Codex: Balance spec

The Moss Sentinels (green faction) are also included in the Codex core set. Lead by Calamandra Moss, they protect the forests and natural resources. They harness the mighty power of nature itself, making them ferocious and threatening in combat. Their attunement with nature also helps them find the richest veins of gold, making them a powerhouse resource-wise as well.

Here are the three green heroes:

Master Midori is the Balance spec hero in the green faction. He’s honorable and fair and strives to keep nature’s balance intact. That said, Midori’s methods of keeping things fair seem to favor him an awful lot!

Here’s his hero card:

 
 

At max level, Midori can fly—he can turn into a green dragon! I guess it’s fair because he only does that on your turn? Not really though, he’s special in all the game in that he’s the best hero at being a win condition without any other support. You can use Forest’s Favor from the green starting deck to make him a 5/6 flier:

 
 

With 5 ATK, he can destroy any tech building in one shot except for a base. If he goes for their base, that’s a 4 turn clock even without any other support. Midori’s threat of doing this is so powerful that opponents need to think about this possibility if they even see Midori in your command zone.

And all that is before we even get to his middle ability. It makes units with no abilities cost 1 gold less and get +2/+2. Would you like a 1 cost 4/4 in your starting deck? You got it:

 
 

Combine Midori with other specs that can generate token cards (usually those don’t have abilities) or otherwise blank cards such as this card in the Growth spec:

 
 

Midori also keeps it fair and balanced with Moment’s Peace:

 
 

That’s a “fog effect” meaning it basically shuts down combat damage from units for a turn, though it still allows heroes to fight because heroes aren’t classified as units. It’s a pretty fishy effect though. You get to stall, but you’re also the color with the best ability to get gold. You can delay an opponent’s beatdown while you set up really powerful turns later. You can get free gold with these cards in the meantime:

 
 

Rich Earth is in your starting deck, and it’s one of the defining cards of green. It usually costs 1 gold to play a worker, but for the low price of 2 gold you no longer have to pay for workers for the rest of the game! Meanwhile cards like Merfolk Prospector and Gemscout Owl rake in the gold.

Is your opponent playing cards that stay in play, but that aren't units? That's not really fair and Balanced. They should stick to units. Midori can make sure of that with this:

 
 

Nature Reclaims doesn't just discard the thing it destroys—it TRASHES it. Whatever unnatural card they were using goes away for the rest of the game and won't cycle back into their hand. Nature Reclaims itself is also trashed, and that helps you get to your good cards faster after it's done its job.

Midori’s ultimate spell is also very fair. It even says so right on the card:

 
 

Midori gets to be a 7/8 flier who draws a card whenever he attacks, who costs 1 gold for opponents to even target him, and who doesn’t exhaust when he attacks. He’s probably 8/9 actually, because he probably has a +1/+1 rune on him from Forest’s Favor. But hey, the opponent gets two 3/3s so it all works out. The 3/3 Hunters have anti-air, so that means they will damage Midori if they are patrolling while he flies over them, but they can’t actually stop his attack. Midori can probably win the game before the Hunters kill him.

Here’s a couple other fair guys for you.

 
 

You somehow get a 6/5 with overpower for only 3. Overpower means excess combat damage you’d deal to a patroller hits something else you could attack. The Horselord only follows the strong though, so that keeps it fair. The thing is, when he checks the total ATK on each side of the table, he counts his own 6 ATK in your favor.

 
 

Wandering Mimic is another great Balance card. He’s just a 4/4 for 4, which isn’t even that great at tech II. He can get a whole bunch of abilities, but only if other things have those abilities (see how fair that is?). Pair him with Gemscout Owl to give him flying. Would you like to have stealth or be untargetable? No problem, pair him with one of these balance cards:

Wandering Mimic is terrifically versatile and there's so much you can do with him that I think you'll have a lot of fun with him.

And at tech III, you get a ridiculously powerful Tyrannosaurus Rex:

 
 

The T-Rex is notable in that it’s one of the few ways in the game you can straight up destroy an opponent’s tech III unit. Doing that while having your own 10/10 with overpower is backbreaking. But hey, that’s the cycle of nature: some things die while others take their place.

If you like to keep things fair for everyone, sort of, then play with Balance!

