SDE Arena quandaries

A short stream-of-consciousness post today. I say short, but editing this first sentence now that it’s all done, I see I’ve still managed to ramble on for over 850 words…

As many of you know, I’m a fan of SDE Arena. I love the chibiness, and the shift from the standard Super Dungeon Explore game to the Arena format really changes up the way you view the game and its components. That model you thought was fantastic? May not be so much in Arena. The Royal Paladin, for example, is a near autoinclude in Super Dungeon Explore – especially with newer players – but in Arena, he’s lacking some real punch.


For those unaware, SDE Arena mixes it up by making it PvP, each  player bringing one hero and two spawning points worth of mobs. You win by either killing the opposing hero, or destroying both of their spawning points. You can get the rules here.

The quandary I’m in now is deciding what to paint up as my Arena team. I’ve got a Fireflow Denizens box (a single Lava Whirl spawn point) about 60% painted up, but after playing against Tilaurin using them during the Great Australian Couch Surf,  I’m not sure if they’re well suited to the way I like to play Arena.

Until Soda Pop releases the Warbands that are coming with the SDE: Forgotten King Kickstarter, my options for spawning points are:

  • Kobold Warrens (2) – must be fielded in pairs
  • Shallow Graves (2) – must be fielded in pairs
  • Rock Pile (2) – must be fielded in pairs
  • Lava Whirl (2)
  • Egg Clutch (2)
  • Pumpkin Patch (1)

The Shallow Graves have proven a lot of fun for me, but the lack of any ranged attacks is a bit of a bugbear for me. Yes, the Dust Coven Necromancer and Dust Mages can make magic attacks, but there’s nothing in their that triggers off DEX and that deficiency has irked me in the past. I’d need to field both Shallow Graves, but the skeletons should paint up fairly quickly if I go that direction.

On the other hand, if I do stick with the Lava Whirl to take advantage of things I already have painted, then I need to bring either the Pumpkin Patch or Egg Clutch with me. I have yet to kick tires with a  Pumpkin Patch in the Arena format, and I wonder about the efficacy of the Curse Coven Witches. Being able to turn something into a Miserable Toad can be huge when you’re playing against a party of three or four heroes, but when there’s up to a dozen friendlies on the board thanks to the spawn points to provide the smooches to negate the curse? Different kettle of fish.

Of course, it’s not just the spawn points. I need a hero too. I have many painted, but I think there’s five front-runners for me. Don’t misunderstand me – there’s a lot to be said for the bulk of the heroes, and there’s only a couple that I’d immediately question taking in the Arena format, but based on games I’ve played to date:

The Star Guild Sapper is an excellent all-rounder. Hits like a freight train, base 6 hearts, cross can take out multiple minions, Star Shine is an excellent defensive abilit, and potions give him a Ranged attack as well that causes fire. Aww yeah.

The Deeproot Scout has melee, has range,  has an AoE for mob clearing, but a big part of his appeal is (a) 7 movement, (b) Boomerang to steal chests, (c) Sprite Syrup. Four actions a turn? Yes please. Another excellent all-rounder.

Nyan-Nyan  is nowt bt melee, and her Purr and Catnip Bomb aren’t going to kill anything, but she’s hard to kill since she packs 2 red DEX dice that she can defend with thanks to Dodge, Luck means she can really maximise the treasure chests and help with heart and potion replenishing, and don’t get me started on 9 Lives. On top of all that, Pounce means she can rocket across the board at vulnerable spawn points.

The Celestial Herald really wowed me the last time I played SDE. She has a very accurate ranged attack, especially with Heartseeker making her effectively 3 DEX with it, her ability to Fly means the crevice on the Arena playmat won’t hamper her movement, but it’s the Arrow Storm that won my heart. In a format that requires your opponent to activate mobs every second turn, being able to essentially evaporate an entire wedge worth of gribblies with a spray is so damn sweet.

Finally, the Riftling Rogue. Luck, Dodge, Stealth, Smoke, Backstab and the ability to teleport. Dear Lord, the sheer mobility makes all the difference, and heavens forfend if you manage to get DEX boost through Loot or Treasure. Not only will your opponent spend half the game trying to chase you down, but you’re one of the hardest heroes to actually tag with a hit, potentially taking away 50% of your opponent’s win options.

The intended point of all this was to try to help me decide which models to prioritize next on the painting table, but to be honest, I’m no more certain than I was when I started typing. Bah! Bah, I says!

For those of you out there who’ve dabbled in the arena… What’s in YOUR team?



2 Responses to SDE Arena quandaries

  1. Avatar Götz Kirchhauser
    Götz Kirchhauser says:

    Well, my arena team consist of Nyan Nyan and the Rocktops – The rock tops pack some tough distance options And Nyan Nyan is tough as nails. If you’re up against a pumpkin patch spawn point (pumpkin patch and egg clutch seem to be quite popular because of the knockdown synergy) and your opponent is stupid enough to transmogrify a decently kitted Nyan Nyan (or any DEX kitted character for that matter) – good luck to him, he just created a toad of doom… also Nyan Nyan is highly mobile and is lucky.