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  #6901  
Old June 24th, 2020, 10:07 AM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

This Rujin feels less Troll-ish than the last version, but we don't have an example of a Valhalla Troll yet so there's no precedent that has to be followed.

Looking at it again (I saw it in the pre-SoV thread), I'm a bit concerned about his survivability. 8 Life / 3 Defense (against the majority of units) is pretty darn good, plus he has a regenerate power. That's just balance, though, and 115 is high for a single attack of 4. So I'm willing to give him a try.

to review Rujin
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  #6902  
Old June 24th, 2020, 10:54 AM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

to review Rujin

Your custom probably has too much Defense.
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  #6903  
Old June 24th, 2020, 02:07 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

My hatred of "once per round" abilities is boiling up again. It feels like I've been seeing them frequently on designs. Overextend was the only ability in original scape that used this. So, yes, there is already precedence, but it was also a precedence that it was seldomly used.

If you are curious why I don't like it...

Spoiler Alert!


I'm growing increasingly complacent to it as I seem to be the only opposing voice of it, but before I give in completely, I thought I'd spit my hatred one last time!
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  #6904  
Old June 24th, 2020, 05:02 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

I like once-per-round powers as an untapped design space, personally. I'll probably be posting some customs to my own thread soon that use them quite a bit.

Your custom probably has too much Defense.
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  #6905  
Old June 25th, 2020, 12:38 AM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Re: Once per round powers -- I definitely get the concern for having memory mechanics in the game, and once per round powers can fall into that category. In the case of Overextend Attack, taking the extra wound usually is a "marker" of sorts to remind you that you used the power. Ideally in Rujin's case removing a "marker" helps with that memory mechanic in the same way.

I like the new version of Rujin a lot more than the older iteration. Still lots of good theme while sporting a new and interesting playstyle. I hope that playstyle is enough to help him stand out form Pel and Uzog, since having so many heroes at the same price range is a concern for me, but that's something that can be tested for.

to Rujin.
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  #6906  
Old June 25th, 2020, 01:23 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Rujin looks much more dynamic and engaging than his last iteration. I really like most of the changes that have been made here.

Devour working once per round doesn't really concern me. I'm sympathetic to the concern of having too many once-per-round powers, but whether Rujin got a kill this round or not shouldn't be too difficult to remember in most games. It also fits quite well with the Durgeth Ravagers, who only get to bond when getting a kill themselves anyway.

I do find an 8 life, 3 defense hero who will regularly get 6 attack and can heal himself to be rather concerning, though. HeroScape has a history of balancing units based on their best situations instead of the average game (poor Obsidian Guards and Taelord), so we have to assume that Rujin will more often than not get the Territorial bonus with the Ravagers on a swamp map. He has better survivability than Pel and Uzog and a hard-to-avoid attack bonus to bring his offense up to their level (avoiding both swamp and swamp water altogether is often difficult). I find it difficult to imagine that he won't outclass at least one savage.

That said, if Territorial is less reliable on swamp maps than it seems, he does provide less offensive power than the other options. That could very well make him more of a tradeoff than a reliable upgrade for the Ravagers.

It's a tough call, but I'm willing to see how it plays out. to review Rujin.
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  #6907  
Old June 25th, 2020, 01:41 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Rujin has received 5 Yea votes to review (superfrog,Scytale, capsocrates, BiggaBullfrog, and Astroking112) and moves forward in the process.
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  #6908  
Old Yesterday, 09:37 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Specters of Aldorn

When there is something strange in neighbourhood, who you going to call. In Valhalla you might need something stronger than a proton pack and another shield or two, or maybe the Specters of Aldorn are just a whole lot of smoke and mirrors. Let’s see what the rest of Valhalla makes of these new terrors.

Balance – at 60 points for a 4-member squad the Specters seem to be a good bargain at only 15 points per figure. This also give us our first indication that they are expendable as either early game board control or late game fodder. The Specters may draw comparison to their beefier breather the Phantom Knights or the more substantial Zombies for their potential for board control and stand-alone nature, but I felt they played similar to the Goblin Cutters. Both units have the ability to decrease a targets defense, have handy movement abilities and share similar point totals and speed. While similar nothing here indicates one out class the other, leading to a happy balance.

