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Subject: Finally completed the "6 solos, 6 characters" goal rss

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Adam Stapley
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Hello everyone!

Over the last week I've played a solo game of Mage Knight with all six of the available characters. If you haven't done this, I highly recommend it. It was a blast. Anyway, here are my observations:

My play style includes three specific parts that affect which characters I prefer:

Units are disposable
If a keep isn't conquered in the first two rounds, they're ignored completely
Dungeon>Ruin>Monastery>Mage Tower>Keep>Other stuff



With these three developed, my highest scores and favorite characters follow:

Norowas is my worst. I barely won a 4/6 conquest. The unit mechanic is not something I take advantage wholly, and without Call to Arms getting me a couple of good units for free, I wouldn't have won at all.

Next on my suck list is Tovak. While he has some great access to elemental blocks and attacks, for me it seemed just a little too specific. Maybe it was just that I happened to come against a lot of ice resist and ice attack baddies, but it was just a little too stacked toward an element for me to really strive on.

Starting the mediocrity, Krang. While he's incredibly fun, his skills don't seem to build into one great strategy as well as many of the other characters do. He's kind of everywhere at once. While I absolutely adore Puppet Master, he seems to have more "misses" in the skill category than the other characters.

The top of the mediocrity chain goes to Arythea. I don't generally take a huge number of wounds early on in the game, and while the knowledge that I can do so is comforting, it tends to not be too big of a factor. Her skills are solid, building in a highly offensive way with access to elemental attacks.

Second place goes to Goldyx. For me, he feels like "Krang gone right." He's a jack of all trades, but he does it by powering cards with nearly endless mana, not by having a hodgepodge of skills. Scoring 219 on a 6/10 conquest was a surprise, as up to that point I'd only played Goldyx once, and didn't think I would like him.

First place, Wolfhawk. I think her symbol is the coolest, and she fits my play style perfectly. Her ability to nullify unseen threats from the enemies allows me to end up with fewer road blocks than any other character. Know Your Enemy is my favorite skill in the entire game. A 227 point victory over Volkare solidified her as my favorite.

I'd love to read other people's rankings in this same way! I've only played some of these characters twice, so I may have just had bad experiences.
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Roger Reisinger
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Im not the most experienced player but I agree with you completely, though I might place Arythea above Goldyx for 2nd spot.

I just recently played my first game with Krang and he was incredibly fun. I loved Savage Harvesting and moving into position, discarding some cards and starting my next turn with a new hand and a bunch of crystals. Where he falls flat is exactly as you stated, his skills are mediocre at best.

In my pvp game I was only able to get 2 skills before the game was over. I had battle frenzy and master of chaos and both weren't that important, my other choices could have been Battle Hardened and Disguise.

My opponent playing Arythea was able to grab power of pain as her first skill and she never looked back. I would argue that Arythea may be the most powerful Mage Knight in pvp just for her ability to use wounds efficiently. Ill have to play more pvp games to see if that is true!
 
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Kasper Lauest
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I have played each character at least 5 times, with Norowas getting the most plays (10). I always play regular solo conquest with the cities at 5/8. I always win (except for my very first solo conquest, which I have omitted from my statistics below).

These are my average scores:

1. Krang - 197,0
2. Norowas - 194,4
3. Wolfhawk - 192,2
4. Goldyx - 178,7
5. Tovak - 176,4
6. Arythea - 175,5

I wouldn't put too much weight on that though, as I'm sure the differences aren't statistically significant.

With Norowas, the first few games were lowscoring and infact he used to be the mage knight with the worst average, but in august I had several 200+ games with him. The key here is getting a lot of good units and keeping a good reputation and/or having influence skills or cards will help you massively here. Once you get a few solid units you can just wreck havoc with Norowas, especially if you can get his bonds of loyalty skill (always a must-grab with Norowas).
 
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David desJardins
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Obviously using the wounds is much more powerful in games where wounds don't count against your score at the end.

In competitive scenarios (other than Conquer and Hold), if you don't get rid of all of your wounds by the end that's a pretty significant score penalty. Which makes Arythea's wound-based skills (and Crystal Joy) less good.