Codex: Fire spec

Introducing Jaina Stormborne, the Fire hero in Codex. Jaina fights with a magic bow that shoots flame arrows, and she’s reckless and aggressive despite Master Midori trying to teach her some patience. She may have fallen in with the wrong crowd by joining the Blood Anarchs, but she fits in quite well.

A lot of the power in the Fire spec comes from how inherently good direct damage is. While some specs have to play fair and deal their damage through combat, Fire can often point that damage wherever you want. That starts with Jaina Stormborne herself:

 
 

When she reaches maximum level, Jaina is extremely dangerous. From that point on, she’s dealing 3 damage every turn, without spending any cards or any gold to do it. She can use that as part of a control-based plan where she tries to kill whichever units you play and destroy whichever tech buildings you have. Or, she can close out the game with this ability because your base is a building too, meaning she can deal 3 damage to it (15% of its max HP) every turn. That adds up fast when you factor in all the other firepower.

The red starting deck comes with a burn spell, Scorch.

 
 

That’s a bit expensive, but in the early game it can kill a pesky unit or hero and late game it can deal the last 2 damage you need for a win. Jaina’s own spells in the Fire spec are better versions of that:

Ember Sparks lets you deal 1 extra damage relative to Scorch from your starting deck AND it lets you divide that damage across multiple targets if you want. Meanwhile Flame Arrow deals a whopping 4 damage to any unit or hero. That’s enough to kill most heroes and lots of units. Even though it’s a powerful control spell, it’s also a great finisher to win the game with because it does 3 damage to buildings too.

At tech I, both Lobber and Firebat are solid threats:

Lobber gets to deal 1 damage immediately, while Firebat gets to deal 2 damage each turn if you’re willing to wait for it (he doesn’t have haste) and pay for it. Also, I hope you appreciate that there’s a firebat in this RTS-themed game.

Fire’s tech II cards are all dangerous in different ways. Bamstamper Lizzo is a very solid control card:

 
 

He gives you a respectable 5/3 body AND he usually destroys a unit when he arrives. That can help you dominate the board. Meanwhile, Doubleshot Archer gives you some control, but while also damaging your opponent’s base:

 
 

She won’t kill anything the turn she arrives like Bamstamper Lizzo can, but when she does attack, she’ll likely kill one thing and not take any damage (because of her long-range ability) and she’ll ALSO deal 3 to your opponent’s base. Those double shots are so efficient that your opponent just can’t let you have her more than 1 turn.

Want to rain down fire on EVERYTHING? You can:

 
 

As you think about how devastating it can be to deal 1 damage to everything an opponent has (on a flying unit that’s hard to attack), factor THIS in:

 
 

Now each Molting Firebird is dealing *2* damage to everything. Doubleshot Archer deals 4 to their base, Bamstamper Lizzo deals 4 damage when he arrives, even your lowly Scorch now deals 3 damage. And that’s with just one copy of Hotter Fire—remember, upgrades stay in play indefinitely. You can have two of these upgrades in play if you dare to dream!

That brings us to possibly the most dreamy Fire spec card of all: Firehouse.

 
0042_firehouse.jpg
 

Got a problem with Fire? Call the Firehouse, except they will just start more fires instead of putting any of them out. Firehouse is one of those cards that seems like it must be a typo or something. It can potentially wipe your opponent’s entire board if you set it up correctly. Everything with 2 HP or less is dead as soon you reach your next ready phase, and you can combine other damage with Firehouse to possibly kill the rest too. In actual practice, it’s not quite so easy to pull off a devastating Firehouse massacre, but hey, we can dream.

In case you want a more reliable win condition, get to tech III and bust out this ridiculous dragon:

 
 

Between the damage the dragon himself deals and all the free fire spells he lets you cast every turn, you’ll roast their base in no time.

May your passions burn red with Anarchy, Blood, and Fire!

Codex: Blood spec

 

Codex's Blood hero, Drakk Ramhorn is new to the Fantasy Strike universe. Here’s his hero card:

 
 

Drakk is a little guy who rides a huge beast. He bangs on his war drums to hype up his allies for battle. The Blood spec is very much about running into battle bloodlusted, no matter what happens. Blood has more trouble than just about any other spec keeping units alive on the battlefield, but the tradeoff is that Blood is generally able to do a lot of damage in the process—damage that’s very hard to avoid.

