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Mage Knight Board Game: Krang Character Expansion» Forums » Reviews

Subject: It's not Krang, it's me...or is it? rss

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Brandon Held
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Hello Mage Knight boardgamegeekers,

So I've played through about 20 games now with Krang and wanted to discuss his character a bit with those who've gone pretty far down the Mage Knight rabbit hole and have some experience with the game. I've tried to like playing with Krang, I have...but it doesn't seem to click for me.

Initially, I thought maybe my dislike of playing with Krang may have to do with personal preference over anything else. However, my girlfriend is often the one who takes on more wounds and tries to level up, while I try to take less wounds, advance slower, and buy more units. In that regard, I would think Krang would play more to my strengths. Yet, I never feel that he does. I find him to be (for me), the least effective character in the game. Of course, we always play cooperative games, so maybe it has something to do with that...I'm not sure.

Part of it is that I don't care for his Ruthless Coercion/Savage Harvesting individual cards. Getting a slight bump in influence (being able to ready units and and an additional influence point over Threaten) doesn't seem to be a large deal to me. Also, I rarely use Savage Harvesting's ability to gain a crystal by discarding a card. Early on, using each card in your hand seems nearly essential and rarely do I want to toss one away. It's part of the reason that i dislike the Improvisation card. I don't like throwing a card away for an effect, especially when those inital cards play a large role for the first half of the game. Compared to the other characters (except to Norowas, the character he seems to most resemble to me) his individualized starting cards don't seem that advantageous.

And his skills. I find Shamanic Ritual/Arcane Disguise/Curse a bit....weak. Now, other characters have skills that I don't think are particularly useful, but not so many. Even Battle Frenzy/Battle Hardened I find to be just OK, average skills. I'd much rather get a fire/ice attack 2 with either Tovak or Arythea than Battle Frenzy. Now don't get me wrong, I love Puppet Master. It's one of my favorite skills in the game of any character. And Master of Chaos can be very useful as well, depending on the situation. But...again, I think he has the weakest overall skillsets in the game, as compared to other characters. And if you don't pull one of Krang's better skills right off the bat, it can put you at a disadvantage.

Maybe it's particular preference. I also don't find Norowas to be a very effective character either...although I'd rather play as Norowas than Krang. Just the possibility of pulling the skill of Bonds of Loyalty tilts the scales to Norowas's side, and Leadership can be really, really good after you acquire 3-4 units. For me, I'd rather play as a character with a relatively high likelihood of getting heal/crystal skills (Wolfhawk and Goldyx) or a character who a character who has a high likelihood of getting strong attack/block skills (Tovak). Even with my style of play, which caters to buying units and avoiding wounds.

Just thought I'd put it out there and see some feedback, because I bought Krang about a month ago and he's already starting to collect dust because he's not getting a lot of play. Which kind of bums me out, as I was excited to use him when I first bought him.
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Alex Brown
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When a character needs you to emphasis utility over combat, the margin for error tends to be smaller. This is because one of the few constants of MK is the need to defeat enemies to level up.

I find Tovak the most forgiving of characters. I think this is because he is most easily able to draw skills (and had has default cards) to positively impact combat.

Characters like Krang and Norowas are more complex because they require you to measure your combat potential more carefully. Your Rages and Swiftnesses become critically important in the early running. Further, planning to use Influence or crystal gathering often takes finesse, as you need to be in the best place at the best time when you have them as well as take down enemies in other parts of the turn.

I like all of the characters. I think Tovak is more forgiving than Norowas or Krang, but I think they compensate by allowing savvy players more options for lateral thinking. You have to be on your toes to get the early levelling going, but I tend to think if you play for big turns and setup turns with Krang/Norowas, you might see more success.
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Ben Kyo
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I think Krang is a little too strong, to the point where I actually decided not to use him any more. I prefer the other characters.
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Jacob Wootsick
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Yeh I agree with Ben. Krang is a little too strong, especially in regards to skills. The other 5 are well balanced and fair.
 
