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The Vasilisa problem


Kaptain_Konrad
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So after a few discussions on here, AWP, and some locally I'm starting to feel like Vasilisa might have a problem. I used to be a staunch defender of her, buts becoming more and more apparent she has issues. Since she wasn't up for vote in Nythera, I assume she isn't that bad off, but people seem overwhelming against her, what can be done to make her more appealing?  More damage, more life? What says you? 

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Simply put player problem, not the model. I don't mean that players who can't work her out  are bad, but rather there is a way and a style some models are best played and not everyone enjoys that style. A lot of the models with Neverborn more than any other faction are finesse models. In that, they require a lot of creative play to get the most out of them. Sadly given how long I have been involved with this game, the trend for player direction leans more to whatever is the most simple and obvious. the most killy or something else that is straightforward.  I see so many fantastic neverborn models, in particular, get such a bad wrap from the online community because of this. There are  plenty of threads about the models themselves so you should know which ones. and after watching how some use them it becomes far more obvious that the model isn't poor but rather it has been used poorly by the player. The only issue I see with Vasilisa other than her sculpt looking like a genderswapped Dr Doom :P is that she has been relegated by many to only be used only by Collodi yet she is also brilliant in a Pandora or even Zoraida crew. The only way I've  been successful in changing one's opinion on how a model performs is by example. once they see first hand how she performs in the hands of a player know knows how to get the best out of her then they may start to look at the model differently.

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Read all of Vasilisa's abilities carefully a few times. Try to imagine what Visilisa does well, what she would prefer to do, what she would be able to do in emergencies. If you don't mind the work make a list of all the models that can interact with every ability, including Mercenaries (for example Lazarus gains +1 Wk in her aura and can copy (1) of a friendly Construct - and guess what Vasilisa is?). Afterwards take a look at what the models do and if you would like to play with them. The list you end up does not have to be filled to the brim with synergy; it's good enough to have some interactions that might come into play only occasionally (but you should still remember them).
The above is pretty much valid for every model in the game, it's just that some models are way more straightforward and are easier to get the hang of. This makes players feel that they are in control quickly, makes them feel powerful - but I find it's kind of a trap sometimes. The most powerful abilities and models can be the ones that allow you (or even require you) to be creative. This is especially true for Neverborn, where if you don't get the feel of the model there is a high change you might use it poorly.

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5 hours ago, Lordgimpet said:

Simply put player problem, not the model. I don't mean that players who can't work her out  are bad, but rather there is a way and a style some models are best played and not everyone enjoys that style. A lot of the models with Neverborn more than any other faction are finesse models. In that, they require a lot of creative play to get the most out of them. Sadly given how long I have been involved with this game, the trend for player direction leans more to whatever is the most simple and obvious. the most killy or something else that is straightforward.  I see so many fantastic neverborn models, in particular, get such a bad wrap from the online community because of this. There are  plenty of threads about the models themselves so you should know which ones. and after watching how some use them it becomes far more obvious that the model isn't poor but rather it has been used poorly by the player. The only issue I see with Vasilisa other than her sculpt looking like a genderswapped Dr Doom :P is that she has been relegated by many to only be used only by Collodi yet she is also brilliant in a Pandora or even Zoraida crew. The only way I've  been successful in changing one's opinion on how a model performs is 

1. The Dr doom comment is great and exactly how I shall paint mine.

2. I hate these types of comments (not to pick you on specifically). They've been popping up more and more and its always with a tone of arrogance. 'Model X is fine as is, you just need to figure out how to use it like I did!'. Communication of actual tactics, ie. How you used it and under what circumstances is far more useful than that blank statement. If Malifaux is to be taken as a serious competitive game, there needs to be a lot less of this attitude. For example, you mention you have used Vas to brilliant effect with Pandora - with what models and vs what opponents and to what end?

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Neverborn has a bit of a Henchman problem, at least as far as popularity. Most of our henchmen are pretty narrowly honed tools for very specific goals. Vasilisa is a prime example of this. It's not that she's bad, it's just that she does one thing (short-mid range control) relatively well, but Neverborn is usually a faction that would rather just kill you, and she is just a smidge too fragile to get a lot of mileage out of that function, too.

That said, she, and the other henchmen can be phenomenal, as Myyra said, when the stars align, you're just often going to find your points better spent elsewhere in Neverborn.

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I agree that dismissing complaints as a 'player problem' is not particularly helpful. (Or, in this case, accurate.)

As it is, Vasilisa is my favorite model that I wish could be redesigned from scratch. She brings a lot to the table - great mobility and great support, both buffing and debuffing. She has an amazing upgrade for Collodi's crew.

But she is also very pricy, for a 6 Wd model that is relying heavily on Df 7 to stay alive - and who tends to be towards the front of the line in order to make the most of her abilities. She pays the price for having a lot of everything, even though she rarely will have all her neat abilities actually coming into play at the same time. She is one of those models I view as a 'soulstone sponge' - she needs the right suit to power her best effects, and she needs soulstones to help stay alive, thus boosting her cost even higher.

In particular, I look at her in comparison to some similar models from the same wave, Sammy LaCroix and Abuela Ortega. Similar stats and roles... but both are a few stones cheaper, while also having more reliability in the use of their abilities.

None of this is to say that Vasilisa can't be played in a crew and have a good effect on a game, or that a skilled player can't make effective use of her. But she'll always feel a little too expensive for the job, and only really viable in crews heavily focused on taking advantage of her. (Unlike Sammy or Abuela, who are often worth taking in almost any crew or scenario.)

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Myth pretty much nailed this. 

 

I think Vas is a really neat and interesting model and, also, one of my favorites. I find her design a bit odd, though: as her fluff indicates she is skilled at repairing constructs her lack of being able to repair constructs stands out the most. Her background indicates a support model yet she is a low wound high DF controller. Sadly I don't put her down as often in GG16, either, as I don't seem to need that extra movement to the center line. That being said I sometimes bring her along, anyways, simply because I love the model. 

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From my experience, Vas has won me more games than I can count, playing a pivotal role in scoring maximum points for my schemes. I find her useful in Collodi (obviously) and even summoning Dreamer. 

I think the first thing to realise is that Vas, even though a henchman, is not a centreline model.. She thrives on the outskirts, moving very quickly and dragging models with her, repositioning your models onto a flank or advancing quickly to setup schemes like Leave Your Mark etc. Secondly, I barely play her offensively (and I'll mention why later). Her upgrade and ability to push once a scheme marker is placed within her aura makes her fast but also adds manoeuvrability to other models. Her Obey is great but her (0) is even better!

Why don't I play Vas offensively? Because I run 2 Stitcheds with her, and most of my opponents are more afraid of the Stitcheds than of Vas. Her upgrade, her Obey and her Twist allows her to move Stitcheds up the board fast (countering their slow move)... You also now have 2 Stitcheds that barely need to use their activations for Walk actions.. And once they're in position with Vas, you suddenly have Stitcheds pumping out loads of Gamble Your Life via Vas + their activation AP. It's a very mobile and efficient Stitched Bomb.. 

Again, I don't think there's any problem with Vas. She's not a frontline henchman. She's a fringe manipulator that adds more value to your crew than disrupting your opponent. If that style fits your playstyle, then she's great. If not, and you prefer a henchman that is a beater or disrupts your opponent's crew, then there are other options in Neverborn. 

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