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Old August 6th, 2008, 05:33 PM
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Blurring the Gap Between Range and Melee

I'm loving the direction Heroscape is going in.

Range and melee used to be very different, and easy to tell apart. Obviously, the Krav are meant to be ranged fighters, the Tarn are supposed to be melee. But whether the designers are doing it on purpose (I hope they are), or it's just coincidence, the wall between range and melee is getting smaller.

The first good examples of this are the dragons, Nilfheim and Braxas. Braxas is gifted with an awesome attack, but low defense, and a much more usefull ability. So she's not really a melee fighter. Nilf, however, is different. He not only has the strength to get into close-range combat with enemy heroes, but he can also rain ice down upon them from afar. He is truly the first real melee/range character.

Then we have the extremely cool Kaemon Awa and his Tagawa Samurai Archers. Kaemon, despite having good stats and Counterstrike, really isn't good in close range combat. He's better off to snipe from afar, or get in closer and use Quick Release. But the archers are a true melee/range unit. They offer so many options. Should they stay on a hill and shoot? Maybe run and engage the enemies' ranged units? Or they could go and stop the melee forces form reaching your other ranged units. The possibilities are endless.

And now we come to Wave 8. With it comes the Wolves of Badru and the 10th Regiment of Foot. The wolves come with a ranged special attack, but not only is this highly situational, it is also very risky. The wolves are better off using their normal attacks, only pouncing when the conditions are right. But the 10th are a whole different story.

The 10th are an extrodinary blend of range and melee. While many insist the 4th Mass are better, I feel that the 10th offers many more options. Not only do you get the 4th with one less defense, you also get a squad that gets bonuses for engaging the enemy. With the 10th, you can sit back and wait for the enemy to come to you, or you can rush forward and spear them with your bayonet. They are a real do-everything squad. You can build an entire army around them, but you're not limited to range or melee. You have an army that can adapt to any situation, and about the only thing that can stop you is Q9 himself.

This trend has continued over several waves now, and I hope that it keeps going. Whether the designers intended it or not, i feel they have created a whole new class of unit.

Sorry for the super-long post, but this has been growing in my head for a while now, and I had to let it out. If you feel i missed a unit (highly possible, I didn't really research this), then feel free to let me know. Happy reading!

And now we come to the units that i forgot, but everyone else was nice enough to point out.

To satisfy the elven fanatics out there, I'll begin with Arkmer. This Wave 8 Elf Wizard is a short-range unit, who gains bonuses for bunching up with other elves, and also has an Engagement Strike. Now, there are times when you will want to engage Arkmer, but the problem being that to get his Engagement Strike to work, your enemy must engage you, not the other way around. But because of Engagement Strike, he will be reluctant to do so. In reality, Arkmer is more of a melee deterrent than a good melee fighter. When in close range combat, it's hard to keep him bunched up with other elves, so your options are limited. Luckily, his defensive bonus works for any attack, so Special Attacks and range will not take his defense away. Arkemer, while useful, is more of a bodyguard than anything else.

Another short range/melee squad is next, the much hated Obsidian Guards. They are primarily a melee squad, who, when on their natural enviroment, gain a range of 3. However, this is so short, you should still play them as a melee squad. Consider Lava Throw as a bonus, a way to get an attack in if you couldn't reach your target this turn. The only time it's really useful is when you're in a pool of lava, and you can take shots at your enemy while they have to go around. As long as his units are not ranged, they can't retaliate without risking an almost instant death.

Now we have the ice-cold killer, Cyprien Esenwein himself. This speedy vampire might as well be ranged, because his movement is better than alot of units' range. He is a melee unit, who really shows you can be not only a good anti-range unit, but also a melee/range hybrid, without actually having any range whatsoever. If it weren't for Q9, Cyprien could be near-unstoppable. I don't want to see copies of Cyprien in new waves, but if the designers could figure out a way to make another melee unit as good as him, I'd be pleased.

Krack-Kaw! Crap, you say to yourself, the Stingers are coming! And you're right to be afraid. The Marro Stingers are a short-range squad that can counter almost any unit. Their short range forces you to get up close and personal with the enemy, but their awesome stats show you that was done just to keep them balanced. The Stingers' stats, coupled with the fact that they are a common squad, allows you to effectively fight toe to toe with melee units and still come out on top, and get into shootouts with ranged squads and beat them too. There's a reason the Stingers are emerging as a Q9 counter.

The Krav Maga Agents are considered better than their leader, Agent Carr. This guy has been around since ROTV, and he is the first range/melee hybrid unit. However, he is oftentimes overlooked due to the fact that he is so fragile. Up close or far away, 4 life and 4 defense doesn't cut it. Carr is best used as an up-close assassin, who runs up to his target, shooting with his pistol along the way, and then gets in striking distance and smites them with the Sword of Reckoning. Carr's problem still hurts him, however, because all it takes is one lucky shot to take him out.