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Alison Mandible
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Councilofthevoid wrote:
Also, I rarely use Savage Harvesting's ability to gain a crystal by discarding a card. Early on, using each card in your hand seems nearly essential and rarely do I want to toss one away.


Well, there's your problem!

Most cards are worth about two points of something. (Attack, Block, whatever.) A card plus a crystal is worth four points of something. Don't think of it as throwing a card away-- think of it as *banking* the card for later.
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Mike Romeo
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grasa_total wrote:
Councilofthevoid wrote:
Also, I rarely use Savage Harvesting's ability to gain a crystal by discarding a card. Early on, using each card in your hand seems nearly essential and rarely do I want to toss one away.


Well, there's your problem!

Most cards are worth about two points of something. (Attack, Block, whatever.) A card plus a crystal is worth four points of something. Don't think of it as throwing a card away-- think of it as *banking* the card for later.


Exactly and it can easily happen that you bank a card you don't need for that turn so that's amazing! An influence card at wrong time, a block card you don't need, a crystalize you can't use, etc. And what is even more amazing is you bank it and can often change it for something else, like a blue move card, you can use the crystal for blocks, or a red card (impro, threaten) to attack, for free!.

During my only play with him up to now, I started with the number 5 tactic cards and there was nothing near the starting space, my hand was full of move cards (and +2 cards due to tactic). So used a die to savage harvested moved 3 or 4 plain spaces to a mine or village don't remember exaclty and discarded 3 cards... BOOM 3 crystals in my reserve and still did what I had to do... MOVE because nothing else could be done with those starting tiles. That felt goooooddddd
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Brandon Held
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Alex Brown wrote:
When a character needs you to emphasis utility over combat, the margin for error tends to be smaller. This is because one of the few constants of MK is the need to defeat enemies to level up.

I find Tovak the most forgiving of characters. I think this is because he is most easily able to draw skills (and had has default cards) to positively impact combat.

Characters like Krang and Norowas are more complex because they require you to measure your combat potential more carefully. Your Rages and Swiftnesses become critically important in the early running. Further, planning to use Influence or crystal gathering often takes finesse, as you need to be in the best place at the best time when you have them as well as take down enemies in other parts of the turn.

I like all of the characters. I think Tovak is more forgiving than Norowas or Krang, but I think they compensate by allowing savvy players more options for lateral thinking. You have to be on your toes to get the early levelling going, but I tend to think if you play for big turns and setup turns with Krang/Norowas, you might see more success.


I like your interpretation of his character, although I personally find that when a character's margin of error is smaller and less forgiving, that character may be (not always!) less versatile and his effectiveness becomes more contextual based on the layout of the board/how the game unfolds.
 
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Brandon Held
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KingAnus3 wrote:
grasa_total wrote:
Councilofthevoid wrote:
Also, I rarely use Savage Harvesting's ability to gain a crystal by discarding a card. Early on, using each card in your hand seems nearly essential and rarely do I want to toss one away.


Well, there's your problem!

Most cards are worth about two points of something. (Attack, Block, whatever.) A card plus a crystal is worth four points of something. Don't think of it as throwing a card away-- think of it as *banking* the card for later.


Exactly and it can easily happen that you bank a card you don't need for that turn so that's amazing! An influence card at wrong time, a block card you don't need, a crystalize you can't use, etc. And what is even more amazing is you bank it and can often change it for something else, like a blue move card, you can use the crystal for blocks, or a red card (impro, threaten) to attack, for free!.

During my only play with him up to now, I started with the number 5 tactic cards and there was nothing near the starting space, my hand was full of move cards (and +2 cards due to tactic). So used a die to savage harvested moved 3 or 4 plain spaces to a mine or village don't remember exaclty and discarded 3 cards... BOOM 3 crystals in my reserve and still did what I had to do... MOVE because nothing else could be done with those starting tiles. That felt goooooddddd


That's good usage of Savage Harvesting! Definitely. And it's not something that I've often done. One reason is because when I'm on the fence as far as a tactic card (for daytime), I often take tactic 4 in days 1/2 of gameplay. Still, I would think having an additional card in my hand would add to the usefulness of Savage Harvesting...but I see your point. Doing something like that would probably make Krang more effective, just like using Savage Harvesting with tactic 6 at night and using a lot of movement/discarding a substantial amount of cards for crystals could be very helpful.

