Boris Dvorkin
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Introductory caveat: I have never played a game as Wolfhawk. I'm not saying she is bad. I'm saying that she looks bad, as she has underperformed in every game I've seen her played, and her skills look really lackluster.

So, please do not pounce on me with "If you've never played her, you can't speak with authority!" I know I can't speak with authority, but the fact of the matter is that she has looked so bad in games where I've seen her, that I don't even *want* to try her.

Here's where that impression comes from.

All four initial heroes have a couple of "outstanding" skills, a lot of "solid" skills, and one "meh" skill. Of course, with a little ingenuity, one can always devise scenarios in which the "outstanding" skills aren't worth taking and the "meh" skills really shine, but in general, that's how the skills break down.

Wolfhawk appears to have her requisite two "outstanding" skills -- Wolf's Howl and Know Your Prey -- and a core of solid skills to follow suit. The problem is that I count FOUR skills that seem thoroughly destined for the "meh" category, making it difficult to leverage her into a strong force.

Dueling, Taunt, On Her Own, and Hawk Eyes just seem so, so underwhelming. What am I missing? If you have experience with Wolfhawk, tell me how you've succeeded. Or confirm for me that's she's bad.

Arythea can manipulate wounds and mana. Norowas can beast up his units. Tovak is a flexible fighter, and Goldyx can do a bit of everything. Wolfhawk can ... what? What's her shtick?
 
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David desJardins
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Boarass wrote:
The problem is that I count FOUR skills that seem thoroughly destined for the "meh" category, making it difficult to leverage her into a strong force. Dueling, Taunt, On Her Own, and Hawk Eyes just seem so, so underwhelming.


That seems right to me, except I might rate Hawk Eyes as "ok" rather than "meh". But, yeah, some bad ones there.
 
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Joseph Cochran
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I really like Wolfhawk, so I'll take a stab at it. Remember that while she's okay with units she's designed to stand a little more on her own two feet than other mage knights in the beginning of the game, so you do need to look at her through the prism of "I'll wait to get my units until closer to the end of the game" than through the eyes of someone like Norowas who wants all units all the time.

First let's look at her unique cards: Tirelessness, a card that amplifies movement (especially good against cumbersome enemies) and Swift Reflexes, a far more versatile version of Swiftness that includes straight up enemy attack reduction. Both are pretty strong cards for her and stand up well with the other MK's specials.

Now the skills. You have already noted the power of Wolf's Howl/Howl of the Pack (both of which give her the same benefit) and Know Your Prey. I'd also rate Deadly Aim as an incredibly strong skill: because it adds to the element of the attack it essentially acts as one additional card every single combat of the best type of attack you have. It's crazy good.

Okay, so let's get to some of the others. Taunt is specialized, to be sure. It will usually be used for -1 attack (which is actually wonderful against elemental and/or swift attacks: don't underestimate the use of being able to just ignore up to 4 points that would have had to come from physical block), but the other half can be good in special circumstances: it's not unheard of to have too much block, and if that can turn into attack via this skill, it's a good thing. I think because it's a little more situational it doesn't sit among her best skills, but it's pretty good.

Dueling is deceptively strong, particularly early in the game when she won't have as many units as it turns into a significant Fame bonus for almost any enemy. You can't use your units to affect the enemies, but some unit powers don't do that and the extra block and attack (particularly if you get the skill early vs. orcs) can make a huge difference. I do put it a bit below the four mentioned above since its benefit lessens as the game progresses, but it's not bad.

On Her Own is pretty specialized, and I haven't used it as much. But it's fantastic if she can get to monasteries, as it's essentially half of an Advanced Action all by itself, almost half of a spell, or 1.5 points of healing. You have to know that you're going to use it, but it's a great way to exploit conquered sites.

Hawk Eyes is the only one I kind of feel is a little off the mark. Its move is of course nice, but the ancillary effects are a bit esoteric and don't really help at all once you're into the late game. That's the one I have always passed on with her.

Both of her Refreshing skills have heal on them as befits her soloing tendencies, so they're on par with the other characters' "Crystal plus something" skills, as is her Motivation Skill. So I'd call those three even.
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Erathor Erathor
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Just ignore her snakey long neck, and stare at her boob. After a while you will find her not bad looking at all. Lol...


 
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Sam Carroll
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Erathor wrote:
Just ignore her snakey long neck, and stare at her boob. After a while you will find her not bad looking at all. Lol...




That's kind of creepy . . .
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David desJardins
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jsciv wrote:
First let's look at her unique cards: Tirelessness, a card that amplifies movement (especially good against cumbersome enemies) and Swift Reflexes, a far more versatile version of Swiftness that includes straight up enemy attack reduction.


The cards are fine.

Taunt for -1 attack to make blocking easier is almost always worse than Shield Mastery, which already isn't that great of a skill. Of course, it's more flexible. Still seems weak.

I agree that the potential of getting +1 Fame on many turns from Dueling makes it better than I had considered.

The influence skills are all weak, and On Her Own is the worst. You just can't afford (in competitive games) to spend much time sitting around buying cards at monasteries, plus they mostly get burned down so there is rarely more than one card available. How many turns do you interact, as opposed to fighting? And, of those, how many don't involve hiring units? The only way I can see this being useful is if you get some of the actions that use influence, like Diplomacy or Peaceful Moment.

I don't understand what "it's a great way to exploit conquered sites" means. How would you use On Her Own to exploit conquered sites??
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Pawel Bulacz
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The only site I could think of is Mage Tower.
But buying spells without crystal generating cards is bad idea.
 