Speaking of Krang's skills, I do think that Regenerate can be awfully good. It's nice as a way to use black dice at night (like Universal Power).
 
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Ben Kyo
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Forward 1, Forward 2, Forward 3... siege attack 5?
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Norowas is swingy, and requires play geared to his strengths. Very strong when played right.

AtStapley wrote:
Krang. While he's incredibly fun, his skills don't seem to build into one great strategy as well as many of the other characters do. He's kind of everywhere at once. While I absolutely adore Puppet Master, he seems to have more "misses" in the skill category than the other characters.

Krang has a few skills that are straight up better than their equivalents in other characters (Battle Frenzy, Arcane Disguise, Regenerate) and Shamanic Ritual, which is a strong contender for best skill in the game. I have the impression that Puppet Master is weak, but I'm not sure as I've never taken it.
 
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David desJardins
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I'm not convinced that Arcane Disguise is "straight-up better" than Dark Negotiation or Bright Negotiation. Sure, it's better if you're at -5 or X on the Reputation track. And if you take this skill then maybe that becomes more likely. But not every game goes like that.
 
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Alex Brown
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I've never heard anyone claim Wolfhawk as the best before!

Agree with David RE: wounds - as such I rely on lower-level, high armour units like Woodsmen and Utem Guardsmen to keep Wounds minimal in the early running.

I guess it's no surprise I love Norowas and find Wolfhawk harder
 
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Kasper Lauest
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For solo games (which is the only way I play), I think the mage knights are extremely well balanced. I don't think any one character is clearly better than any other character.
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Kasper Lauest
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Well, let's have some fun with a little card analysis. Let's look at the two special cards that each character has.

Tovak:
Cold Toughness (instead of Determination). This card allows Tovak to play aggressively early in the game, because the stonger effect can block most enemies. Clearly a strong card.

Instict (instead of improvisation). I feel that improvisation tends to be overvalued. It's flexible, yes, but it comes with a price. Instinct is better, giving you the flexibility without the need to discard a card that you don't want to discard. Definitely a good card, but on the other hand, not a huge upgrade on improvisation.

Arythea:
Battle Versatility (instead of Rage). Just gives you much more flexibility in a battle than Rage. Good card.

Mana Pull (instead of Mana Draw). Again, more flexibility than Mana Draw, including the ability of taking a black mana die that would otherwise have been depleted. As for upgraded cards, this doesn't strike me as all that amazing, but obviously better than Mana draw.

Goldyx:
Will Focus (instead of Concentration). This is really strong to me. The ability to play Will focus on Swiftness alone is pretty huge.

Crystal Joy (instead of crystalization). This is a strong crystal gainer, but can also be a trap card. Sure crystals are great, but Mage Knight is a game of managing tempo and you risk losing a lot of tempo with this card if you get greedy. It's all about knowing when you really need those crystals and when you're better off doing something else.

Arguably Goldyx has the strongest upgrades of any of the characters, but you need to know how to use them.

Norowas:
Noble Manners (instead of Promise). I believe a lot of players considers this a weak upgrade. I disagree. If you play to Norowas' strengths, which is UNITS, then getting that +1 reputation (and +1 fame) every round is pretty valuable. You pretty much ALWAYS want to play the stronger effect here to get that +1 reputation.

Rejuvenate (instead of Tranquility). Again this looks weak unless you play to Norowas' strength. Norowas is not about taking wounds, but about getting and using units. You usually want to use this to ready a unit, but if you have no spent units and no wounds, go ahead and get that green crystal.

Overall, on the surface, Norowas' upgrades look like the weakest of any character, but if you play to his strengths it works really really well.

Wolfhawk:
Tirelessness (instead of Stamina). This also looks weak, but especially newer players underestimates move points. This card can provide some serious move points which will help you more than you think.

Swift Reflexes (instead of Swiftness). Swiftness is a decent card, but how often do you find yourself not really being able to use it optimally? Swift Reflexes gives you the flexibility that the original card lacks.