As far as Savage Harvesting...it might have to do with my reluctance of discarding other cards. When you're fairly certain of the outcome of your round/near the end of the round and the cards you are going to pull in your next hand or two aren't likely to be particularly useful, then discarding cards isn't such an issue for me. But for me, if I foresee myself needing a movement card for travel and an attack/block card for battle (or in some cases both cards) on your next turn or two, I have a hard time discarding those when planning ahead for the future. Also, playing the stronger effect of Savage Harvesting has to be really be played effectively. Depending on your location of the board, it can be difficult to move more than 1 space and still be able to discard a card from your hand for a crystal.



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Mike Romeo
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The strenght of Salvage Harvesting is in the fact that its a move card that already give you 2 move points. I think it always happens, in a round, when you have to move a great distance. Thats when you should use it! It is harder to use when you want to move two spaces to attack a Mage Towers or something! But when you have a couple of moves and want to go to a village/monastery or to a rune or somewhere you can end your move on an prepare for next turn, then it really shines! Move there, discard all your cards that wont serve you for next turn and then you get 1, 2 even 3 crystals and that is HUGE!
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Alison Mandible
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Councilofthevoid wrote:
But for me, if I foresee myself needing a movement card for travel and an attack/block card for battle (or in some cases both cards) on your next turn or two, I have a hard time discarding those when planning ahead for the future.


Interesting. One of my rules of thumb (for Mage Knight in general) is, don't hold onto cards for two different purposes at once. There just isn't enough room in your hand to queue up a good move AND a good attack. I keep an eye on the distribution of my undrawn cards and count on those instead.

But if you've played 20 games with Krang you're probably flat-out better at the game than I am. So who knows!
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Brandon Held
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grasa_total wrote:


Interesting. One of my rules of thumb (for Mage Knight in general) is, don't hold onto cards for two different purposes at once. There just isn't enough room in your hand to queue up a good move AND a good attack. I keep an eye on the distribution of my undrawn cards and count on those instead.

But if you've played 20 games with Krang you're probably flat-out better at the game than I am. So who knows!


Ha, just because I spend many a-hour playing the game during the week doesn't mean I'm better. I'm just a huge, huge fan of it. I don't have a game in the collection that I enjoy nearly as much (although Galaxy Defenders and Myth are both on their way!).

I should add the stipulation that I'm obviously more likely to toss cards as the rounds progress, as some cards in your hand (advanced actions, spells, artifiacts) become substantially more useful than others. For the first day/night into day 2 though, if I have to move to a particular location for combat, I (generally) like to keep at least one move and two attack/block card in my hand for my next turn. Of course, it depends on the cards that I know I'm still going to draw and the likelihood that I'm going to draw them (the size of my deck remaining), as well as my positioning on the map. It's very situational that way, which is why I love the game.
 
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Mike Romeo
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That's what make mage tower strong, having to move and attack in the same turn!
 
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Bruno Libonati Rocha
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Benkyo wrote:
I think Krang is a little too strong, to the point where I actually decided not to use him any more. I prefer the other characters.


I don't consider me a winner in the solo scenario... maybe half victories and half defeats. But playing with Krang I won with one round lasting, what never happened before. However, I just played with Krang once and can't say he's stonger than others Mage knights, but I liked to play with him and want to play more times to get the strategies, weak points, etc.

I don't have many plays under my belt, but I don't think a Mage Knight is better than other per se. But I think some mage knights are better than others to that game specifically, depending the map tiles sorted, the enemies and the units and cards in the row. The combos do a mage knight stronger for that time, that opportunity. At least this is what I say when the noob asks me what Mage Knight to choose . But seriously, this is wath I believe.

