HexRysu, the lead designer of Herofall with you again. This week, I’ve got two new mechanics that will be premiering in Herofall. If you missed our spoiler kick off, check out my article from last week that introduced Ardent’s Valor and Underworld’s Dreadlings.
When you are building a conflict between two factions in a game, it’s important to show that the two sides take very different approaches to get their end goal. Last week, I touched on how the Ardent try to build their troops up while the Underworld is willing to sacrifice its troops to reach its end goals. When building the set, these two philosophies helped shape the factions. Once we knew how the factions would interact with one another, there was one more very important theme we had to address: The war itself.
War is a universal theme that shows up time and time again in both fantasy and gaming. Of course, almost every game of HEX already shows a battle between two factions—your deck and your opponent’s. Certainly, if I’ve got an army of Shin’hare and you have group of Elves and giant troops, it feels like we are on two sides of a war. So, we had to answer the following question, “How do we make war feel like it’s more of a part of Herofall than it has been in the past sets of HEX?”
With this goal in mind, we came up with two new powers that helped bring all of these themes together: Assault and Scrounge.
First up, we have Assault, which is a keyword that allows your cards to become more powerful while they are in your hand and you are attacking with troops.
Assault – When a troop you control attacks, while this is in your hand…
However, what comes after those dots will differ depending on the particular card. Let’s take a closer look at some cards with Assault.
When I knew that Herofall was going to be about war, one of the things I immediately thought of were siege engines. Whether its catapults and trebuchets from classic strategy games or perhaps the giant elephant-like Mûmakil from Lord of the Rings, siege engines are an essential part of fantasy warfare. One thing that’s almost always been important about siege engines is that, while they are quite powerful, they always have to be supported by infantry. I’ll point out that Assault will trigger for each troop you attack with, so in one turn if you attack with five troops the turn you draw it and quickly drop the cost of the big dino.
Siegeasaurus, the Elves’ favorite form of siege engine, captures that giant war machine feeling. On his surface, Siegeasaurus packs a lot of stats. But without the infantry around to help power out the Siegeasaurus a few turns early, he might just show up too late for the battle. If you are able to lead off with a troop on turns one and two, however, it’s quite possible to see this guy come down as early as turn four.
While the siege engine is where the initial concept for Assault was born, the mechanic proved that it had applications with far more than just giant machines of war. Now, to be fair, Field Medic is kind of a machine when it comes to healing you back up in a game where both you and your opponent are racing. Being able to attach Assault to any number we put on a card, not just simple numbers like cost, attack, or defense, really opens up the possibilities for the power.
Last week I alluded to Gust Mage’s 0/1 body with Flight being fairly relevant. Assault is the reason why. The little Gust Mage can help you power up your Assault troops, since a 0/1 flight can usually attack without much getting in the way and most players won’t bother using removal on such an unassuming looking troop. Of course, it should also be noted that the Dreadlings that the Underworld are bringing are also quite excellent at this task as well.
While the great majority of Herofall focuses on the conflict between the Ardent and the Underworld, that doesn’t mean that other forces aren’t still causing problems for the denizens of Entrath. Here, the latest in our horrific tentacle beasties, the Ripple of Janai’ngo assaults the shorelines. With enough support, it can play a Yesterday for just your opponent. Talk about a giant terrifying terror of the depths!
Unlike Valor and Dreadlings which are faction specific, you can expect to see plenty of Assault on Ardent, Underworld and unaligned troops as well.
Finally, we have Zanya, one of the Orc champions present at the assault on Ayotochi. Zanya, works almost like two different cards. If you play her early, before you’ve Assaulted with her, she can help enrage all of the troops in your hand giving you value through the rest of the game. Or, if you play an aggressive deck with a ton of early drops, she can be a devastating finisher, Raging in for a ton of Crush damage.
Assault is a great new digital mechanic for players who love to always be on the attack that could only exist in the digital world of Hex. Trust me on that one, testing Assault in physical form requires quite a few dice to denote which card has Assaulted how many times. Let’s just say the day we could start testing it digitally was a relief.
No, it’s not the long awaited Buffalo matters keyword. Sorry Buffalo fans. What I do have for you, however, is a great mechanic for those of you who want to use every part of your cards that you can. Let me present, Scrounge:
Scrounge X – When you play this, you may void X troops from your crypt. If you do, this gets…
Like Assault, what comes after the above text will be specified on a given card. This time we are showing a different side of war. Scrounge represents that in the dire times of war, you have to be willing to use anything to defend yourself.
Let’s take a look at some cards with Scrounge:
That’s quite the big bunny.
So, Smash Magus will come in two different modes. For four resources, you can play the Smash Magus and get your basic 3/3. Not the best deal in the world, but still a serviceable troop. Or, if you void two troops in your crypt when this comes down, you’ll get a 6/6 instead. Of course, you need to find a way to get two troops in your crypt by turn four. For those of you who were paying attention last week, you may have seen a 1 cost card that gave you a pair of Dreadlings which conveniently will attack for you (maybe fueling some Assault while doing so) before placing themselves into your crypt to wait for the Scrounge card of your choice. Once again, Dreadlings prove themselves to be the deceptively powerful war machines.
Another powerful Shin’hare with Scrounge is this little moth riding assassin. He gives you a nice evasive body along with the ability to kill off an opposing troop when it comes down—just the right amount of insult and injury.
I’ll point out one thing about Scrounge for those of you who love to tinker with interesting ways to play with cards: You can pay a troop’s Scrounge cost each time you play the troop and it will stack. What this means is that if you are able to get a Smash Magus or Death’s Head Rider into your hand again, you can Scrounge a second time. This would make Smash Magus a 9/9. This also means that Death’s Head Rider will make your opponent sacrifice two troops the second time it enters play (assuming you paid the Scrounge cost both times). Keep in mind that Scrounge can only void troop cards, however.
Crimson Slayer is a very powerful troop for Scrounge, despite not having Scrounge himself. For a two drop he has a nice solid starting stats, but if you are able to Scrounge one or two cards on your turn, he can easily grow to become a deadly attacker. Obviously, we’ve only seen a few Scrounge cards so far, but I know you’ll be seeing some very exciting Scrounge troops throughout this next week. Truly, if you want to get the most out of your troops, you’ll want to Scrounge them. If you want to get the most out of your Scrounges, you’ll want Crimson Slayer.
Okay, so this one is a little bit of a cheat since he doesn’t actually have Scrounge, but I couldn’t rightly show off an Ardent legendary unique troop and not show off one for the Underworld. I just couldn’t live with that kind of favoritism. And what a legendary he is! While Yazukan doesn’t have Scrounge per say, he does have quite a powerful ability that lines right up with the theme of putting your crypt to work. In fact, he works fantastically with Scrounge by getting rid of any useless troops in your crypt that you wouldn’t want to bring back with Yazukan’s power.
That covers the mechanics of Herofall. Of course, this is just a summary of the new keywords we have in store for the new set. We’ll have new cards to reveal regularly on the website. Not only that, but also stay tuned to Twitch, Twitter and look out for columns from Fiveshards, Momcards and HexPrimal as we count down to the Herofall release weekend!!!