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 Major Glitch's initial thoughts on July 7th update 
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Denizen
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Joined: August 27th, 2012, 5:11 am
Posts: 477
General
- I am liking the direction of more units using their faction tokens for payment. This brings additional choices to be made. With this change, however, I suggest clarifying the rules to make it clear that if a token is used as payment, Cadre Abilities that grant combat abilities won't affect the outcome of the attack (ie Blood in the Water won't grant the 2 additional damage). Or if it is intended that such effects are checked at the start of an activation, and last through the turn, then that needs to be made clear as well (This could help the timing issues on SSP's tokens).
- With the abundance of units that have some variation of "make this attack again" on their attacks, it would be nice to have common wording making it clear if the attack does or does not need to be paid for again. A call out in the rule book would leave space on the cards.
- Officer: Without Hero Shielding, Officer seems far less useful since the opponent can simply target the unit with the trait now. I still want to test the change to see if the current ability is still useful, but I think without hero shielding, other options could be considered, such as giving a stat boost to nearby units that the Officer affects, or allowing the officer to become part of the unit for an activation (probably needing to put a token on the officer unit so things don't get crazy).
- Thank you for clarifying "Thousand Cuts" as to how its targeting works. Good call on limiting the number of cards that can be discarded, since minions have the ability.
- Obsidian-Crane suggested adding the word "collateral" in front of damage on abilities that cause collateral damage (for example, my understanding is that Thousand Cuts' damage is collateral), and I agree with the suggestion for clarity's sake.

Black Diamond
Thank you for the clarification on Codebreaker v9.0's drawing ability.
As I mention below with Noh, I would like a change considered to BD's faction token generation to be considered. Instead of relying solely on dealing damage at range, an ability that reinforces their training and teamwork, granting the token if other units also have LoS to a hit target, could work and allow the more melee-oriented units to participate in the "game" of counting damage. (After all, it doesn't count if no one else sees it!)

Cerci Speed Circuit
With the loss of Hero Shielding, Lug's "Friendship and Loyalty" is far less useful - even with careful positioning, chances are that if this ability is going to be "active", an opponent will often be able to maneuver to attack the much softer target that Betty presents. Perhaps changing it to have the same 6" range as Betty's "Partners" ability would solve this, but that could also end up making Lug much stronger, since neither ability currently requires LoS, just proximity.
With Lug's defense action changing to Block, is shielding the intended press on that action? Armor is the standard press for block; shielding accomplishes the same end result most of the time, but if the attacker has piercing, then the shielding press makes the total defense action slightly stronger.
I think the change to Pit Crew is a decent compromise - Most pit crew staff should be trained in first aid (and I assume that sci-fi pit crews would have some cool tech available as well). And it is certainly true that few people considered taking the unit without the upgrade.

Doctrine
Fiametta
I'm still not terribly fond of "BURN!" being limited to targetting units within 3" of Fiametta, but the addition of card draw helps to make the attacks more likely to land. And coming back to hero shielding again, it seems less likely that she will be able to hit multiple units with this ability, especially since she can't re-position beforehand. This ability is potentially much more powerful than many other "take an attack" second token triggers, but I worry that it will be ultimately less useful. (My experience thus far there has never been an opportunity to target more than one unit with BURN!, regardless of ability to pay).
Kisa
(RK) For her cadre ability, is it "Put all cards on either the top or bottom of the deck in any order", or "Put any number of cards on the top of the deck in any order, and any remaining cards on the bottom of the deck in any order"?

Similar to the Pit Crew, thank you for making the Academy Guard's upgrade a main part of the unit. Unit's like these, whose upgrades were auto-includes, represented a "trap choice" for players who didn't realize the importance of their upgrade (Academy Guard more so than the Pit Crew, imo.) I think the Noviate's upgrade could have gone either way, but since it's utility is low (in most games), I think it was a good decision to simply include it at no additional cost.

Noh Empire
Kasaro To
(RK) A good change that keeps Murder Spree's theme without comprimising the cadre's abillity to have board presence. It will still require careful positioning to pull off, and you still need to have tokens on other units, so it should still be fairly balanced.
(QK) His cadre ability seems to suffer from the same issue that the previous version of the RK cadre ability had, in that the units must remain near him in order for their tokens to matter. That being said, the tokens are useful to all units, and the amount of damage increase is great enough that the ability could be balanced. I am certainly looking forward to testing him. I am worried his lack of any innate defense combined with the high cost of his defense action could leave him extremely vulnerable, especially without hero shielding.
Marikan To
Heartseeker's press seems pointless now that Hero Shielding has been removed. It is possible that some other effect may come up, but since stealth only effected ranged and psychic attacks, there is currently nothing I've seen that this press counters. Please consider a different effect. (The similar effect on the Sarva Scouts' ranged attack allows them to ignore stealth, and thus is fine.)