That's it.

sorry for my bad english... I hope you undestand the idea blush
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Councilofthevoid wrote:

I like your interpretation of his character, although I personally find that when a character's margin of error is smaller and less forgiving, that character may be (not always!) less versatile and his effectiveness becomes more contextual based on the layout of the board/how the game unfolds.


Oddly, I think it's the opposite.

With great versatility comes great options, and more chance to screw-up. However, if you can both attain the necessary combat level-up and gain the advantage of something like Rejuvenate or Savage Harvesting, then you're doing well. Have a look at MikeyP's play in the most recent City Conquest in the Play-By-Forum for an exemplar Krang performance.

I guess the alternative is to try and get the most from Tovak by defeating tougher enemies earlier. I find with Tovak I can take down Mage Towers with Cold Toughness in the early rounds.

If anything, you want to bend your strengths to the context of the board.

Good thread .
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Lior Kiperman
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I consider Krang's skills to be more fun and unique, but less powerful.

When I play Krang solo, I usually end up picking more dummy player's skills than usual.
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libonati wrote:
Benkyo wrote:
I think Krang is a little too strong, to the point where I actually decided not to use him any more. I prefer the other characters.


I don't consider me a winner in the solo scenario... maybe half victories and half defeats. But playing with Krang I won with one round lasting, what never happened before. However, I just played with Krang once and can't say he's stonger than others Mage knights, but I liked to play with him and want to play more times to get the strategies, weak points, etc.

I don't have many plays under my belt, but I don't think a Mage Knight is better than other per se. But I think some mage knights are better than others to that game specifically, depending the map tiles sorted, the enemies and the units and cards in the row. The combos do a mage knight stronger for that time, that opportunity. At least this is what I say when the noob asks me what Mage Knight to choose . But seriously, this is wath I believe.

That's it.

sorry for my bad english... I hope you undestand the idea blush


I understand what you're saying, thanks for the feedback.

I definitely agree that a person's success/failure with a Mage Knight often has to do with a variety of factors...some of those factors being the game setup, the enemies you have to deal with, the cards you draw and subsequently choose to work with, the skills you happen to draw, the spell/advanced action/units offerings when you level up, etc. I don't like to say that one Mage Knight is definitively better than another, because I know that my opinion on a complex game like this is just that...an opinion. I know that I have a preference in who I play with, and part of that probably has to do with my particular style of gameplay. One of the reasons I wrote this thread was so I could hear what other people had to say about Krang and get any strategic hints as far as gameplay mechanics that would make me want try and play as Krang more often.
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Alex Brown wrote:
Councilofthevoid wrote:

I like your interpretation of his character, although I personally find that when a character's margin of error is smaller and less forgiving, that character may be (not always!) less versatile and his effectiveness becomes more contextual based on the layout of the board/how the game unfolds.


Oddly, I think it's the opposite.

With great versatility comes great options, and more chance to screw-up. However, if you can both attain the necessary combat level-up and gain the advantage of something like Rejuvenate or Savage Harvesting, then you're doing well. Have a look at MikeyP's play in the most recent City Conquest in the Play-By-Forum for an exemplar Krang performance.

I guess the alternative is to try and get the most from Tovak by defeating tougher enemies earlier. I find with Tovak I can take down Mage Towers with Cold Toughness in the early rounds.

If anything, you want to bend your strengths to the context of the board.

Good thread .


I'm glad I wrote this thread, it has definitely reinvigorated my interest in Krang and working on the nuances of his character in the future. A lot of people have the exact opposite opinion as me in regards to Krang, which makes me want to re-examine my perspective. I have yet to watch anyone else do a strong playthrough with Krang, so thanks for the heads-up as far as that.

Tovak's Cold Toughness is (in my opinion) the most useful battle card a Mage Knight starts out with to begin the game. That thing is beastly.

