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Rauhughes

Is mobility simply the most important hero trait?

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Hi guys,

Disclaimer: I'm a complete newbie to Descent having only taken the plunge last month after admiring from afar for a couple of years.

However...

From my limited experience thus far it seems Hero's with high mobility simply outshine those with other perks and benefits due to the objective nature of Descents quests. For example, it really doesn't matter that my Jain as Wildlander is practically useless at dealing damage as triggering her heroic feat, spending 5 stamina to gain 10 movement gives her twenty movement spaces, an attack to remove any speed bumps and an action left to still activate an objective ect. Add in running shot and nimble and this character seems like an objective completing machine who just runs from any trouble she encounters. In some quests this is almost an auto win, and often leaves our fighter wondering what the hell he came along for!!

Conversely, in another campaign one player has chosen the Dwarf from the core set with a movement of 3. Already the player is regretting his decision 3 quests into his 1st campaign. Often he just waves goodbye to the others and spends every trying to make combat with monsters who have no desire to engage him. I can feel his frustration rising already (which insidently makes his role playing of the dwarf particularly accurate! :) )

Is this a balance issue in the game, or do the slower, harder characters still have a place?

Thanks for any and all thoughts on this topic!!

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You are correct to observe that mobility is extremely crucial in most Descent campaigns.

 

As a general rule, if a character has a speed of 3 and low stamina, then unless I've planned for a hero to acquire a means to overcome a movement deficiency via Elven Boots (only available to 1 character), skills that give +1 speed or other movement increases (e.g. Carve a Path), teleportation abilities, or movement assistance from another character (e.g. Syndrael), then I simply don't take them on a traditional campaign.

 

They hamper the entire party on a multitude of quests, and end up frustrating to play as they struggle to keep up.

 

However, such slow characters do okay in co-op campaigns and in Road to Legend. These game types tend to have a lot more emphasis on scripted close quarters combats. The gradual map-unveiling means less rapid travel is required, and the automated AI does not exploit movement deficiencies the way an intelligent Overlord easily could.

 

As an example, I pretty much never consider Trenloe the Strong for a normal campaign despite his extremely impressive Heroic Ability, but he often kicks butt in the co-ops. Warriors in general can also make up for the deficiencies somewhat by playing as a Knight.

 

I personally weigh mobility very highly in comparison to other traits. This is why I believe Astarra to be the best mage in the entire game. She is the unparalleled queen of mobility, capable of traveling a jaw dropping 4 spaces in 1 movement point every single round, through difficult terrain and enemy figures, without requiring line of sight. Its kinda absurd and has made the Overlord nearly flip the table in frustration, as he is unable to stop her from hitting him from any angle with vicious Blast attacks.

Edited by Charmy

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Mobility is very important, but survivability (HP/defence), ability to avoid traps and curses and interact with objectives (attribute test) are also important, in my opinion. I'm currently playing Tahlia and despite her speed of 3 being a hindrance (when there is no monster in reach for her to slay) she's a pretty good character, because she's hard to kill and her balanced attributes make it easy for her to pass an average number of tests.

 

Also, Rauhugues, Jain's feat would allow her to move up to 10 spaces and attack but costs an action, so to get the 20 space movement you said in your post, you would also need to take a move action, on top of spending all you stamina.

Edited by Alarmed

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Thanks for the replies.

I can see your point Alarmed, and characteristic tests certainly seem very important too. First time we played I didn't even pay any attention to the characteristics at the bottom. Now I tend to find myself looking to those first above health/stamina ect. It just seems that a high movement is a better defence than, well, a better defence!! Hit points are largely irrelevant if you never get attacked. And sure there are plenty of overlord cards to stop your movement, at least there ain't a one in six chance of your movement action being wasted like with an attack.

I'll certainly be steering new players (I'm lucky that there's literally a queue of people waiting to play this game with me) away from love mobility characters as like Charmy points out, I'm already seeing how it can get frustrating fast. It almost makes me want to go easy on the slow characters as the overlord out of pity!!

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On the other side of things, I just played Trenloe the Strong in the Shadow Rune quest, and while he is a slow mover (equipped him in Act 2 Quest 1 with elves boots) he ultimately became an unstoppable machine of massive wounds and massive defense, which more then made up for his slower speed. I was also playing with a Spiritspeaker who was able to recover fatigue for me along with Trenloe being a Knight with Inspire, so he could easily add fatigue to each turn to "bring him up to speed" so they say (lol)... But ultimately I was very happy with my selection and Trenloe remains one of my favorite warriors, which now consist of Trenloe and Sir Valdir.

