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  #6181  
Old February 28th, 2019, 02:57 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Xundar, the Shadow Binder, the Shadow Fiend, and the Shadow Hound have been removed by the submitter's request. It was looking unlikely the Shadow Fiend was going to pass United Fanscape Review, so Sir Heroscape would like to rework before resubmitting the faction.

On a more positive note, Masha Shingai passed United Fanscape Review and moves forward in the process.
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  #6182  
Old March 9th, 2019, 11:25 AM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Agrah Fenh by @superfrog

So if this guy becomes canon, does that mean all Icarians have a long, creepy tongue? Or is this guy just special? Man, the far-reaching implications here are astounding.

Balance

My main comparison point for Fenh was fellow 60-pointer Darrak Ambershard. Their attack and defense are the same stat-wise. Ambershard can increase his attack to 6 with a Sneak Attack, while Fenh has two ways to increase his attack -- either attacking a dragon (increase to 5) or having 3 wounds on his card (+1 skull ~ slightly less than 6 attack). Fenh has 6 life, more than Ambershardís 4, but Hide in Darkness helps the dwarf have similar survivability (depending on maps, special attacks, etc., but itís comparable).

They also both help squads. Ambershard helps Axegrinders by providing a cheap bonding option that hits hard, but when unused lets them move faster. Fenh doesnít bond, but when engaged gives his cultists +2 move, which is huge for Nhah Scirh who already are fast with a limited Disengage. The downside is that you need to use order markers on Fenh to get him into position, which will be addressed more in playability, but on paper Fenh has both a powerful cheerleading ability and potential for strong attacks -- a strong 60-pointer, but not significantly overpowered.

Theme

Fenh does a great job of being a cultist leader who leads by example, not from behind. His powers want him to be engaged and active in the battle, from a meta standpoint creating a shark/cheerleader hybrid. Itís a super combination and fitting for a fanatical dragon-killing zealot, and the left- and right-side stats fit the design well.

The mini itself is Nhah Scirh-y enough to carry the theme on the board. While his skin and clothing are a bit different from the other Icarians, he fits in well with them. The sword is particularly wicked, great for a dragon slayer.

Creativity

Hybrid roles like a sharky cheerleader arenít pursued enough, in my opinion. Occult Zeal is a neat twist on movement buffs, requiring a lead from the front strategy. Martyrís Fervor is a powerful attack boost as he takes wounds, and a good new take on other ďI get stronger the more damage I takeĒ powers. Dragonkind Enemy is reused from the Nhah Scirh and is fitting. Having two different powers to affect the attack stat is a little unusual since cards usually try to keep that to one power, but not terribly distracting.

Playability

As I mentioned, Agrah Fenh looks to have a lot going for him as a 60 point addition to a cultist army. Giving +2 move to his homies is a significant boost, and he has potential to deal a lot of damage. This all is kept in check by the requirement to actively put order markers on him to give him the activations he needs to fulfill either of his roles as a shark or cheerleader, and thatís where things get messy.

I began playtesting Fenh fully expecting some challenging-yet-fun games where order marker management is crucial. While the challenge was there, the fun, unfortunately, was not. Playing Fenh is difficult, but getting much success out of him is dependent almost completely on your opponent.

As a single melee unit that needs to be engaged for any of his powers to go off, Fenh is easy to avoid when playing against him. When looking for enemies to engage, the other player could simply keep their figures out of reach, or at least in a spot where Fenh would have to go to crazy lengths to engage anything. If Fenh did overextend like that, then he was easily surrounded and killed. If played conservatively, order markers on Fenh were spent not developing the rest of your army, giving your opponent board advantage. Either way was a lose scenario.

Another option was to keep Fenh and the cultists in a group, usually with Raelin backing. He could then engage while in Raelinís aura and force your opponent to have to choose between Fenh and the now-speedy cultists. Except, it still wasnít much of a choice for the opponent. Again, order markers used on Fenh here usually resulted in the opponent getting board control, and in so doing could either get to where they could easily kill Fenh if desired, or, more usually, ignore him and block the cultists from using their extra move effectively, making the bonus irrelevant since they could engage with normal move but were blocked from getting height. When playing defensively, the cultists didnít want to leave Raelinís aura anyway, and going offensive only gave a couple of good attacks before the still-better board control of the opponent won the day.

Playing against Fenh, I was happy when he was used instead of the Nhah Scirh since one attack of 4 wasnít as intimidating as 4 attacks of 3. Even when playing a dragon, one attack of 5 wasnít nearly as good as probably at least 2 attacks of 4 on the dragon and two attacks of 3 on support units. I could always ignore Fenh, limiting him from getting the extra skull, until I felt otherwise safe and then kill him in a couple of easy turns. The Fenh player never felt as good taking turns with Fenh as they would have if they just took turns with the squads, and generally wished the 60 points had been spent on something else. 60 points isnít huge, but itís enough that you want it to contribute to the battle. Fenh just always felt like a hole in the playerís army for the opponent to exploit, and I didnít like the success of Fenh being more dependent on my opponentís play than my own.

Summary

Agrah Fenh combines aggressive and cheerleader play into a unique and dynamic design. I like the potential on paper, but unfortunately the powers never shined and I always found myself unsatisfied with it in gameplay.

I vote Nay to induct Agrah Fenh into the Soldiers of Valhalla.
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  #6183  
Old March 9th, 2019, 12:40 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Thanks for the reviews, gents.

customs/maps/c3v/sov

how to:
make a card/post your maps

CVN~ "I highly recommend C3V customs!"
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