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Cardiology: Seized Trophy

Decision: Should you play Seized Trophy?

TL; DR:

Yeah, probably.  It's no showstopper, but it's likely worth an upgrade slot to be able to inspire your fighter for free (at some point, you probably played Inspiration Strikes, right?).

Prelude: Disclaimer

This card isn't released yet; you probably shouldn't play it until it is.  Additionally, we have very little information about the other cards in this set, therefore this analysis will be necessarily incomplete.  Things may change drastically as we learn about new cards.  This is a preliminary look only.

Factor: Fuzzy Math


Seized Trophy is one of those cards that you wouldn't even consider in any warband other than Godsworn (even if it was a universal), so it's important that we view it specifically through the lens of that warband.  When a Godsworn fighter gets an upgrade, they inspire.  So in this article, we'll be looking at Seized Trophy as a method to upgrade your fighters.  How then do we determine whether it's worth it?

Lets look at an imprecise, but intuitive, way of measuring it's value.  When you upgrade a Godsworn model, you get two benefits: the value of the upgrade itself (U) and the value of inspiring (I). So if fighter X upgrades, his value increases by U+I.  Most upgrades cost 1 glory (and those that cost more generally don't get played) so the value of (U) can be set to 1.  [Sidenote: not all upgrades are equal.  But the ones you are playing are ones that you have decided are worth the 1 glory to play, so we can assume that the value of U is one glory.]  So when we upgrade a Godsworn fighter, we can use the following formula to think about value:

X + 1 = X + U + I

When you play (S) Seized Trophy, you don't get the benefit of (U), but you also don't pay one glory.  So in that case:

X + S = X + I

If we simplify this a little, we can remove the X on each side of the equation and see that the value of Seized Trophy can be estimated at equal to the value gained from your model's inspiration.  Since you can normally only upgrade a unit by paying 1 glory, we can compare Seized to other cards by checking whether it is worth more or less than 1 glory in terms of the improvements it grants.  If it's not, you should fill that slot with another upgrade.

Again, this is an estimate.  Unlike the probability charts or damage averages we've dealt with in prior articles, this is not an exact science. 

To be fair (To be faaaaiiiuuhhh), Seized Trophy isn't 100% free.  You need to kill an enemy model in order to play it.  However, since killing bad guys is generally part of the plan for playing Shadespire, we're going to consider that cost insignificant.  Now, let's look at how valuable it would be to upgrade each of your Godsworn fighters.

Factor: Grawl


Grawl gets quite a boost from inspiration, picking up an extra square of movement, a dodge die, and a sword die to his attack.  In terms of upgrade value, you can get +1 movement from Great Speed and +1 dodge from Acrobatics.  As for the boost to accuracy on Grawl's attack, there are a few upgrades that provide a similar attack (Swift Strike and Deadly Spin are both 1-3-1 sword attacks), but they all come with an additional bonus beyond just the attack.  Essentially, Grawl picks up 2 full glory worth of improvement from inspiring, along with some loose change from his attack boost.  Overall, Seized is well worth the card slot if you play it on Grawl.

Factor: Ollo


Ollo's inspiration is also fairly strong, netting him cleave, a sword die on attacks, and a dodge die.  Once again, the dodge die can be replicated with Acrobatics, so that's 1 glory worth of upgrades right there.  Dark Darts can be used to give the same attack as Ollo grabs on inspiration, so we can confidently say that his inspiration is worth a solid 2 glory.  Seized is a good option here as well.

Factor: Shond


Shond starts off by netting a sword die and Cleave.  It's currently not possible to pick up a 1-3-2 sword attack with cleave off an upgrade, though Arnulf's Wicket Blade upgrade comes close.  Shond also switches from dodges to blocks on his inspired side (h/t to Ross Chippendale on FB for pointing this out!), which is available in upgrade form through Ethereal Shield . Therefore we can confidently say that inspiring Shond is worth slightly more than 2 glory, making Seized a good option for him - he gains roughly the same bonus as Grawl from the upgrade. (For an analysis of actual value gained from changing from 1 dodge to 1 block, see here - it's not as good as going to 2 dodge, but it's pretty decent.)

Factor: Jagathra

Jagathra's inspiration is underwhelming, granting her only a movement and a single sword die on an already weak attack.  Essentially, she get's Grawl's inspiration bonus, minus the defense boost.  As such, we can estimate her inspiration value at between 1 and 2 glory.  Even though she's probably not the best target for Seized, it's still worth the card slot when played on her.

Factor: Grundann


Grundann is the first Godsworn we've looked at to use hammers to hit, so of course his attack doesn't gain any accuracy from upgrading.  However, he does pick up an extra hex of movement (Great Speed) and an extra damage (Great Strength), mimicking two very solid upgrades.  As such, we can value his inspiration at 2 glory, making Seized well worth playing on him.

Factor: Theddra


Theddra's inspiration is probably the hardest to quantify, because she's the only model so far to pick up a wizard level when she inspires. This is essentialy equivalent to Arcane Savant (though you can't push her to level 3 with Seized), but it's value is directly related to the number of spells you're playing. Since Theddra has no innate magic attack,  gaining a wizard level only benefits her if you play Gambit spells.   At 0 spells, it's worthless, but you'll gain some value even if you only play 1 spell.  However, Theddra also gains a damage to her attack, which we've already established is solidly worth a glory.  Therefore, we can say that Theddra's inspiration is worth at least one glory, and possibly more.  That said, there are definitely better targets in your warband for Seized (and if you're not playing spells, she's probably the worst target).

Summary: 

Seized Trophy is a difficult card to value, especially without knowing what other options will come with the Mob and Godsworn warbands.  However, when judged in terms of upgrade value, it would appear that the Godsworn can benefit from it's inclusion in most decks.

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