Grumpy's Guide to Luella
In this series, we will give you a quick breakdown of each champion. This is geared mostly towards people who have not played with this champion much, so it’s not an in-depth tactical treatise. This is more of a quick breakdown and assessment of the champion.
We will grade each champion’s offense, defense, support, mobility, and control. We’ll explain each grade and then give you a quick vision of a dream activation for that champion.
In a separate series, Grumpy has written about how champions match up with each other. Here are the matchup evaluations for Guardians, Maelstroms, Slayers, and Shapers.
Here is the grading scale for each category:
Luella is truly one of my favorites. The problem with Maelstroms is that they are easy to kill, but Luella is very durable. The problem with dwarves is that they are slow, but Luella is very fast! She's just out here in cool warpaint defying Godtear stereotypes. Luella brings durability, sudden speed, and just enough offense to get by.
As strong as she can be, Luella's strengths are very situational. She is fast, but only if she has straight lines to charge through. She can KO a lot of followers, but only if they have armor 1. In the right matchup, she's a terror. In the wrong matchup, less so. She's not a classic Malestrom like Blackjaw or Titus who can regularly explode for 8-10 steps in the clash phase. Instead, Luella will score more reliably in smaller bunches over a long period of time. She won't give many steps back, though, as she and her followers are tough to bring down.
She's not going to control the board, reposition anyone, or really protect banners very well. Instead, Luella will threaten banners and enemy followers. She's dynamic and active - more of an offensive piece than someone to castle with. Prior to her relase, SFG called her a "line breaker," and I agree with this assessment.
Luella's mechanics are very fun, and their specificity gives her a high skill ceiling. Success with Luella depends on being able to see her movement patterns on the board and positioning the overall situation in such a way that she can shine. She really does reward you, though, if you set things up right.
Here are Luella's Cards:
Offense - Good
There's a strong argument that this could be a grade of outstanding given the explosive scoring potential that Luella has against low armor targets. If there's a cluster of, say, 3 Tooth Bearers (4/1 defenses), Luella might be in for a big turn. Arc Lighting will be on 81% odds to hit. If it does, the hit effect has an 80% chance to KO each of the other two Tooth Bearers. The 5 damage dice are on 97% odds to Ko the original target. So, all in all, after arc lightning hits, you've got a 62% chance of KOing all three and scoring 6 steps. On average, this one attack will score 3.7 steps. And remember, she can still potentially use Rolling Thunder. Not too shabby. I'm sticking with a grade of good, though, because of how situational all that is.
The hit effect on Arc Lightning has a 50% chance to KO an armor 2 target and only a 19% chance to KO armor 3. This means that while armor 1 followers have to spread out or risk giving up huge chunks of points, but armor 2+ followers are not as bothered. It's a tough call here, but since none of Luella's actual attacks can roll more than 5 damage dice, I'm sticking with this grade.
The Shield Maidens are also worth a mention here. If you can bring all three of them to bear with their self-applied damage boon, they can potentially swing at 6/6. That's a slayer-caliber attack. The Shield Maidens are really good at fighting Slayers, since they tend to rely on dodge stats to stay alive.
Defense - Good
It's debatable whether or not Luella has the best defense of any non-guardian. I'd give her the nod over Rangosh. First, I think Armor 3 is better than dodge 4. For a standard 5/5 attack, expected damage into a 4/2 defense is 1.46. Into a 2/3 defense (Luella's base), that number drops to 1.3. It's close, but remember that Luella also has easy access to a protection boon, which would drop that number all the way down to 0.66. With 7 health points, Luella can shrug off a lot of hits. The armor 4 that the Shield Maidens bring is very valuable. The Maidens are simply a nightmare for maelstroms. Titus and Kailinn, the premier killers of tough followers, only have a 59% chance to take out Shield Maidens with their 5/6 attacks. This crew is not quite as durable as, say, Rhodri's, but it's close enough to earn this rating. This is a big deal because most maelstroms are pretty squishy.
Support - Average
Supercharge is great and can, in theory, be applied to any friendly model. In practice, Luella is usually Supercharging herself. Our little dwarf lady really craves her own boons. Supercharge is also somewhat short-ranged, so the situations where it helps others are somewhat corner-case. Still, speed boons are probably the best boons. Lightning Flash also potentially helps other crews by debuffing an enemy's dodge stat. That can really matter for inaccurate, hard hitting allies. This crew has no other abilities which help other crews, though. They do a fair amount of self-buffing, but that's all.
Mobility - Good
Luella can really fly. Momentum combined with Supercharge and Storm Rider give this otherwise slow-footed dwarf lots of options for drastic, sometimes unpredictable movement. Momentum essentially means that Luella's plot phase speed is really a 2 because moving one hex is always moving in a straight line. Luella also has the option to trade efficiency for speed by Supercharging herself in either phase. A typical turn one opening will have Luella advance 2 hexes and supercharge herself. In the ensuing clash phase, she can then travel up to 4 hexes in a straight line before uncorking both of her attacks. In theory, Luella could move up to eight hexes in a single turn if she Supercharged and expended her ultimate.
So why is this only good and not outstanding? Well, like her offense, Luella's mobility is somewhat situational. She can go really far, but only if she has a straight line path to where she wants to be. Luella has no place mechanics, so she has to go around other models. She's also somewhat vulnerable to control effects due to her low dodge. Luella certainly has the raw speed to get where she wants, but she will often do so inefficiently because she has to use her boon and/or ultimate to do so. The most outstandingly mobile champions can get where they want and do something else.. Luella makes it happen, but she kind of has to force the issue. The Shield Maidens are also pretty classical dwarves in the sense that they are quite slow.
Control - Awful
This crew has no board control. There are no skills or effects which reposition models, hexes, or banners. Moreover, the Shield Maidens are slow, tend to bunch together, and have only three models in the unit. That means that they have very little board presence at the end of the day. Sometimes, hard hitting models can create control effects by KOing champions, but Luella can't really do this very well. Her attacks are highly specialized towards taking out low armor followers. A pair of 5/5 just won't slay enough to create a control game. Sorry, boo, but it's true.
Here we see Luella absolutely living her best viking life.
Her Momentum trait and Supercharge skill form the plot phase have made her printed speed of 2 a bad joke. Luella can not only zoom 4 hexes into an opposite late to crush the banner here, but she can also attack all four Cauldron Cronies. Her initial Arc Lightning needs to hit dodge 4 on 6 dice - 81% odds. From there, Luella gets free damage rolls which bypass goblins' high dodge stat. She's on 97% odds to Ko the original target if she hits and roughly 80% odds to KO each of the other two. Before any dice are rolled, Arc Lighting and has a 51% chance to get all three. Luella will also get a free Rolling Thunder out of this. At 4/5, it's not a sure thing, but it's also not negligible. This has a 43% chance to get another Crony. Luella can expect to score 4-6 steps on the battle ladder for this activation, plus crushing the banner. She also did not use her ultimate!