Looking at the survivability of the Specters 3 defense and a slightly above average speed to gain high ground does not bode well for battles of attrition, so a player needs to sink order markers into them when they are on the attack to replenish losses. On the offensive front they only have a threat range of 7 (6 Move + 1 Range) so they are not going to get first strike advantage very often on range, and do not have a defense boost power seen on so many other melee squads. No, it is the Deathly Touch combined with Phantom walk that drives the cost here, and the in-game value of drafting the Specters at all. The potential of throwing 2 attack dice (3 with high ground) at units with lowered defence is always tempting especially when fighting units with 3 or lower defense numbers. While this math suggests that the Specters could break certain units, I never found this to be the case, especially given their short comings in survivability and threat range.

Creativity – if you have ever read on of my previous reviews, you will note I believe restraint is the truest mark of creativity, and the Specters display this trait in spades. First and foremost, any unit that is viable with 2 attack needs to be very creative. Deathly Touch married with Phantom Walk is a very clever way to keep attack output up, while forcing the player to play smart. It is cool the way the Specters can seem both under and over powered at the same time depending on their board position. Most designers would have gone with stealth flying, however the choice of Levitation is both novel and changes the way the Specters play (for the better in my opinion). Finally, leaving them as simple 3 defense melee units shows great restrain, and again benefits the design.

Theme – I’m on record as saying that I’m done with Translucent figures and being generally done with different takes on existing units, in this case more ghosts. While I would like to see more novel themes, the Specters took me by surprise. These undead play differently from their other unworldly brethren and the sculpts distinct and defined enough to look really slick on the board, that I’m happy to eat my words.

While playing the combination of powers creates the emergent theme of an escalating undead rising from the battle field. The lack of flying and the weak defense forces smart players to play them as more typical melee, that is a slow roll like Zombies, rather than a quick strike of the Phantom Knights. At first a few Specters are not very threatening with defenders only losing defence dice on one or two units, but as more Specters move into range the “haunting” ramps up as is cliché in so many horror movies. While they could come from Valkrill, the almost restrained play style they inspire does feel very Vydar in practice. Finally, while I know it is Aldorn, I can’t help read it as Alderaan and imagine these are the ghosts of that ill-fated planet, which is a personal bonus.

Playability – As I already alluded to, I enjoyed the playstyle of Specters. I can see novice players becoming frustrated, as the temptation to overextend your first wave of Terrors to assassinate a key figure is very tempting. It was not until I began playing them like a typical melee squad that I found their grove. While you could use them at early game glyph grabbers and board control, their low defense and high attack potential demands you keep pumping order makers in them or see them evaporate like so much ectoplasm. On the other side saving a couple of squads for the end game is not a terrible use, if you have both the points and the start zone spaces, but again at that point there is normally a fair bit of range which can take apart the Specters, especially from high ground.

I kept feeling myself possessed to field the Specters in the early to mid-game as a core portion of my army. In this sense I played them like a first wave strike force, establishing battle lines, wearing down screens, and attacking key support units. The Specters are not going to win a battle of attrition, so you will want to paired them with something with high attack output that can follow them into battle like the Vulcanmech Incendiborgs. Played well, it is possible to roll through battle lines directly attacking support figures like Raelin and in one devastating game against the ninja, Kantono Daishi. The agility to use Deathly Touch to either leave squad figures with only one or two defenses, or reduce hero figures to manageable targets was an unexpected bonus, and very fitting for the Vydar Squad. While the Soulborg heroes can tear through squads of Specters as well as any other squad, Deathly Touch at least gives the Specters a bit of chance, albeit a slim one.

While overextending your army may frustrate new players, positioning Specters can be downright daunting. Like the Shades of Bleakewood setting up attacks with the Specters requires focus and care. Play haphazardly with the Specters and they will let you down every time. In this regard I found the Specters slowed down games as players spent more time analysing the board, similar to games with Deathreavers or the Mohican River Tribe, rather than units like the 10th or Stingers. The simple power set compensates in this regard as players spend more time engaged in moving figures than adding up bonus’ or trying to remember power interactions. I appreciate units that bring more strategy to the table calling back to the Roman Legionaries.

Summary –While the Specters don’t shake up the metagame and require assistance to crack higher defense units, I still had a lot of fun playing the Specters. I was surprised as they revealed their “terrifying” potential through the games I played, while they called for more strategy than many other existing squad figures. So, I guess it is might be time to call to the Ghostbusters to Valhalla.

