Published to Miniature Trading on November 25th, 2017
This is a Miniature Review for one of the game pieces in Xerecs’ second custom set, Fiends of the Blood Islands. (found here)
Miniature Review: La Luna Creciente
Faction Affiliation: Spain
Point Cost: 14
Guns: 4L, 4S, 4S, 4L
Base Move: L+S
Ability: Galley. When this ship reaches its cargo limit, its base move becomes L, and can’t be increased.
Flavor text: Found partially wrecked along the Barbary coast, the Spanish salvaged and retrofitted her to make her better than she was before.
One of the newer customs out there, “The Crescent Moon” is what you may be thinking: the original Crescent Moon from Barbary Coast that has now been captured by the Spanish.
With a very good base move, good cargo, and inaccurate cannons, this ship will likely serve you best as a gold runner or cargo ship. However, numerous options exist to make her a fun hybrid!
Strategies and game play:
Strategically, this ship will likely strike your opponent as a subpar ship. She’s not a big threat to their ships, her cost is somewhat high for a ship with a negative ability, and Spain has FAR better options in the cargo hauling department. However, the Luna Creciente could function as an under-the-radar ship that has some potential. She will likely not be as big a target as other famous 4 masters, which can allow for some devious face down crew. However, don’t expect TOO much from her during the game, since she’s more of a support vessel than a “star”.
Combos with other miniatures:
Basic gold running option: With a helmsman (16 total points) or explorer (15), and possibly an oarsman to protect the crew and to delay potential capture. One of the most important things to note is the ship’s main ability, which is negative in nature. In a way, it makes the ship’s cargo essentially 4. I say that because unlike the Darkhawk II and other versions of that original ability, this ship’s speed cannot be increased once it bottoms out at L once the cargo hold is full. This really puts a damper on the ship’s potential, since with the normal ability she could run out at L+S+S with a helmsman, grab 4 coins, and return at a solid L+S. However, since the speed cannot be increased above L (via trade currents, anything), you really don’t want to fill the cargo hold. L speed on its own just doesn’t cut it in this game, as it’s too slow to do much of anything effectively. Keep this in mind for the rest of the review, as it’s quite an important problem to face when using the ship. (which I still like if you’re wondering )
A more advanced option: Since the Creciente’s biggest problem is her relationship of point cost to effective cargo (14/4, not a great ratio for a gold runner), perhaps we can increase it somehow? It will make the ship even more expensive, but Spain has the perfect crew for the job: Dominic Freda . Freda gives the ship 6 cargo spaces (effectively 5 from a competitive standpoint), along with the explorer ability! This opens up some nice possibilities: get a big load of five coins and travel L+S all the time, or maybe take the helmsman as well for some extra speed. Keep in mind that “this crew takes up no cargo space” is considered an ability, and does not stack. Therefore, if Freda is joined by an oarsman, you’re losing a space after all. (18-20 points total)
The Most Advanced: Master Bianco + Bianco’s Haulers (either version)
Coming in at a whopping 24 points minimum (26 with a helmsman), this is the ultimate cargo-saving adventure. XD Between the +1 and the link, the Luna would essentially have 5 spaces available for gold, in addition to some nice extra treasure-based abilities depending on which version of the Haulers you prefer. The SM version of Bianco also gives +1 to cargo spaces, but unlike Freda, he doesn’t have another nice ability built-in to save additional cargo. Also, Xerecs has a custom crew named Angelica Bianco that gives the Cargo Master keyword by itself.
Scouting: In a big game, the Luna could bring aboard Alejandro Malaspina and a helmsman, allowing the ship to move L+S+S and explore islands farther from home for cargo ships sailing along later. The Luna is certainly a ship fit for the job: not only could she still load a couple high-value coins or UT’s from those islands, but she also has the durability to take a few hits and keep sailing quickly, which could be useful when S-exploring in enemy territory.
With rank-4 cannons and La Resolucion a comparable option at the price, I wouldn’t recommend using this ship as a gunship. However, the plethora of great Spanish named crew make it at least a possibility, if not a somewhat impractical one.
You’ll pretty much need Almirante Devente Del Nero or Luis Zuan to make your opponents respect your firepower. After that, there are plenty of great Spanish named crew that give good combat abilities, such as Duque Alfonzo de Castilla , Admiral Alarico Castro , and Nemesio Diaz . There are others as well, but with so many other Spanish options doing a better job at pure fighting, I feel like it’s futile to list them all.
If you really want to make her a true guns/gold hybrid… try Victor de Alva with Dominic Freda and possibly Vaccaro.