Blood is one of my personal favorite specs in the entire game. It might appear mindlessly aggressive, but it’s actually more difficult to play than it first appears. The hardest part is deciding when to shift all your attention to damaging your opponent's base (that’s how you win the game), versus when to fight for control on the battlefield. You have to be very careful about when you can go “all in”. If you do it right, you barely win right before you run out of gas and have nothing left.

Let’s look at some of Blood’s “unavoidable damage.” First, Drakk himself sneaks in 1 damage to the enemy’s base whenever he dies. That’s 5% of their life total right there. If you aren’t relying on Drakk to cast spells, it’s sometimes ok for him to die two or three times in a single game, which is 2 or 3 damage out of 20.

If you have any red hero on your team (including Drakk Ramhorn), you can use the red starting deck. That’s the small deck of 10 cards you start the game with. The red starting deck is fantastic at supporting Blood’s plan.

0003_bombaster.jpg

As simple as Mad Man is, he lets you be aggressive right from the start, which is exactly what you want. And look at his art: he is truly a mad man.

Then Bombaster is a way to clear out the opponent’s patrollers so you can do more attacking. When Bombaster actually attacks, he’ll have to attack an opposing Squad Leader if there is one—that’s how the patrol zone works. The opponent puts things there to “block” you and their Squad Leader is like the primary blocker, basically. But when Bombaster sacrifices himself to use his ability, he can hit any patroller, not just the Squad Leader. Also, he can do this immediately when he comes into play, whereas he can’t actually attack right away unless something gives him haste.

“Isn’t it bad to sacrifice your own guys?” you ask. Enter, Bloodburn:

 
 

That’s another red starting deck card. It’s tricky to afford a 3 cost card in the early game, but the effect is significant: every time ANY unit dies—even an opponent’s—you basically get to do 0.5 damage. This is an upgrade card, so it stays in play until something destroys it (and not many things can). Also, the art for upgrades and spells are icons, as if these are what you'd click in an RTS video game.

This next guy is an all-star in the Bloodburn plan:

 
 

He’s a tech I unit, so you need to build your tech I building before you can play him. You can usually start building your tech I building on turn 2, and have it finish on turn 3, so it's reasonable to play him on turn 3.

Anyway, Crash Bomber is a fantastic deal because you get a regular 2/2 AND you get to do 1 extra damage when he dies. Keep in mind that this is stacking with Bloodburn (by giving it a blood rune) so Crash Bomber really does 1.5 damage when he dies in that case.

At the tech II level, you can turn up the damage even more. You then have access to something that triggers even more damage whenever anything dies:

 
 

...as well as things that deal a lot of damage and then die:

That’s some serious hurt right there. If you can keep even one Captured Bugblatter on the field along with Bloodburn, that’s now 1.5 damage anytime any unit dies. Your opponent basically MUST kill the Bugblatter. Meanwhile, your Shoddy Gliders have crazy gold efficiency by costing only 1 gold dealing 3 damage...or make that 4.5 damage if you have Bloodburn + a Captured Bugblatter. Crashbarrow doing a ridiculous 6 damage (+ another 1.5?) is just ridiculous.

But you can see the weakness of the plan right there. Bloodburn itself is an upgrade, not a unit that can protect you. Crash Bomber, Shoddy Glider, and Crashbarrow are all things that will die. Captured Bugblatter is amazing, but he needs other things to protect him to survive. You’ll have to string together some kind of minimal defense here or you’ll lose your heroes and your tech buildings to enemy attacks.

As a quick note about the theme of the red faction, look at those last three cards again. So they've captured a bugblatter, apparently? And they have some guys who use gliders, but only poorly constructed ones that crash immediately. They've also built some kind of battering ram with a lot of spikes, but it it only has 2 HP. Maybe not the best workmanship there. Much of the Blood Anarch's technology is hastily cobbled together and they've recruited (kidnapped?) various hooligans and monsters to fight for them too.

Back to gameplay now. When you find yourself desperate for more cards because all your guys died, try casting Desperation:

 
 

Or you could use Kidnapping to steal a guy from your opponent:

 
 

Ideally you kidnap a unit, then attack some other unit with that unit, and do it in such a way that both units die. Then you're basically using Kidnapping as a way to kill two things. Sometimes offense is the best defense.

