Sunday, 13 August 2017

Errata 2017 - the Rundown

There are a few mechanical fixes in the errata, you can ignore the majority of those since they're just clarifying how a particular mechanic works.  This blog post is aimed at covering the most interesting changes going on.

The addition of a new type of sub-faction to the game is pretty big.  Ronin type profiles are profiles that have the ronin symbol and can be used across multiple factions.  The next set of releases (GenCon) are of small groups of ronin: the Blood Brothers and Sworn Sisters.  The story is that the Blood Brothers are on the run for some crime they committed on the mainland of the setting, and the Sworn Sisters are chasing them down.

Back to the mechanics of ronin though!  You can't take them in themes, so ronin profiles are usually ahead of the power curve for their rice cost.  That also means you can't take them in an Ordered for Battle warband, as that is still a theme.  So if you bring ronin, you're fully committed.

Yukio Koshimori and the Golden Sentinel profiles have been changed to ronin profiles.  Yukio has been condensed into the Silvermoon Trade Syndicate version, and the Golden Sentinel now has an additional wound track (you can take 2) and is ludicrously good for their rice value.  There's a new Golden Sentinel sculpt that will be available at some point after GenCon.

Slight change to the Bodyguard trait.  It now triggers on action declaration, so Fear has some interaction with being able to trigger the Bodyguard now.  If the bodyguard (the model, not the trait) wants to use Bodyguard to save a model from an enemy Fear-causing model, then the bodyguard will have to pass a Fear test first.  This makes the unique effects of the Jade Mamba and Takashi Retainers actually do something.

The model with Command can't target itself now.

This trait now does a lot more on the whole.  Certain factions would construct entire warbands using 2+ Ki profiles so the old Leadership wasn't doing anything.  Now the +1 bonus (remember that it applies to the model with Leadership too) makes most Fear values less intimidating.  It raises the value of just about all the models with Leadership.

Now applies to anything with a built-in move in addition to all the previous actions.

Notable Balance Changes

There are other changes, but they're almost not worth mentioning since they don't change what's brought to the table.

The biggest change for me is that the Kappa is a ronin profile and brings all the baggage associated with it.  No longer can I abuse the yokai in themes.  Sad, sad times.

Claws of the Dragon theme (Prefecture)
You can now bring Shinobu the dog in the theme.  People can stop moaning about not being able to bring Atsuchi & Shinobu on the forums.  It's actually quite a big change since Shinobu can perform scenario actions and can also teleport around the board.

Elixir of Vigor
Now a Prefecture only enhancement card.

Rigtheous Warriors theme (Temple)
No free kami anymore.  Hurrah!  It was such a stupid theme benefit.  Instead Master Monks get cheaper.

Mo Ises (Cult)
Rice cost reduced to 6.  He doesn't feel heinously expensive for what he does not.

Alphas theme (Savage Wave)
Fear 6 changed to Terror and you have to choose a different Oni each turn.  This makes assaulting the scary Oni each turn a lot easier.  Fear 6 was one of those weird values that could often stop samurai and monks

Kaihei Alpha
The "Alpha tax" has been dropped and it gained Dodge (1), so expect to see a number of Kaihei warbands proliferating with Savage Wave players as the full Kaihei pack improves its value.  You could see a shift towards a much earlier aggression style of warband construction from the Savage Wave, but we'll have to see, it's definitely one of the least played factions at a competitive level.

Mari Jung
She's gained Order, and with the change to Leadership the pirate queen has received a buff.  Nothing that really helps herself out though, so we'll have to wait and see how much of an impact the addition of Order brings to her.  It means she'll be further back for most people instead of trying to lead the charge and sacrificing the odd kaizoku.

Queen of the Waves theme (Jung)
The inclusion of ronin kami allows me to continue using the Kami of Reflection, which is amazing against swarms and is the anti-Ki tech I like to bring.  I did ask for this change with the introduction of ronin, so hurrah!

He's gained an additional place effect, which can be used when a model (friendly or enemy) moves into BtB with the big shisai.  This significantly increases his ability to survive.  I'm still probably never going to use him though.

Shepherds of White Mesa theme (Tengu)
The second most popular theme in the game has had quite a few changes.  The free kami has been changed to friendly kami healing 1 Ki on turn 3.  This is pretty big for Kami of the Strong Western Wind or the Kami of Reflection.

The other big change is that the Slow unique effect needs to be applied to a different model each turn, and your opponent chooses.  It's a big of a waste against high model Cult warbands with a bajillion Small Rat Swarms, but low model count warbands could suffer.

The Winners & Losers

I feel that the Prefecture of Ryu came out the best in this errata, simply because everyone else lost the Elixir of Vigor.  They can also use a lot of ronin profiles with no real loss of options during warband construction, but that's more of a "who won Wave 36?" thing than the errata.

Other contenders for being in the black this errata are the Cult of Yurei and the Savage Wave, both of which saw heavy discounts for an underused model.  Mari Jung made off like the pirate queen she is this errata: Leadership got buffed, her theme still allows the inclusion of ronin kami, and she gained an additional trait.

The Temple of Ro-Kan and the Tengu Decension ate the nerf bats on the most common themes, but it's not surprising.  Both themes were stupidly overpowered with the free kami.

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