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  #6553  
Old September 28th, 2019, 03:18 AM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion



Here's some pictures I found online to give a better idea of the figures appearance.

And next to a d20 for scale.
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  #6554  
Old September 28th, 2019, 09:49 AM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

@sirheroscape that's a really attractive figure. Thanks for sharing it and your custom card with the community. Best of luck to you during the next steps.
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  #6555  
Old September 28th, 2019, 12:01 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

That mini looks phenomenal. Way better than it looks on the card.

Your custom probably has too much Defense.

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  #6556  
Old September 28th, 2019, 07:46 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Shadow Faction by @Sir Heroscape

I heard you like scrollingÖ

Xundar

Balance

Like all commanders, Xundar is the focal point for the shadow faction. He has many similarities to Kurrok, as both can take a turn with three common heroes. However, he does have some noticeable benefits over Kurrok. First is that he gets to take a turn before he uses Shadow Master. He canít attack during that turn, but being able to move for free is a huge benefit that Kurrok and many other commander figures (like Katsuro and Ulginesh) donít have. On top of that, Xundar also doesnít need clear line of sight to the figures he activates -- the figure need only be within 8 spaces (which is an easy condition with his free movement). This is some crazy flexibility for a commander figure. Those who do get to move generally need line of sight at least (like Daishi and Lao Xin; even Omegacron has line of sight requirements). He can also respawn figures like other commander figures (Kurrok and the Hive), though he does so through his special attack. This means the odds can vary based on his attack power (3 or 4) and the defenderís survivability (defense, life if itís a Unique Hero). This makes Xundar himself a little match dependent, but against average squad figures (figuring 3-5 defense), Xundar has 32.1-65.5% chance to destroy a figure and respawn a Shadow, which are good odds even on the low end (Kurrok has 50% and Hive has 45% to just respawn, though they do have the option to respawn away from the front lines (well, as far as the Hive can have optionsÖ)). As far as powers go, Xundar seems to be king of the commanders.

That all out of the way, we also need to consider Xundarís other stats. As far as survivability goes, heís on the low end. 6 Life and 2 Defense makes for a squishy commander, though close to Kurrok. His survivability is helped by the fact that he can move himself and defending Shadows on the same turn, but his life/defense combo still makes him vulnerable to ranged figures or melee figures able to get through or around the Shadows. He also costs 150 points, 30 points more than Kurrok but still in the middle range of other commander figures.

Overall Xundar has a lot going for him with few weaknesses on his card (though being easy to kill is a big weakness). He looks strong, but with him so entwined with the Shadows weíll also need to look at them and how they all work together on the battlefield to fully understand his potential.

Theme

A Drow Sorcerer who manipulates shadows to do his bidding is pretty cool thematically. Drow traditionally follow Utgar, but Vydar has a certain cloak and dagger theme that appeals to putting Xundar as one of his followers. The stats and mini are in line with this theme, and the powers work with it as well. The image of Xundar infusing shadows into the bodies and souls of his enemies to turn them into his minions is particularly evocative.

Creativity

Creatively, Xundar is basically the dark and gritty Christopher Nolan reboot of Kurrok. Same pseudo-squad concept, but with more darkness, buffed up, and weaponized. This isnít necessarily bad in and of itself (you could say almost every bonding squad is a knock off of each previous bonding squad), but creatively itís not my favorite. People who are introduced to him recognize the Kurrok homage immediately, which unfortunately cuts on Xundarís novelty. That said, the familiarity is certainly an advantage when bringing in a new build-a-squad faction, which on paper makes Xundar a wash. Seeing how the interactions change on the battlefield will help see if heís too familiar or if heís unique enough.

Playability

As expected, Xundarís flexibility allows for a lot of fluidity when playing a Shadow army. Heís always where you need him to be, and can move any figures you need to since he has no LoS restrictions. That makes it difficult to pin him down. Once you do, though, heíll take wounds quickly. Heís high functioning but high squishiness, which makes for an interesting gameplay when running him.