Desperation and Kidnapping are both spells. Specifically, they are Blood spells, so you’ll need your Blood hero (Drakk Ramhorn) in play to cast them. If you level your Blood hero to maximum level, you can really rally your troops with War Drums:

 
 

Or if you focus on building up your tech, having a tech III building will let you throw down the pain with Pirate-Gang Commander:

 
 

He’s basically a fountain of units, damage, and gold all in one. Plus he’s a 6/6. It’s also very unusual that he allows you to continue playing tech I or tech II units even if you lose your tech buildings, which you probably will because you have so little defense.

If all offense all the time is your thing, then Blood is for you!

Puzzle Strike on iOS

Puzzle Strike is now available on iPad and iPhone! It's also on Steam and available in physical form, too.

Puzzle Strike is a deckbuilding puzzle game played amongst Fantasy Strike characters. It's inspired by puzzle games such as Puzzle Fighter. Gems fall into each player's gem pile every turn, and whoever's gem pile fills up first loses. Improve your deck (of chips!) by purchasing new chips as the game unfolds. Will you go heavy on economy, offense, or build an intricate engine? In any case, make sure to adapt to your opponents because Puzzle Strike has a lot more interactivity than most other deckbuilders. And like the other games in the Fantasy Strike universe, Puzzle Strike is designed to hold up to thousands of games at the expert level, and we fully embrace the philosophy of even-playfield competition.

The new iOS version of Puzzle Strike has these features:

  • iPad and iPhone versions
  • Cross-platform play with players on iOS, Steam and the web version on FantasyStrike.com
  • Chips have 4x the resolution as the web version
  • Climb the leaderboards in Quick Match and check out replays of top players to improve your game!
  • New Puzzle Challenge mode: learn advanced character tactics and think outside the bag! Beat these advanced challenges to become a real Puzzle Striker!
  • Complete your Daily Quests to earn Jewels, then spend them to play "Puzzle Smash", a high-powered version of Puzzle Strike
  • Contains all 48 Puzzle chips from both Puzzle Strike Third Edition and Puzzle Strike: Shadows, as well as the promo chips, Combinatorics, Dashing Strike and Custom Combo
  • Practice offline against AI Puzzlebots for the first time!
  • Launching with English and French language support, with German and Japanese localization on the way

The iOS version of Puzzle Strike retails for $3.99 USD and come with the first four characters (Grave, Jaina, Midori, and Setsuki). Additional characters are available as in-app purchases and bundles.

Go check out the game on iOS, here.

Codex: Anarchy spec

Codex’s core set has two factions: the (red) Blood Anarchs and the (green) Moss Sentinels. Each has 3 heroes. There are 4 expansion factions, each with 3 more heroes plus a starter set with 2 heroes. That’s 20 heroes in total across all expansions. Each hero has an associated “spec” with a fun name, meaning the type of stuff they specialize in. We’ll look at all 20 specs in this series of articles and examine how each plays, what the art looks like, and what the philosophy is for each.

Before we go on, let's review some fundamentals about how the game works though.

  • When you play the mode of the game used for competitive play, you pick a team of 3 heroes and during the game you'll have access to all the cards of those 3 specs.
  • If you want to cast a SPELL, you need a HERO. You specifically need the Anarchy hero to cast an Anarchy spell, etc.
  • If you want to make a UNIT (or an upgrade or building), you need a TECH BUILDING. You start with tech 0 cards you can always make because your base produces them. You need a TECH I BUILDING to make a tech I unit though. That's a flexible building because it can produce units of any spec!
  • You must specialize at tech II though. When you make a tech II building, it's of a CERTAIN SPEC ONLY. If you pick Anarchy, it can only produce Anarchy tech II stuff. Also, it means your tech III building must be Anarchy tech III once you build that.

What I want you to keep in mind as you read about all the specific specs though, is that you don't have to use ALL of a spec at once. You might have an Anarchy hero (who can cast Anarchy spells), but you're still free to make a Fire tech II building if you want. Think of it as your build order having 9 branches at the start of the game: you rely on 1 of your 3 heroes and 1 of your 3 specs once you make your tech II building, and they don't have to match.

