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  #6361  
Old August 2nd, 2019, 03:19 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

personally I'd rather have Ambershard than 2 beakface rogues. while evasive is nice hide in the darkness and 2 more "life" gives him more staying power. 4 base attack is also much more reliable.


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  #6362  
Old August 13th, 2019, 05:55 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

With the backlog continuing to grow, we have decided to bump up to eight active Judges. wriggz is being brought back onboard to serve as our eighth. Welcome back!
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  #6363  
Old August 13th, 2019, 06:00 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

I for one am very excited to have wriggz back. Having him pop in a month ago and finish his review of Rujin was a very welcome surprise, and it'll be good to have him contributing regularly and officially again.

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Old August 13th, 2019, 06:02 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Thanks I'm glad to be still on board. looks like some really awesome stuff. looking to throw an approval on the greats and some valuable feedback on the others.


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  #6365  
Old August 14th, 2019, 12:54 AM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Masha Shingai by @Astroking112

Samurai have long been a staple of Heroscape, and Demons have long been a staple of Samurai lore. Will Masha be the one to staple these staples together?

Balance

Mashaís big draw is his attack reduction, and playing with attack reduction is playing with fire. What makes Mashaís power so different from existing attack reduction powers is that it applies to all figures within a 4-space radius. Akumaken and the Skull Demon, the two figures that already play in this space, and both have a narrow range of effect: Akumaken only works on adjacent figures, and the Skull Demon only on figures directly attacking it. Still, for a single-attacking figure that needs activations to trigger the aura, 110 points is a relatively hefty cost.

As far as price point, Mashaís stats looks quite similar to our last inductee Uzog, and he has some support capabilities just as Uzog does.

Theme

I think this design is wonderfully thematic. Einar is the right call for general, in my opinion, and the powers and stats complement the mini nicely.

Creativity

Awakened Terror is quite a creative way to boost the Samurai by helping to trigger their Counter Strike, and Fiery Retribution is also a creative way to help the Samurai against their archnemesis, figures with range. I also very much appreciate the limits put on Awakened Terror. Itís simple, thematic, and restrained.

Playability

What do you know, I played Masha with Samurai quite a lot while testing him. I tried mixing and matching the unique squads, using Kaemon Awa, and tossing in Tomoe Gozen for good measure. Most of the time I added Raelin as well, since she helps the Samurai have some extra fearsome defenses.

I had three categories I was curious to see Masha armies against: Low attack long range armies (i.e. Aubriens, M-43s), short range armies (i.e. Teeth of the Makwa, Stingers), and melee armies (i.e. Blade Gruts, Greenscales).

Against long range armies, I was worried that Masha would overwhelm by pushing forward and forcing opponents to either abandon high ground or be stuck with low attacks once Masha got within range. In practice, this didnít really happen. Even attacks of 2 and 3 can get through Mashaís defense if you have enough of them, and the strategy I was concerned about doesnít make staying in Raelinís aura very feasible. Itís hard to set up for Fiery Retribution, too, because that often puts those ranged figures out of your Samuraiís threat range.

Against short ranged armies, Masha is scary because his powers can both come into effect. Itís a screwed if you do, screwed if you donít situation: Youíre forced into Mashaís aura, where your attack is lowered, and then whenever you do break through you have a pretty good shot of dying. Great, huh? This really didnít happen as much as I thought either. Engaging Masha enables you to attack him without risking any counter damage, and itís worth taking the risk of a few Fiery Retributions here or there to take out a squad figure or put an extra wound on Masha. The Samurai squads canít block you from engaging Masha either, because that sets them up to be attacked from outside the aura. These short range figures have high attack for the most part, and itís not the end of the world to lose 1 die when attacking Mashaís (or Raelinís) 3 defense.

Against melee armies, my concern was that Masha would force figures to make low percentage attacks against Samurai and just die in droves. Again, this didnít really come up as I was worried it would. One of the things that new players often will forget in Heroscape is that they donít need to take every opportunity possible. This is very true when playing against a Masha army. If you throw endless mindless attacks against 5-7 defense Samurai with 3 attack, you deserve to lose. Instead, a melee opponent to Masha should focus on Masha first, even forgoing attacks to develop more figures. If you do that, Masha falls quickly enough.

All three scenarios had one common thread that I thought Iíd mention seperately: losing initiative is killer for a Masha army. When that happens, all the Samurai are sitting there, often in non-ideal positions, waiting to get shot down. Same thing when Masha dies: it often leaves the Samurai player in a lurch.

