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[Fan Character] Design Challenge 02: Shovel Knight

It’s a well-known fact that Shovel Knight somehow manages to find his way into every new indie game, but what if we take it a step further and have multiple Shovel Knights?? :thinking: :wink:

How would you make Shovel Knight in Yomi? Like in the previous challenge, you can contribute anything from a snippet of an idea to a full character. The goal is to explore the idea from as many different perspectives as possible.

Shovel Knight has a lot of room for interpretation, since you have not only his own game to look at for inspiration but also his many cameos in other indie games. He’s even appeared in fighting games like Rivals of Aether, Indie Pogo, Brawlhalla, and Blade Strangers! This should give plenty of room for different people to come up with wildly different takes on the same character.

if i see anyone start an argument over whether some of those games above are “real” fighting games or not i will end you

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Collecting upgrades should definitely be part of his innate.

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I know this thread is super old but I love Shovel Knight and I also love coming up with Yomi character designs so uh here’s a random mock up I made.

Also don’t get too caught up in specific speeds or damages; I’m pretty bad at imagining what appropriate speeds and damages any given move should have. Just take them as general indications of like “This move is supposed to be sorta fast” or “This move does more damage than that move”, etc.

Shovel Knight, Stalwart Warrior

Hit Points: 85
Max Combo: ●●●●
Normal attack speed: x.6 (x = card rank)
Normal throw speed: x.6 ●●
Normal throw damage: 6
Attacks: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, J, Q, K, Ace*
Throws: 7, 8*, 9, Ten, J
Blocks: 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9
Dodges: 5, 6, Q*
Deck Composition in List Form

2: A/B
3: A/B
4: A/B
5: A/D
6: A/D
7: T/B
8: T/B*
9: T/B
Ten: T/B
J: A/T
Q: A/D*
K: A/A
Ace: A*/A

Special and Super Moves

Special Moves

  • J (+J): Flame Wand
    Attack, 2.4 speed, 6+7(2) damage, 1 CP, Linker

  • J: Fishing Rod
    Throw, 9.0 speed, 8 damage, 1 CP, Ender, :knockdown:

  • Q: Phase Locket
    Dodge

  • Q: War Horn
    Attack, 8.0 speed, 15(3) damage, Can’t Combo, :knockdown:

  • K (+4 any): Dust Knuckles
    Attack, 3.0 speed, 4+4(2) damage, 2 CP, Linker

  • K (+J/Q/K): Propeller Dagger
    Attack, 2.2 Speed, 5+5(2) damage, 1 CP, Starter

Super Moves

  • A (+A +A +A): Shovel Drop
    Attack, 1.8 Speed, 5+5(3) damage, 3 CP, Ender

  • AAAA: Charged Slash
    Attack, 0.8 Speed, 40 damage, Can’t Combo

Innate
Digging Deeper [Edited to try and remove ambiguity]
Every time you play a card to pump an attack, immediately draw a card from your deck. If possible, you may immediately use cards drawn this way in your combo.

Abilities

  • 8* (Hearts and Diamonds) — Troupple Chalice: Ichor of Renewal
    [Draw Phase]
    Discard this card to retrieve any face card from your discard.

  • 8* (Clubs and Spades) — Troupple Chalice: Ichor of Boldness
    [Draw Phase]
    Discard this card. This turn, your combat-revealed attacks always out-speed other attacks, and your throws always out-speed other throws.

  • Q* — Just a Phase
    [During Combat]
    You may play Phase Locket while knocked down. If you successfully dodge while knocked down, you draw a card and stand up, and combat ends immediately. (You cannot follow up).

  • A* — Dynamo Charge
    [During Combat]
    If Shovel Drop hits, and you pump it at least once, you may attach any card from your hand to your character card. (Maximum of 1 attached card at a time.) While it is attached, you can play Charge Slash for only 2 aces (instead of 4). Discard the attached card when you play Charge Slash or when you get hit.

Ramblings about the Design

Shovel Knight’s iconic move is the Shovel Drop, so obviously we want a way to represent that in Yomi, and we want it to be generally a pretty strong part of SK’s Plan A strategy. “Pumping” kind of feels the same way that bouncing on an enemy feels, so we make Shovel Drop a pumpable attack and stick it on the Ace so it’s easy to use over and over, just like Shovel Knight would.

Now, a character who pumps a lot will be card hungry, and since we want SK to Shovel Drop a lot, we want to make it a more appealing choice. So, Digging Deeper makes pumping Shovel Drop a better idea, and it also incorporates the idea of, you know, digging. Which is on theme. Great!

Now, if we want him using Shovel Drop relatively often, it can’t be too good, damage-wise, but I also wanted him to have a high-damage dealing attack. So, the other side of the ace is the Charge Slash, SK’s high-powered attack from the game. But, is there a way to make this more interesting than just “Here’s a super”?

Dynamo Mail, in the original game, is the closest thing to a “combo” SK has: Bounce twice on an enemy, and you can do your next charge slash immediately. So, “bouncing twice” on an enemy in Yomi (hitting with Shovel Drop and pumping at least once) allows SK to play Charged Slash with only 2 aces instead of 4. This makes a serviceable super (0.8 speed for 40 damage is great, but it’s also by far the weakest 4 ace super) into a real threat (2 aces for 40 damage??? What is this madness!). I imagine a standard SK strategy would be to hit confirm Shovel Drop, pump it once, then immediately power up for two aces to threaten Charge Slash the very next turn.

