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Pretending to be developers: fixing the Uthuk Y'llan

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I would not recommend to introduce a "stackable condition" with multiple Bleeding tokens. This would be a totally new concept and it is prone to create confusion. I would rather leave the Bleeding condition as it is but change the Bone Blast text to read "Instead of advancing, this unit may move one hex and perform...". This modification is stronger than the one I originally suggested. It opens up very interesting tactical possibilities. Remember that a unit is NOT constrained to a single advance. With this modification, I think the Grotesques become more desirable than the Obscenes in a number of situations.

Edited by g1ul10

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I would not recommend to introduce a "stackable condition" with multiple Bleeding tokens. This would be a totally new concept and it is prone to create confusion. I would rather leave the Bleeding condition as it is but change the Bone Blast text to read "Instead of advancing, this unit may move one hex and perform...". This modification is stronger than the one I originally suggested. It opens up very interesting tactical possibilities. Remember that a unit is NOT constrained to a single advance. With this modification, I think the Grotesques become more desirable than the Obscenes in a number of situations.

I like your idea. Couldn't you move the grotesque in any direction as well? Because that would be really cool. Yeah, stacking tokens is a little weird admittedly. But I still like that as well.

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I would not recommend to introduce a "stackable condition" with multiple Bleeding tokens. This would be a totally new concept and it is prone to create confusion. I would rather leave the Bleeding condition as it is but change the Bone Blast text to read "Instead of advancing, this unit may move one hex and perform...". This modification is stronger than the one I originally suggested. It opens up very interesting tactical possibilities. Remember that a unit is NOT constrained to a single advance. With this modification, I think the Grotesques become more desirable than the Obscenes in a number of situations.

I like your idea. Couldn't you move the grotesque in any direction as well? Because that would be really cool. Yeah, stacking tokens is a little weird admittedly. But I still like that as well.

 

The way Giulio has worded it, moving in any direction -- not just into the hex of the unit that retreated or was eliminated -- does seem legal.

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To summarize, my initial proposal (amended after interaction with Garret) was:

 

Bone Blast: Instead or after advancing, this unit may perform...

 

This modification addresses the main concern I have with Grotesques, that is the fact that they have to give up the advance to use Bone Blast. Incidentally, I tend to think that 3 dices are enough and that the bleeding condition is not particularly weak. Removing one dice does not only reduce the number of hits, but also the number of flags, the expected amount of lore gained and the probability to activate a special ability. So, in my opinion, this modification already solve the main issue of the Grotesques. But reading your posts I had the feeling that you think that they are still weak. Thus, I came up with version two:

 

Bone Blast:  Instead of advancing, this unit may move one hex and perform...

 
This is really strong. Now on a flag result in the initial melee attack, the Grotesques can do a lot of different things. As I wrote, I suspect that with this modification they become often more useful than the other elite Uthuk unit. I would like to test both modifications and see if the second is really overpowered. In case you want to test them, remember the possibility of MULTIPLE range attacks that both modifications make more likely and also nasty tactics specific of the second modification, like jumping out from a wood, attack in melee with 3 dice, score a flag then move back in the wood and perform a range attack with 2 dice on the same target without counter-attack. And you end up still protected in the wood.
 
And if you test them, of course I would like to hear your opinion.
 
Edit: Ah, the grammar!
Edited by g1ul10

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Just to bleed: if you compare to blight or stun, -2 dice do not seem very OP. Stun is for sure the best token. Also blight brings a hard effect against attack and movement. Bleeding as it is is hardly sub-par. And like all tokens are quite easy to remove, I think it should be ok to give the -2 effect.

Bone blast: why not just let them perform the range attack before advancing? I quite like this idea: simple and effecitve.

Edited by phalgast

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Just to bleed: if you compare to blight or stun, -2 dice do not seem very OP. Stun is for sure the best token. Also blight brings a hard effect against attack and movement. Bleeding as it is is hardly sub-par. And like all tokens are quite easy to remove, I think it should be ok to give the -2 effect.

Bone blast: why not just let them perform the range attack before advancing? I quite like this idea: simple and effecitve.

 

Well on Bleeding you might be right. I don't have a strong opinion. It is true that some conditions seem stronger than others. I think it must be tested a bit.

 

On bone blast, attacking BEFORE advancing sounds generally weaker than attacking AFTER advancing as it reduces the likelihood of advancing a second time, and then attacking a third time. And I can anticipate rules issue: if the Grotesques attack an adjacent unit in hex 1 with the melee attack and they are able to advance but before that they decide to attack a second adjacent unit in hex 2 with the range attack and they roll a flag.... where do they advance? In hex 1 or in hex 2?