Krang:
Ruthless Coercion (instead of Threaten). This card is really really hard to value. It looks weak and I probably haven't really figured it out yet, but it's probably decent for recruiting units even if the reputation hit hurts.

Savage Harvesting (instead of March). This is such a fun card. And good too. A really handy way to do two things you want to do at once: moving and gaining crystals - especially if you have some cards on hand that are less useful for you, or if the dummy player is ahead of you and you might as well get some good use of your cards.

Overall, I think the designers did an incredibly good job on these upgraded cards. They are all better than the cards they substitute and they all add flavour to their character, yet none of them seem overpowered at all.
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Georg D.
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BlueSwan wrote:
Well, let's have some fun with a little card analysis. Let's look at the two special cards that each character has.

Tovak:
Cold Toughness (instead of Determination). This card allows Tovak to play aggressively early in the game, because the stonger effect can block most enemies. Clearly a strong card.


I want to add that some of the special cards lose their appeal once you have several advanced actions in your hand - cold toughness stays a great card until the end.

Quote:

Arythea:
Battle Versatility (instead of Rage). Just gives you much more flexibility in a battle than Rage. Good card.

great card - elemental attack and additional ranged combat are early in the game a great way to get your machine going.


Quote:

Crystal Joy (instead of crystalization). This is a strong crystal gainer, but can also be a trap card. Sure crystals are great, but Mage Knight is a game of managing tempo and you risk losing a lot of tempo with this card if you get greedy. It's all about knowing when you really need those crystals and when you're better off doing something else.

I thinkl this card is e bit better with Volkare-Scenarios. I have the feeling that in these scenarios you more often have a turn where you don't mind to wait a turn until he moves somewhere else or until he finally appears to the final battle.

Quote:

Norowas:
Noble Manners (instead of Promise). I believe a lot of players considers this a weak upgrade. I disagree. If you play to Norowas' strengths, which is UNITS, then getting that +1 reputation (and +1 fame) every round is pretty valuable. You pretty much ALWAYS want to play the stronger effect here to get that +1 reputation.

The problem is not that the card is not strong - the problem is that you are not guaranteed that you can make good use of it. Usually I want to move and fight every/every second turn but recruit about once a round. So if I draw the card in the wrong moment it is not much of a help - either I draw it early when I don't stand near a recruiting point it blocks space in my hand I would rather use for combat cards. When it is at the bottom of the drawpile it is sometimes difficult to play in a way that I spare my recruitment until the end of the round. With the other cards it is more likely to make good use of them. In addition it can happen that you have only keep and tower units but only find monasteries in this case this card doesn't help.
Perhaps it would have been more helpful if the card would allow you to use a village like an recruitment camp.
Beside this I agree - the card is great IF you can use it each round.

Quote:

Rejuvenate (instead of Tranquility). Again this looks weak unless you play to Norowas' strength. Norowas is not about taking wounds, but about getting and using units. You usually want to use this to ready a unit, but if you have no spent units and no wounds, go ahead and get that green crystal.

refreshing a unit never lookes weak to me ;-)

Quote:

Krang:
Ruthless Coercion (instead of Threaten). This card is really really hard to value. It looks weak and I probably haven't really figured it out yet, but it's probably decent for recruiting units even if the reputation hit hurts.

I was never a big fan of threaten but I got used to play Ruthless Coercion quite often. The extra influence sometimes makes a difference and with Krang I know that I can get a skill which negates the negative reputation. And again the possibility to refresh a unit can be quite strong.

Quote:

Overall, I think the designers did an incredibly good job on these upgraded cards. They are all better than the cards they substitute and they all add flavour to their character, yet none of them seem overpowered at all.

I agree! (Although I think the theme in the expansion characters could have been a bit stronger.)
 
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Christian Shelton
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Here are my (current) thoughts, primarily on the solo version.

First, I think taking a keep late in the game can be very helpful. It can give you a base from which to launch an assault with a great number of cards (especially if a couple were taken earlier). Coupled with Sparing Power or Motivation, you can easily get 10-15 card hands which help conquer the larger cities in a single attack.

