Yesterday on the blog we revealed our thoughts on the direction of the Ratcatcher’s Guild for Season 4. Today we’ll be continuing with our model card reveals with a look at the Season 4 card for Skatha, the Champion of the Moon Goddess, captain of the Hunter’s Guild.
I Like Warm Hugs!
As we mentioned on yesterday’s blog, one of the first things we did when we started the development of Season 4 was to take a look at the intended playstyle for every Guild as a whole, and then each model individually. This process helped us to identify not only which models needed to change, but also by how much and with what purpose in mind. These objectives were in addition to overall aims such as reducing complexity and tweaking game balance.
The Hunters have something of a troubled history. When they were first released back at the start of Season 2, the Hunters were overly complex and among the weaker Guilds in the game. Back then, we were aggressively exploring the limits of our own rules system and discovering what areas we could push and which we couldn’t. To this end, the original Hunters are an example to us of where we explored a number of new things that didn’t go so well. This is still overall a benefit to us as developers, since at the very least we can use those data points to help guide future projects.
We corrected a number of the issues with the original Hunters models with an errata document last year. The Hunters have since stabilised themselves as one of our fan favourite Guilds. However, in Season 3 the Hunters were still feeling a few of the smaller echoes of their troubled past. The ‘Winter’s Moon’ expansion to the Hunter’s Guild, featuring Skatha, Snow, Veteran Hearne, and Ulfr, were largely designed along similar lines to the original Hunters, particularly from a power level perspective. So when we released our erratum for the original Hunters, those belonging to the Winter’s Moon were unfortunately largely left behind.
In a similar vein to what we saw with the Farmers, when we’ve made changes to Hunter models, we’ve primarily made them less complex to use in one way or another as well as paying particular attention to the power level of certain models. However, their overall playstyle has not been changed. This is where our changes to Skatha come into play.
Let It Go
So, a few things to go through here, some quite big changes, some not. Overall, it’s fair to say that we’re very happy with Skatha’s intended playstyle. Skatha is a high tempo, high pressure goal scoring captain, who promotes the same style within her own team. She can also use her skills to play a slightly different version of the slippery hit and run style available to Theron, but Skatha uses this to score more goals than to inflict take outs. Unfortunately, in Season 3 Skatha was another case of just not being as effective at her intended playstyle as we’d hoped.
Perhaps the most obvious change that you will notice very quickly is that Skatha has had a serious bump in pace. She has gone from a below average 5”/7” MOV to a blistering 7”/9” MOV. Being a goal scoring focused model that has no access to a conventional ‘buyable dodge’ like Acrobatics or Where’d They Go?, as well as being a 1” melee zone model, Skatha can afford to be a naturally quicker model without causing a balance issue. That said, Skatha has had no other stat line changes, and her total health points have also remained at 14.
Moving onto Skatha’s playbook, we see a reappearance of some of the newer styles of playbook that we first saw on the Navigator’s Guild. Moving away from always having a 1 damage result on the first column has helped Skatha achieve a playbook which is overall more suited to her needs. Having both a momentous tackle and a momentous dodge on her first column is exactly what Skatha wants. We also noticed that Skatha needed better access to the snared condition, so her playbook trigger for the character play Cold Snap has moved down from the fifth column to the third. While it’s certainly fair to say that Theron still dishes out the snared condition more easily than Skatha does, the gap between the two has gotten smaller.
Speaking of character plays, let’s talk about those next. There are small changes to each of these, so let’s start at the top. Blessing of the Moon Goddess has changed from adding an extra 1” dodge to the target model’s next attack to adding an extra 2” dodge. Furthermore, Skatha can now target herself with this character play. To put this into context, say Skatha uses Blessing of the Moon Goddess on herself before attacking an enemy model. If Skatha gets to her second column, she could choose the double dodge playbook result, and add the Blessing of the Moon Goddess dodge on top of that to dodge a total of 4” from a single attack. She ain’t hanging around!
We’ve already mentioned the more accessible playbook trigger for Cold Snap, the only other thing to mention is that it now causes 2 damage instead of 1. It’s now a handy ability for helping Skatha’s team to score a few take outs in addition to their goal scoring game. It’s also worth pointing out that Cold Snap has had a range reduction as part of the global changes to AOE character plays for Season 4. This is because in Season 4 we measure to any part of the AOE when positioning an AOE on the pitch rather than measuring to its centre.
Finally, Skatha’s signature character play, Snowball. The first change to Snowball isn’t written on Skatha’s card. In S4, Snowball will benefit from the global change to kicking which makes it easier to hit when the target is within half of the kicking model’s kick range. So when passing at close range, it’s now even easier for Skatha to hit those all important passes when using Snowball to dodge herself or other friendly models around the pitch.
The second change to Snowball is that it can now be used to score 1 VP goals. This change is to help reinforce Skatha’s intended playstyle as an aggressive goal scoring captain. It just gives her even more reason to want to play quite far up the pitch, quite literally within striking distance of the enemy goal. If she can’t get close to the real ball she can just create her own and slot in a 1 VP Snowball goal. Please note that since scoring a goal ends a model’s activation, it is not possible for Skatha to score a goal with both a Snowball and a real ball in the same activation.
Do You Want to Build a Snowman?
The reverse of Skatha’s card is a great illustration of what we meant earlier on when we said a number of changes to the Hunter’s Guild were aimed at reducing complexity. Firstly, Nature’s Chill no longer needs to be placed more than 2” away from other terrain pieces. Skatha’s free fast terrain AOE can be placed anywhere within 8” of her when she starts her activation, as long as it isn’t in contact with another piece of terrain. Yes, she still has this free fast terrain AOE even though she now has a 7”/9” MOV. Yes… yes we know that makes her incredibly fast, it’ll be fine.
Finally we come to Skatha’s legendary play, Winter’s Night. Winter’s Night used to be about placing tokens on friendly models and spending them to gain free push dodges when they made an attack. We did away with all that. Now it’s very straight forward. Winter’s Night is an aura, whenever friendly models make attacks while they’re within that aura they add an extra 1” dodge. It’s a smaller effect than it used to be, but now Winter’s Night improves every attack that the Hunters make while within the aura. Oh, it also works when making counter attacks too, so this legendary doubles as a threat extender while also making the team’s counter attacks incredibly strong for a whole turn, neat!
That’s all for today folks. We hope you enjoyed today’s reveal of the all new Skatha. Join us next time for a reveal of some of the tweaks we’ve made to the Falconer’s Guild!