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Fixing the Grotesques, I think it is better not to touch the bleeding effect, becaus it does backfire an makes blood sisters even weaker.

 

 

This is the actaual wording we are testing:

 

 

Battlelore 2.Edition

 

Uthuk Y’llan Unofficial Errata

Version 1.0, November 2016

 

 

Viper Legion:

 

[heroic] Viper’s Bite:

Add the following text to the ability: A poisoned unit counts as it would have suffered damage.

 

 

Blood Sisters:

 

[lore] Blood Magic:

Add the following text to the ability: Receive 1 lore.

 

 

Grotesques:

 

Bone Blast:

Change the first word of the ability from Instead” to “Before”.

 

 

Blood Field:

At the beginning of your turn, you may heal 1 LP or remove a token from a friendly unit on it.

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I don't understand the Viper change.

A poisoned unit is considered to have suffered damage. This allows Blood Sisters' Syphon and Flesh Ripper Brutes' Bloodthirst to trigger on an undamaged, poisoned unit.

Oh, I see where you were going with this. I like it!

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I don't understand the Viper change.

A poisoned unit is considered to have suffered damage. This allows Blood Sisters' Syphon and Flesh Ripper Brutes' Bloodthirst to trigger on an undamaged, poisoned unit.

Oh, I see where you were going with this. I like it!

 

I haven't had it come up in play yet, but I'm excited to try it out.

 

My biggest problem with all of these changes is that I'm the Uthuk player in our house, so it's just going to feel like I'm trying to give myself an unfair advantage.  :unsure:

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@all

 

Little doubt about my wording: We want the Grotesques to be able to advance after bone-blasting. Have we to change the wording that they also may shoot without advancing? I think the idea is that they bone-blast and then decide to advance or not... and that they may use boneblast also after a counter

 

 

@Budger

 

We play almost ever with random fractions. But Uthuk is the fraction I would pick less, I just don't like so much that Uthuk has no synergies among it's units. I will play probably more games against the Uthuk then with them and I want to fix them also... because it's just Kind of sad that you never ever see Grotesques on the battlefield

 

> The fixes given to the units are just minimal. I think not one of them will be an over-the-top unit after the fix, they will be at par in the best case

> We do only fix units, that are almost not seen on battlefields or that are clearly sub-par to the equivalent units of the other armies, so the Goal is to have more diversity among Uthuk armies and not to make Uthuk stronger!

> Best example are Viper Legion: I think they are probably still the weakest archers of all. The fix will apply only very few times. But it makes a bit more pressure to remove the token and it creates a Little bit of synergy... I think this (I think it was originally the idea from Willange) is the fix I like most

> Also Grotesques risk to stay behind still after our fix. I hope the posibility of use the shot an beeing capable to advance to a hex makes them at least playable... we will see

> Tell your friends it's just a try, and we would be very happy about theyr Feedback about our changes also!

Edited by phalgast

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Did someone else test the fixes? I had just few BL2-games in the last time but I feel like the fixes may be okay. First of all and most important: not one of the units feels very OP with the fixes.

 

Even blood sisters I don't think they are better then other casters with the +1 lore (what seems to be a quite big fix).

 

The archers have now a menace: Playing against I just completely ignored them before. Now I had to consider much more a combined archer/flesch-ripper-attack (archers generate the "wounded" for a flesh-ripper-attack in 2/3 of all attacks - double of before). I don't think this fix ist OP, but he generates the first real synergy in the hole Uthuk army. Now you can really go for archers into fleshripper-attack; before with only 1/3 Chance to get the wound it was to much gambling. Only doubt I've here is it enforces Blood Sisters and fleshrippers, and fleshrippers still is the probably best unit among Uthuk. But still, until now, I think it's the best fix we've done.

 

Grotesques: I think also with the fix, they are still not overwhelming. But I hope they are at least playable now... then the fiy would have worked yet. I think the fix might work so far...

Edited by phalgast

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I played a game of battlelore yesterday (final score 29-28, it dragged on FOREVER), but as usual I used Waiqar and my brother used Daqan. Oops. I got Razorwings coming in the mail, will probably play some more games when that arrives.

Edited by Toenail

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I still haven't had a chance to test anything other than the Viper Legion. The effect didn't do anything in my games, but I can see the potential.

Grotesques:

 

Bone Blast:

Change the first word of the ability from Instead” to “Before”.

 

So now that I'm looking at this again, I see a potential timing complexity.

