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  #6133  
Old January 8th, 2019, 11:20 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

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Originally Posted by Scytale View Post
The PDFs for Tetraites and Bol have been uploaded.
Both Excellent additions to the Canon, and both ones I would recommend bringing to the table to make for some awesome stories.


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  #6134  
Old January 13th, 2019, 09:02 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

I would like to nominate my custom Masha Shingai for consideration by the SoV. He's a demon Samurai that can pair well with them, but outside of a simple "vengeance" power against range, offers no additional synergies for them.



Bio:
Spoiler Alert!


Balance
Both of Masha's powers are very simple. His Awakened Terror is the highlight of the design, pairing excellently with the Unique Samurai Squads in particular on account of their Counterstrike and high defense.

Notably, though, it comes with a cost: each round, at least one Order Marker must be spent on Masha to keep it active. He does come with a good attack of 5 to incentivize taking those turns, but outside of Tomoe Gozen or the Izumi Samurai, just about every other Samurai card would be a better use of the turn, especially because of how reliant on positioning they are.

It might not look painful to take a turn with him instead, but when you're juggling two or more Unique Squads and auras from Tomoe Gozen or Raelin, you begin sacrificing a lot of potential positioning power by trying to keep the aura active (and since he only has a range of 1, to get the attack you always have to put him at some level of risk). This attack also comes with the cost of only having 3 defense, which lets Heroes and Unique Squads quickly dispose of his 5 life.

On the topic of his stats in general, they definitely look strong for his points, but I believe that this is a very accurate pricing for him. For comparison, look at Crixus: they have the exact same statline, but Masha sacrifices One Shield Defense, Spartacus synergies, and bonding. In exchange, he gets Awakened Terror, a situational "ranged counterstrike" that only has a chance of activating after he gets wounded, and Kato Katsuro/Tomoe Gozen/Hatamoto Taro synergies. Outside of Tomoe Gozen, none of those class synergies will be useful outside of massive games, and Tomoe prefers Unique Squads over Heroes.

That brings the comparison between Crixus and Masha down to this: Masha has significantly less useful "bonding," but is better and more durable against Common Squads or ranged units. Unlike Crixus, though, he has no defenses against heroes. I'm confident that 90 points is at the very least a fair estimate for him, and I don't believe that my testing has suggested otherwise.

Edit: After discussing Masha's price point with my group, I've decided to make a slight amendment to my submission. Because many people (both judges and otherwise) have expressed a concern about his price, and because I'm not sure how plentiful his sculpt will still be if he ends up failing as a result later on, I've decided to increase his point cost by 20 points. I'd hate to see him fail for being too competitive, and I think that he's fun and unique enough to still be usable at 110 points.

I've gone through the process of building multiple Samurai armies with him at various price ranges, and I've come to the conclusion that most of the builds will still be possible at this price point, so it really mostly impacts his usefulness outside of his faction, when people might be looking to take him with better units. Notably, it does remove the Raelin, Masha, Tomoe Gozen, Tagawa Samurai, Kozuke Samurai 500 point build, which I've found to be the most competitive army featuring him as well, becoming possible only at 520 points or higher.

Playability
The Samurai are a fantastic faction that isn't particularly playable. Even beyond just not being tournament worthy, they don't really work as a cohesive army, at least not without Tomoe Gozen. Masha was clearly cultivated as an addition to them, and they benefit from just about everything that he does much moreso than other factions. Whether it is the Unique Squad invulnerability to Awakened Terror or the potential threat of Fiery Retribution to get opponents to target other figures from range, the Samurai feel a lot better to play with Masha's expanded toolkit. Personally, I think that Raelin, Tomoe Gozen, Tagawa Samurai, Kozuke Samurai, and Masha is the most competitive army featuring him, but even with their very defensive nature, a single whiff can spell defeat, and getting that many moving parts into place before the enemy gets a chance to disrupt your plans is extremely difficult.

Notably, Masha can be used outside of Samurai builds, though. I was particularly fond of running him with Deathstalkers, intentionally subtracting my own units' attack dice to double the chances of getting Maul to activate. Not at all viable in practice (sadly), but Awakened Terror has a huge potential for creative uses like that, and I'd be excited to see what true pros at the game can come up with. It reminds me a little bit of the earlier days of HeroScape, when I would pair random units together and see what sticks.

Creativity
Both of Masha's powers are new, but they're both easy to understand. Awakened Terror is unlike anything we've ever seen before in the game, and Fiery Retribution is a neat way of slightly addressing the Samurai's biggest weakness (ranged attacks) without fully fixing it like a certain knight flagbearer did.

Instead of taking the form of normal ranged counterstrike, Fiery Retribution only has a chance of activating after Masha or an adjacent Samurai has received a wound from range. You still lose the unit (which is very likely to be worth more than the attacker is, given the Unique and expensive natures of the Samurai), but you might get a slight taste of vengeance.

Also, demon Samurai are awesome.