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Boris Dvorkin
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Okay! I was going to say, "Thanks for the responses, everyone!" but I'll have to downgrade that to, "Thanks for the responses, most of you, especially you, Joseph!"

I'd forgotten about Deadly Aim -- in particular, I'd forgotten that it can be used for regular attack as well as ranged attack. So it's kind of like a hybrid of the sharpshooting/swordsmanship skills, with the bonus that it's more versatile and the caveat that you have to play at least one card to get the effect. Seems good!

Just to clarify: despite your praise of Dueling, you still rank it below Taunt?

All in all, I'm a bit more inclined to at least try her once. Having 4 "meh" skills is okay if one of them (dueling) has "solid" value in the early game, as you say. This means that in the early game, there are only 3 skills she really doesn't want to draw, and that's on par with Norowas not wanting Leadership, Forward March, and Inspiration until he's got some units.
 
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Joseph Cochran
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Boarass wrote:
Just to clarify: despite your praise of Dueling, you still rank it below Taunt?


Yeah, I go back and forth on that. Taunt retains its usefulness later in the game, so I am more likely to take it through the length of the game, whereas Dueling I feel like I get less benefit as I get to the endgame where the larger combats require units for support. That said, they're both the second tier to me and when they come up has an impact on my decision moreso than the first tier skills.
 
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Joseph Cochran
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DaviddesJ wrote:

The influence skills are all weak, and On Her Own is the worst. You just can't afford (in competitive games) to spend much time sitting around buying cards at monasteries, plus they mostly get burned down so there is rarely more than one card available. How many turns do you interact, as opposed to fighting? And, of those, how many don't involve hiring units? The only way I can see this being useful is if you get some of the actions that use influence, like Diplomacy or Peaceful Moment.


Once again my penchant for cooperative games and yours for competitive games means that we'll have different opinions on these things. If I'm playing with a group that habitually burns monasteries like yours does the use of that skill will plummet, sure.
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Ben Kyo
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I'll just add that since both of Wolfhawk's starting cards give substantial speed benefits this is, for me, her 'shtick'. She's faster off the bat than anyone else. All the other characters tend to have movement problems unless they get their movement skill early, and for some game types you won't want to take movement AAs on level-up. 'on her own' is the only really awful skill she has, but the other +influence skills are bad anyway, so it doesn't really change the balance IMO.
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Joseph Cochran
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korxonthos wrote:
I find taunt powerful in a good number of instances. If you have spells such as whirlwind that prevent one enemy from attacking, the attack boost the enemy gains becomes irrelevant. Also, if you're going siege/range, taunt is essentially a "+2 range attack of any element" against enemies with no arcane immunity, and as such, the taunt skill is sometimes actually more powerful than Cold Swordsmanship and Hot Swordsmanship.



The full description of the skill notes that Taunt cannot be used until the Block phase (so can't be used for ranged/siege) and that the armor reduction does not apply if the enemy is prevented from attacking.
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Boris Dvorkin
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korxonthos wrote:
If you have spells such as whirlwind that prevent one enemy from attacking, the attack boost the enemy gains becomes irrelevant.

Nope!

korxonthos wrote:
Also, if you're going siege/range, taunt is essentially a "+2 range attack of any element" against enemies with no arcane immunity, and as such, the taunt skill is sometimes actually more powerful than Cold Swordsmanship and Hot Swordsmanship.

Aaaaand nope. :D

Those both violate the rules pretty hardcore, Zen. Though to be fair, if Taunt did work that way, then I'd agree with you 100% that it's a good skill. Brokenly good, as a matter of fact. ;)
 
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David desJardins
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Boarass wrote:
Those both violate the rules pretty hardcore, Zen. Though to be fair, if Taunt did work that way, then I'd agree with you 100% that it's a good skill. Brokenly good, as a matter of fact.


Yeah, I've seen people get this wrong too in PBF games, even though the text is quite clear. Maybe this explains why some people value the skill much more.
 
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Joseph Cochran
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Note that I was the first to correct the rule and I still think the skill is okay. Not top tier, mind you. Just not trash.
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Paul Glickman
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Hm. I actually rate Dueling quite high in the first bit of the game, +1 attack, block, and fame per combat seems like quite a bit to me. Taunt is just a slightly worse Shield Mastery, which I've seen used to good effect... But Taunt is my least favourite of her skills other than On Her Own. Which is quite bad.

All in all, she seems quite strong, just like the rest of the Knights. She's the most mobile of them, which can be very handy as well.
 
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Paul Glickman
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Nope. "This armor reduction does not happen if the enemy unit is prevented from attacking."
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Mikko Kaskela
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Taunt is indeed a better skill than I first gave it credit for. The attack reduction is better than shield mastery since it also helps when you don't block the attack, often helping you to get below that armor multiplier. And the option to reduce enemy armor is an excellent alternative, especially in cases when giving the enemy 2 more attack is not going to hurt you at all...

Wolfhawk has these good skills that reduce the risk of bad randoms (Taunt, Know your prey, Wolf's howl) so I'd say in addition to mobility survivability is her other forte .
 
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Mikko Kaskela
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As for Hawk Eyes, don't know why they did not make exploration cost one less also during day. Would not have made it overpowered.
 
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Paul Glickman
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How good to people find Know Your Prey to be?
 
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Ben Kyo
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Know your prey is awesome. Definitely one of the better skills out there.
I agree that I can't see any good reason why they complicated Hawk Eyes by restricting 1 point exploration to night time.
 
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