Then we have the Nakitas. They are well-known for bringing the G-Nators back into playability, but we're going to forget that right now. The Nakitas are very dangerous to your opponet. As they sit back and shoot away, while defending a valuable part of your army, does he sit back and wait for Smoke Powder to fail, or does he risk Engagement Strike and take them on hand to hand? There is no right answer, which is why the Nakitas are so deadly. They, like Arkmer, force the enemy to pick the lesser of two evils, and as we all know, forcing your enemy to make decisions he doesn't like is always usefull.

And that will conclude this episode, until someone else points out the rest of the units I forgot.

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Last edited by Ty the Awasome; August 7th, 2008 at 05:25 PM. Reason: Added units I forgot
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  #2  
Old August 6th, 2008, 06:00 PM
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Re: Blurring the Gap Between Range and Melee

Don't apologize for the length of the post when it is such an excellent one, Ty. Thanks for sharing your insights with us.
<RR>
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Old August 6th, 2008, 06:03 PM
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Re: Blurring the Gap Between Range and Melee

Nice observations! I too like to use all-purpose units, like Nilfhiem. He is such a versatile unit, which is one of the reasons he is so scary. I do have to disagree about the 10th Regiment of Foot being so unstoppable. There are many different figures who could wipe the floor with them. That said, I really think they are the perfect example of a melee/range squad. It seems no matter what you do with them, they are getting some sort of bonus (even though I do think they're a good squad however, that doesn't mean I like them. They totally took the glory away from the minutemen, who are my all time favorite squad.).

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Old August 6th, 2008, 06:03 PM
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Re: Blurring the Gap Between Range and Melee

Let it be known to all! Rev's rep rules all!

And with that, I am now fitting in.

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Old August 6th, 2008, 06:16 PM
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Re: Blurring the Gap Between Range and Melee

I like to think that Iskra and the Rechets fit in to this category as well. Even though they don't have a real "ranged" attack, the chance that you will get to strike with that much force from 18 hexes away is downright unruly. It's kind of like a ranged attack where your bullets have a chance to bounce around and cause even more pain after their initial hits. Hey, maybe we should have another look at that Zapruder film; look for Rechets on the grassy knoll.

Oh yeah, go Wisco.

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Old August 6th, 2008, 06:55 PM
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Re: Blurring the Gap Between Range and Melee

Very nice post, Ty. Some good insights. You couldn't have timed the post better, since the 10th Regiment and the Bad. Dogs are fresh in everyone's consciousness. +rep.
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Old August 6th, 2008, 07:38 PM
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Re: Blurring the Gap Between Range and Melee

Nice post.

I think HS has been, as you suggest, working on this for some time. And not every attempt has succeeded all so well (think Obsidian Guards with the lava throw and perhaps we could include Runa here too). But they have consistently got more and more interesting in the ways they blur these lines--I love the dragons and have fun with units like the 10th and Wolves.

What I am waiting for is a unit with Range 2. It would still be a kind of melee unit (since HS implies that Range 4 is where "real" range begins--cf. the Range Glyph's caveat). I hoped that the Grok's with their long flails and height would have something like this. Perhaps some Hoplites or halberd-wielding minotaurs or long Pikemen will come along. (Anyhow, a random addition to your good post, Ty.)
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Old August 6th, 2008, 08:13 PM
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Re: Blurring the Gap Between Range and Melee



Completly forgot about the Obsidian Guards. Although, it is the Obsidians. They're pretty easy to forget about.

And thanks for the kind words, everyone. I don't know if I'll add more of my views on units. Depends on whether people really want it or not.

And 1Mmrig, i don't really think Runa is a melee/range hybrid. She's more of a melee unit, that has a ranged special that never works.

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Old August 6th, 2008, 08:29 PM
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Re: Blurring the Gap Between Range and Melee

I agree with you Ty (oh and go Packers!)

I really do like the attempt to close the gap from range to melee. I like that we now have somewhere in-between. Yet still going all melee and kicking arse is awesome!

DeadEye
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Old August 6th, 2008, 10:39 PM
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Re: Blurring the Gap Between Range and Melee

I usually don't get many ranged units when drafting. The melee appeal to me more. I'm totally going to try out the 10th the way you suggested on my next game.

Long live Heroscape.
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Old August 7th, 2008, 12:12 AM
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Re: Blurring the Gap Between Range and Melee

Range is for little girls anyway!


I've always thought that the Knights + Gilbert is one of the best ranged counters in the game. I also really like the hounds in that aspect. I guess there's just something that I like about rolling dice for movement.

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Old August 7th, 2008, 12:48 AM
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Re: Blurring the Gap Between Range and Melee

Just being able to roll that D20 each turn is fun.

Long live Heroscape.
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