One of the PvE elements of Hex that was pushed pretty heavily during the Kickstarter campaign was Mercenaries, characters with their own fixed set of skills that level separately from your own Champion. In fact, with the exception of a GenCon promo Mercenary that was revealed a few weeks ago, all of the Mercs we have seen have come directly from the Kickstarter campaign. Today we’re going to take a look at a few of those Mercenaries and how they differ from your Champion.
This first Mercenary is based on the Penny Arcade character, and I’m a huge fan of both Penny Arcade and the Cardboard Tube Samurai himself, so I really like this one. So, like all Mercenaries, the CTS gets a Charge Power, and gains more passive abilities as he levels up. The Charge Power may seem a little underwhelming at first – 1 damage to the target Champion for 1 Charge – but it actually allows for fairly consistent damage, as long as you are able to keep supplying the Charge points. It’s limited by the fact that you can’t target Troops with it, but it will still help you win the game faster.
Starting at level 10, you start the game with Tonkatsu, the Cardboard Tube Samurai’s pet pig, in play. This is of questionable value; the extra 10% gold at the end of the match if you can keep him alive might be nice, but he has no real effect on the game – any damage dealt to Tonkatsu is transferred to the CTS, so it has no value at all as a blocker, and will almost certainly have an Attack power of 0. The level 15 power is potentially much more useful, as it both removes the maximum limit on your hand size, and adds a card called Meditate to your hand at the start of the game along with a Sapphire threshold (which implies that Meditate is a Sapphire card with a single threshold.) We don’t actually know what Meditate does, but my guess it that it allows card draw based on some factor, and if that turns out to be the case then starting with it in your hand could be very beneficial indeed.
The final ability adds a single copy of Path Through Oblivion to your deck, a card that destroys all enemy troops. Obviously this is a great card, but having only a single copy added to your deck means it’s pretty unlikely you’ll see it in any given game. Based on cards like Extinction and Judgement, it will also probably have a pretty high cost, I’d guess at least 7 though obviously the effect is worth that cost, especially if the opponent is flooded with troops. Overall the Cardboard Tube Samurai seems pretty good, though his value is heavily weighted towards his Charge Power and level 15 ability. If used with a deck that has a lot of card draw, you could reliably get into a very powerful board position.
Next up we have Mooof, the lovable Shroomkin Mercenary! Dedicated Casual Hex readers are no doubt aware that I’m a big fan of the Shroomkin, so it probably comes as no surprise that Mooof has showed up here, but he does have some pretty good powers. Unfortunately, he doesn’t really become useful until at least level 10, and ideally you’ll want him to be at max level to get the most out of him (more so than with other Mercs, I think.)
His Charge Power lets you create a Shroomkin that doubles the odds of Mooof’s later passive powers, but unfortunately this troop is useless until you actually unlock those powers as the troop itself is only a 1ATT/1DEF, and for 3 Charge that’s a pretty poor deal. Depending on how hard it is to level Mercenaries, those early levels may be a bit of a slog. Once you get to level 10 however, things start to get interesting – his first power gives you a 25% chance to gain 3 health every time you play a card. These are pretty good odds by themselves, but with just 2 of the aforementioned Shroomkins created by the Charge Power, this goes up to 100%, meaning you’re potentially going to be regenerating a fair bit of health every single turn for something you’d be doing anyway. That’s a much better deal!
The second ability gives you a 10% chance of creating 2 Wild Sources and putting them straight into play at the start of your turn – essentially giving you a free Chlorophilia that also generates resources for that turn. Unfortunately the 10% chance makes this pretty tough to rely on, and although with 3 of the Charge Power troops you can get this up to 80%, by that point in the game (turn 9, unless you’ve ramped your Charge production, which this ability will also do when it goes off!) you’ll hopefully be close to victory anyway. Still, a very nice bonus when it does happen.
Mooof’s final ability is the one that usually gets the most attention – at the start of each turn, you have a 1% chance of creating the entire Mustachioed Gang and putting them into play. Obviously at 1% odds, it’s something that won’t happen in most of your games, but when it does happen it will probably win you the match as they all have some incredibly powerful abilities, and even if they didn’t, 5 troops for free could easily turn the tide of most games. Basically, once you get Mooof to at least level 15, he’s a pretty potent Mercenary, but before that point you will find him lacking compared to other Mercs or your own Champion.
Last but not least, Gax The Sly Roller, dice wizard extraordinaire! Gax is one of the Mercenaries who will be given away at the upcoming GenCon and, since Hex won’t be out at the time, in booster pack treasure chests during next years GenCon. Unlike the previous two Mercs, Gax gets his signature ability as his first ability – the power to create random dice cards and put them into your hand. The cards themselves all have incredibly potent powers so you’ll rarely be disappointed with the card you receive, but the powers on the cards themselves are also random and this is where you might get incredibly lucky or incredibly unlucky – just like rolling an actual dice! The cards you can get are:
- Draw 1d4 cards
- Gain 1d6 temporary resources
- Deal 1d10 damage to all opposing troops
- Gain 1d12 health
- Deal 1d20 to target Champion.
All of these have the potential to be incredibly powerful – the 1d20 could even potentially win you the game outright, if you’re lucky enough to get a critical hit – but rolling low is going to make them disappointing at best. Infact, since the 1d6 has a cost of 2, if you roll a 1 or 2 you ultimately would have been better off not playing it! Still, it only costs 2 Charges to generate these cards, so you’ll be able to get a few of them during each game.
Obviously the cards are the biggest draw for this Mercenary, but his passive powers shouldn’t be overlooked. His first allows you to pick whether or not you want to go first at the start of each game. It’s honestly pretty tough to say how useful this power is at this point, but if it ever should become a deciding factor, the ability to choose will be a good one to have. The second ability lets you void your newly created dice card and draw a new one, if the one you got is no use in your current situation. This is a nice ability, but don’t forget that there’s always a chance you’ll just draw the same card again, so this isn’t fool proof.
The final ability is pretty spectacular – if you would lose the game, you have a 65% chance of just not losing. Obviously relying on this is a fools game, but a nearly 2 out of 3 chance to be saved from defeat if you’ve been reduced to 0 health (or lost by some other means) is pretty incredible. Of course, if you’re at 1 health or your deck is empty, odds are you’re going to lose the following turn, but if that single turn is all you needed to win the game yourself, you’ll be glad for that save.
So, that was a few of the Mercenaries we’ve seen so far. Hopefully they will soon show us some from the vanilla game so we can work out how well these promo ones compare. They certainly seem to add some interesting gameplay opportunities, so hopefully the ones that everyone gets access to won’t disappoint!
Despite the overall slow down on content production within the Hex community, there have been some interesting bits and pieces. Here are some links!
– grissnap over at Thedailyhexagame has been doing some interesting reviews of the decks that will be available at GenCon. He’s done the Blood, Blood/Wild and Diamond decks so far, and will be doing an overall review once he’s done each individual deck. Check them out here!
– For about a month now a group of experienced gamers and podcasters have been doing a Hex podcast called Threshold. They have 4 episodes up now, and they are all both very interesting and very entertaining. If you’re looking for something to scratch that Hex itch while you’re commuting or whatever, you should definitely check it out here.
– The folks over at Utopian Chaos are currently running a competition the prize for which is a Pro Player backer tier from the kickstarter – an incredible prize! For those that don’t know, the Pro Player tier sold out just a few days after the kickstarter began, and amongst a whole slew of other awesome goodies, gives the account holder a free Draft tournament access once a week for life! If you’re interested in entering the competition, you can find the details here and here. Good luck!
That’s all for today! Check back later, when I divulge the great secrets of the universe!