Posted by: MarthTrinity | October 21, 2011

MT Reviews Kobold Clan

Picture probably related. Also, it's way cooler in .gif form. Stupid WordPress.

Well hey there people, most importantly Zook. Today I’m here to give you your requested review for your most recent moveset, The Kobold Clan! For those of you who maybe didn’t read the moveset, the Kobold Clan is a moveset for a group of characters from Dungeons and Dragons, most notably the Kobold named Trapper and his unnamed generic grunt soldiers. These little guys are fairly weak but make up for it by fighting in groups, setting traps and generally using underhanded, dirty tactics to win. This is also the primary way they fight in Smash…but really, when you’re controlling a character named Trapper, did you really expect the set to be based around much else?

First, let’s discuss the little mechanic of the group. It’s a good thing that you went with a primary “avatar” of sorts by having an actual defined kobold lead the group instead of randomly controlling generic soldiers or whatever. Speaking of controlling generic soldiers…let’s discuss the Specials. First of all, Neutral Special and Down Special are the only moves in the set that actually control your kobold lackeys which is sorta iffy to me considering it’s a lot of commands on one move (The Down Special) to memorize. With that said though…is there really any reason I wouldn’t want to use the command that makes them more aggressive? Now, it’s been a bit since I’ve played Brawl last so forgive me if I’m wrong here…but do CPU’s with level 3 intelligence even shield or dodge that much? As far as I remember, level 3 CPU’s are pretty damn stupid and rarely shield if ever. Just something to think about I suppose; there’s not really a downside to that command. After that…they’re not really mentioned much more to be honest. The Clan comes back in the Up Smash…but aside from that, it’s mostly Trapper doing his own thing.

But…what is Trapper’s “own thing?” Well if you guessed anything but “trapping”…you’re incredibly wrong. Yeah, Trapper has an absolute assload of traps at his control. Now, trapping isn’t exactly the most interesting of playstyles really…we sorta drove trap characters into the ground back around MYM5 when they were new and shiny…but that isn’t to say trap characters aren’t relevant. If done properly, they can be among some of the best movesets around. Unfortunately, a common pitfall of trap based sets is the fact that characters who are so focused on traps and such often have very limited defenses on their own outside of their traps. It’s somewhat present here unfortunately as Trapper only really has five moves that actually don’t set up traps…I suppose it’s somewhat okay considering you have your minions to defend you…but at the same time, playing a character who’s nothing but set up doesn’t sound too terribly fun. But for what it’s worth, Trapper does have some interesting traps up his sleeves. The mancatcher was pretty nifty to me seeing you can use it to direct your opponent into your own traps…although it does seem a bit redundant when you also have the Up Special to also guide your foe into them…but you put yourself at a much greater risk with the Side Special (what with being able to be thrown and such…). One would think the grab command would’ve been a time where the kobold’s team up and pounce on the weakened foe together instead of another trap but that’s just me. The Uair is also quite the interesting move…I enjoyed that one quite a bit seeing as it reminded me of those platforms from Yoshi’s Island.

I do have one complaint about some of the moves that I suppose you could write off as “in character.” None of Trapper’s Smashes…are actually chargeable attacks. Sure you could say it’s because they’re weak or whatever…but it seems sorta like a way of shoehorning more traps and the formation into the moveset. I mean, the fact that his Side Smash has a chance to do NO damage and has increased end lag if you miss with the sweetspot seems a bit…well…terrible for a Smash attack to put it bluntly. I get that you probably didn’t want your Smash attacks doing crazy amounts of knockback/damage so you could either A.) Play to the character’s traits or B.) Play to the playstyle…but they shouldn’t be so similar to the tilts or any other move simply to add more trap inputs into the set.

Which brings me to the playstyle. The playstyle is a rather simple one; have your lackeys defend you while you set up your traps and then drag the opponent into them so that you can finish them off with your dragon move.  Which…yeah, let’s go over that move right now. Basically, it’s a fairly crappy counter…unless the opponent is at 100% damage, then it turns into…a fairly crappy explosion that seems much more likely to nuke you and your kobold’s than finish off your opponent. Hrmm…yeah, it’s a bit of a downside when your main ko method is more than likely going to murder yourself in the process and can only be used providing your opponent is over 100%. I mean seriously; half a Smart Bomb radius is still enormous; that’d easily rape your CPU partners or at least make you incredibly predictable as you dash to the other side of the stage in an attempt to avoid death.

Let’s see…how does this stack up compared to your previous ventures? Well, personally I liked Gigan quite a bit (I even voted it IIRC)…but others are saying they preferred this new set to Gigan. I’ll certainly agree that this moveset is somewhat more adventurous and focused than Gigan was (you’re tackling controlling five characters at once compared to Gigan’s one). Is it better? Well…overall, it has more unique moves than Gigan, it has a more focused playstyle than Gigan,  it takes more risks than Gigan, heck, it’s better organized and detailed than Gigan…so by all technical aspects, it is in fact better than Gigan. Unfortunately, I don’t really prefer it to Gigan. While Gigan’s playstyle wasn’t exactly revolutionary, he did quite a few cool things by tethering himself to the foe in order to drag them into his buzzsaw. That stuff was cool and sounded pretty fun. The kobold clan however being your typical trap character moveset (despite once again being technically better) wasn’t quite as entertaining to me as Gigan. So take that as you will; I certainly see why people prefer this set to your previous works.

So in a brief summary…

+It explores new areas your previous works didn’t.

+It shows an understanding of a trap-based playstyle.

+It has some interesting concepts in there.

+It shows a good amount of characterization.

+Well organized and well written.

-A main focus point of the set (the other kobold’s) is hardly mentioned beyond a few moves.

-Trapper only has about five moves that aren’t traps.

-Some redundant/filler-ish inputs.

-Some major balance issues within the set itself (not just number crunching).

Overall, a pretty decent set with some nifty ideas…but they don’t really do a whole lot when all put together. It feels like some stuff is missing and it feels like some of the inputs are rather awkward (Smashes). Aside from that though, it’s certainly not bad and is worth a read for anyone who wants to sort of relive the days when trap characters like The Kid were in full swing.


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