics to ensure that I always had a few M-43s adjacent to Soontir to rocket out of the SZ when the time came. Once most of my M-43s were advanced, I’d start moving Soontir with Guerilla Tactics as well, using him as a mobile launching pad for my M-43s. This was also especially helpful when paired with a hero: Jarek Guy and Rendar Fy both benefited from what I called “handcuffing,” where I’d move them with Guerilla Tactics and always keep them adjacent.

Despite his attack of 4, I never really wanted to put OMs on Soontir. He was much more valuable propelling my M-43s to height, where they could potentially get 3 attacks of 3. In almost all cases, even 3x2 is better than 1x4. To compound that, Soontir’s short range made it hard to get attacks without moving him (which would screw up the mobile launch pad strategy).

Soontir was relegated to getting 1 or 2 turns per game, depending on how long Exosuit kept him alive. His points would likely have been better spent going to another squad of M-43s, or adding Jarek Guy or the B-11s.

Because of that dynamic, his 4 attack started seeming more and more out of place to me. Not to the miniature, and not to his power level, but to the design of the card, and its place in the Mariedian faction.

Summary

I thought Soontir was a good design, but there were some sticking points that left me feeling ultimately unsatisfied. I quite liked the movement boost, but I think it would be better on a lower-cost hero with a lower attack.

I vote to induct Soontir Van into the Soldiers of Valhalla, but I hope to see him back in some form if he fails.
I've quoted my earlier review of Soontir here for reference.

There are several slight differences between this version of Soontir and the last one.

Firstly, the miniature is changed to a miniature with a pistol rather than one with a rifle. This change is borne out by a drop in Attack to 3, and an increase in Range to 6. Both of those stats I touched on in my previous review as problem areas, so I was glad to see those changed.

The other notable change is a switch from 4 life/2 defense to 3 life/3 defense. Again, that brings him more into line with the existing Mariedians, and I am glad to see that changed.

Lastly, the points were dropped to 50.

All these changes ultimately make Soontir feel more at home in his mobile launchpad role, and less like a high-value figure that is difficult to use correctly. He plays nearly identically to the previous version, but this time he feels right in that role.

Since I alluded to it in my first review, a fun use of Soontir is to pair him with Rendar. When you get to the point where Rendar needs Order Markers, having him adjacent to Soontir can help him get all the way to height in a single OM, maximizing his double-attack turns.

I vote to induct Soontir Van into the Soldiers of Valhalla.

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Last edited by superfrog; December 20th, 2019 at 07:30 PM. Reason: Hey Scy, when you get around to updating the OP: Bigga also has voted :up: on Soontir
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  #6748  
Old December 21st, 2019, 03:23 AM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

I’m not sure what the Shadowcreep Thrall is adding to its faction. It has a kill or be killed mechanic, a melee SA, fairly average rounded stats. It doesn’t look like it would play differently enough to be worth being its own distinct unit, which raises the risk of it either overshadowing or being overshadowed. The descending multi-attack is neat but not a big enough deal mechanically to elevate the design for me.

I’m no expert on how the Thralls play, though, so I won’t give a downvote here. I’d just be more interested in a unit that approached the design elements of the Thralls from a less familiar angle.
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  #6749  
Old December 23rd, 2019, 05:22 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Hi,
I am curious about Lija, does she have some trouble to pass the current step of the process?
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  #6750  
Old December 23rd, 2019, 06:01 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeldarck View Post
Hi,
I am curious about Lija, does she have some trouble to pass the current step of the process?
Lilja's still coming

I'd love to have her released by the end of the year, but we'll just have to see!

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  #6751  
Old December 29th, 2019, 11:09 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

The Shadowcreep Thrall is overall pretty good. The special attack feels Thrall-ish, though it doesn't really feel like it adds much to the faction.

I simply don't like 7 Move though. I think that 6 should be the normal baseline maximum, with some standouts like Vipers and spiders that are known for their speed. This guy has a spider-like feel, but I don't think it warrants the high base speed.

to review the Shadowcreep Thrall
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  #6752  
Old December 30th, 2019, 12:07 AM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by capsocrates View Post
I suspect a base attack of 2 would be more appropriate here but I'm willing to see how it holds up in testing.

to review Shadowcreep Thrall
Scytale has swung me. to review Shadowcreep Thrall.

Your custom probably has too much Defense.

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  #6753  
Old December 30th, 2019, 02:08 AM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

The Shadowcreep Thrall looks like fun, but it also looks like it practically replaces the Deathstrike Thrall to me. A more consistent 4/3/2/1 spread is often better than one attack of 6, the move is higher, and the death isn't guaranteed here, either.

