Yesterday on the blog we revealed the first of our updated Season 4 model cards, Snakeskin the Chameleon of the Union. Today we’ll be continuing with our model card reveals with the Engineer’s Guild and the Marksman himself, Salvo.
Why'd You Have to go Make Things so Complicated?
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.
Like the Union, the Engineers were mostly performing as intended in Season 3. They’re great at controlling the ball and are on the more resilient end of teams. They can inflict take outs but most of the time they are more concerned with where the ball is. However, there are a number of overcomplicated rules and interactions in the Engineers which we have streamlined for Season 4. For example, none of Pin Vice’s abilities target mechanica models anymore, and she no longer has the Mechanical Heart Heroic Play. That stuff was a whole load of rules and tactical complexity which was just unnecessary, so we removed it.
Along with reducing complexity, our other main focus for the Engineer’s Guild was an analysis of the lesser used models and trying to understand what we could do to get them to be played more. This is where Salvo comes in. We remember having a number of conversations with Engineer players during Season 3 and asking what they thought of Salvo and why they didn’t play with him much. To which the answer was very often ‘Salvo is good, but he isn’t a mechanica model so he doesn’t benefit from a lot of mechanica-only Engineer abilities, and most other options in the Engineers are just a little bit better.’ It’s not that Salvo was a bad model in Season 3, just that he didn’t stand out from the crowd enough to get selected over the other available choices, especially mechanica ones.
A Blast from The Past
We determined that Salvo didn’t need an overhaul of his playstyle. Salvo was always intended to offer supporting ranged damage for his team, to assist with the recovery of a free ball, and to serve as a backup goal scorer when the opportunity arose. Salvo still does all of these things but does some of them a little better than he did before.
Starting off with the smallest element, the one change to Salvo’s playbook is that his non-momentous 2 damage result shifted down from his fifth column to the third, and Salvo gained a non-momentous 3 damage on his fifth column. While Salvo’s playbook damage isn’t going to set the world on fire, it just made sense for him to have a more standardised set of damage results. Additionally, Salvo gained 2 more points of health to take him up to a total of 16, which is a little above average for a squaddie. Being part of one of the more resilient teams in Guild Ball, Salvo’s own resilience certainly comes into play when considering him versus the other models available to the Engineer’s Guild. It also just makes sense to bring Salvo into line with the majority of Engineers who are also a little above average in their resistance to take outs.
Next we move onto the main feature of Salvo, his character plays. Ultimately, if you choose to take Salvo or not, it will probably be because of the character plays he brings to the pitch and whether you feel like you want them or not. The first change is that Flurry has gone, that character play now only belongs to Egret in the Hunter’s Guild. It has been replaced by a new and improved version of something Salvo used to have back in Guild Ball Season 1, Floored Bolt.
With the introduction of the kicking team gaining 1 momentum point (MP) at the start of the first turn, an Engineers team that receives the ball is a little worse off than it was before when led by Ballista. This is because in Season 3 Ballista was often able to collect the ball and knock down the enemy model that performed the kick off by using his signature character play, Deadbolt. This would leave the kicking model stranded because their team lacked the MP to clear the condition and give the Engineers quite firm control of the first turn. But in Season 4 the kicking team can use their starting MP to clear the knocked down condition and charge straight at the Engineers to recover the ball for themselves. Salvo has regained Floored Bolt in order to give the Engineers an additional method of knocking down enemy models at range, which is important to let them play their ball control game even with the advent of starting MP in Season 4.
The second change to Salvo’s character plays is a much smaller one. For a little while, Salvo and Theron both had slightly different versions of the same character play, Snipe and Arrow to the Knee, the only difference being that Arrow to the Knee was ‘once per turn’ and Snipe was not. In Season 4, Arrow to the Knee is no longer ‘once per turn’, so it can be used as many times as Salvo can afford to use it! For any Hunter’s players reading this, Theron also has Arrow to the Knee in Season 4, although for him it’s effectively just a name change for one of his character plays.
Salvo’s stats and melee zone are both unchanged, these elements of Salvo have always worked as intended.
I Have the Reflexes of a Cat, and the Speed of a Mongoose
There is only one change on the back of Salvo’s card, but it’s pretty cool. [Editor's Note: *pushes up glasses* the wording on Locked & Loaded changed so it no longer has to be the next Character Play, so that's two changes]. Swift Strikes has changed from being a 1” dodge each time Salvo damages an enemy model to being a 2” dodge, but only during his activation (because a double dodge result on his first column would make his counter attacks way too strong). This means that whenever Salvo spends influence, or uses his heroic play Locked & Loaded on Floored Bolt or Arrow to the Knee, if he hits the character play he will also get to make a 2” dodge! It may not seem like a lot but consider an average activation where Salvo has the ball. If he has 4 influence and some MP he can sprint 8”, shoot someone with Floored Bolt to knock them down and dodge 2”, use Locked & Loaded to get a free Arrow to the Knee at someone else for another 2” dodge, and use his last influence to pass the ball or shoot at goal with his 8” kick range. He can threaten a 20” goal at the same time as knocking an enemy model down and applying a pretty nasty kick penalty to enemy goal scorers.
That’s all for today folks. Kind of like Snakeskin yesterday, Salvo is another example of a model that hasn’t changed dramatically, but a few targeted elements have been improved to make Salvo a more interesting and attractive choice for Engineer players. Join us next time to see the reveal of the new and improved player card for Granite, the Stern Enforcer of the Mason’s Guild.