I did a recent session report for War of the Indines, where I related a series of matches with both War and Devastation fighters. I thought I'd share another extended match up session here now that I've got a copy of Devastation of my very own and a better feel for Devastation.
My opponent and I met on the field of battle. Both of us being very big fans of this amazing game. My opponent hadn't really had a chance to play the game without teaching it (amazing how often this is true) and this was an opportunity to just sit down and get to it.
We started with Shekhtur versus Malandrax.
Shekhtur is a relentless, reckless fighter. She accrues Malice tokens for damaging opponents, and those tokens can be used to increase her speed and occasionally, some other effects. I chose her because I realized recently that I favor a fairly aggressive play style, so she looked like a good choice for me.
Malandrax sets Trap cards that trigger under certain conditions. He has four, and they each have powerful effects. One trap automatically damages an opponent who didn't move that beat. Another penalizes them just for entering the center of the board. And so on. He can set one per beat, and if he predicts what you're going to do, he can really be frustrating to fight against. He's also great at setting up contingencies that, even if he gets outmaneuvered, still leave an opponent hurting in some way. A very tricky character.
We chose the Helim-Mekhit arena, which is thematically a ruins filled with levers that can be pulled for random effects. Mostly beneficial and a few negative, including one that brings the whole temple falling down on your heads.
The battle was joined, and, true to my fighter and myself, I went very aggressive. I took an early lead, hammering my opponent every chance I got. But my opponent started getting the hang of Malandrax, and as he deployed his traps wisely, I started running into some trouble. I was still in the lead though as the timer ran down.
What decided this match though was the arena levers. Oh, so tempting, and I think my opponent was really playing like Malandrax would. He couldn't resist pulling them to see what traps would spring. At a critical moment, he pulled one that ended up stunning him for that beat, and I easily knocked him out for the victory. He vowed not to fall for that again, but a later match would be decided again by his inability to resist a lever pull.
The next round, I stuck with Shekhtur but my opponent switched to King Alexian. We chose the Volton Industries arena, where molten steel proves a deadly threat to the fighters.
Alexian is a beast, I can say. He's slow, but he has great soak and stun guard, and while I was beating the tar out of him, very little damage got through. His special rule is that when he hits his opponents, he gives them Chivalry tokens. These tokens can by used by his opponents for boosts in Priority and Power. However, he also has a style card that completely negates the effect of those tokens. Twice, I was suckered into wasting my tokens, and that really cost me. Nevertheless, my berserker offense whittled him down to something reasonable.
However, near the end, we were battling on a moving conveyor belt toward a blazing furnace. In the end, I was pushed into the furnace and defeated. But only by a fraction, as Alexian had only 3 Life left himself. It was a very interesting match, and Alexian was a challenging opponent. The guy can take a hit, all right.
In another match, a new player asked to join us so we showed him the ropes. He took Eligor and my friend took Kaija. Eligor is a paladin who takes hits and hits back harder. Kaija is a strange one, giving Insect tokens to her opponent who will be hampered by them as well as take damage over time.
This battle was in Helim-Mekhit again, and it was a doozy. Because Eligor is a very stalwart, direct character and Kaija seeks to get close to her opponent too, there was very little subtle maneuvering here. Just two opponents dancing back and forth across the center of the board. Eligor was hitting hard, but the insects sapped his life pretty quickly too. It all came down to a final beat.
Remember how I mentioned my friend's love of pulling levers getting him into trouble. Yep, he pulled a lever, ended up stunned again, and was finished off by Eligor. Levers can be your best friend or your worst enemy, I guess.
The final match was between Karin and Jager, the werewolf twins, and Joal, the monster hunter. The arena was Czanthine City, a magical two stage arena where the board starts with buffs and debuffs, then eventually the fight moves to the treetops, where the snapping branches could lead to a very sudden fall.
Joal is an interesting character as he's highly customizable. He has the ability to pick from several unique bases (each basically representing one of the weapons in his monster hunting arsenal). Karin and Jager work by positioning Jager's token to maximum effect.
The fight was fairly interesting because Joal was very aggressive and Karin was very slippery. Joal got a strong start, but Karin managed an impressive comeback. Then the battle went to the treetops.
The fight continued for several rounds, and I was convinced that Joal was about to lose when he pulled his finisher. It was slower than Karin's attack, but she was one damage short of finishing him off, and she couldn't even escape the attack because she was cornered and Joal had an ability that prevented her from moving past him. So with one measly life point left, Joal finished his opponent and claimed victory.
Again, this session only cemented my love for this game, which is simple but rich and rewarding. The fighters do play remarkably different, yet none seem more powerful than any other. Though some matchups do offer advantages to one fighter or another just on the basis of style. Still not enough to be a gamebreaker, I feel.
The arenas added a lot of charm. They aren't too complicated, but they usually add an element of maneuvering or force you to change your traditional tactics.
I didn't even mention two other matches. Shekhtur versus Voco the zombie master in the Planestalker HQ. Voco used the Beta Bases, which were interesting but a little more advanced than he was ready for, I believe. We also tried a boss match where Octavia Six and Mikhail Isen fought an EX level Tanis.
Only the boss match proved to be an easy victory, but I suspect that is because Tanis is a very, very tricky fighter to play, much less master.
Overall, an incredible game, and I can't say enough great things about it. I'm sure I could write fantastic session reports for days about this game, but all I need really say is that it has quickly become one of the most rewarding, fun, and delightful games in my collection.
It's also great at building a community. This and my previous session were probably the only time I've ever gotten together with people who own the exact same game to dedicate hours to playing that game. It's like getting together to play a great collectible card game, but without the hassles of building a deck or chasing down rare cards. Not as insult to CCGs. Those things are often part of their charm.
Just an amazing game, and one I will definitely be playing regularly for a very, very long time.
loved the session report. i really loved the effect of the arenas on the match! cant wait to get my hands on this.