In my interview with the new lead, Cory Bullock, he remarked that he thought we did a great job on his second block of units, which were the CL, JE, FK, and VG reinforcements. I agree. Let's start with the Cloaks!
The first Unit I’d like to talk about is the Slasher, because I think it’s perfect, and a great example of my economic approach to unit balance.
One of the main tools I use to analyze units is expected value (or in SW’s case, expected wounds) dealt by that Unit in a turn. Initially, Slashers were a 1/1 for 1, and on a 6 they’d deal 4 wounds, not 3. Their expected wounds value was 1.17. Compared to cross-faction Units, like Guardians with one more life and 1 more cost for the PE, or the 1/1 for 1 Fighters for the TO (who both have an EW of 1), the Slashers come up perfectly favorable, and better than these two units that we know we didn’t think were especially strong.
The TO Fighter comparison was particularly apropos, because it was also a high variance Unit with low survivability. But I already discussed before how I didn’t like creating Cloak Units that are designed solely as gambles, it encroached into some of the TO’s design and thematic space. So I thought of reducing the cost of the Slasher to 0 so you feel less bad when they roll anything but a 6. Then we accompanied it with a lower top-end: 3 on a 6 instead of 4 wounds. This put the EW right at 1, same as the TO Fighter and PE Guardian. However, it also had different optimal targets. Guardians and Fighters excel at destroying 1 life commons, something that even then we didn’t think needed to be encouraged any more than it was. Fighters can also use their Fury ability to keep attacking after smacking walls or their own Units. They’re different beasts. Furthermore, Slashers are in a faction with two great common melee Units already: the Scrappers that allow some interesting movement shenanigans, and the 1/1 for 0 Thieves that have event Support in Vlox’s deck. For a new melee common to be relevant, it’s more important to consider the substitution effects within their own faction. Another thing to consider is that to this point, one of the Cloaks’ weaknesses was dealing with powerful enemy Champions from the likes of the GD and TO. A unit that can cheaply help deal with these, and power up Vlox at the same time, was a win-win.
I think a very early version of the Sniper was a 1/1 for 1 that got more range and an increased likelihood to hit if it didn’t move at all. Got tweaked for a bit until she ended up where she is. She turned out well, and gave them their first 2 AV Common, something that seems crucial for many factions’ viability.
Hawk didn’t change a whole lot, but originally, he could hit Champions too. Cody, the one who loves Cloaks, (not Cory the current lead and guy who tended to lose to Cody’s Cloaks) would play an absurdly defensive game with Admiral, Hawk, and Vlox, killing lots of stuff safely from far away. It was kind of unfun, and pretty strong, so we made it only work on Commons. (This was also one of the few times that Colby sent back some art to Gary. He apparently first drew an actual bird[man], instead of a dude named Hawk).
Then there was Sin-sin. She also targeted commons and ended up having a really neat effect which some people have used to boost their own thieves into STEAL position. I totally hated her name, and thought she should be called Rose instead, to go along with Violet. Otherwise I was cool with her.
Last, but certainly not least, there’s The Admiral. Dude’s a boss, even though Vlox didn’t teach him any tricks. He provides some beef and protection for the other Cloaks to do their thing.