We've got a new champion! She's great. I don't know how competitive she is yet, but I am sure that she is a ton of fun to play, so I'm taking her in the upcoming tournament because games are fun.
Kailinn is super fun because she flies around the board, pushes people around, and unleashes absolutely brutal attacks. Helena can sometimes feel static because her job is to stay on a hex until the end phase. Kailinn feels super dynamic because she couldn't stand on an objective hex if she tried, so she has to score by flying around interacting with enemy models. Kailinn is the anti-Helena. I still like Helena, by the way. No shade.
Anyhow, if you have not already read SFG's Ultimate Guide to Kailinn and/or Fishy Wargaming's post about her, go read one of those and come back. This article assumes that you know what's on Kailinn's cards.
Ok, got it? Good. In essence, Kailinn is the most potent combination of offense and mobility the game has ever seen. This comes with the huge liability that she cannot crush banners. As SFG points out, this unorthodox setup makes Kailinn very scenario dependent.
Here's how I think she feels about the scenarios:
Change: Ok, fine. I guess.
Knowledge: Let's hope it doesn't go 5 rounds.
Quest: Sure, why not?
But, enough about broad strokes. Let's have a look at some on the board scenarios that show off her moves. Reading about them is one thing, but seeing them is another.
Basic Attack Pattern
This is kind of what Kailinn is set up to do. She's facing off against Blackjaw and ready to score six steps. Notice that she can come from waaayyy downtown, land on top of these unfortunate Reavers, and line them up perfectly for her two attacks just by using one advance action. To make this even more efficient, she gets a really strong bonus action (brutal charge) which gets to roll six damage dice. Since it's only accuracy 4, I recommend using this one first against most targets if the Virtues were wise enough to hand Kailinn an accuracy boon during the clash phase. Kailinn has a roughly 80% chance to KO each Reaver in this situation.
Another option for Kailinn here is to try to KO Blackjaw. The Centaur Lady is absolutely brutal into champs as well as followers. With her two 5/6 attacks (assuming an accuracy boon), Kailinn's expected damage into BJ is 5.2. Options, options.
Moving and Shaking
Kailinn can move twice in the the plot phase, which means that she has the potential to really control where small followers are thanks to her Centaur trait. In this diagram, Kailinn pushes out the two Hexlings blocking a friendly Rangosh's access to the enemy banner by Leaping into their hex. Since she can still take an advance, Kailinn then moves out of Rangosh's way and gets to displace the Hexlings again. From here, Kailinn is all set up to KO a couple of them, then run away and use her bonus action to murder something else.
This is a lot of board control for a champion who is mostly about brute force. Kailinn cannot crush banners herself, but she can help others to do so.
Death by Unicorn
That Impaling Horn business is brutal.
I know this is something that was obvious when you first read the cards, but holy moly! Just look at this! Reading that she can travel five hexes and score 4 steps is one thing. Seeing it is another. Look how far away from Landslide Kailinn is when this activation starts! And then Landslide is just... dead! Automatically! 4 Steps! To add insult to injury, Kailinn can also use Brutal Charge on Shayle afterwards, and then claim on Landslide's body in the ensuing plot phase. *Chef's kiss*
No Health? No Problem
Based on Kailinn's starting situation in this board state, Keera should be perfectly safe, but she is, in fact, 72% likely to suffer a 6 damage dice roll. That's 2.18 expected damage for our favorite dragon princess.
Getting KOd is a big deal. Less so if you are Mourneblade or Styx. I think we can add Kailinn to the list. Yes, she gives up steps, loses an action, and gets pushed. However, she is so fast that recovering from the push is no big deal. Losing an action hurts, but much less so when you can still uncork a six damage dice attack after rallying and moving.
I have a lot more Kailinn games to play. I'm sure my thoughts on how best to play her will evolve. I also have not decided how competitive she is. What I am absolutely sure of is that Kailinn is super fun to play. She's brutal, dynamic, and goes where she wants. Yes, being forced to effectively concede a banner in some scenarios hurts a lot, but Kailinn can dish out lots of hurt in return. I generally think it's more fun to play the active, dynamic characters, and no one is more active or dynamic than this glorious new addition to the game. Long live Kailinn!