The Empires and Puzzles October 2021 Hero Of The Month is Russell. Yep… Russell. And when Russ isn’t grinding his 9-5, he’s busy fighting the forces of darkness, in a fantasy land, far far away… On his home gaming console.
Look, the problem with mediocre names is, everybody thinks you’re mediocre. -and before anyone writes to Ofcom, please know I have nothing against the Russell’s of this world. I just don’t think it’s a great name for a fantasy hero.
My name’s no better… David. I bet the developers won’t call a hero, David. And if they do, it’ll be like Davide, or Le Conjugueur.
…Should’ve called him Russellott, or something. Anyway…
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Caveat: This post contains gameplay speculation and personal opinion. It may also contain adult comedy and sarcasm. It is not advice and is solely for entertainment and informational purposes.
Russell’s Element, Class, Special Skills, Passives & Talents
Russell’s base data:
Element: Fire (Red)
Mana Speed: Average
Special Skills: 1) This Special Skill never misses its targets. 2) Deals 350% damage to the target. 3) The target and nearby enemies receive 264 Burn damage over 3 turns. 4) [Element Link] Element Link gives +10% increase for any healing received for all Fire allies for 4 turns. This effect can’t be dispelled.
Passive: 1. RESIST ATTACK AILMENTS ~ This hero has an innate resistance against status ailments that affect Attack. 2. HEALTH MANA ON BURN ~ This hero gains 5% mana each time an enemy receives Burn Damage.
Talent: JINX ~ +25% chance to deal +15% extra damage per each active buff the enemies have. The extra damage applies to both normal attacks and Special Skills.
Legends 2021 Family Bonus: 1/2/3 Heroes: +10%/+15%/+20% critical chance. Bonus for 2+ Heroes: Element Link affects all allies.
Is Russell worth Levelling? (Empires and Puzzles)
If he compliments your team, then yes. Russell’s a class act, and on the right squad, could get up to some serious mischief.
Here’s the thing, Russell isn’t a mass monster; he’s not gonna destroy the entire enemy team with one charge. But he could still be a Somebody, and that’s why I like him. He has this nice cheat-code thing going on, which I’ll explain after we run some base comparisons:
|Hero||Mana Speed||Attack||Main Secondary|
|Russell||Average||350% to target||The target and nearby enemies receive 264 Burn damage over 3 turns|
|Marjana||Fast||458% to target||Target receives 306 Burn damage over 6 turns|
|C Domitia||Average||390% to target||Target and nearby receive 324 poison damage over 4 turns|
|Uraeus||Average||485% to target||Damage bypasses target’s Minions, & all enemies with a Minion or Fiend receive 354 damage over 3 turns. EL: Summons a Minion for Holy allies|
|C Joon||Fast||488% to target||Target gets -35% accuracy for 4 turns|
On the surface, and based on these stats, there’s nothing to see here. We should all just, move along.
Russell’s an Average speed hero, and doesn’t appear to do much for that. The only thing he’s got over Marjana and Joon, is that he targets nearby enemies with his Burn damage, opposed to the target only. But they all hit harder than him, soooooo….
But things aren’t as they seem. Russell does have value, and here it is:
He can’t miss, and he’ll keep hitting under the right circumstances.
Russell… I Can’t-Miss! Sure-Fire Combustion
Russell may be a small man in this land of giants, but his hand is true and his sword (fire sticks) can not miss.
No matter what C-Kadilen says, nor Margaret, nor Bai Yeong, nor Motega, nor even the mutterings of his own Kin (Wu Kong). No matter the Buffs, or the Ailments, Russell will not lose his focus on the targets.
Now, as we’re only talking about his Special 350% hit, that may not appear earth-shattering.
But what if he also inflicted Burn damage on the target and nearby enemies? And every time they took damage, he received 5% mana?
What if you also played Jean-Francois, a Fast mana hero who causes Burn damage to all enemies over 2 turns? And every time the opponent took Burn damage Russell received 5% mana?
Well, then Russell would keep recharging, and keep hitting. Let’s take a look at his Burn-damage mana bonus in detail:
Russell’s Burn damage & Free Mana explained
The maximum mana Russell can receive from normal Burning is 25% per turn, that’s because Burn damage overwrites itself. So the math is:
- 5 heroes burning X 5% mana = 25%
So adding more standard burners like Kelile, would only help to keep the opposition burning, so Russell could continue to accumulate his 25% mana per turn. -But it won’t increase his overall Burn-damage mana gain.
However, season 3 heroes like Gefjon/Sumle, have a Burn-damage Realm Bonus (Muspelheim), which will stack with normal Burn. This stack results in a doubling of Russell’s mana gain. Note: Sumle must be at low health to trigger this Realm Bonus. With that said, here’s the new math for those circumstances:
- 5 heroes burning from Realm Bonus X 5 heroes burning from Jean-Francois X 5% mana = 50%
That means Russell will fully charge his mana over 2 turns, without needing a single tile.
I don’t know who else can stack Burn-damage in this way, but I’m sure the community will discover all the options, quickly after his release.
Related: How good is Elizabeth?
October 2021 – Russell Empires and Puzzles Hero Of The Month
My final thoughts:
Russell isn’t a “must have” hero by any stretch of the imagination, but if I pulled him, I’d be happy to level him and explore how to best utilise him.
Imagine playing Russell alongside Emilio, that could work. This is the evolution of Burning (and Ailment casting in general).
It’s a really smart move by SG, because they’ve made a niche, some might even say Underpowered hero, useful in normal Raids (unlike the Fish). Russell is a hero who will make those around him better and more valuable, those like Jean-Francois.
It’s true, his damage isn’t jaw-dropping and the Burn damage isn’t overwhelming, but the chance to get into a cycle of thudding heads on free Mana… without missing… Well, it sounds like good’ol wholesome fun to me.
*I’d like to thank the members of the SG forum whose research helped me better understand Russell.
Update: Following on from this post, I still can’t find a reliable way to stack 2 burn damages, so Russell can get a 50% mana bonus. A 50% mana bonus would’ve made Russell a great hero on the right team, whereas a 25% mana bonus reduces his value somewhat. Basically, it’s the difference between one free hit every 2 turns, Vs. one free hit every 4 turns ~which is still good, just not earth-shattering. If you need a 5-Star Red, Russell’s definitely worth working with. If you already have Elizabeth or some other Red Monster, Russell’s not gonna take their spot.
Old Cynic’s Hero Grade: Warrior
What are your thoughts? Did I get it wrong or miss something? Let me know in the comments below.
[Please always check in-game Hero Cards to confirm details]
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