Summary

There were several scenarios I was worried about in my Masha testing, but none of those scenarios really turned out to be very problematic. Instead, I had the opposite problem. It never felt like Masha could be the whole package. For all the intimidating powers on his card, he came across a little too flat, and never seemed to make the Samurai engine go like it was supposed to.

I vote to induct Masha Shingai into the Soldiers of Valhalla

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  #6366  
Old August 14th, 2019, 03:28 AM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by superfrog View Post
It never felt like Masha could be the whole package. For all the intimidating powers on his card, he came across a little too flat, and never seemed to make the Samurai engine go like it was supposed to.
Do you mind elaborating a little bit on how he fell flat for you? The review preceding this read more positive than negative to me, so I'm not sure if you're referring to him not tying the Samurai together well enough on his own or if the design itself didn't feel cohesive to you. I'd just like to get a clearer idea of what you viewed were the faults in case I need to work on another submission down the line.
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  #6367  
Old August 14th, 2019, 06:38 AM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

My understanding of what Superfrog said is:
Quote:
Masha's abilities on paper sounded impressive. It was easy to think he would be quite powerful. When this assumed power was nowhere to be seen, the whole design became very underwhelming, and unimpressive. Ultimately Masha didn't really serve any of roles envisioned. Masha doesn't appear to do anything significant.
I can extrapolate more, but my take could also be very wrong. That's just how I understood it.
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  #6368  
Old August 14th, 2019, 11:41 AM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Astroking112 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by superfrog View Post
It never felt like Masha could be the whole package. For all the intimidating powers on his card, he came across a little too flat, and never seemed to make the Samurai engine go like it was supposed to.
Do you mind elaborating a little bit on how he fell flat for you? The review preceding this read more positive than negative to me, so I'm not sure if you're referring to him not tying the Samurai together well enough on his own or if the design itself didn't feel cohesive to you. I'd just like to get a clearer idea of what you viewed were the faults in case I need to work on another submission down the line.
Yeah, fair question. I guess I never felt that Masha added anything to a Samurai army in the aggregate. They still were imposing against melee, would die against range, and could throw high attack dice now and then. Masha tried to address those things, but I never had a game where he had a sizable impact on the game. Maybe he got one kill with Fiery Retribution, and maybe he slowed down his own death, but for whatever reason I didn't feel the army firing on all cylinders.

I'm not sure what exactly I'd change, but I'd maybe consider 6 life or losing the adjacency requirement somehow.

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  #6369  
Old August 14th, 2019, 10:47 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by superfrog View Post
Yeah, fair question. I guess I never felt that Masha added anything to a Samurai army in the aggregate. They still were imposing against melee, would die against range, and could throw high attack dice now and then. Masha tried to address those things, but I never had a game where he had a sizable impact on the game. Maybe he got one kill with Fiery Retribution, and maybe he slowed down his own death, but for whatever reason I didn't feel the army firing on all cylinders.

I'm not sure what exactly I'd change, but I'd maybe consider 6 life or losing the adjacency requirement somehow.
Thanks for the explanation. I can see where you're coming from; Masha definitely doesn't fix all of the Samurai's problems, and he has his fair share of weaknesses built in. Both were intentional, but they do lead to him largely maintaining the army's weaknesses and core playstyle.

I'd be very hesitant to drop the adjacency requirement on Fiery Retribution because it makes playing him with Raelin significantly easier and more rewarding, and it doesn't sound to me like 6 life will fundamentally fix the issue you're having, but I'll keep that feedback in mind if I need to make any changes. I'm happy with how the current iteration has been performing, so I'll save any such ideas for workshopping if he eventually fails.
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  #6370  
Old August 21st, 2019, 09:28 PM
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Maklar the Silver Prince Maklar the Silver Prince is offline
 
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Wow! The SoV is currently full of some awesome awesome designs. I think this is possibly one of the best crops of units I've ever seen going through the SoV at one time, I wouldn't be surprised if they all end up going through! Really awesome, speaks tons on great ideas that the customs forums are full of.

With that said, I want to go ahead and throw another design on the pile for the SoV to consider. After a couple inactive years, I present my own Swaysil for re-submission.


This version is very similar to the one I submitted 3 years ago, which I have quoted below:

Quote:


Swaysil is a Centaur Archer from Pathfinder's Reign of Winter. The figure is double based.