 

Grotesque is adjacent to two enemy units (let's say a Citadel Guard and a Yeoman Archer. The Grotesque attacks the Citadel Guard and makes it retreat. Before advancing, it uses Bone Blast on the adjacent Yeoman Archer. The Yeoman Archer also retreats, so the Grotesque should be able to advance there. Before advancing, it attacks again with Bone Blast. Now, which space does it advance into? The one occupied by the Yeoman Archer or the one occupied by the Citadel Guard? Does it get to choose?

 

Grotesque attacks Citadel Guard

Citadel Guard retreats

Grotesque uses Bone Blast on Yeoman Archer

Yeoman Archer retreats

Grotesque uses Bone Blast on a non-adjacent target

Grotesque advances into Yeoman Archer's original hex

Grotesque advances into Citadel Guard's original hex

 

Now, if the Grotesque advances into the Yeoman Archer's original hex, he would no longer be in his own original hex, thus nullifying the ability to advance into the Citadel Guard's original hex. He could forgo the advance into the Yeoman Archer's original hex, and then would be able to advance into the Citadel Guard's original hex. So the reality is that the rules can handle the situation fine. It's just that nested effects can be complex to some players, so I think the BattleLore developers have been trying to avoid nested effects.

 

We see similar problems caused by the Influence ability on the Necromancer. If the heroic ability activated when other heroic abilities normally activate, you could have problems where the minion attacks the same target and forces it to retreat to a hex where the rest of the Necromancer's attack wouldn't make sense to resolve. It just gets messy. Apparently, the developers chose to avoid this kind of timing complexity by making the minion attack AFTER the Necromancer's attack resolved. This prevents nested effects which can be complicated for some players.

 

Is there a need to rethink the Grotesque ability to avoid nested effects?

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I've been away from Battlelore for a while, but recent link to a petition (which I promptly signed) drew me back to the forums. And I am happy to see people finally giving a long hard think to Uthuk faction as it is my favorite faction and the one that has been "cheated" of good additional units from expansions. 

 

rant/ I've been saying this for a looong time, mostly while there were only 2 factions - look at Daqan: best legendary unit - Roc Warrior, period. Excellent assault (and defense) unit - Rune Golems. Excellent support cavalry unit - Riverwatch Knights. Archers mostly feel useless to me on both sides, a little bit more useless on the Uthuk side, since I prefer attacking and they are mostly terrible at that (and yes, I know that you "can make them work", but it feels almost like my daily job getting them to do anything useful, and I play games to have fun).

 

Daqan have some strong synergies, not just "combine this and that to maximize the effect" synergies, mostly "kill you dead" synergies. Got Riverwatch Knights behind you and Rune Golems in front? YOU ARE DEAD. Basically, Riverwatch Knights behind you and ANYTHING in front (but the archers) produces similar results.

 

Add to this insane (compared to Uthuk) mobility and extremely cost-efficient lore cards (like the one that pushes adjacent enemy units from your unit AT THE END of movement phase for just 3 lore! it's completely insane).

 

And the stuff they got from an army pack? Meh legendary golem, awesome support mage unit and a killer golem unit that feels like a legendary unit. Good horsemen too. So when I play Daqan it feels like I have an embarrassment of riches to choose from.

 

AND NOW let's look at what Uthuk've got. An excellent (maybe best in the game) assault/killer unit - Flesh Rippers. Decent defense unit - Obscenes. Very good Infantry unit - Harvesters. And not much else to talk about. Archers are useless as they tend to be for all factions. The Demon is great but SO SLOW, and that lore card when Roc Warrior can fly over you and throw you in some bushes... I know it's only one card, but I've done this to my friend who was playing U'thuk and it wasn't pretty (tossed him over the river, too).

 

I've started picking the Demon some more out of sheer interest and he's actually been performing better than I expected (tweaking the deck helps a lot). And the expansions? Blood Sisters I actually like the most from the expansions, they are OK, of all the units from the expansions they are, probably, the most cost/efficient attacking unit. I've also always thought that casters from expansions are what archers should've been from the start and it just now occurred to me that a way to balance Sisters could just be to drop their recruiting cost from 5 to 4, or at least we shouldn't forget about this balancing mechanism.

 

Berserkers still feel like a joke to me and I tend to forget them as nobody wants to play a "berserker" with 2 attack dice. As a matter of fact Blood Harvesters feel way more berserk-ish to me.

Grotesques... I've tried them once.. ended up with them trying to hit a golem that was inside of the building. The whole thing didn't go well, as they got stunned in response and killed on a subsequent turn. Incidentally, this was the same game where I was testing Uthuk archers (with an archer-special scenario). Well, they felt miserable too and my whole army was relying on Rippers and Harvesters again. The Bug is OK-ish, feels more like an Elite unit, though.

