Tuesday, November 4, 2008

RDK: Louis, the Magic Tank (Zealot #5)

Name: Brother Louis
Title: The Templar Knight
Set: RDK
Group: Zealots
Role: Buff Scrapper/Tank
Health: 70
Resistance: 4/2/2
Innate: Magic spells targeted against Louis have a 20% chance to fail.
Bar (v10):
  1. Heroic Perseverance. 40En, 3spd, Light. 100Hit, 100Proc. For the next 3 turns, you gain 50 bonus health for the next 3 turns. Cannot be used while under the effects of Heroic Perseverance. Close.
  2. Warrior's Prayer. 20En, 3spd, Light. 110Hit, 100Proc. For the next 2 turns, you gain 2 resistance and 2 damage. Unlocks Soul Blade. Far.
  3. Hammer Blow. 40En, 4spd, 28dmg, Phys. 90Hit, 30Proc. A solid blow from your war hammer with a chance to stun your foe for the next turn. Close.
  4. Soul Blade. 35En, 7spd, 3x7(21)dmg, Light. 90Hit. A glowing blade forged from will and honed by faith. Unlocked by Warrior's Prayer. Both.
Summary: This brave knight is the Zealot's Champion. Having mastered not only the fighting arts but the Order's holy magic as well he's the bravest and strongest warrior they've ever produced. His courage is as strong as any shield and, when pressed, his faith can become sharper than any sword.
  • Flexibly Ranged
  • Buffs
  • Magic Attacks
  • Locked Skills
  • Buff Removal
Backstory: Like many in the Zealous Order, Louis was an orphan. A foundling taken in and raised within a monetary hidden high in the mountains. Groomed to one day join the ranks of their ever vigilant army, ever ready to combat the forces of supernatural evil. Trained since a young age in the arts of warfare Louis grew into the Order's finest warrior. He fought against the witches and monsters he'd sworn to destroy. Battling from one corner of the world to the next, Louis travelled the globe. One day, though, he was recalled to the Order's home for a meeting with their leader. Father Alcinder took him into his study and, then, into his confidence. Informing him that their most ancient foe, Dominus, had returned. But Alcinder needed time to prepare, to muster his forces and rally his troops. He needed Louis to buy him that time. Louis was to be the Order's vanguard. The champion who would take the fight to their enemies, even at the cost of his own life. Alcinder wanted to know if Louis could make such a sacrifice. He needn't have asked. Louis would give anything to serve the only family he'd ever known. Hailed as a hero, he set out from the monastery, to find and destroy as much evil as he could before he met his end.
Appearance: An athletic, handsome man in a bulky suit of armor. A lengthy cape flows behind him as he lunges towards his opponent, a large war hammer gripped in one hand. His other glows with the crackle of holy energy, as if he's preparing to cast. Louis's hair is dark and close-cropped, a single-curl hanging over his face (He looks a little like Clark Kent, if that's possible). He's wearing a suit of plate-mail. Heavy armor that's bright and polished even though it's seen some action, there are a few dents and chip marks and other signs of wear and tear. It's got huge shoulder pads. A tabbard covers his chest or a tunic which hangs down past his belt a little way. On it is a version of the Zealot's icon (The stylized image of a sword crossed with, well, a cross, its blade pointed down.).
  1. Heroic Perseverance. A spectral, spiritual shield appears over and in front of him before fading away. Louis then glows.
  2. Warrior's Prayer. A sword crossed with a shield appears over and in front of him before fading away. Louis then glows.
  3. Hammer Blow. A Pilebunker like punch line.
  4. Soul Blade. A curving crescent shape spins through the air and into the opponent.
Suggested Item: Battle Standard

With Louis, what I was going for was the idea of a Paladin. In this card, I wanted to create was a magic tank. Someone who could go toe to toe with the heaviest of heavies in the game. But someone who had to rely on buffing up with powerful enchantments in order to survive.

The first such buff is Skill #1, Heroic Perservereance, an expensive spell that gives Louis a vast amount of health. It pumps 50HP to his bar, giving him a base of 120 overall. That's a lot of health to get through but the thing to remember is that this is bonus health. It's only temporary and when HP fades, then so too does that extra health since it rests underneath his normal hit points and not on top.

So, say, Louis has only 30/70 health left when he cast this buff. It goes up and he gains +50/+50 to have 80/120 remaining – he's still down 40 health but he now has a lot more to give away before he dies. If, over the next 3 turns, he took 26 damage and entered the end of the turn with 54/120, his buff would fade and his health would drop back to its original state and he'd lose 50/50 to sit at 4/70. If, on the other hand, he takes 52 damage to fall to 28/120, then, at the end of the turn as the buff wanes, he'll lose 50 health from both his maximum AND current health. Once more dropping to 70 overall but winding up dead since that 52 damage was more than the 30 he had and he'll die even though he'd survived while his HP was up. Those bonus points aren't healing, but they should be good for staving off death for a short time.

The buff also can't be recast as long as it's active so Louis can't stack his health up as high as he wants. He can only get to, at most, 120. This also means that there's at least one part of a turn where he's vulnerable – the space between the buff fades and when he can put the next copy up. And that should give an opponent an opening that they might need.

Used right, though, along with an innate, which gives him a chance to dodge Light as well as Dark attacks, it should make Louis hard to easily kill off.

HP can only be used up Close, though, while his next buff, Skill #2, Warrior's Prayer, can only be used at Far. It, too, offers some additional protection by increasing Louis's resistance. But, really, it adds to his ability to deal damage, through the following complicated process.

Skill #3, Hammer Bash, is there to get the ball rolling. It's a low speed version of the old Open Palm. Sacrificing priority in order to keep a bunch of damage and a good chance to stun. Being so slow, it allows an opponent to still manage to get in a hit before being chain stunned and that, I think, is both fair and threatening enough that opponents would want to push him away.

While at Far, Louis has nothing to do but to buff up with WP. That increases his resistance a fair bit and bumps up his damage slightly if he wants to head back and Hammer away. But if WP is active then so is Skill #4, Soul Blade.

Soul Blade is a dual-ranged skill that gives Louis some much needed range. It's unlocked by Warrior's Prayer, the same way that Ambush is unlocked by Hide. Keep in mind, too, that because it requires WP's buff, it actually deals 5x7 damage rather than the listed 3x7. That +2 dmg is built right in making it a powerful attack that Louis can use for a few brief turns – it's not gong to scratch those who have a lot of Light resistance but against the dark and evil forces that tend to lack it, it'll be lethal.

Unlike HP, Warrior's Prayer can be stacked although you can only get +4 at best. That means Soul Blade can go from 35 raw damage to 49, a 14 point differential that doesn't quite make up for missing out on that attack – 35x2 being better than 49. Although it's still there when it can be useful.

The balancing point here is to keep Soul Blade strong enough to be a credible threat. It's supposed to be a punishment for players who default to shoving Louis away. But it also needs to be weak enough that Louis players don't just step back and buff away to use it because it's their best option. It's a fall back plan, not the centerpiece of Louis's play. I'm not sure that I've found that level but I think this latest version is getting there.

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