Today I complete the discussion of the character packs by touching on the final packs, the Ranger and Fighter.
- Starting Health: 58
- Once per turn ability: Look at the top three cards of your deck. You may put up to two of them into your discard pile, then put the rest back on top of your deck in any order.
- Once per game ability: Draw a card. You may stun target champion.
- Starting deck:
- 5x Gold: 1 gold
- Ruby: 2 gold
- Horn of Calling: 1 gold, The next champion you acquire this turn costs 1 gold less.
- 2x Black Arrow: 1 attack, If you have a bow in play, draw a card.
- Hunting Bow: 2 attack
- Stone of Seeking: magic item; Look at the top three cards of your deck. Put one into your hand and the rest on top of your deck in any order.
The funny thing about the ranger is that his abilities are actually rather mediocre. Especially with the magic item, the once per turn isn’t all that useful. Sure you can chuck starter or cheap cards to the discard to try and draw more, but unless your deck is mostly good cards it won’t necessarily increase your next hand’s average strength all that often. The once per game ability is situational at best, it can be a last ditch effort to get a champion out of the way to deliver the final blow or draw the card that clinches your victory, but since the ranger is ahead more often than behind I rarely found myself using it (if I ever did).
The class overall is strong despite this, however. The starting cards give you great economy with 8 of them giving you at least 1 gold. Horn of Calling making champions cheaper is more enticing than the wizard’s similar card that cheapens actions and allows you to more quickly acquire a legion to defend your health and drain your opponent’s.
The bow and arrows provide ranger with one of the best potential draw engines of all the classes. Several times I found myself drawing a second arrow with the ability of the first and then getting to draw another card. The power is limited by needing the bow, though, and the arrows aren’t that great without it (a measly 1 combat). I feel like this is balanced, though, much like the thief’s damage potential. If the cards go your way you can get a great benefit but the base level is lower than what other cards might have.
I honestly think the ranger and thief are on par with each other overall, however in our test games the ranger won more often overall (and also won the head to head battles) so he gets ranked a slot higher. The difference between second and first is a lot wider and the top dog below smashed all the other classes every time his weapons swung.
Final Standing: 2nd place
- Starting Health: 60
- Once per turn ability: 2 combat
- Once per game ability: 8 combat
- Starting deck:
- 6x Gold: 1 gold
- Ruby: 2 gold
- Shield Bearer: 3-health guard champion
- Throwing Axe: 2 combat, If playing this card would give you 7 or more combat this turn, draw a card.
- Longsword: 3 combat
- Blade of Conquest: magic item; 3 combat, Draw a card. Each time you stun a champion this turn, gain 2 health.
At last we come to the one that stands above the rest. When the dust settles and the battle is over, the fighter stands bruised but victorious, his weapons bloody and his armor battered. In the clash of classes, the fighter reigns supreme (at least in our test games).
The fighter has a similar economy to other classes but has a much greater potential for consistent damage to the opponent that it can be difficult to try and keep up, and it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to heal as much as he’s hitting you for. Skewing your purchases towards cards with combat (a lot of the cheap actions have a ton of combat) further intensifies the beating he applies and more often than not you obliterate your opponent’s life before they can even blink.
With two weapons that deal 2+ damage (a third with the magic item) he has the consistency to deal with threats, such as the wizard’s Cat Familiar or the cleric’s Followers, swiftly and decisively. On the flip side, his Shield Bearer guard has 3 health which the other classes can have trouble dealing with in the early game given most of their cards deal 1 or 2 damage. This allows him the ability to start racking up the damage while his guard soaks, and often prevents entirely, the early damage from opponents.
Throwing Axe almost always yields its draw as long as you are building your deck towards combat. Other class synergies require keeping and linking starting cards but the fighter’s can trigger off any combat (it doesn’t even have to be from weapons) which makes it the easiest one to trigger and worth keeping the card even after you start sacrificing starter cards later on. Blade of Conquest is also an interesting card as it allows you to heal based on how many champions you stun this turn. With the low health starter champions of other classes you often have easy fodder to nab 4 or even 6 health in a turn without needing to try.
If the thief, and maybe the ranger, are balanced then the fighter might qualify as overpowered. The sheer damage he can put out plus the small utilities here and there that help him stay alive combine to make one powerhouse of a character. In our test games he never lost a single game and that’s why he takes the crown.
Final Standing: 1st place
I know I probably sounded negative in a lot of these descriptions, especially in parts 1 and 2, but I wanted to make sure it’s clear that I love these character packs. They provide a fun alternative to the basic starting cards that are incredibly thematic and give you a strategy to start with and build around which can help newer players focus their learning and efforts. These packs, while perhaps not entirely balanced among each other, are a great addition to the game and I highly recommend picking them up.
What’s more, with the upcoming campaign deck and cards that are being released for Hero Realms soon, these characters will end up having different and unique roles/purposes during those stories. I can’t wait to see how various combinations fare against the baddies and bosses! Will cleric pull an upset and be the most useful class when playing cooperatively? Who knows! And I can’t wait to find out.