 

All in all I was also often confused with good Uthuk lore cards costing more, than good Daqan lore cards. At first I thought that with Obscenes' attack of 4, Harvesters' abilities and Rippers' chase you would throw more dice and, thus, generate more lore, but in reality Uthuk's low mobility doesn't really allow them to pick their fights (not optimally, at least). So with Cavalry support and both types of Golems it's Daqan who is usually throwing more dice around.

 

In the end for Uthuk I use only Rippers, Blood Harvesters, Blood Sisters, Obscenes and the Demon (occasionally). Other units I usually don't even take out of the box.

For Daqan I use all units but Archers and legendary Golem, and it's really fun to try combos like 6 Cavalry units + stuff or Golems + Mages, or whatever.

 

I've felt that Daqan from the base box have been slightly favored and the expansion pushed them up, while Uthuk's expansion didn't deliver what they needed - another decent support or mobility unit (and no, Bug is way too expensive for what it offers).

 

This is my rant. I've been saving it for a long time and now I'm free =) /rant.

 

Having said that I love this game a lot, I love to play Uthuk more for their demon-loving flavor and winning the game with Uthuk is always more satisfying, so I'm happy someone decided to balance them up.

 

Grotesques - I do like the "attack, then move 1 and bone blast", this gives you way more tactical options. Melee counters when you blast a unit next to you is a drawback, but overall this is still an improvement.

 

Blood Sisters - I've actually always been confused with their Syphon working in the same manner as Rippers' "heroic bite" (can't think of the name off the top of my head). Can anyone explain this from a flavor standpoint? Now I get Rippers smell blood and want to bite harder, but what does it have to do with mage Syphoning life out of another person? Is it that they, like, can only Syphon from the open wounds? It's like Vampire comes up to you and says "Excuse me, sir, do you have any scratches or wounds maybe? No. Oh well, excuse me, then." I don't mind this ability only triggering on wounded units from a balancing standpoint, but thematically I think it should work on any unit.

 

Still, any beneficial change to them is welcome, as they are the only unit from the expansion I use. I've actually been quite happy with their Blood Magic, as 3 dice with 2/6 hits for an archer unit is like Christmas after you've played with Viper Legion and I usually keep the Blood Harvesters unit to throw Bleeding on which I don't usually care much to remove, as they will get their bonus dice eventually.

 

Viper Legion - I like both suggestions (heads hitting on poisoned units and poison making a unit "wounded" - although, is it considered "wounded" only the turn it gets poisoned or all the while it has Poison condition?), but I don't think both could be applied together (I may be wrong, though). It's hard for me to evaluate archers properly, as their inherent weakness for me is 2 attack dice, and I would pick a ranged unit with 3 attack dice and no other abilities for 5RP over an archer with his abilities for 4RP any day. 

 

In theory, I like the "hit on heads" better as it means that almost 4/6 sides of dice do something useful, and after you poison a unit 3/6 give you ranged damage, which is a solid improvement. Incidentally, this rule also goes a long way to just make an attacked unit wounded literally.

 

I will test the changes that have been suggested asap (which usually means on weekend) and report here. 

Glad to see that even if FFG doesn't care much about this awesome game there are still people out there that do!

 

P.S. sorry for the wall of text and the grammar.

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Blood Sisters - I've actually always been confused with their Syphon working in the same manner as Rippers' "heroic bite" (can't think of the name off the top of my head). Can anyone explain this from a flavor standpoint? Now I get Rippers smell blood and want to bite harder, but what does it have to do with mage Syphoning life out of another person? Is it that they, like, can only Syphon from the open wounds? It's like Vampire comes up to you and says "Excuse me, sir, do you have any scratches or wounds maybe? No. Oh well, excuse me, then." I don't mind this ability only triggering on wounded units from a balancing standpoint, but thematically I think it should work on any unit.

 

I enjoyed reading all of your thoughts, but for now, I want to address this one. The Blood Sisters are known for using their Sanguimancy or "blood magic." They have to have access to the blood in order for their magic to work. That's why they can only Syphon off the life essence of a unit that is wounded. Thematically, we would expect them to also drain life from a bleeding unit, even if that unit were not wounded, but I think that overcomplicates the game so it's good to just keep it as wounded.

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The Blood Sisters are known for using their Sanguimancy or "blood magic." They have to have access to the blood in order for their magic to work. That's why they can only Syphon off the life essence of a unit that is wounded. Thematically, we would expect them to also drain life from a bleeding unit, even if that unit were not wounded, but I think that overcomplicates the game so it's good to just keep it as wounded.

