Following the release of Scalpel, our new Mortician Captain, I decided I'd try her out. I think she looks like a very interesting captain overall, although I'm not sure how competitively she lines up compared to Obulus. This puts me into a two minded situation, one where I'm enjoying the new captain for fun and casual games and one where I'm looking to see if I feel I can win tournaments with her.
At Adepticon this year I had a chance to play against a lot of people, including several of the Steamforged folk who had flown over for the convention. I played one of those games with Jay Finnegan of Guild Ball Informer fame, who brought out Filet. He mentioned that his approach to learning new captains was to play the first dozen games with them loaded to maximum influence every turn of the game. He did this even if there were situations he suspected it was not to the greatest benefit to play that way. I like this idea of learning a new player on a team, especially when the new player is a Captain. Loading a player up to max influence regardless of how good or bad of a decision that is, while learning them, is a great way to force yourself to puzzle through what they can do on the board.
- Scalpel - bringing 4 influence
- Dirge - bringing 1 influence
- Silence - bringing 3 influence
- Ghast - bringing 1 influence
- Mist - bringing 2 influence
- Rage - bringing 1 influence
Of not on the front of her card are two character plays, Tormented Agony and Wake the Dead. I believe these two abilities are her defining traits and where we'll likely want to focus to obtain full impact on the table. Wake the Dead will provide some frustrating moments for opponents, adding additional survive-ability to key models on her team via Reanimate. This can be particularly useful on Ghast, Fangooth, and even players such as Rage, Cosset, and Mist. This is also a useful ability she can drop onto herself, especially considering she has a 1 inch dodge on her 1st playbook result making it easier for her to disengage from combat.
Tormented Agony looks to be Scalpels key ability, triggering only via selections on her playbook. In her playbook both plays that trigger Tormented Agony are momentous and combined with damage. Tormented Agony allows Scalpel to remove an influence from her target and then reallocate that influence to an unactivated opposing player within 10 inches. This looks like an ability which can really mess up the opponents plan for a turn.
Opinion after 2 gamesI'm 2 games into my planned 6 games with Scalpel and she's been a lot of fun to play. I played my first game against Brewers led by Esters, and my second game against Masons led by Hammer. My initial impression is realizing a significant difference between the same team led by Scalpel and Obulus. Obulus without loading up to full influence is the focus of the team, where I'm always looking at how to use his abilities to either enhance what the team is doing or hamper my opponents plans. The focus of play comes back to Obulus and how he'll impact the current round of play. Playing Scalpel shifts the focus to how the team will operate instead of her, despite her being full of influence equating to half the influence on the team. This is not to say she is not important, but it certainly felt more in line with playing the whole team with her supporting instead of playing one model (Obulus) with the team supporting.
At this point I'm not seeing many opportunities for 6 point swing turns with her, taking out a model and then taking a shot on goal. I think she'll need to focus on either making a goal shot or on killing a model to directly achieve VP's in a game. I also have an initial impression that Scalpel does not need or want a full 6 influence a turn, and that her greatest use is not direct VP obtainment. It seems to me that Scalpel's power ramps up the more rigid your opponent is with their plans. In the event that your opponent is not good at adapting the plan for their turn from their original objectives, Scalpels ability to redistribute influence will cause them no end of problems.
All that said, I did have the chance to kill Hammer on turn 2. Scalpel got Tooled Up from rage and then moved to engage Hammer, bringing to bear 6 influence of attacks and taking him out through tough hide. It was unexpected to both my opponent and I.