Xundar is very dependent on the Shadows holding a front line to keep enemies away from him. The Shadows, in turn, are dependent on other Shadows to keep their offensive potential up (more about that in each Shadowís section to come). Theyíre pretty pricey for each individual, meaning you have a noticeably finite amount of them, and once theyíve been whittled away your opponent will be able to start getting big hits on Xundar. Xundar can bring back Shadows, of course, but if heís doing so once the bulk of his Shadows are gone the new ones wonít hold any line for very long and wonít get any bonuses from other Shadows. Since Xundar also gets a bonus attack die for attacking figures adjacent to a Shadow, being able to time mid-game attacks to replenish your forces is key.

When it all comes together, Xundarís high flexibility for a commander is offset by the priciness of his Shadows and, moreso, their reliance on each other. Xundar and the Shadows can provide strong boosts for each other which gives them high potential, but losing figures in this army hurts more than most because itís like losing mini-cheerleaders for each of your figures. So while Xundarís flexibility keeps the army running fairly smoothly throughout a game, it also requires careful play with both him and the Shadows to keep yourself in the game. This creates a whole set of subtle interplay and reliances throughout the army and the game. It also means that Xundarís high ceiling does have a check on it, and a hefty one at that. While Xundarís flexibility alone is hard to match, there is plenty of counterplay available while an opponent looks to exploit expensive resources.

Shadow Tentacle

Balance

The Shadow Tentacle has an obvious comparison with the Drow Chainfighter. Both are 25 point Common Heroes, and both do grab-and-pull shenanigans. The Shadow Tentacle, however, is much weaker individually than the Chainfighter. Where the Chainfighter has 4 Attack, grabs things 3 spaces away, and has a defensive power in Hide in Darkness, the Tentacle has only 1 attack, can only grab 2 spaces away, and has Phantom Walk instead of a defensive power, though that does allow it to slip through enemies to grab the one it wants.

Individually, the Shadow Tentacle seems to be on the Sahuagin Raider end of the 25 point common hero spectrum, but it has the advantage of being part of a pseudo-squad when paired with Xundar, which changes things. To really appreciate the difference that makes, weíll have to take a closer look in playability to see how it works with the others in its faction.

Theme

The Shadow Tentacle is a little bit of an outlier of the other Shadows thematically. Where the other two Shadows are full beings, just a tentacle seems slightly out of place. It suggests being a part of something else or a specific part of construct magic, but the Common Hero status would suggest that it is its own thing. That said, there is obviously some magical shaping of the shadow going on here, so we donít need this to be 100% explained by Darwinism, and shadow tentacles are pretty spooky (I wouldnít want to get suddenly grabbed by one) and have a good utility (... grabbing stuff). Guard isnít a terrible class, but it does give it synergy with Crypt Guardians, and thatís where the Chainfighter is straight-up better. A weird synergy spot for sure, but Guard bonding is a weird spot for Custom ĎScape in general.

Creativity

Creatively, the Tentacle is probably the lowest on the rung for the Shadow group. This isnít necessarily a bad thing, but where Xundar is able to take his roots from Kurrok to serve as the engine of a new faction, the Tentacle takes inspiration from the Drow Chainfighter and then lowers all of the stats. On a one-to-one comparison, itís simply a worse Chainfighter. That said, there is redemption in that the Tentacle is a part of a faction, particularly a faction that gets bonuses from Shadows being adjacent to their targets. You can also get multiple grabs in one turn with Xundarís help, pulling in either multiple targets or one figure a good ways into enemy lines. This means that, while the stats are lower, there is more utility for the Tentacle. So, while the Tentacle alone suffers from comparisons to the Chainfighter, there is a lot happening for it off of its own card.

Playability

In game, the Shadow Tentacleís first considered use is to be one of the lead Shadow figures, going out ahead to grab a target and pull it in, enabling the other Shadows to get bonuses against it. While useful, the Tentacle canít reliably put damage on targets that it grabs, so itís trading heavier hits for a one turn grab that can be risky -- there is a 35% chance that it fails to grab anything and you waste a turn. Still, this initial grab can give the Shadow army some beginning momentum while choosing where it sets up, and positioning is incredibly important with this army so being able to move enemy figures is a help.

