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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Rethinking Rank 3 Movement Epics


With the Marleybone and Aquila update came the release of Rank 3 epics. Some seem incredibly overpowered, while others seem useless. I recently did some gold retrains to try out some of these epics with Destiny, and came to some interesting conclusions. Here's what I learned about each of the Rank 3 talents and what I think about their usefulness.

I'm going to talk about these epics in three posts: First, attack epics. Then, response epics. And finally, movement epics.


Flanking and Crossfire

Ah, movement-based epics. My favorite. Though not these particularly. Ratbeard, one of the game programmers, would argue differently. He likes these epics because they're incredibly controllable. You don't have to rely on hitting, missing, getting hit, or being missed, you just move into position - and even units that don't have flanking can activate it on units that do. This epic has undergone a lot of changes. Flanking use to mean two units right next to each other and they each got a buff. Now it means sandwiching an enemy unit between two friendly units for extra attack.

The third version of this epic slows the enemy. By how many squares, I'm unsure, but think about it - even if it were only by one, this has some potential use. Imagine, for example, that an enemy moves one companion in. You move your Musks accordingly and slow this unit, then leave them behind. If that's the pirate, then it could be particularly useful. Not to mention the extra hit simply for moving. This is one you might want to seriously consider for units like Louis.


Cheap Shot, Parting Shot, and Coward's Bane

Perhaps one of the most underrated set of the talents, these beauties go off when an enemy leaves your attack range (or in the case of many ranged units, moves more than two spaces away from you). These are tougher to control - they rely on enemy movement. But think about it. PvP units do spend a lot of time performing evasive maneuvers. And PvE units may be more aggressive, but they never stay in one place, they're constantly moving. Another reason I love these powers is that they're one of the few triggers that can trigger on any unit, regardless of class.

The third version of this has a 35% chance to immobilize the target. Now that may not sound like much, but if a unit is leaving your area, they've probably doing so for a reason - either to escape you or to attack another unit. Immobilizing them can prevent both of those things, and can be used as an incredibly effective mechanism for keeping a unit where you want them. If a pirate in PvP makes the mistake of charging without his crew or a companion separates to attack your group, this could be very deadly. This is so underused that I think we have yet to see its full effect. Ratbeard has the ability to train this, so he might be a good unit to test it on, though he's not usually considered a PvP companion.



Repel Borders, Overwatch, and Readied Spell

The number one set of underrated talents. It's one of my favorites, personally. I swapped Riposte 3 for the first Repel Borders on Catbeard, and also gave Hoodoo Cornelius one copy of Repel Borders. I keep Overwatch 2 on Bonnie Anne, and silly as that might sound, she makes use of it multiple times per round on more than one occasion. I also appreciate one, if not two, copies of it on my crab companions. If you haven't caught on, these epics trigger an additional attack when an enemy moves too close.

Readied Spell is currently only available on one companion who can't train more than two epics, but the other two are readily available in their third forms. The third version reduces accuracy. There's a catch - it only lasts one round, BUT it reduces accuracy by 50%. That's the equivalent of a Buccaneer charge. That will take El Toro from hero to zero in no time at all. The power this possess is actually quite incredible. However, as it stands, many Overwatch epics have holes and are triggering from six spaces away or the range of the companion overall. Rest assured, this is a glitch. Ratbeard confirms that these are meant to be two spaces away. Then, imagine that unit trying to attack you with such low accuracy - even a Musketeer should be able to dodge those hits. Once that's fixed, it'll be pretty powerful. Repel Borders 3 is a more reasonable option now. Ratbeard is an excellent companion to train that on. Just one problem - its effect doesn't work. The fact that this hasn't been reported probably says something about the popularity of the epic. But Ratbeard (the game designer, not the companion) assures us that it'll be fixed, and when it is, if it's underused now, it sure won't be then. Now, like any epics, these take up training spots. But you might want to seriously consider these. If you can avoid being hit by having the variations of these on several units and shuffling one per round to make it happen, you'd be golden. That's more useful than a Burst Fire!



Hold the Line, Witch Hunter, and Improved Mojo Blast

These three ended up together because they don't really fit into any one category. Let's start with Hold the Line. It's an Immobilization epic that most of us ignore, but it comes naturally on Companions like Gracie Conrad and Ratbeard. The third version reduces the dodge of enemies who move into your area. By how much? Your guess is as good as mine. But say it's 50%, like the accuracy. Sure, it only lasts one round, but can you imagine how badly El Toro would lose the Riposte war is he approached with a nearby Buccaneer having this? His dodge would also be reduced in PvP for the duration of your turn, I believe, so that's quite useful.

Witch Hunter was never a favorite epic, because it's for one in five classes, and the least common one, too. Not only that, but that Witchdoctor unit would specifically have to be targeting the unit with this epic. Its first form isn't a horrible thing, but its second form would rarely be used. Its third form gives bonus resistance. How much? I'm unsure. But I'm not thinking it's worth it. Now SorceressMiklai did have a great idea - use those seemingly useless Bison companions to train this epic to deal with Witchdoctor enemies. Now that has potential.

Improved Mojo Blast changed the area that a basic attack affects. Usually, it's one square. With the first rank, it changed to an X. With the second rank, it's a square. That means nine hits per round not including Mojo Echo. And this is one epic that is probably more important than Mojo Echo in this case, and would be more important than Relentless and Burst Fire if it were available for those types of units. The third version gives a 10% damage boost. That's really not bad, it could be an extra 20 or 30 damage per hit. With Mojo Echo or Mojo Echo 2 in Old Scratch's case, that could add up, especially with the area hit. (It's important to note that the area effect only works for the first hit. Mojo Echo then occur on the enemy that you targeted only, and you MUST target an enemy for this ability. It's not like Musketeer powers that allow you to choose blank spaces to extend your range or hit specific enemies that don't fit the formation perfectly.) Really, though, the companions that could train this don't have many epic options, so I would have to recommend passing on the third version. Improved Mojo Blast 2 is a must-have, though.

Potential Improvements?

Some of these powers are popular, some are situational, and some are, quite frankly, useless in most cases. Do you have ideas on how rank 3 epics could be improved to make them better choices over other triggers? Or are some already too powerful? Let me know by commenting!

Thanks for reading and see you in the Spiral! Credits: Thanks to Destiny for helping me test out some of these epics! Thanks for Angel Ice, Jason Goldenshield, Sheldon, Storm, Dead-Eye Collin, Kelsey Fireheart, and Kyle Spirit for assistance with pictures.  **One or more card images in this post has been edited because it cannot be viewed yet.

1 comment:

  1. You forgot to mention on Witch Hunter that because it has a limited range of usage, it gets to deal more damage than most other stats.

    If I were to make a suggestion, I would say that Melee and Range units can use Witchhunter anywhere on the board. The problem for the many Melee Companions with Witchhunter is that they have to be directly in front of the Witchdoctor to use it. It would be lovely if Melee Companions could gain a momentary ranged ability and strike from anywhere. It's side effect works with the Epic, as the Companion would strike before the enemy, then have a higher resistance rate.

    I'd probably leave all the other ones as is. I really like Flanking&Crossfire's effects, but Crossfire is a bit harder to master.
    Cheap Shot, Parting Shot, and Coward's Bane are all just perfect. I like the concept of being to have an extra "Hold the Line" on your other stats. And Hold the Line3 has always been a favorite of mine.

    Repel Boarders, Overwatch, and Readied Spell are pretty cool as they are. Could you imagine Ratbeard with Repel Boarders 3 and Hold the Line 3? That would be epic.

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