These articles will mostly talk about using both parts of the spec together (the hero+spells part and the everything-else part), but that's just so you get the theme of the spec. You're free to mix it up!

You can brush up on those rules even more with this article.


The Blood Anarchs (red faction) are first. Here are the three red heroes:

The Blood Anarchs are a shaky federation of pirates, robbers, brigands, and trouble-makers. Their equipment is sometimes shoddy or stolen. They employ captured monsters and mercenaries of several races. The Blood Anarchs rush down their enemies, and usually don’t bother with defense. They have no single leader, though the unpredictable Captain Zeno Zane (aka “Zane the Insane”) is perhaps the most feared.

Zane would like to see the Flagstone government burn to the ground, so that something else can replace it. He’d also like to see pretty much everything else spiral into chaos too. Zane’s spec is Anarchy, and it’s about disruption, aggressiveness, and surprise. Here’s his hero card:

 
 

Zane is the only hero in the game with haste. Heroes wait in your command zone for you to summon them; they aren’t cards you have to draw from your deck. That means if Zane is on your team, you can bring him in at any moment and attack with him right away. The mere threat of that pressures your opponent because they have to keep in mind that Zane could show up and attack at any time (just like in real life).

At levels 3 - 5 he gets to basically hijack the bonuses that some patrollers get. And at max level he can put a bomb in a patrol slot to prevent opponents from using it. By the way, hero powers are cumulative as they level up, so you don't lose the earlier powers.

Zane’s spells are all over the place because that's how Anarchy works. Your access to spells with such different effects allows you to throw curve balls at your opponent. For example, Surprise Attack summons two sharks out of nowhere. How does that even work?

 
 

On the other hand, Detonate is a rather violent way of getting rid of an opponent’s worker:

 
 

If this spell seems expensive at cost 3, consider what it has going for it. You can add it to your deck as a counter to certain building cards (because it destroys those too) and even if that ends up not being a factor, you can still use the card to destroy a worker. You’ll be paying 3 to do that, and your opponent will lose 1 gold every turn for the rest of the game. Waiting 3 turns to break even isn’t that great at first glance, but it can disrupt their plans quite a bit. In Codex, you need 6 / 8 / 10 workers to build your tech I / II / III buildings, respectively. Destroying a worker will delay their next tech level by at least a turn, and they’ll also have less gold than they were planning to have. Meanwhile, Detonate itself is trashed on use, not discarded, so it thins out your deck. You’ll be drawing the rest of your good cards faster, while your opponent falls a bit behind in gold and tech in the long run. This longer-term play is for tempo, and it’s the opposite of throwing sharks in their face to get things done immediately.

Stealing gold is another theme of Anarchy, and you can do it with one of the red starting deck cards and with a tech I card:

 
 

If you boost Maurader as you play him, he kills a worker. It's basically like he comes with the option to cast Detonate, if you want the tempo gain in addition to a hasty attacker. You might use just one of the above three cards to get a slight boost in tempo, or you might combine all of them to hammer away at your opponent's resources.

Another form of disruption is destroying the opponent’s tech buildings, which locks them out of playing certain cards until they rebuild. Both Disguised Monkey and Chameleon Lizzo have haste AND stealth, letting them sneak past patrollers to attack a building (or anything else) instantly:

I hope you enjoy the monkey dressed up as DeGrey. Notice that he’s only able to fool the other side for one turn though, because it’s not a very good disguise. Also notice that Chameleon Lizzo is slightly invisible in his artwork.

Anarchy tech even has an incredible defender with 6 hit points that can ALSO threaten huge damage to buildings:

 
 

That will kill tech buildings other than the opponent’s base in one hit. If it hits the base, that’s a whopping 7 damage (it takes 20 damage to win).

In keeping with Anarchy’s theme of “who knows what’s coming next?!”, check out Sanatorium:

 
 

This card is completely nuts. First of all, look at the art! Second, it’s giving you an extra card draw every turn, and third, it lets you play units even if you don’t meet the normal tech requirements for them. Maybe a green Gigadon or a black Demon of some sort will come out of that AND have haste. Opponents must absolutely destroy that building as soon as possible, because you’ll do all sorts of unfair things if you’re allowed to keep it.