Although speed is important, if Jain is rolling through 20+ spaces at once, that's actually an issue with the overlord player not blocking properly, or taking advantage of knocking Jain on her ass from range when she separates from her group if she's able to slip through monster spaces. There are extreme ways to punish a hero who separated that significantly, and more often then not (for me at least) an overlord card or two will teach Jain that it quite fast.

Edited by Mordliss

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A lot of it depends on the strategies that each side uses. One of the best OL tactics in a lot of the missions (from the core set, at least) is to use large monsters to block hallways while the lieutenant accomplishes the objective. Having a really heavy hitter to open the way for your fast characters can make all the difference.

 

There's also nothing stopping the slower characters from taking ranged weapons. If your scout or wizard is upgrading, consider giving the old weapon to the warrior. They won't be able to use all of their skills, but they will have some more options for damage dealing.

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Indeed, speed is extremely valuable during the campaign, but as others have pointed out, if Jain decides to separate from her party, there are ways to punish a player for that.

 

I don't know which expansions you have, so I consider only the base game.

 

Jain has only 8 HP, strength 2, willpower 2. That mean you have some options:

1) immobilize. (Web trap, Merriods). As far as I know, you cannot interrupt her heroic feat with a web trap because it says 'move up to your speed', not 'perform a move action', but you can immobilize her after moving 10 spaces.

2) Blockade with large monsters

3) Attack with heavy hitters with reach (Ettins, Merriods). If she is out of fatigue, she cant take damage as fatigue anymore and 8 HP are gone fast! An Act I master Ettin can deal 8 damage (max) with one hit! Reach helps you to get in melee range. Even if you don't kill her: If she is heavily wounded, she can't spend all her fatigue any more, otherwise she risks instant death. Also mark the fact that she can't use nimble to get away from a large monster (i.e. shadow dragon) which expands into adjacency. Keep in mind that heavy hitters are even worse in Act II. An act II master ettin deals at maximum 10 damage with a single hit. Use OL cards to re-roll the X or get the surge. It is much better to hit Jain with these cards than the tank-healer duo.

4) Master ettins 'throw'. Since she can't use nimble to move away from a master ettin expanding into adjacency, you can throw her into a monster group. With 2 strength, she won't pass the test.

5) OL card 'dark charm'. With willpower 2 she can't resist very easily, so you can control her to run into a monster group.

6) Poison and Disease. Slowly drain her stamina and / or her life and you'll find her much less bolder. She'll prefer to hug the healer. The OL card 'poison dart' comes in handy, at least in the early campaign.

7) Drain her stamina even more: Howl (Barghests) is awesome. You can howl twice with each barghest if she makes the mistake to get in range voluntarily. This equals up to -8 fatigue since she probably won't pass the willpower test.

8) She is too fast to get in range? Use ranged monsters as well. Goblin Archers have a good range and deal a lot of damage due to their surge abilities. The master can deal 6 damage max, the minions 5 damage max and it's a 4/1 group. They are arrow fodder though :(. Elementals could be an option as well (use Air to deny her ranged attacks).

9) Once you have her down and separated from her party, keep her that way if you can.

10) Close doors with monsters. Costs an action which is worth 5 spaces in her case.

11) Quest choice. Just don't choose race quests if you can avoid it. Yes I know, easier said than done. (You may consider the following house-rule: the loosing side chooses the next quest, not the winning side. Some people like it better this way, and I am one of them)

 

 

So, this is all I can think of at the moment. Depending on the expansions, you have a lot more options, but I think this is enough for now.

 

 

To answer your general question: yes, mobility is extremely valuable, but it usually comes at the price of weak durability. At least you can punish a fast character from roaming freely so he has to stay with the party. Or you separate him on purpose

Edited by Chaoticus

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5) OL card 'dark charm'. With willpower 2 she can't resist very easily, so you can control her to run into a monster group.

 

You can use this to make her (or any hero) run into lava or hazardous terrain... she won't get knocked out, unless she's very low on HP, because her 'end of turn isn't until her next turn, but you can get a reliable amount of damage from moving her into several damaging squares repeatedly

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So, as the Overlord player would it be considered good stratergy to base target priority on mobility for all 'race themed' quests? Especially as the above noted low durability of such heros makes them a reasonable farm for threat/OL cards?