The better use for the Tentacle is generally a bit more mid-game, when your army is in position to get in big hits. This is a great time to utilize the one thing the Tentacle has over the Chainfighter: Phantom Walk (forever termed Phantom Wriggle in my group). Since it can move through enemy and engaged friendly figures, the Tentacle can move forward to grab any cheerleaders or vulnerable heroes that are sitting just behind the front lines. A successful grab here is a bigger boost to the army than early game grabs, since youíll have more Shadows (especially Hounds) nearby to get big hits on your target, and they likewise wonít be tied down by engagements. A well-timed Tentacle Grab has the potential to give the Shadows the swing they need to pin down a game, and is something an opponent needs to watch out for. This is where the Tentacle shines, with its powers creating the play/counterplay and positioning game that the Shadows in general love. Despite its apparent weakness, it turns out to have some great uses in a Shadow army.

Shadow Fiend

Balance

As far as punch-for-points goes, the Shadow Fiend takes the top spot of the Shadows. Itís fast with Stealth Flying, and Shadow Swoop gives it a chance for hitting two different figures in a turn. Having only a 13 or higher (at worst - other Shadows boost that number) to roll for an automatic kill on a Squad figure is pretty strong, but not too much for the price range. The Black Wyrmling can inflict auto-wounds on an 11 or higher, and the Fire Elemental can wound anything adjacent on 14 or higher. Firestorm is particularly strong in the autowound game, but it takes investing in Kurrok to do so, so the Shadow Fiend is in line with having strong offensive potential, but needing investment in Xundar to do so. Shadow Fiends also have a lower ceiling for potential maximum wounds compared to Firestorm, though they are more flexible in where they can get the wounds in. All in all the armies check out balance-wise.

Theme

The Shadow Fiend is pretty simple when it comes to theme, but in a good way. Itís simply a flying being of darkness that swoops down and strikes at enemies as it passes overhead, with more chance to hit if the target is surrounded by other Shadows. Itís a cool image to envision during a game, and that theme translates into game mechanics really well. The stats are all in line for the miniature and theme -- not much to say on this one other than itís just solid.

Creativity

Shadow Swoop is the new power on this card. D20 auto-wound powers arenít new to Heroscape, but the boost from other Shadows is a nice touch to enhance both gameplay and theme. Otherwise, while the Shadow doesnít bring much new to the game, it does present a strong and cohesive design that feels almost Classic, which is a strong benefit. Itís also the only member of the Shadow faction that doesnít pull directly from another figure in Heroscape, which is a strong point in its favor since the design works so well.

Playability

The Shadow Fiend is probably the highlight of the Shadow faction offensively. The ability to get some auto-wounds on different figures is a big boost for the army, and they can do so and then fly back to safety, basically providing a short ranged mechanic for the faction. Stealth Flying keeps them mobile, and that along with 6 move means theyíll usually be able to snag height, rolling 4 attack and defense which is nothing to sneeze at. They are still expensive though, and decent attacks will break through them. Using 3 at a time with Xundar is a lot like a more offensive squad of Minions -- more capability of taking out multiple figures but lacking the staying power of a similar price-per-figure squad. It also requires 150 points in Xundar to run.

High mobility and a strong auto-wound power also makes the Fiend a good first-striker for the Shadow army. Unlike the Tentacle, Fiends can fly in and get two ďattacksĒ right off the bat while at the same time taking a strong piece of real estate and engaging figures for more Fiends or Hounds to come in and attack. Their more aggressive pushing power allows Shadow players the flexibility to go on the offensive when needed. The Fiend is the most fragile Shadow, however, so even pushes with them need to capitalize on the positioning battle that is so important to the Shadow army.

Shadow Hound

Balance

The obvious comparison for the Shadow Hound is the Preyblood Thrall. Shadow Hunting takes some strong inspiration from Blood Hunger, and theyíre close points-wise. The Shadow Hound has one point higher in defense and has Phantom Walk, which helps a lot with Shadow Hunting, while the Thrall gets a stronger bonus from Blood Hunger (+3 max instead of +2). They both work a little differently as far as their pseudo-squad powers go (the Thrall has activations built in to its card, while the Shadow needs Xundar), but overall theyíre close enough to suggest good balance.

Theme

I really like the Shadow Hound theme-wise. A purple Shadow pup that rushes out to strike for the kill on enemies that its fellow Shadows are marking for it? Yes please. Itís a cool image and the powers translate it into gameplay well. Shadow Hunting is a cool power that works in a good way for Shadow Synergy, and Phantom Walk helps both the theme and gameplay of it. Both the left and right-side stats work with the design really well. Like the Fiend, the Hound is super solid.