The other changes all seem balanced. I would still like to see some change to their faction token that allows their ranged options to generate the tokens without needing to work counter to their intended role. I think the faction would still have enough of an identity as the melee powerhouse even if their token ability didn't directly reinforce it.

Shattered Sword Paladins
Rook (QK) sure seems like an immovable object with the increase to 4 armor. I do like that the two versions are now quite distinct, though I still would rather have forced pairs for Knights and Cyphers. Also, shouldn't RK Rook's attack be named "Cardinal Strike" instead of "Diagonal Strike"?

Star Nebula Corsairs
Skully
The two versions have the same ability (Kaboom) with different effects and cost. Not as big of an issue since it is a unique unit, but I can still see it causing confusion for players who change variants from game to game. I'm also of the opinion that I would almost always take the RK version over the QK version due to the greater amount of control that Minefield offers.


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My biggest concern at this point is that the removal of Hero Shielding will impact a number of abilities in a way that doesn't seem to have been accounted for in this set of stat updates. That's not to say that I think Hero Shielding is a integral mechanic to keep, as much as it appears that abilities that were designed to interact with it seem to have been missed for changing when Hero Shielding was removed. If the removal of Hero Shielding is a "what if" test similar to the recent pay from hand trial for Armor, I believe it needs to be approached holistically in order to gather the best data regarding keeping or discarding it as a mechanic. It is the case that removing the mechanic simplifies the game slightly, especially for novices; a case can also be made for keeping the mechanic, as it allows players more control, as well as presenting tactical flexibility to those who have a good understanding of it.

I am looking forward to seeing how the sum of the changes plays out in my next game, and a lot of the changes made do appear to be good (even healthy) for the game.


July 10th, 2017, 7:10 pm
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Minion
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Joined: July 11th, 2015, 10:54 am
Posts: 80
Just popping in to mention that I agree with pretty much everything Major Glitch has said here.

I'm especially happy about the clarifications to Disengage, and am pleased to see that it makes hit and run tactics viable again. Also pretty happy with the changes to the Pit Crew. Like Glitch said, it seems like a solid compromise, and I can actually see myself running them again now.

The loss of Hero Shielding I'm less pleased about. I've not been able to test yet, but will try to do so this weekend coming, and will withhold full judgement til after that, but as per what Glitch said, my biggest concern is that the effect on units that have abilities that rely on Hero Shielding hasn't been taken into account. As my playtest reports show, I'm primarily a Cerci player, and I feel like this is going to tank the usability of Betty and Lug. Because why would anyone target Lug when they can just kill Betty and then take on Lug when he's not going to benefit from damage reduction? While Glitch's idea of increasing the range on Friendship and Loyalty would work, my preferred solution would be that Betty and Lug be given Hero Shielding in a form that only functions for Lug protecting Betty. It fits their fluff and playstyle, and is a simple fix. You could even keyword it so that it can be used on other units in future if you wanted. For example, key it as "Protective (*UNIT NAME*)". Overall though I think you definitely need to take a look at any units that had abilities that relied on Hero Shielding, and give them some serious thought on how to account for the change.

Personally though I'd rather see Hero Shielding come back, I really liked it as a rule. It gave me flexibility to protect some heroes while being able to run risks with other units if I felt the need to. My usual opponent really liked it as well, even though he tended to forget it during deployment.

Otherwise I'm feeling pretty positive with the vast majority of the changes, at least pre-testing, and will come back to report once I get a game or two in on the weekend.


July 11th, 2017, 12:08 pm
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Denizen
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Joined: August 27th, 2012, 5:11 am
Posts: 477
Reading through the units - For the Necrosynths, what does "Destroy 1 Necrosynth" (on their upgrade) mean? Would it be easier to say "Pay 6 health?" Or is this ability intended to be more desirable if you have one health track that is almost full, making "Fill one health track" a better description of the cost?


July 11th, 2017, 9:33 pm
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Denizen
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Joined: September 9th, 2012, 1:25 am
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As written it is more desirable to blow up damaged Necrosynths.

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July 13th, 2017, 9:59 am
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Denizen
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Joined: August 27th, 2012, 5:11 am
Posts: 477
Obsidian-Crane wrote:
As written it is more desirable to blow up damaged Necrosynths.
I agree that is the interpretation the BD player would prefer, but I feel the wording should be more clear as to whether or not the ability causes the same damage to the Neceosynths each time it is used, or if the damage caused to Necrosynths is variable based on how much damage they currently have marked.
At the very least, I think that the word 'model' should be added to the cost line.


July 13th, 2017, 12:25 pm
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