 

 

Yeah, I guess this makes sense. What do you guys think if make Poison or Bleeding just give a +1 die to a unit attacking poisoned/bleeding unit? I would vouch for Poison only to get Viper Legion to work as they are, by their nature, a support unit, and this ability would be much more valuable then hit-on-lore imho, but I'd totally replace Bleeding with this, it is even true to the flavor as weakened unit is that much easier to kill. And this change to Bleeding could definitely make me shake the dust off grotesques once again.

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I'm realizing that the biggest problem with Daqan is their lore deck. To find the design errors in the game, I feel like it is best to use Waiqar as a standard, since his army is the most balanced.

I'd say that the unit rankings look like this: Daqan is the best, what with the two best non-neutral legends in the game and the best unit in the game (Riverwatch riders), not to mention interesting elite and infantry options. But Waiqar isn't that far off, though their strength lies more in the smaller units than the bigger ones. But Uthuk just sucks. Flesh Rippers are really good, Blood Harvesters and Berserkers are both pretty awesome (why do people hate Berserkers), and the Obscene can be made to work (though the Dark Knights are infinitely better). But that's it. So therefore we can deduce that Uthuk units are the design problem, not Daqan.

But on the lore deck side, the comparision is a little different. While I still feel like Uthuk has the weakest lore deck, I don't feel like it is all that weak. Waiqar's deck is fairly comparable, and Waiqar has some neato activation shenanigans. But Daqan's deck is OP on so many levels. Before Parry hit the scene, Wall of Steel was super OP (and still is). Stalwart Defenders is the best lore card in the game, hands down, and Battle Cry is amazing. Assualt, played at the right time, is an I-Win card. Machinations of War is just better Lord of Chaos. Runic Barrier is the best cancellation card in the game. When an army has the best units, opportunities for the opponent are few and far between. But when an opponent tries to sieze an opportunity, Daqan always has a card to prevent some brilliant maneuver on the part of the opposing army. So like when Runic Barrier cancelled my Mass Transit that would have allowed me to take the Uthuk-only banner deep in Daqan territory, allowing me to swing the game in my favor. I lost 17-6. Or when I surround a key building, planning on Encircle, only to have a Battle Cry. Or when I play the Battlelore card for an epic stand, only to have Stalwart Defenders negate my entire turn. This is my problem. The lore deck for Daqan is too good.

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Yeah, but then you have instances like Assault into Bone Spurs or ... okay that's the only one I can come up with at the moment. I think you may be right about the Daqan lore cards. That's something I haven't looked into too much other than to say that the total cost of all lore cards in the Daqan lore decks is below the other two factions. That alone isn't enough to say that their deck is too good, but when you combine low lore-cost with excellent abilities, it seems like it would tip the balance of power in the Daqan's favor.

 

I'm not a huge fan of tweaking the cost of units, as Oddus suggested, but following his line of thought, raising lore-cost on some Daqan lore cards may be worth looking into in the future.

 

Yeah, I guess this makes sense. What do you guys think if make Poison or Bleeding just give a +1 die to a unit attacking poisoned/bleeding unit? I would vouch for Poison only to get Viper Legion to work as they are, by their nature, a support unit, and this ability would be much more valuable then hit-on-lore imho, but I'd totally replace Bleeding with this, it is even true to the flavor as weakened unit is that much easier to kill. And this change to Bleeding could definitely make me shake the dust off grotesques once again.

My knee-jerk reaction is that a +1 die against bleeding or poisoned units is too far of a push. I could be absolutely wrong, though. I just think it's good to be cautious. I'd like more opportunities to test what we currently have first. If it isn't really enough, then we should look at trying out your suggestions. It may be that the +1 die is exactly what the Uthuk need. It certainly fits their theme of offense.

 

On another note, we usually compare the Uthuk to the Daqan. I certainly play that matchup more than any other. How are the Uthuk doing against the Undead when played as they are currently published? Are they significantly weaker than the Undead?

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To Oddus:

 

I am with you since the very beginning I started to play this game. Have a look at one of my very first tpic:

https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/217417-balance-between-daqan-and-uthuk/

 

It was quite similar yet to our pot above...

 

Grotesques... I've tried them once.. ended up with them trying to hit a golem that was inside of the building.

 

That was not the problem of the Grotesque... There is just no way for Uthuk to bring Golems out of a building (without tons of luck). Let them just sit in the building, even if there's a VP on it. You will lose anyway trying to get them out...

 

 

Viper Legion:

I don't like the +1 push. For my part, I prefer to fix bad units into playable units with the smallest change possible. I don't wanna change the mechanic behind the unit.

Edited by phalgast

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