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Nykolae

S4 Spoiler for Smoke and Vitriol

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I'm a card-carrying convert to Alchemists based off the season 4 changes. I had the good fortune of playing in the playtest events and so I've had new Smoke on the table, with my experiences in season 2 with her as something to benchmark her against. 

And I have to say, new Smoke is a much cleaner way of doing the same thing. The AoEs were great in principle, but they took ages to actually use in a game. There are always bases in the way, players get nudged as a result and it's difficult to judge who's affected and who isn't. This way, you pulse out from a model's base and apply the conditions. Much simpler, much cleaner, much quicker, same effect over a wider area (3" + the model's base size vs 3").

The main difference is that you don't activate early and use the AoEs to block lanes. You keep her until later in the turn, and your own models are the threats. The enemy team cannot group up around Alchemist players because Smoke (who is still ridiculously mobile via smoke bombs) will get there and she will be able to apply Burning and Poison on their models without rolling a single dice. 

Vitriol has basically gained Overclocked from Ratchet, that she can cast on herself at the cost of 1 Momentum with the bonus of maybe lighting some other models on fire. That means with 3 influence on her, she can reach a target 11" away, have a charge attack and then 2 other attacks (momentous push-dodge on 2 being what you aim for, and if you feel you need Clone it's momentous on 3), and then have a shot.

9" charge, momentous double-dodge off the charge (4 successes on 9 dice for +2"), 2 momentous push-dodges (+2"), 8" kick. 21" goal threat with plenty of potential momentum generation. Lots of pinball potential in there too. Don't get me wrong, it will take practice to get the most out of Vitriol, but I do feel there's a lot to get.

What I will say is that there's an awful lot of cool stuff still to come as well. Straight after the playtest I picked up an Alchemists team and can't wait to play them in season 4. 

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I'm excited to see how Alchs get changed, hopefully to make them a good footballing team like they used to be. I don't really see the issue with control, though. Beat-down, goal scoring and control are the three ways to play, and plenty of other games have control factions. People enjoy playing control, and if other players don't like playing against, SFG could have just added counters to those other teams, like Grace's removal of AoE's and vHarmony's Field Medic, the free Encourage/Come On Mate's on Minerva and Miasma, or even just clever play with dodges and removal of Goad-throwers etc. Control factions have weaknesses to compensate as well. Ah, well, I suppose control players will just have to stick to Morts and Hunters (control is still here, just not in Alchs apparently).

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