I'm going to try and play Krang and work at contouring my gameplay completely the strengths of his individual cards and skills to see how that goes for me. I thought I'd done so in the past, but maybe that hasn't been the case. Throwing away cards when using Savage Harvesting for crystals, using Ruthless Coercion every round to its maximum benefit(although Volkare doesn't make it easy to gain acquire units on Legendary levels of difficulty, that's for sure), rethinking how I use his skills, etc.
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Lucas Moyer-Horner
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I had a fairly successful playthrough with Krang (>250 points) in Volkare's Return that i'd be willing to share with you if you want to geek mail me. I don't want to reveal the session publicly at this point because i'm working (very slowly considering limited free time) on an accompanying story. The first chapter is posted: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1081352/long-nights-a-story-...-
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Brandon Held
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lrmhorner wrote:
I had a fairly successful playthrough with Krang (>250 points) in Volkare's Return that i'd be willing to share with you if you want to geek mail me. I don't want to reveal the session publicly at this point because i'm working (very slowly considering limited free time) on an accompanying story. The first chapter is posted: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1081352/long-nights-a-story-...-


I like that you're creating your own stories out of your gaming experiences with Krang. I read it, very cool. Sometimes my mind begins to work that way when I'm battling, I start to create my own mythos out of the gameboard experience...

I'm playing as Krang now actually, in the middle of a cooperative Volkare's Quest with my girlfriend and she's trying to figure out if she's got the gusto to beat her half of the baddies. So I'm responding to you in the meantime while she calculates...

This is my second playthrough with the character after my original post, and I've been seeing a bit more success, trying to change my style of play to better suit the character.

Nobody really mentioned this in Krang's defense, but I failed to emphasize the stronger effect of Ruthless Coercion and how it becomes a very powerful card with Level I/II units. Being able to revitalize them after they are spent is very useful. Also, his Rengerate skill really comes in handy when you've got a handful/deckful of wounds and need to rectify your injuries. I think I undersold it in my initial write-up when I talked about his overall skillset.
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Councilofthevoid wrote:
Nobody really mentioned this in Krang's defense, but I failed to emphasize the stronger effect of Ruthless Coercion and how it becomes a very powerful card with Level III/IV units. Being able to revitalize them after they are spent is very useful.


Only level I and II units can be readied with the stronger effect of Ruthless Coercion.
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PhilP wrote:
Councilofthevoid wrote:
Nobody really mentioned this in Krang's defense, but I failed to emphasize the stronger effect of Ruthless Coercion and how it becomes a very powerful card with Level III/IV units. Being able to revitalize them after they are spent is very useful.


Only level I and II units can be readied with the stronger effect of Ruthless Coercion.


The irony, considering I just made a comment on someone else's thread about Mage Knight in regards to making mistakes during the gameplay with rules. I did know that, but for unknown reasons while I played my last game with Krang cooperatively, I did end up revitalizing Ice Mages (just twice, but still) even though I shouldn't have been able to do that. My brain lapsed. And I do hate making rule-mistakes like that.

You're right Phil, sorry.
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I was trying to come up with a reason for why I thought Krang was so great and it wasn't until I read through this thread that the rationale clicked for me. To me, Krang is great because many of his abilities and special starting cards are suited towards "Power Turns", which I believe the mastery of is a foundation to being a great Mage Knight player.

First let me explain what I mean by a Power Turn. In Mage Knight, you're probably playing 4-5 turns per round, with 1-2 really big turns per round. The relative size of those Power Turns will grow as you get stronger, but usually that means you're taking out a fame 3-4 orc, and taking out a Keep/Tower in the first round. In round 2, maybe that's a Dungeon and a Maze. The other "non-power" turns, you're probably moving around, setting up, building your crystal inventory, moving to a strategic location like a Magical Glade, or a Village to set up for a plunder, or something like that. But ultimately your fame/power is going to be driven by just a couple turns for each round. It won't be linear with each turn that you play.

So how do you have Power Turns? The following options allow you to, as another poster mentioned, "bank" your power:

- crystals
- units, and the ability to ready them
- increasing your max hand limit, including through Sparing Power, Villages, Temporal Portal, Meditation, Motivation etc.
- skills, especially those that can be used once per round

So how does this translate to Krang's cards ands skills?