At the tech III level, you get the gold standard of power: Pirate Gunship.

 
 

See Zane in the ship? Cool! Anyway, Pirate Gunship ends games fast. It only takes 3 attacks on a base to destroy it, and it has haste so really the opponent is on a 2 turn clock. Plus, it’s hard to destroy Pirate Gunship due to its resist and that it’s flying. Also, the obliterate ability means they are going down on units every turn. Tech III units are designed to end games, and Pirate Gunship does not disappoint!

Red's other two specs—Blood and Fire—are a bit more focused than Anarchy. But Anarchy's unusual forms of offense (a hero with haste, gold stealing, everything about Sanatorium, etc.) help red stay resilient to whatever strategies your opponents have planned. Make sure to mix up your build orders so your opponents don't know what's coming. The world can use a little Anarchy from time to time.

 

Codex Kickstarter Next Week

I've been working on the Codex card game for a lot of years, and it will finally be up on Kickstarter early next week.

Instead of having just a deck of cards, you actually bring a "codex" of cards to the game, and that's the card pool you can pull from. You build your deck from that as you play, and there's a couple turns of lag time between when you add cards from you codex to your deck, and when you actually play them. This happens to fit really well with the RTS video game theme (like in Warcraft 3 and StarCraft) of build orders under a fog of war. The "build order" is the particular set of cards you chose to get this game and the "fog of war" means that you and your opponents don't quite know who is building towards what until a little bit after it's already in motion.

Plus, it has a bunch of great art. Here's some sample cards. Notice how each card type has its own card frame so you can immediately tell which type of card it has.

The unit cards are closeups, rather than battle scenes, so you can actually see the portrait clearly even when the card is across the table from you. The spell and upgrade cards show giant icons, as if that was the button you'd click in an RTS video game to cast the spell.

If you'd like to know more about the game design of Codex, check out these three articles:

#1 Codex Design: Cards and Gold As Resources
#2 Codex Design: Heroes and Tech Buildings
#3 Codex Design: Combat and the Patrol Zone

Even though the game has been in development for many, many years, I still need your help to actually manufacture it. So please consider joining next week's Kickstarter if you're looking for a deep strategy card game with hundreds of viable decks.

Fantasy Strike fighting game, January build for Patreon patrons

Thank you to all the patrons supporting the Fantasy Strike fighting game. The $25+ patrons are getting builds of the game as we go (latest build here), as we aren’t actually ready to show the game publicly yet. In the meantime, your support is helping us keep going to the point where we can eventually get a lot more players involved. Our team is incredibly grateful.

There’s a lot of new things in our latest build, so I thought I’d share the change list publicly so you can see the kinds of things we’re working on, even if the build itself is just for patrons (feel free to sign up!). We have worked on gameplay-related things, as well as non-gameplay things. The highlights are:

--A new character!
--”real” alternate costume colors for some characters
--First steps toward new menus
--Performance improvements

I’ll give a list of gameplay-related stuff first, then go into the non-gameplay stuff.

GAMEPLAY
-----------------

SETSUKI
--New playable character!
--Setsuki is the most difficult to play character with the highest skill ceiling right now. This is because she is based on the idea of “speed”, so to fulfill that, she can do a bunch of stuff really fast. She has the fewest hit points in the game (five), so that means to be effective, you have to actually use her tools well. See tips at the end of this section.

--Normal moves do cancel to specials, but the specials don’t actually combo. Instead, they create mixup opportunities.
--Normal moves DO cancel to super. Tacking on guaranteed extra damage costs her meter, in other words. (A fair exchange for her various other advantages!)
--B special is a teleport kick. This can go through the opponent to cross them up, even in the corner. Hold the button down to instead do a special throw (wow).
--C special is Starlight Tumbler (aka hooligan throw). When she tumbles in the air, you can press the C button again to throw them (air to air or air to ground). You also have the option to press A to divekick from this move, or even super to air super from it. This move CAN be yomi countered (that’s when the opponent lets go of all controls) in order to prevent it from being unbeatable as a meaty attack.
--Air A is a divekick, note that holding back or forward let you change the angle of the dive.
--Air B is a kunai projectile. Note that holding back or forward let you change the angle of the kunai. This move is very useful to throw out just before approaching the enemy.
--Air C is “Flying Fox”. This is a floaty air dive move. Although its priority is low, it’s a very deadly move because you can cancel it to itself on hit or block. Even if you don’t hit with it, you can perform another air action after it, such as second Flying Fox (even a backwards one that runs away), an air kunai, or divekick, or a super.
--Ground super is a very fast dashing attack. The startup is vulnerable, but the speed and distance is so great that it can punish a lot of things and extend your combos.
--Air super is an air parry. It currently has the same implementation as Grave’s air parry, though later on Setsuki’s will work a little differently and have more of a ninja flavor to it.