Creativity

Just like how many other members of the Shadow faction pull from other cards, the Shadow Houndís ďnewĒ power pulls strongly from Blood Hunger, as mentioned above. Shadow Hunting, though, is a good example of taking an old power and using it in a new thematic way. Combining the power with Phantom Walk helps create a notably different unit, and the bonus coming from adjacent Shadows instead of wounds on the target is a good touch. This also means that the Hound plays differently from the Preyblood Thrall, despite having similar powers, which is another example of having familiar powers with distinctly different playstyles.

Playability

The Shadow Hound provides the punch for the Shadow army. Its Shadow Hunting bonus isnít too difficult to set up (and is a fun minigame), so youíll be able to set up attacks of 4, 5, or even 6 (7 move + Phantom Walk will allow height a lot). If you need to get multiple wounds on a hero or break through some high defense that the Fiendís Shadow Swoop canít touch, the Hound provides the muscle for you.

That does come with the weakness of not being able to target a figure with Shadow Hunting if that Hound is adjacent to it at the beginning of the turn. If some swings go south on a Hero, you may have to switch targets and pick off some supporting figures for a turn, and then go back to the Hero the next. That also means that opponents can play against Shadow Hunting by engaging Shadow Hounds with their big heroes to deny the bonus. But that in turn can play into the Shadow playerís strategy if they bring a lot of Hounds, leaving some in threat range to threaten any hero that tries to deny the bonus. In all, it creates a lot of the interplay with powers and strategies that I really enjoy when playing Heroscape.

Also, while the Hounds can get off some powerful attacks, they are expensive at 35 points a pup, as well as the 150 needed for Xundar. Like the rest of the Shadows, careful play is needed since going straight for big smacks will result in overextending the Hounds and not having enough support left for continued strong attacks. And since the Hounds benefit the most from the bonus other Shadows give them (bonus move and attack compared to +1 on the d20 for the Fiend and just +1 attack for Xundarís Special), they also hurt the most if you waste Shadows needlessly and theyíre not able to get in the strong hits you need to win.

Summary

Almost there, but Iím also taking time here to say some things that arenít quite captured in individual sections.

A big note for the Shadow faction is the lack of interaction with Shadow Tiles. That would have been excellent, but itís also understandable that there just isnít enough room on the cards to allow that, and would have resulted in a very different design.

I had some concerns that the Shadows were lacking the Construct class that the Elementals have. Not that I didnít like the chosen classes, but I was concerned that they would be missing out on any future Construct synergy. Some research into the nature of Constructs, though, fixed this in a surprising way that made me like the faction even more. Constructs are ďartificiallyĒ made (like Kurrok summoning Elementals), but certain constructs are infused with life and become their own living beings (like how Warforged are related to constructs, but different). So when you notice how Xundar creates Shadows -- destroying his enemies with shadow magic -- you realize that Shadows arenít just what he kills figures with, but their essence bound up in shadow and twisted into servitude. Iím not sure how intended this was, but I love this necro-shadow-mancy mix.

Otherwise, while the obvious comparisons to other figures (especially Kurrok) exist, the Shadow faction does create its own way to play thatís distinct from the figures they hail from. Running Xundar with his Shadows allows for a lot of flexibility while playing, but the army also has a huge emphasis on positioning and interplay of armies. The flexibility of the commander is needed to help expensive units measure up to their potential. While the Shadows can pack a punch, they need a lot of teamwork to do so, and they rely more on other Shadows being around than most armies. This keeps them from being overpowering, and keeps players on their toes in order to maximize Shadow effectiveness.

When building a Shadow army, anticipating your meta (be it a single opponent or a tourney setting) is crucial to the composition of Shadow figures you bring. I see this as a strength, as the Shadow army is not streamlined into just a single build archetype. Finding a good mix is important, though you can also have success running a hunting party (just Hounds) or demonflight (just fiends) if you want. (Sushi-ya san (just Tentacles) will let you play shenanigans, but only 1 attack isnít going to win you games.) Also, while the figures for the army are relatively expensive, there is still room for good army building and including other figures with them. I found Xundar and 7 Fiends/Hounds a good starting point at 395, which allows you to get Tentacles or, more importantly for this army, some ranged figures (or other map control, like Deathreavers). Having some ranged figures (especially Marro Warriors or Krav Maga, same as all other armies) helps the Shadow army immensely since it allows them to better play the positioning game. Granted this is true of most melee-based armies, but being able to spread out an opponent for Shadows to pick them off (something Fiends and Hounds are great at) and choose where/when the battle happens is a huge benefit and is what really allows the army to compete. Also, being able to mix in other figures is part of the fun of Heroscape.