Combining the Galley’s stern turn with the inability to become pinned, the Luna can be a boarding attacker. For maximum damage and death, consider Luis Zuan, Capitan Alarico Castro ,Castro’s Loyalists , Duque Marcus Vaccaro , and a helmsman. This will give you SAT with reroll, all rank-3 cannons, and boarding left and right like a 5 master with L+S+S speed. I told you this ship could be a surprising beast! XD Of course, for 28 points you could get a somewhat loaded San Cristobal , but it’s fun to think about.
There are a few fun flavor options too – with the original forgotten version of Freda, you could make the ship faster and loose her on her former masters! Or, let Tariq the Black bring aboard some of her original crew, giving the Spanish the Admiral’s Action ability! (though they also received the ability on one of Xerecs’ custom crew, Commandante Sebastian Salazar) Neither option is particularly practical in most games however.
Ways to counteract it:
Sink it or ignore it. It’s not a ship that will dominate the game, so it’s not usually something you’ll have a lot of trouble dealing with. One specific way to frustrate your enemy is with Rotting Hull – if the Luna is near capacity, this UT will trigger the automatic and devastating speed loss, after which you could nab her gold or avoid her quite easily.
This is a big section, because I think it has to be for this ship. Let’s start with the ship’s namesake, the original Crescent Moon . I think it’s an underrated Corsair ship, who doesn’t lack for looks in the least. She’s my favorite spot for the aforementioned Kheir-ed-din, and combines the versatile reroll ability with the largest cargo hold of any Corsair 4 master.
Next, we have to talk about the only Wizkids-produced 4 masted Spanish galley, La Espada de Dios . Non-Corsair 4 masted galleys have always been a favorite of mine, and the Espada is no slouch. She has the same base speed and cargo of the Luna, but it’s not decreased when the ship is at capacity. With a slightly better armament (averaging out to three rank-4 cannons and one rank-3, but with the better guns at the bow which is important due to weird galley firing arcs) and obviously a FAR superior ability, I would gladly pay the extra point to get the Espada.
I think the Luna is interesting because it really points out how badly Wizkids messed up with some of the negative abilities. If this ugly “max cargo” ability had been priced correctly from the beginning, a ship like the Luna would perhaps be more playable. However, looking at the Darkhawk II , we cannot help but be amazed. The Darkhawk II must have costed 16-20 points with no ability, with the negative wiping out a huge percentage of the ship’s (assumed) original cost. However, that is not the case with the Luna, which is fine from a balance perspective since the DHII is OP. If the Luna was released in the SM days, we might be looking at a 7 point 4 master.
Just to show the plethora of Spanish options near this point cost:
-The Buscador is (usually) slower, but combines a massive cargo hold with the incredible Hoist keyword
– El Príncipe de Asturias is a better hybrid option than the Luna
-Not to mention the fantastic Virtuous Wind
-The Santo Columba , Resolucion (either version really), and others like La Tartessos are simply better ships.
-Fast, especially for a large ship
-Decent cargo (sort of)
-Durability helps with multiple tasks like scouting and boarding with the Galley keyword
-Just enough stats in all categories to be a surprise hybrid (especially with Spanish named crew)
-Negative ability (which doesn’t seem to have affected the cost very much)
-Pricey for what you get/completely outclassed by the competition
Artwork and aesthetics:
Xerecs has done an impressively thorough job making all of his RoDJ customs come to life, so if he somehow manages the same for FoBI, I’ll update this section!
I give La Luna Creciente a 6/10. She’s certainly not a terrible ship, and can provide solid value when crewed well. However, her ability and point cost hold her back rather severely in Spain, so she’s not an option that many players would prefer.
Hmmm. At a basic level, the cost could come down a little. I originally thought 12 would be the minimum, but perhaps even lower could make the ship more playable. Although the ship would be fine to use as-is (and overpriced is better than underpriced haha), her point cost could use an adjustment. The flavor text notes the ship is “better than she was before”, but this is certainly open to debate. Perhaps some kind of explanation could also be provided by the creator. Since the ship was wrecked and salvaged, the Spanish didn’t have to pay for its construction. I think a bargain-basement price could result, though perhaps the cannons could get even worse after decaying. Maybe keep everything else as-is, but make the ship 10 points with cannons 4L-4S-5S-5L. Also, changing the ability to the original (still able to receive bonuses with a full hold) would help a bit, and I could see that change happening even with a 1 or 2 point reduction in cost as well. Either way, I like the ship, but most will shy away from actually using it based on the alternatives, which are not only objectively superior, but also (especially with the Santo Columba, Virtuous Wind, Buscador, etc) vastly more popular due to their status as official game pieces.
Overall Score: 5