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Blocking hasn't worked too good for me so far, even my master ettins get pile-driven into the concrete in about 2 rounds if they concentrate him down. Still, I suppose two rounds is two rounds.

My biggest headache at the moment is the stupid bard skill that lets him deal one damage to all monsters in 3 squares when they activate. It's just an utter death sentence for things like zombies and goblins and let's the heros hack me down to 1-2 health and then just let me die off through my own activations. Any advice on dealing with this tuneful sucker?

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Park your Ettin in the middle or better yet, a nice Shadow Dragon or Golem and lull the heroes into believing they are almost able to kill it, and play Dark Resilience ... Let them do it all over again.

Edited by Mordliss

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So manticore's, medusa and golems all go on the shopping list!

I've been having most sucess with flesh moulders, being both ranged and able to somewhat mitigate the auto damage with mend. The only problems is they're just not that great to start with.

I have Naga's. May fill a similar role to the medusa?

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Medusae are unparalleled with regards to nasty conditions and golems are in my view the best blocker in the game. Being unmovable and immune to pierce is a big deal since pierce is a very common attack modifier.

 

Also, when blocking a hallway, keep in mind to move your blocker a few spaces each turn. This way, the heroes are forced to use a move action or fatigue to get in range again. Combine the blockers with a master flesh moulder if possible. Remember that he can use 'heal' twice each turn since the skill is not an attack! There are also OL card which allow you to heal your monsters. This way, you can keep your Ettin alive for some 3-4 turns and then comes the minion to block for another turn. This should give you the time you need to finish the objective.

 

And you want to check out the shadowmancer deck. There is the OL card shadow of doubt which forces a hero to take his turn after all the other heroes. This way, you can have the damage dealer go last when the blocker is almost down, forcing the fast scout to waist actions (assuming the other two heroes don't manage to kill the blocker). Another turn for you. If your heroes are predominately ranged then Black out comes in handy.

Edited by Chaoticus

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The golems are great because they can't receive conditions, can't be pierced and the master can't be moved unless it chooses to. On top of that they have good health (8/10 & 10/12 compared to Ettin's 5/8 & 7/9). The heroes will need to output enough damage to get past them, and this without conditions/pierce. Combine this with Elixir of Stone and especially Rune of the Phoenix from the enchanter deck and they'll be even harder to get past.

 

There are other options as well, not saying Medusa are the best to deal out the Immobilized condition. It was just the first ranged monster with Immobilize that came to mind. (Actually, just checked and its the only one that can immobilize from range it seems, all the other ranged monsters need to be adjacent) The other surges it has are conditions as well, so it could be that it doesn't actually do enough damage on some rolls to actually apply a condition (because it doesn't have for example pierce, or extra damage as options)

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Ok well that's me hook line and sinker on the golems then! Are there any other monsters packing heal like effects (that target other models) that the master flesh moulders have? I like the flesh moulders, but I don't like the models and I tend to shy away for that reason.

I'm going to see if I can really isolate the scout with the Naga's in the meantime.

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If you have a hero with an aura like effect, you can use monsters with "moving" abilities to displace the hero out of range.

 

The bone horror's lash, the hell hounds hunt, the Ettin's throw... you can use these to place the hero away from your monsters and his allies, then use your second action to move your monster away from the aura.

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And the tracker provides you with a nice list:

http://d2etracker.com/stats_monster_attributes.php?filters=displace

 

By the way, I personally prefer plague worms over nagas. They cannot immobilize, but all three can displace a hero (even two heroes at once) cause them to suffer fatigue and have weaken, which is usually better than poison.

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At the moment I'm suck to core, SoN, MoR and stewards of the secret expansions it seems the bottom line is I need a better selection of nasties.

Can overlord players recommend thier top three expansions for monsters/conditions/decks based solely on the overlords point of view? It sounds like the heros and monster pack with medusa and golems is high up there!!

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I've been looking at bonds of the wild but one thing puts me off; that's a lot of painting to do from just one H&M pack!!

Maybe making important decisions based on how lazy I am isn't a sound stratergy after all. Who knew!?! Haha

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...

As far as I know, you cannot interrupt her heroic feat with a web trap because it says 'move up to your speed', not 'perform a move action', but you can immobilize her after moving 10 spaces.

...

 

I think you can "web trap" her feat, because the card says "when entering an empty space" rather than "move action". Just saying, that's how I'm being playing it too. 

 

[Edit]: I do the same for Silhouette's feat.

Edited by Volkren

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