Tips:
--Be aware of your max damage bread and butter combo. Air C (Flying Fox), air C again, normal attack when you land, super. That’s 4 damage. It takes a bit of practice to perform the Flying Fox properly to do that, but it’s not actually difficult.
--An air kunai can cover your approach with Flying Fox.
--Go crazy with lots of quick stuff like hooligan throw, cancel to dive kick, jump and flying fox, land and teleport kick, etc. Once you are able to actually control all that stuff you’ll be all over the place and can hit opponents with things they “should” block just because they are so confused.
--If you land a double palm attack (forward + A), it’s often worth it to spend the super to get a guaranteed 2nd damage. But at the very least, be ready to do a mixup with either teleport kick / teleport special throw, or hooligan throw into either “really throw” or divekick or air parry super.


GRAVE
--His projectile now has back / neutral / forward versions that are slow / medium / fast because that’s what you expect anyway. Before he had neutral (slow) and non-neutral (fast) to make sure that all commands work even in a possible future 1p mode that had enemies on both sides of you. We’ll relax that requirement and make the commands whatever they need to be for the main mode, then slightly modify them to work in that other mode if we ever actually make it.

JAINA
--no change

ROOK
--no change

VALERIE
--Revised a lot of things. I’m not really happy with her previous version OR this revised version, so she will likely see several more changes in the future. The issue is that rekka punches are inherently super good in this game and so she’s a rushdown character that a) can do crazy damage and b) can get in easily, always. Also, the way characters fly when hit out of the air does not really work properly yet, and the issues with it hugely favor Valerie by making juggling with rekkas easier than it should be.
--You can now do rekka 1, 2, 3 all the time, rather than only in manic mode.
--Manic mode removed (it existed only for the reason of stopping you from doing rekka 3 all the time.)
--Rekka 3 no longer combos. The animation has been replaced with Flying Rainbow Stroke (aka chicken wing), so that it’s obvious that it wouldn’t combo.
--All three rekkas do block damage. That means if you block all 3, you’ll take 1 point of real damage but you could have done something to hit that 3rd hit probably.
--Rekka 1 and 2 now have back / neutral / forward versions that go short / medium / far distance.
--Walk speed slightly increased.
--Divekick replaced with a more normal air attack. This slows her down when she’s trying to get in, but the attack itself is pretty good. Very wide, so it’s good at crossups.
--Ground super (Chromatic Orb) now has 13 frames of invulnerable startup after the super flash.

GEIGER
--Flash gear (aka flash kick) startup increased by 2 frames
--neutral kick startup increased by 4 frames
--Time spiral (aka sonic boom) shorter hitstun. This combined with the change to the neutral kick means that point-blank time spiral no longer combos into neutral kick. This was a weird-feeling bread-and-butter combo for him, so it feels better that you don’t have to worry about doing it anymore.
--The input detection for differentiating between “press” and “hold” on his backfist (for traveling forward vs not traveling forward) has been improved. It is less likely to make you travel forward when you didn't want to. But it STILL needs work and will likely be improved again in the future.
--It is no longer possible to have his air special gear and ground special gear on the screen at the same time. If you have one of those on screen, and activate the other, the first one will be destroyed and your new one will appear. By allowing them to both be on at once (in the previous build) it meant you were basically forced to constantly spam them a lot, which did not feel very “Geiger-y”. I’d rather he mostly stays on the ground and does sonic booms than constantly has to jump around.
--Air special gear is slightly buffed because of the previous change. It travels slightly faster and it will not be destroyed if Geiger blocks or gets hit. That said, its overall power level is low (somewhat intentionally). We might adjust or revise this move entirely in the future. It’s difficult because he doesn’t even need this move and we don’t want it to be a thing he does all the time, whatever it is.
--Air super. Your super meter no longer refills while the Cycloid gears are on the screen. (Was way too good.)
--Ground super has been completely replaced. We tried many versions of time stop, and they were always too weak or too strong. It was very hard to deal with it, so it’s been replaced with a move sort of like Charlie’s multiple sonic boom super. Geiger can throw three gears with this, and he can delay the gears too. The graphics for this super are so placeholder that it does not yet give the feel that we want. The real animation will start with a “time stop” where he fills up his gear meter 3 times, then gameplay will resume. This first pass doesn’t have that, but does have basic functionality.