Balance
At 50 points, Swaysil is cheap. She offers some neat offensive tricks, and can possibly hit well above her weight with a timely (and lucky) Run Down and Point Blank Shot 1 combo. However, she is held back by an extremely low survivability with only 4 lives and 2 defense. This may seem not so bad, however, Swaysil likes to be in the enemy's face, well within counterattack range. Those 4 life points can go extremely quickly, especially since Swaysil often takes leaving engagement attacks. She is solid filler, as a cleanup figure mostly, although she can just as easily be used at other stages of the game. Compared to other ranged filler, she is good, but not on the level of Guilty or the Marro Warriors.

Playability
With two simple powers, Swaysil is easy to understand. With Run Down and Point Blank Shot 1, she plays very boldly. Although she can run and gun, if the enemy is fast, or the odds aren't looking great, Swaysil will charge into the melee to Run Down a squad figure, and then let loose an arrow at close range. However, if she fails her D20 roll for Run Down, she is a sitting duck. She will take damage most probably. The following turn you will often risk the leaving engagement strikes, even if they could possibly kill you, to just back up a space or two, or go after an unengaged figure to run him or her down. Swaysil is daring and willing to take damage, and leads to bunches of bold, unique, and fun play.

Though her life, attack, and defense may seem low theme wise for a Centaur, the values are necessary for the design to work. The high movement is appropriate, as is the range of 6. Swaysil is double spaced. The figure looks great with other HeroScape figures.

Creativity
HeroScape has no Centaurs, which are half-horse half-men/women who appear frequently in mythology and fantasy. Swaysil offers a Centaur to HeroScape. She is fun to play, sporting an incredibly bold playstyle that I found incredibly fun to play. As a cleanup figure, you often risk the entire game when playing with Swaysil. She is a fun, offensive filler figure.

Theme
Swaysil is a Feylundian Centaur, hailing from the harsh Northlands, a land dominated with ranging mountains, inhospitably climates, and dangers of all kinds. Faced with adversity for all of her life, Swaysil has learned that a moments hesitation can cost you your life, and so charges fearlessly into battle, using her momentum, body, hooves, or whatever she might find to bash in the skulls of enemies she catches. Let the enemy come. Those who are close by are only easier targets.
There are only 2 changes between the two versions. Firstly, I changed the name from "Swaysil of the Northlands", which when reflecting seemed a bit unnecessary, to just "Swaysil." Secondly, I bumped the roll for Run Down from 9 to 13. Judges had concerns with the initial submission being consistently too dominant in end game situations, and bumping the roll needed addresses that concern. While Swaysil still has the toolkit to thrive in the end game, nerfing her auto-wound power by 20% goes a long way. Kicking a squadling in the face and then putting an arrow in his buddy at close range is still really awesome, but equally un-awesome is when you fail your roll and you've thrown your 4 life, 2 defense centaur into the teeth of the enemy. Failing a Run Down roll can really stop Swaysil in her tracks, and if you miss two on consecutive turns its usually just about game over. Having the roll be harder to hit means Swaysil falls flat more often, offsetting her potential; Run Down becomes a bit more of a "hail Mary" which has enough of a pay off to still entice you into using it frequently.

I did consider changing changing the name of "Run Down" to "Run Down 13", however, I ultimately decided that I didn't like having a power with a number in it referring to 6-sided dice AND a power with a number in it referring to the 20-sided die. Ultimately it's just an aesthetic decision: there are precedents both ways.

Availability was also a concern when I picked this custom back up. There are none available as almost all of the traditional online stores. However, I contacted Paizo, and as of yesterday evening (8/21) they have 217 available on their online store at $5.00. I hope that is acceptable.

Thanks for your consideration!

The beatings will continue until morale improves!

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Last edited by Maklar the Silver Prince; September 20th, 2019 at 10:01 PM.
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  #6371  
Old August 21st, 2019, 09:34 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Glad to see the availability is there to support this resubmission.

I liked the earlier version and I think both changes you made are good.

to review

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Last edited by superfrog; August 21st, 2019 at 09:35 PM. Reason: and a big welcome back to the site! you've jumped in with both feet and it's really cool to see
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  #6372  
Old August 21st, 2019, 10:31 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Just wanna jump in and say I've always loved this design and glad it's back in the mix. Hoping it gets some love from the judges. We're due for a Centaur!

EDIT: my only concern would be basing actually now that I look at the mini. Have you rebased it already? I'd be curious to see what it looks like and if it's balanced on a 2-hex (assuming it's a 2-hex mini?)
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