Well, Savage Harvesting is pretty clear. You can get an easy crystal or three with it. Ruthless Coercion lets you easily recruit units, or, ready them, both of which fit into methods to develop a power turn.

Shamanic Ritual gives you a mana of any color, and during your quieter turns when you have no other action, you can flip it back. You'd be surprised at how many opportunities you have to do this. I'd wager it's 2-3 times per round on average of a wild card mana, so probably better than most crystal + mana skills. Sure it's lacking compared to other crystal generating skills in that it can't give you two mana at one go, but the wild card flexibility makes up for it, I'd say.

If you compare Battle Frenzy to Hot/Cold Swordsmanship, +4 physical is the same as +2 hot/cold against a physically resistant enemy. True, you'd end up losing it if you used +4 until you rested in that round, but the upside is that you'd get +4 against an enemy that isn't physically resistant, where Hot/Cold Swordsmanship keeps you at +2.

Puppet Master is similar. It's not a +2 attack/+3 block anytime you want like other combat skills; it's more like either a 0 or +3-4 attack/block, bigger bonus when it's ice/fire. So when you use it to attack/block, it's like another way to inflate your strength. BTW Stone Throwers are GREAT candidates if you get an early Puppet Master...

As a side note, Curse, while it doesn't fit as a "Power Turn" skill, is a great skill. To me it's comparable or maybe even better than Hot/Cold Swordsmanship, Shield Mastery, Burning/Freezing Power, and other combat skills because it is so flexible, and it works at range against unfortified units.
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Councilofthevoid wrote:
Also, I rarely use Savage Harvesting's ability to gain a crystal by discarding a card. Early on, using each card in your hand seems nearly essential and rarely do I want to toss one away. It's part of the reason that i dislike the Improvisation card. I don't like throwing a card away for an effect, especially when those inital cards play a large role for the first half of the game.

Mark Rosewater captures this problem quite well in his design discussions about Magic. He relates that a few years in they realised that players didn't really buy into mechanics that made them do things they didn't want to do. Throwing away cards being a case in point. Players like to play their cards. So even if a mechanic offers fair value for throwing one away, it can still feel like something you wouldn't want to do. And thus get down-rated. As other posters have commented, getting a crystal for a card (that often would be irrelevant at that moment in play) is actually fair value. But if feels like something you shouldn't want to do.

The characters in Mage Knight are well nuanced IMO. Even Norowas can play out powerfully if you work to his strengths. I enjoy him greatly in co-op games. And Eddie summarises well what Krang's great strength is. Mage Knight is all about the big turn.
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Yesterday, I played my first solo game with Krang, and I have to say that Savage Harvesting was easily my favorite action card. The only problem was that I was burning through my deck really fast.

Ruthless Coercion was a bit trickier to use. The timing never seemed to be quite right. But just like with Norowas, I'm generally not a big fan of abilities dealing with recruited units. I think, I actually only used it to get an advanced skill at a monastery, and later even replaced it with an advanced skill using the Training Advanced action.

The Shamanic Ritual skill was also something I used a lot. It can also be used to counter the effect of Savage Harvesting to a degree, i.e. in several turns I deliberately didn't take any actions, holding on to more cards than I'd usually do, to refresh the skill.
Normally, I feel bad sitting on a mine or glade just to gain more mana, but if you can refresh this skill at the same time, the extra benefit makes it feel worth it.

I'm definitely looking forward to my next game with Krang to get a look at some other skills.

Edit: Finished my second solo game, yesterday. New favorite hero skill: Puppet Master! This one's just plain awesome. I've also been able to make good use of Regenerate, espcecially in combination with Blood Ritual (Advanced Action card). I was also able to get more use out of Ruthless Coercion - it also synergizes nicely with Regenerate.
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Donald Walsh
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I've played Krang several times now and believe him to be (marginally) the most powerful MK, with Braevalar as the weakest. I think the earlier 4+1 are pretty close in power.

Of course, I just finished a Super Epic Conquest where most of the game I was using a combo of Ruthless Coercion + Crossbowmen + Banner of Fear, so that was OP to put it mildly.
 
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