First Impressions of the New Engineers

After two seasons of listening to other teams complain about having their models knocked down and denied momentum, we have a rebuild!  The Engineers have been in need of some help since release and I believe Steamforged may have nailed it.  I’ve only gotten one game in so these are certainly early thoughts.  That said, everything feels better.  Every player felt like they had something to do every turn.  This is my take away from my first S3 game against Butchers.  I very much enjoyed the old Ballista firing squad setup and so chose the following to open up S3: Ballista, Mainspring, Ratchet, Salvo, Colossus, and Hoist.  I’m going to start with my last pick, Hoist.

In past seasons I have had trouble making use of him.  He felt somewhere between Colossus and Velocity but not as useful as either.  If I wanted to play the ball hard under Ballista, he might come in for Salvo and under Pin Vice he might replace Rage but odds were low.  In most of those cases his job would come down to not dying and hoping for a good True Replication target to come in range.  Thankfully that has all changed.  With the change to true replication he has become an amazing force multiplier.  Need more rough ground? Hoist.  Need some to making kicking more difficult? Hoist.  Want to rain flurry into the enemy team? Hoist can help.  On the first turn I was able to get rough ground in front of every member of the team except one.  He continued this move for most of the game receiving four influence each round.  He did lose a bit of speed but the improved playbook and True Replication more than make up for it.  It may be too early to say but Hoist feels like an auto include for most lists.

The second auto include (and Hoists new BFF) is Ratchet.   He traded 1 TAC for a better playbook, better character plays, better character traits, and better heroic plays.  I have no complaints.  My new favorite play with him is to let Mainspring die (heroically), choose not to bring him back on with an icy sponge, then use him as an extension arm for Ratchet when you need ball retrieval.  For the cost of one net momentum he can walk toward a loose ball, spawn Mainspring, let him run for free, pick up a ball up to 9″ away, and then have it passed back to him.  Beyond the above shift in how Mainspring tricks work, he plays largely as he did before with a slightly better ball game.  Mainspring’s improvements are so tied to Ratchet’s that I feel like that need to be dealt with together.  Long Bomb is a huge upgrade from super shot even before the +2 /0” kick change.  Thanks to Launch Control and Overclocked he becomes an amazing ball retriever that you don’t have to be too worried about losing.  Even though Mainspring is now worth points after a respawn, I believe Overheat is as strong as ever.  It just needs to be used a bit more carefully.  I’m still not sure he is stronger than Mother but at least there will be some thought in to who is on the team.

Colossus got some minor changes but they reinforce his play style significantly.  He is problematic to remove and his playbook makes him a threat if he needs to be.  Ramming speed will be missed but I can admit that unexpected arrival will be more useful.  Trading Smashed Shins for singled out seems like a buff with his easy access to knockdown.  Long Legs and Stoic both feel like they were missing from the original version.  His biggest upgrade feels like it comes from the changes made to Ratchet.

Salvo feels very much improved from his previous version.  An increase in kick range makes him feel like the ball handler he was meant to be.  The extra point of TAC combined with the new playbook results makes him feel much safer if he needs to moved up the field.  Kick Bolt and Floored Bolt will be missed but they needed to go.  They were extremely powerful in the correct situation but too unreliable to really lean on.  Flurry seems a perfect fit and arrow to the knee will give him some utility.  My initial feelings on Tether Ball were that it would see little to no use and I can happily report that is not the case.  My Butchers opponent was able to leave the ball outside of any reasonable reach and force me into melee.  Tether Ball allowed a safe retrieval and a (failed) snapshot with what should have been a dead ball.  His new heroic seems nice and is probably a fair trade for pumped up since you will have the same number of dice anyway.

Lastly, our original captain got the love he needed.  As with several of our players he got an amazing playbook upgrade.  Flurry feels much more natural on Salvo and opens up more options so it’s not a big loss.  Minefield seems stronger somehow even with the range decrease.  Activating it through the momentous play seems like the way to go whenever possible.  His new legendary seems to play well with the easy access to Long Bomb by encouraging us to keep strikers near the goal for ready snapshots.

This went a bit longer and more in depth than planned but hopefully gives some insight into the changes.  For the next game I’ll be breaking out Pin Vice, hopefully with an actual battle report.  Season 3 has given the Engineers some new life and given me a passion for the game that I have been missing for quite a while.  The new rules are fresh but the future is looking bright.

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