Theme
Einar has been known to delve into some evil territory in the past, with the Ebon Armor and Gurei-Oni being prime examples. It's not a huge stretch to say that he might summon an actual demonic Samurai, especially if it might help one of his most prominent armies.

As for Masha himself, just about every aspect of his design works towards this terrifying theme. He stands imposingly above his fellow Samurai, has an extremely aggressive set of stats that encourages him to attack as often as possible and rush into battle, and Awakened Terror adds to the theme of this horrifying demon running amok on the battlefield.

The sculpt is also clearly capable of magic thanks to the blue flame in his hand, which is conveyed with Fiery Retribution. Masha may prefer to slice up his enemies with his sword, but if he gets sufficiently ticked off from a far away attacker, he may just bite back.

Big thanks to @BiggaBullfrog for the name, too. Masha Shingai means an evil being, which fits perfectly to the design and mini. I've also included my draft of Masha's bio above, should anyone be interested more in the theme.

Edit: For clarification on what planet Masha originated from:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Astroking112 View Post
Masha is from Feylund. I was initially reluctant to put him there, given that he is clearly a Samurai, but we've already seen clearly Egyptian units hailing from the same planet. Gurei-Oni is even from Feylund as well, very likely holding a Tetsubo judging from his Special Attack. We've seen that Feylund is a bit of a melting pot for supernatural creatures from other cultures, so I think that it's perfectly reasonable to say that Masha originates from a part of that world that we haven't seen fully explored yet.
Accessibility
The sculpt used is the Oni Mage from Pathfinder's most recent Kingmaker set, so it is still widely available for cheap. Here's a quick rundown:
That's at least 84 copies purchasable right now, without even getting into eBay where there are many more. The average price seems to be about $5, although some sites go as low as $3.50.

I've been working on Masha for a long time, and throughout my many games with him, I've come to believe that he's an excellent addition to the Samurai army and a worthy addition to the canon. I look forward to seeing how everyone else feels.

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Last edited by Astroking112; Today at 03:45 PM. Reason: Increased point cost from 90 to 110.
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  #6135  
Old Yesterday, 12:24 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

I don't have the fine eye of an SoV judge, but I think Masha Shingai is pretty freaking cool


Thanks for submitting him
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  #6136  
Old Yesterday, 12:32 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

I really like Awakened Terror. I wish I'd thought of it.

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  #6137  
Old Yesterday, 12:50 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

What homeworld is Masha from? That's pretty important here, as I'm not sure I would go along with a Demon from Earth. Or a Samurai not from Earth, for that matter.
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  #6138  
Old Yesterday, 12:52 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scytale View Post
What homeworld is Masha from? That's pretty important here, as I'm not sure I would go along with a Demon from Earth. Or a Samurai not from Earth, for that matter.
The first thing I did was hunt through the post, looking for this information. I let it go, but it's important for this design. Obviously it can't be Earth.

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  #6139  
Old Yesterday, 12:52 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scytale View Post
What homeworld is Masha from? That's pretty important here, as I'm not sure I would go along with a Demon from Earth. Or a Samurai not from Earth, for that matter.
The bio seems to suggest Feylund, but I was coming to ask clarification on that as well.

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  #6140  
Old Yesterday, 12:55 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Masha is from Feylund. I was initially reluctant to put him there, given that he is clearly a Samurai, but we've already seen clearly Egyptian units hailing from the same planet. Gurei-Oni is even from Feylund as well, very likely holding a Tetsubo judging from his Special Attack. We've seen that Feylund is a bit of a melting pot for supernatural creatures from other cultures, so I think that it's perfectly reasonable to say that Masha originates from a part of that world that we haven't seen fully explored yet.

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  #6141  
Old Yesterday, 01:03 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

You make a decent argument for Feylund. I can go along with with that.

I don't buy your pricing argument. Yes, stats-wise he is similar to Crixus, and he doesn't get boosts like Crixus does. However, Masha's two powers work not only a defense boost to himself but to other figures as well. There is value in that. Awakened Terror can negatively affect your own units, though, so that's something to consider. I'm willing to give him a try.

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  #6142  
Old Yesterday, 02:16 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

I'm also a bit skeptical of 90 points, but I think it's not unreasonable. Take a look at Jarek Guy, for 100 points. I think that's a better comparison.

That said, he definitely doesn't fold into synergy webs as neatly as Jarek or Crixus.

Good argument for Feylund, I'm sold.

We'll see on the points. I know you've tested him relatively extensively, so that reassures me a bit.

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  #6143  
Old Yesterday, 02:44 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Feels cool, but to my eye, under priced.

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  #6144  
Old Yesterday, 04:23 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

I won't deny that Masha is a good figure, but I don't believe him to be unreasonably strong. It certainly helps that he doesn't play nicely with most meta armies relying on a lot of Common Squads and instead encourages the player to either take Heroes or Unique Squads, which are generally a lot weaker to build an army around.

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