I vote to induct Specters of Aldorn into the SoV.


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  #6909  
Old Today, 10:37 AM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

The Specters of Aldorn by @Leaf_It have received 4 Yea votes to induct (superfrog, Scytale, All Your Pie, and wriggz) and move forward in the process.
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  #6910  
Old Today, 12:50 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Swaysil by @Maklar the Silver Prince

Swaysil first made her rounds before I became an SoV judge, but I remember avidly following her progress three years ago. Now I get to be a part of it! Is she now balanced enough to pass SoV scrutiny? Scroll down to find out!

Balance

The obvious comparison for Swaysil is Me-Burq-Sa, who has the same point value, move, range, and attack power. Their survivability is similar, with 4 life/2 defense for Swaysil and 3 life/3 defense for Me-Burq-Sa. They even have somewhat comparable offensive powers, though it's in this area that the difference between the two units starts to show. Me-Burq-Sa wants to play a sniping game, looking for opportunities to get free wounds/kills with Paralyzing Stare. Swaysil, while still having the range and move to play a mean ranged kiting game, has powers that push her towards a more aggressive playstyle. Her extra attack die at figures that are 2-3 spaces away with her chance for an autowound when charging a figure together seem slightly stronger than Me-Burq-Sa's power, though they require her to be closer to enemy figures which, with her weaker life/defense, is a significant risk for a player to take. All-in-all the comparison seems to be balanced between the two.

Theme

I won't beat around the bush -- what we have here is a centaur with a bow. Appropriately, the unit is fast and has a ranged attack. The bold personality coupled with the strong offensive powers is a good touch to add some flavor to the design, painting a neat picture of a centaur who fights tooth and hoof when cornered. The stats are all good, and the miniature looks good on the battlefield.

Creativity

As far as right-box stats go, Swaysil is just Me-Burq-Sa with one more life and one less defense. (Or I guess 1 fewer defense; this is Heroscape. ) Both powers are new, and as I mentioned that's where Swaysil branches out from Me-Burq-Sa's precedent. That's a good thing, because being too similar to something already in the game would have a rough time. Instead, the more offensive, close-range powers makes for a very different unit in Swaysil. The powers aren't so different that they seem like they're coming out of the blue for Heroscape as a whole -- instead they're a good mix of familiar mechanics in new styles that, coupled with the theme, make for a fresh feel.

Playability

Swaysil shines best as a cleanup figure in your army. She excels at speeding around the map and picking off figures that are spread around the map from range. If enemy forces are able to mount a counterattack and group together, Run Down and Point Blank Shot make for a mean combo of powers to break up these clusters. This makes Swaysil a pretty risky and swingy unit -- a successful Run Down on a squad figure followed by a Point Blank Shot makes for a strong combination. However, a failed Run Down results in no extra die for the follow-up roll, and more than likely results in a couple of wounds from one or both of the figures you failed to kill. A player needs good timing to be able to optimize when to charge in, but waiting too long for a perfect situation can result in the opportunity vanishing completely.

In all honesty, I don't generally like figures with potential for high swings when they take the focus of a game away from skill and more on highrolling your way to victory. At first glance, that's kind of Swaysil's focus -- timing a charge, winning the risk, and swinging the endgame in your favor. However, I found that there's more to that with Swaysil. The Swaysil player is looking for a good time to run in to maximize their risk/reward -- charging too big of a group ends up with Swaysil falling quickly even if her rolls are successful. The opposing player can use this to their advantage, backing up Swaysil and denying a good rush in order to keep her damage output minimal. This results in a good interactive game between players, with plenty of action around Swaysil's powers without them becoming the deciding factor in a game.

Outside of endgame, Swaysil can still be a force, but she becomes a lot less consistent in power. Early to mid game forces will be more grouped up, so rushing in with Swaysil ends up with her dying soon after. She can be used to ping at an enemy's flanks in mid-game, which is a good way to utilize her without fully committing her before endgame, but those are turns you're not using with your Bread and Butter units, so it's usually only useful in a slower tempo game.

Summary

Heroscape fans have long wanted centaurs, and Swaysil looks to fill that role nicely. Her risk/reward playstyle brings a fun dynamic to games, and she's a lot of fun to field on the table.

I vote Yea to induct Swaysil into the Soldiers of Valhalla.
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