Ok let’s start… Smoke I feel has the same exact problem that Scalpel has… how on earth is she going to displace the current captain as they are sooo good! However I think they both have their ways of getting into the team and as you would expect they offer something very very different to what is already on the table! Let’s jump straight in by looking at the stats!
Smoke vs Midas
Straight off the bat we can see that there is no competition here. Midas stats are simply better.. end of! Well hang on.. Maybe not quite! Yes the king has a better move and kick distance. But actually smoke has 4 dice vs 3 for kicking. This is actually pretty impressive, it will combine well with some of her other abilities which I will come to shortly. Midas DEF 5+ is probably slightly better than the 4+/1 that Smoke brings to the table. However there are ways to reduce Midas DEF (knockdown for one) which then actually leave Midas feeling pretty squishy as he only has 14 health boxes compared to Smokes 16, although Midas can increase his durability by using his Heroic for that nice boost to his armour value. I have mentioned in previous articles that I do believe if you can get to grips with Midas (which is easier said than done) he goes down pretty easy. Now I am not going to sit here and tell you that Smoke is way tougher than Midas and an absolute tank. She just isn’t and that I think is fairly common among the alchemists.
When it comes to influence they both bring 4 to the table, which is pretty standard captain stuff, although Midas can be allocated 1 more for 7 in total. The significant difference here is that Midas wants 5-7 ever turn; he is just so influence greedy it’s surprising he doesn’t have Gluttonous mass! Smoke feels initially like she will be happy just sitting on the 4 she brings or even handing a bit of it around to her team mates, which is something Midas has never done. So already we can see that Smoke isn’t the superstar player Midas is, but definitely here to support the team more and allow other people (like Mercury) to shine a bit more. The one stat that really stands out for me is that she only has TAC 4 which we usually find on a striker; however her position is a defensive midfielder. I actually find this quite interesting as it kind of limits who she will be trying to engage. Although I think her playbook does suit the role of a ball winner. Don’t forget that her kick is 4 dice, so when engaged she is still rolling 3 and can therefore go in and get the ball before passing it out to a team mate. So let’s move onto her playbook..
The first thing that jumps out at me here is that she doesn’t have any guildball symbols on her playbook. Therefore none of her plays can be activated by engaging the opposition. There are the standard 4 columns to match her TAC value. I like that there is a tackle on only 2 successes and a momentous one on four successes. What I also find interesting is that she has 2 momentous push results on her playbook. No dodging around shenanigans here or pushing people off the table from 7” away. Her playbook is very light on damage results but then so is Midas’s. Therefore she is very unlikely to generate vp’s by punching someone’s face in. which is a bit of a shift from Midas who with his heroic up can do 14 boxes of damage just by getting 1 success 7 times!.
So now we move onto character plays and traits….
This is where Smoke really starts to shine. I think it is a well-known fact that the Alchemists are the team that play least like there fluff. This is largely down to the current captain himself. He just wants so much influence (and in fairness gets a lot of work done with it), that it just doesn’t leave a lot lying around for players who can bring the condition game to the table. A very interesting character trait on Smokes card is that Smoke has the same character trait as Ballista in Momentous inspiration. This allows people around here to generate momentum from character plays that do damage! Hello Intensify, Noxious blast and fire blast. This will really shine early game in my opinion. Particularly turn 1 when generally it is about getting into positions for turn 2 and setting things up. Now the Alchemists have a great tool for stealing an advantage in the momentum race for turn 2 activation. With so many good ranged character plays there are many ways to generate those lovely momentum points to allow you to go first in turn 2. Whilst players like Mercury, Calculus, Smoke and Hemlock are racking up the momentum for turn 2, you could have Mist and Vitriol getting into position to either score directly or tackle the opposition and then skip out for a shot. The only caveat to this is to watch out for Dr Obnoxious, he loves to see a team stacking up momentum so he can steal it for his grave diggers. The other character play I really like is cloud jumper. This play really opens up Smokes threat range and really ties in nice with her playbook. It allows her to reposition to an AOE within 4” and the ruling reads that the AOE has to be within 4”, now I think this means that only the edge has to be within 4” therefore you effectively can jump around 6”. The first thing I think of here is Smoke going in, tackling the ball, jumping to the AOE and then scoring a goal!! So cinematic (which we love in the battle cave) and so Trixie. It does require a bit of setup to get off. The one burning rules question I have is… does she suffer a parting blow and will she pick up any conditions said AOE may have? I think her playbook allows for the mitigation of parting blows due to her 2 momentous push results available.
Bugger I had several other things I wanted to touch on (not Parker) but they will have to come another day!
I think I have to give Smoke a good solid 7 hammers out of 10. I think she will turn out to be a bit of a slow burner. In the next few months I believe we will see more and more of her. She won’t completely replace Midas because he is simply to good. But once people have started getting a handle on Smoke there will be a much more even split in tournament line ups. Having played a bit of warmachine and using the Circle of Orboros I do love movement shenanigans and Smoke definitely brings that to the table. However as mentioned I think it will take a little while before we see her starting to rival Midas for tournament appearances as she won’t be getting the same level of VP’s as Midas is capable of. She will however really help power up the conditions game for the Alchemists; I don’t think we will see Katalyst making much more of an impact because there are still better options, although I think she definitely makes him viable for a tournament 8.
Please drop your comments and thoughts
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