I'm not opposed to a slightly stronger Thrall in concept, but I'm not comfortable with the degree of overlap with an existing thrall and the Shadowcreep's main weakness in comparison (the small/medium restriction) doesn't sway me. to review.
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  #6754  
Old December 30th, 2019, 09:21 AM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

For me a new thrall should add something new, not just a new version of an attack similar to what already exists with two other thralls. Maybe if it were to play up the spider theme of the mini with a poison or a web attack or something instead.

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  #6755  
Old January 1st, 2020, 12:13 AM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Catalan Mercenaries by Scytale

Thereís still time for one more SoV review before the new decade. Or at least there is now that Iíve found a team of mercenaries to write it for me. Now I can just kick back, relax, and let the...hey, wait, whereíd they go? Ugh, guess Iíll have to finish this myself after all. Shouldnít have gone for the cheap optionÖ

Balance

The Catalan offer premium stats for their extremely cheap price point, so naturally their balance hinges on whether or not Cut and Run is enough of a downside to mitigate them. That said, the design here makes a few other smart choices to prevent them from being overwhelming. 4 melee attacks of 3 is strong, but it doesnít match the offensive potential of most melee bonding squads or Knights of Blackgaarde in a Relentless army. Additionally, a move of 4 that canít be boosted by any leadership powers or the like is a significant downside. Combine all that with Cut and Run and the Catalan donít come off as too concerning.

Theme
Getting a ďmercenaryĒ design to feel quite right in the Valhalla setting is a little finicky, but this design does a great job of it. The low point cost combined with Cut and Run fits perfectly as both a mechanical and flavorful balancing act--you, the player, have to decide if the discount mercs are with the risk just as a general weighs the decision of supplementing his forces with unreliable sellswords. I do have a small quibble with seeing ďunrulyĒ in the left box--it feels a little too close to ďwildĒ to be a distinction worth drawing. Otherwise, the Catalan do well in this category.

Creativity
Successfully implementing a theme that no other unit has really covered is certainly impressive, and the Catalan do that well here. The biggest danger that the Mercs face in this category is whether or not itís enough to make them play in any new or interesting ways. Being able to get a 3/4 melee squad as a splashable force instead of a whole army allows some interesting builds, but as the only wrinkle that the Catalan have to offer Iím not sure itís enough.

Playability
The Catalan can be used as either a primary force to build around or as a supplemental way for armies with low figure counts to fill themselves out. In the former role, the Catalan are a fairly straight up-and-down melee squad. They fight best against other low cost units where the advantage of their stats is most strongly felt, but tend to crumble against stronger forces that can outfight and outmaneuver them. Playtesting upheld their balance--they can feel very strong at times, but they have a lot of trouble with range, and donít dominate enough different melee matchups to the point of feeling overwhelming. As a splashed force, too, they arenít too powerful--only a couple squads of mercs will have trouble getting where they need in the endgame before scattering, while being a significant cost in OMs if you want to develop them early. Ultimately, even with their advantages, the Catalan never felt like a perfect option--which, for 40 points, is how they should feel.

An issue that persisted, however, was one of how they actually felt to play. I never really had much fun running them. This may be a matter of personal taste, and of slower melee squads not being my favorite, but in practice the Catalan felt like a 0-power card--which is to say, Cut and Run didnít offer much decision-making or tactical interest. Part of this is due to its timing. Compared to Stab in the Back, which happens every turn, Cut and Run happens before placing OMs each round. That means there isnít any risk to using the Catalan once they run low--either they donít run, and you keep activating them for one more round, or they do, and theyíre gone. This does change how the enemy wants to play by giving them a reason to wait the Catalan out, but that can be easier said than done--one successful roll on Cut and Run gives the mercs a whole round to capitalize. Overall, I kept wishing that the trigger on Cut and Run was something a little more dramatic than at the start of the round, which only drew more attention to the fact that I was otherwise playing a squad with a very familiar statline. Thatís not to say that there arenít plenty of units that draw most of their value or playstyle from their base stats, but that the Catalan fall on the wrong side of the line where they donít offer enough of interest to me.

Summary
This is a tough call, as the Catalan arenít my type of unit, and my main sticking point is based on a fairly subjective analysis of what a unit needs to offer to be worth including. Still, though, I couldnít help but feel unsatisfied by them, and wanting them to offer something more. That being the case, I vote to induct the Catalan Mercenaries.
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  #6756  
Old January 2nd, 2020, 12:45 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

The Catalan Mercenaries by Scytale (submitted by @Cleon ) have received 2 Nay votes to induct (BiggaBullfrog and All Your Pie) and are removed from the process.
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