Having gotten my grubby little hands on Smoke in advance to her release I have been itching to talk about her. Now that she has been officially spoiled and I have got a few games in I am happy to announce that Smoke is legit.
Same as the old boss?
This is an interesting question. In many ways she is a different beast. She can still play a semi-Midas game in some ways. Even though she is slower than Midas and has a shorter kick range, she has an equal if not greater threat range to the goal with a little more reliability getting there thanks to Cloud Jumper.
She also has Unpredictable Movement, which is shared by Midas. Like him, not having 2″ melee can make this easily countered, but it does give here a range of survivability and can prove tactically useful. In my first game with her against Loxam, he was setting up Rage to finish off one of my other models late turn. By making a cloud and jumping her between them, I was able to thwart that plan knowing full well she was safe.
Another advantage is that she is no where near the individual threat as Midas so she can sneak in under the radar. Unless I really have a solid plan to try to steal the ball with her I can generally get by with 2 or less INF on her. She spends most her time looking very unsuspecting and just doing little things to help her team along.
Stats and Playbook
These are really some of her less impressive features. I do no force her using them any more than needed. All you need to remember for her stats are 4/6 with 1 ARM. Her playbook is far from Midas. She has a closer Tackle, but it is still 50% up her playbook. I actually like the fact that she also has a Momentous Tackle, so if you need to get the ball and get away, that is an option. Otherwise keep in mind that she pushes, not dodges. Makes sense considering you can push models into conditions.
Smoke Bomb- seriously, you didn’t see it coming. Nothing new to the team. It is nice to have around. She can give it to herself for protection or jumping, or even better, set up a target for Vitriol so she doesn’t have to use hers. Overall, great utility.
Alchemy Mix- So far my least used play and the one we’ve known. Make a double of an AOE and flip it. No conditions applied instantly. Not bad for utility. It will probably see most use with Burning AOEs to block lanes. I have used it to make sure I can get an AOE where needed with the next play.
Chemical Breeze- This is without a doubt her signature play. Move a cloud, spread conditions. The problem with the condition game is people get rid of conditions. Being able to reapply them mid to late turn helps keep it going. I always have at least 1 INF on her for this. It almost always has utility. BOOM!!! That was the sound of my head exploding as I JUST realized it is once per AOE not once per turn. Things just got a lot better!
Chemical Shower- An interesting LP. In some ways it can seem OP in others it can seem weak, but it definitely not bad. You create 2 AOEs that auto hit for 3 Condition Damage (no Tough Hide) and leave behind Poison AOEs. No conditions applied initially. Damage does not stack. I find I often forget it now, but I am learning to look for the right opportunity to use it. It would be nice if it caused multiple conditions, but, whatever.
Cloud Jumper- This would be her signature trait. It doesn’t just increase her range, It gets her in and out of places that others cannot so easily. Above all is the zero cost of INF or MOM. Opponents expect to see something that good cost something so when they are eyeballing your resources it may not cross their mind as a possibility.
Momentous Inspiration- This is not Engineers. Only 3 models can really benefit this. Mercury, Calculus, and Hemlock. Sure Decimate is included, but for 3 INF I don’t count her right now. The main thing to remember is that Smoke does not benefit from this. You are not going to wrack up MOM from this. It does allow for Calculus or Mercury to activate early and spread their love while generating a MOM to keep in your pocket for a rainy day. Don’t expect greatness from this, just take what you can when you can.
Unpredictable Movement- Nothing new here. Same ability seen throughout the game
I don’t know that that is a word or not, but it is now. What I am talking about is when/where she wants to activate. The beautiful thing is there is no set time. She is someone who can easily go anytime.
Early turn- There are 2 times I can see that you would want to go first with her. When you have need her to ball and when you need her to mop up after conditions.
She is obviously capable of getting places and getting the ball when she needs to. As much as I am growing more cautious of scoring early turn, I don’t try that to much, but she does have the ability.
The main reason I would go first with her though is when she can blow shit up with her LP. I had a game the other night against the Brewers and I kind of go to live the dream. I wouldn’t expect this too often, but it is sweet when it can happen.
-He basically had all his team grouped in the center into 2 groups of 3 right next to each other. Katalyst ended the turn lighting people up with Intensify after Venin Bled a bunch. They all took hits for the most part. Venin had the ball and could likely score first turn. Katalyst was front and center to continue pounding, but most the people with conditions would die to quickly to make him worth going first. Scum and Spigot had less than 3 HPs. By activating Smoke first I could blow them up with her LP then move the clouds to poison everyone and follow up with Katalyst to lay down the pain. By the end of the turn I killed 4 models and was able to score off the bat next turn.
Mid-turn- Board control. Shift and double clouds to spread more conditions and set up fire traps. This is generally when she is least productive, but can be useful based on need. It is really a question of going when you feel it is safe and you shouldn’t hold out longer, because when you really want to go is…
Late turn- The later in the turn you go, the less likely your opponent will be to shake effects. The prime time is probably to activate her second to last so that you can follow up with Katalyst or Venin to do what they do best. Going sooner probably gives them the chance to clear at least 1-2 key models. The absolute best situation you want is Katalyst to end the turn pounding out on models with Poison and Bleed close by, win the initiative, and then continue pounding. That is potentially 17 points to every model within 3 inches and no retaliation
What about Midas-Ball?
The interesting thing is that she can do it to. The danger is that you don’t want to totally forsake the condition game or she becomes very one dimensional. I would suggest Vitriol, Venin, Calculus Mist. I think Calculus and Venin are actually her core 2 guys she always wants. They can hold the center of the field pretty well and spread conditional love pretty reliably. The new mascot is still yet to be seen, but it would have to be pretty sweet to replace Flasks Intensify if you do not have Katalyst around.
I don’t hate Midas, but he is a very selfish player who’s strengths can ebb and flow based on match-ups. Smoke on the other hand is a team player who I think can get the whole team firing on all cylinders. It is exciting to realize that you can load up Mercury, Calculus and Katalyst every turn and not feel let down. As always I think there will be a curve as people learn to play against her. Even though conditions are not new, she brings them at a whole new level. I foresee many infuriated players for some time, followed by games that are far more spread out.