Next, how do we represent relics? It’s tempting to choose a couple and make them abilities, but part of the fun of playing SK, in my opinion, is having such a wide variety of tools and attacks at your disposal at all times. Plus, the relics are sort of like SK’s “special moves” in the base game. So here, I made every side of his face cards a different option, theming each one vaguely on a relic from the game.

What about abilities? In the original game, SK has up to two chalices that can each hold one of three different Ichors, which give him different effects in levels. I thought this was a good opportunity to do something unique among the Yomi cast: give him an ability whose effect is different depending on which particular card he has. So, his 8* ability is different between the red suits and the black suits, to represent the idea that SK has two different chalices with two different Ichors in them.

Lastly, I wanted SK to be on the slower side. He’s a solid, stocky knight, he wouldn’t normally be zooming around. But he’s also not exactly un-agile. So he has some fast-ish moves, but no traditional DP for quickly getting out of trouble. Sort of like Vendetta. But this makes him really vulnerable to knock down (hello, Zane and Persephone!). So how do we give him a panic button that fits his theme? Just a Phase, the ability on his Q dodge, Phase Locket. This gives him a tasty mix up on KD with just his Q: Will he play the dodge (low risk, low reward), or will he play War Horn to try and catch the cheeky throw intended to toss Phase Locket?

Anyways, this is a pretty rough draft, and this design is probably underpowered in some MUs and busted in others. :joy: (I think this version of SK most likely dumps all over Quince.) But I think the core concepts here (Pumping to represent Shovel Drop, chaining Shovel Drop into Charged Slash, giving SK a breadth of tools to represent his relics) could make for a pretty faithful and fun version of Shovel Knight in Yomi.

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I’m blown away by this!

I ended up quietly abandoning this project for a few reasons. I think I ended up being more busy with real life than normal around that time, but when I remembered it and saw that there was only a single response to this one with just a single idea (which you didn’t even use, I notice), I guess I just decided that maybe it wasn’t worth reviving.

Then I check the forums many months later and find an entire character design?? And it looks super cool???

Balance aside, I love how you managed to make Shovel Knight feel right flavor-wise while also making him unique from the rest of the cast. The Ace moves and innate in particular are brilliant! Though I do have to ask, does Digging Deeper trigger per card used to pump, or just per card that gets pumped? I’m guessing the former, but the wording is slightly ambiguous.

Thanks for reviving this! If there’s enough interest I’d be willing to bring back the series, though I’d like to have people submit ideas rather than coming up with them myself – that was the original plan, but I had to make the joke about Shovel Knight being in every game, haha.

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Charge Slash for 2 As seems like a little much. Maybe the 2A version could be reduced to 30 damage? Otherwise it’s fantastic

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I think because of the requirements it might be fine, and if it really is too good then rather than nerfing the damage, I’d prefer to make the AA version only available as long as Shovel Knight doesn’t get hit before using it or something like that. I’d be interested in playtesting this before making balance judgements, though!

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Thanks for the kind words!

I intended every pump to grant a card. So if you pump Ace 3 times, you draw three new cards. This probably means his damage would have to be reduced from what I have now, since this makes pumping basically free damage… Maybe just one draw would be better from a balance perspective. :joy:

I had this thought too, but I generally come from a vaguely Sirlin perspective on design/balance, which is to start with something that’s really exciting and fun, and adjust as needed, rather than preemptively being conservative about things. 35 and 30 damage were also under consideration.

Ooh this is a neat idea! I had originally planned on having it be that SK would have to use Charged Slash on the very next turn to get it for 2 aces (eg: "Next turn, you may play Charged Slash for 2 aces), but I didn’t like how limiting that was from a strategy perspective. Having it be more like Bubble Shield or TD, where you have to avoid getting hit, might be a good compromise.

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That makes sense.

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This brings up an important point, which is that both of those examples have you leave a card ongoing until you get hit whereas currently the Dynamo Charge is just an invisible thing that you have to remember.

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That’s a good point. Maybe we could add an attachment clause, like this:

Dynamo Charge
[During Combat]
If Shovel Drop hits, and you pump it at least once, attach any card from your hand to your character card. While it is attached, you can play Charge Slash for only 2 aces (instead of 4). Discard the attached card when you play Charge Slash or when you get hit.

This is also good because this build has pretty good card flow, so making a couple more places where SK “leaks” cards could be healthy.

Thoughts? I’m also open to other suggestions of course!

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The current wording makes me wonder what happens when you Shovel Drop multiple times before getting hit or spending the charge? To keep with the flavor of the source material and remove that complication, I’d suggest adding a maximum of one attached card, so you either have the charge or you don’t. Maybe use Troq’s Giant Growth as a reference for the wording/specific details.

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Didn’t think about that originally, but that’s quite obviously right!

Changed it to:

Dynamo Charge
[During Combat]
If Shovel Drop hits, and you pump it at least once, you may attach any card from your hand to your character card. (Maximum of 1 attached card at a time.) While it is attached, you can play Charged Slash for only 2 aces (instead of 4). Discard the attached card when you play Charged Slash or when you get hit.

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