GENERAL
--Super flash (the cinematic at the start of supers where the game is briefly paused) increased across the board for most supers. They don’t have proper animation, but this is to test the general timing to make the supers a bit more dramatic.


NON-GAMEPLAY
------------------------
--New alternate colors! Grave, Jaina, and Rook all have 8 costume colors now. This is the first time we’ve had intentionally designed alternate colors, as opposed to just stuff for testing purposes. (Note that these are the three characters that have “real” character models. The other character models are placeholder.)
--The placeholder character models now have different 3D shading applied to them. This is not important because their models and shading will be completely replaced anyway, but this makes them look less awful in the meantime.
--Rook now turns into a big stone “trap” when he does his air C move that pounds the ground.
--Jaina now has a new model for her bow. (Note that it still doesn’t correctly show her flame arrows yet).

--Main menu revised. In the middle of the screen, the menu emphasizes the main modes where you actually play. Other features that aren’t about playing are below, and use icons so they look different from the gameplay modes. Then tertiary features are small and in the corner, to give more focus to the main modes. The “Play” menu item will lead to online play, but as a temporary measure it’s hooked up to single match vs CPU right now. Many functions shown on the main menu are not actually implemented, but I want to start getting things in place so we get a sense of how to organize it all.
--The menus are designed to work with mouse OR gamepad. They are designed to look good on your computer screen OR tv that’s across the room. That said, this version broke mouse support in some situations and we know that. The mouse still mostly works, but we are aware of several bugs with mouse use on the main menu items in the upper right corner and on the character select screen and we will fix them in a later build.
--Character select screen revised. It now shows 3D characters at a more reasonable size and orientation. It now also has on-screen UI for selecting costume colors.
--There is now a smooth flow from character select -> stage select -> versus screen (the screen showing “Grave vs Jaina” before the fight starts). Various elements stay constant across these three screens so it all feels coherent. 3D character animation also works smoothly across these screens now.
--The versus screen now stays up longer on purpose, rather than going away so quickly that it feels like a glitch. During this time, a quick pre-fight music fanfare plays, but the music itself is placeholder. (Note that all other music you hear in the game is real and finished music from OC Remix.)

--Graphics settings completely revised, now simplified down to 4 settings (very low, low, medium, high). On setting below high, we managed to improve graphics quality AND improve performance too (nice trick!). This was possible because some of the tradeoffs on quality vs performance in our previous builds really made no sense. Lower setting disabled some graphics features that mattered a lot, in order to keep other features that don’t really matter much.
--Screen tearing used to occur on about half our graphics levels, but now never happens, even on the lowest setting.
--The background was rendered as blurry in some areas on about half our graphics levels, but now it’s never blurry, even on the lowest setting.
--In previous builds, the shadows were not handled well some of the medium settings. One of those settings made shadows so transparent that it was hard to even see them, yet you were still taking the performance hit for rendering them. On another setting, the shadows were very visible, but the quality was so low that they appeared jagged to the point of being obnoxiously glitchy looking. In our current build, the top three settings have shadows at high / medium / low quality, where they still look reasonable no matter the setting. The lowest setting has no shadows at all. In future builds, we will eventually add “blob” shadows to this quality setting.

Tip: If you’re trying to run the game on a low power computer, especially laptops, remember that in addition to changing the graphics quality from lowest / low / medium / high, you can also change the resolution. Running it in 720p rather than 1080p might help you a lot on low-spec computers.

That’s a ton of changes in this build! We have lots more in the works too. New menu features, new character models, and even some new animations are finally in the works. Stay tuned on Patreon for more updates!