However, I agree that a lone tower for no reason is probably not worth it (unless it gives you the level-up you seek) late in the game.

I have found Wolfhawk to be the most difficult character for me. I think I'm reasonably well experienced and understand how to employ movement, but I guess my play style didn't find movement to be horribly problematic for the other characters. I find it difficult to put together long sequences of movement (for which her abilities as well-suited). Her agility upgrade it very nice, however and does fit my play-style well. Her skills are difficult to employ to full power (or rather, it is hard to predict whether they will be useful). Of course, others seem to find her fine, so this is probably just me.

I have only played a few times with Krang. The first was a 8/11 solo city conquest in which I managed a personal record in scoring. I found him over powered. Subsquent plays have shown him to be strong, but not quite as the first. I find his skills also to be a hodge-podge of powers. I'm still trying to make full sense of him. I like his upgraded march (it's easy to like) and ruthlessness (or whatever) is reasonable too.

Norowas I find to be the most "swingy." After hitting the first city (especially if it is the white one), if properly managed, his army can be impressive for the second city. However, getting to that point can be difficult. His mana skills are for while and green which are harder to manage for combat. He has a hard time breaking unit resistances, I find which can be a barrier in the middle-game. While his upgraded promise is fine (probably a little weak), his upgraded tranquility is fabulous. It means one good unit for him is worth double if properly managed. But, I can certainly understand the difficulty with this character.

Tovak is always a pleasure for me to play. I seldom find myself struggling to get what I want done. His skills are straight-forward and don't require too much planning. He can tend to whatever the offers send. Cold Determination is nice (although I miss the ice portion that used to be there). I love Instinct. I feel like it gives me an extra card in my deck, most of the time.

Goldyx can be fun. If the right offensive cards don't come out in the offer, he can be difficult to power up (as his specialty is mana, but you have to have something to spend it on). This might be my more "opportunistic" approach to the offers at fault here (and not planning a bit better). Will Focus is my favorite of any of the upgraded cards. That extra +1 *and* the ability to generate green mana (as a crystal!) makes it almost worth an advanced action, in my mind. Crystal Joy, by contrast is the quagmire that Kasper describes.

Arythea is also fun. Sometimes I go overboard with wounds with her and fall because of it. Her mana abilities are close to Goldyx, at least in terms of providing a couple per turn (but not for stockpiling). Mana pull is great, with the added flexibility of two difficult colors outstanding (it can power an advanced version of a spell by itself -- well, with a white mana). Of course, the ability to do at least a little fire damage from the upgraded rage is wonderful in the early game (and even in the late game as a "plus" to other fire/ice attacks).

In general, except for Wolfhawk, I haven't found any of them to be really troublesome. I'm glad to hear that someone finds Wolfhawk the best. I should give the character more tries. You've spurred me to do so.



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David desJardins
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BlueSwan wrote:
Crystal Joy (instead of crystalization). This is a strong crystal gainer, but can also be a trap card. Sure crystals are great, but Mage Knight is a game of managing tempo and you risk losing a lot of tempo with this card if you get greedy. It's all about knowing when you really need those crystals and when you're better off doing something else.


I never play solo; Crystal Joy is hugely different in a competitive (2-player) game because round management is so different. Being the one to declare the end of the round means your opponent is getting extra turns, so the ability to stall effectively is huge. If you can play one card per turn while sitting on a mine to get two crystals a turn, you put a lot of pressure on your opponent.

Quote:
Noble Manners (instead of Promise). I believe a lot of players considers this a weak upgrade. I disagree. If you play to Norowas' strengths, which is UNITS, then getting that +1 reputation (and +1 fame) every round is pretty valuable. You pretty much ALWAYS want to play the stronger effect here to get that +1 reputation.


You just described the downside of the card. If you draw it at the wrong time for interaction then it can greatly restrict your flexibility, because playing it as the last card sideways in a battle really hurts.
 