Overall I felt that Xundar and the Shadows provided a good new faction for the game. Their familiarity to other figures allows new players to jump into the faction easily, while their gameplay is different enough to provide new ground for those players to traverse so itís not just ďsame old same old.Ē The stress that the army places on positioning and interplay of powers is what really boosts it as a fun addition, encouraging players to puzzle out the best shadow dance to claim victory over their opponents.

I vote Yea to induct Xundar into the Soldiers of Valhalla.
I vote Yea to induct Shadow Tentacle into the Soldiers of Valhalla.
I vote Yea to induct Shadow Fiend into the Soldiers of Valhalla.
I vote Yea to induct Shadow Hound into the Soldiers of Valhalla.
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  #6557  
Old October 1st, 2019, 01:32 AM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

I would like to resubmit my Dwarven faction, The Ironstone Warriors.

Primary Submission:


Notable changes:
• Tenacity changed to: Seasoned Veterans
• Strategic Charge changed to: Adrenaline Burst

Secondary Submission:

Notable changes:
• Imposing Threat changed to: Protector of Ironstone
• Dalmar's class changed to Protector to reflect the change.
• Imposing Threat (now Ironstone Protector) no longer mentions the size of the figure being attacked, but instead restricts the size of the figure that it can lower the attack of.
• Charge ability dropped from Dalmar, and the base move raised to 5.


Original submission here.
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  #6558  
Old October 1st, 2019, 04:05 AM
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All Your Pie All Your Pie is offline
 
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Glad to see these guys back. I do wonder why they’re coming as a primary and secondary submission, though, and not two standalone units. I don’t see any reason why Dalmar should automatically fail if the Great Axes do.

Regardless, to review Dalmar and the Great Axes.
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  #6559  
Old October 1st, 2019, 04:20 AM
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Leaf_It Leaf_It is offline
 
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

They are a set of 5 figures that all sold together. I don't want anyone to buy all 5 figures, and only get to use 1 of them. But if you bought all 5, and could only use 4 of them, I wouldn't feel too bad about that.
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  #6560  
Old October 1st, 2019, 12:35 PM
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Scytale Scytale is offline
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Looking at it again, I wish Protector of Ironstone would protect Squad figures instead of Common ones, so that Dalmar could help the squad he comes packaged with. Not a big deal, though.

I am pleased with the changes, and I'm not personally concerned about them being metal.

to review Great Axes of Ironstone
to review Dalmar Stonewall
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  #6561  
Old October 1st, 2019, 01:02 PM
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wriggz wriggz is offline
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

I'm happy to give the great axes and dalmer a guys ago. I understand the urge to pack them as one submission, but don't see any reason to keep them that way.


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  #6562  
Old October 1st, 2019, 01:07 PM
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Kinseth Kinseth is offline
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Life of 3 feels off, too weak. The weakest Dwarf is a 4 life and he is a Sneak Attacking Rogue. This guy is suppose to be a protector, 3 life is feels really off.

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

Looking for a C3V/SOV miniature? Try one of these sites.
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  #6563  
Old October 1st, 2019, 02:24 PM
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Astroking112 Astroking112 is offline
 
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

The 3 life is different from past dwarves, but not to an extent that I find it unthematic. The 5 defense does help him still feel sturdy as a protector, and if it's in service to the design, I have no qualms with some twists to familiar statlines.

to review the Great Axes of Ironstone.
to review Dalmar Stonewall.
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  #6564  
Old October 1st, 2019, 03:01 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leaf_It View Post
They are a set of 5 figures that all sold together. I don't want anyone to buy all 5 figures, and only get to use 1 of them. But if you bought all 5, and could only use 4 of them, I wouldn't feel too bad about that.
To this end, it seems that Dalmar's single power should interact with the squad.

Your custom probably has too much Defense.

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