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Alex Brown
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BlueSwan wrote:
Noble Manners (instead of Promise). I believe a lot of players considers this a weak upgrade. I disagree. If you play to Norowas' strengths, which is UNITS, then getting that +1 reputation (and +1 fame) every round is pretty valuable. You pretty much ALWAYS want to play the stronger effect here to get that +1 reputation.


I think it's the +1 Fame on the first (or perhaps, second) round that is underrated. Of course, you'd like both, but this is one of the few +1 Fame givers that can be available when that boost is worth the most for levelling up.

It's hard to go wrong with Norowas with a Village and something to recruit in it straight away. Noble Manners falls away greatly, so you really HAVE to use it from the get-go.
 
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David desJardins
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Maybe playing with random tile orientation (as I always do) makes Norowas weaker. The villages on the green tiles are often on the bottom row and never in the top row.
 
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AtStapley wrote:
The top of the mediocrity chain goes to Arythea. I don't generally take a huge number of wounds early on in the game, and while the knowledge that I can do so is comforting, it tends to not be too big of a factor. Her skills are solid, building in a highly offensive way with access to elemental attacks.
I can agree that Arythea is a dangerous choice in multiplayer, where ending with 6 wounds means -15 points. In solo games I find her a powerful choice, though. You can take more wounds than other characters. That means you can take (and you should take) risks that others can't. That allows her to progress faster than any other mage. At the end, you should score more points in other aspects, and that compensates the penalisation for the wounds.
In multiplayer, as I said, she's risky. Taking early risks for huge rewards and a couple of wounds pays off if you draw one of her wound management skills early. If not, it can be a disaster.

BlueSwan wrote:
Arythea:
Battle Versatility (instead of Rage). Just gives you much more flexibility in a battle than Rage. Good card.

Mana Pull (instead of Mana Draw). Again, more flexibility than Mana Draw, including the ability of taking a black mana die that would otherwise have been depleted. As for upgraded cards, this doesn't strike me as all that amazing, but obviously better than Mana draw.
Battle Versatility, for me, is a strong update. Range attack is very useful at the beginning of the game. It's the only initial card with elemental damage. Even the siege 2 attack may be useful combined with concentration to kill 5 of the keep enemies at range phase (including 2 heroes). Block 4 is very useful in 2-players games.

I find Mana Pull a great card in solo games. Its advanced effect allows you to undeplete two dice. It's quite common to want to use it to get two tokens of different color. In solo games, where nobody takes your dice (well, only Volkare), it gives a lot of planning power, since you can decide which dice you want in the source. For multiplayer games, is also useful. In PvP you can negate three dice to your opponent with a single card. However, it is the only case (I think) that the basic card may be better than the improved one: if you have two dice in the source, you can use one die to power mana draw but you can't use advanced mana pull powered by a die.
 
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Magnesi
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DaviddesJ wrote:
BlueSwan wrote:
Crystal Joy (instead of crystalization). This is a strong crystal gainer, but can also be a trap card. Sure crystals are great, but Mage Knight is a game of managing tempo and you risk losing a lot of tempo with this card if you get greedy. It's all about knowing when you really need those crystals and when you're better off doing something else.


I never play solo; Crystal Joy is hugely different in a competitive (2-player) game because round management is so different. Being the one to declare the end of the round means your opponent is getting extra turns, so the ability to stall effectively is huge. If you can play one card per turn while sitting on a mine to get two crystals a turn, you put a lot of pressure on your opponent.

Quote:
Noble Manners (instead of Promise). I believe a lot of players considers this a weak upgrade. I disagree. If you play to Norowas' strengths, which is UNITS, then getting that +1 reputation (and +1 fame) every round is pretty valuable. You pretty much ALWAYS want to play the stronger effect here to get that +1 reputation.


You just described the downside of the card. If you draw it at the wrong time for interaction then it can greatly restrict your flexibility, because playing it as the last card sideways in a battle really hurts.

Crystal Joy is also very situational. If you draw it in the last turn of the round, is pretty useless. The ability of discarding wounds is very useful if you have the wound at hand and blue mana is available.
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