Not in the mood to write an essay so I will keep this short and sweet.
The Ranged and Blast mechanics need to be reworked because the effect of being able to target any enemy on the board and not taking counterattack damage is too powerful. A single Ranged/Blast minion unchecked can completely decide the game. Besides directly removing (destroying/silencing/transforming/…) that minion there is no counterplay through movement or positioning and it is very rarely possible to come back onto the board without dealing with that minion first.
To prevent Ranged/Blast minions from dominating the game these keywords are budgeted at a high cost and consequently the bodies of those minions are very weak compared to vanilla minions. Since these minions are too strong and would dominate the game they are stat’ed in a way that makes removal easy. Additionally safeguards like Crossbones exist to make sure Ranged/Blast minions will never be anything more than niche. One could say they are setup to fail because having them succeed would essentially ruin the game because they invalidate the game’s biggest selling point which is the board mechanic.
Consequently Ranged/Blast minions are hardly used outside of the Songhai faction in Constructed. Most of the time they are immediately removed and in the rare cases they are not they are very oppressive and able to decide/swing games. Most of the time they do not work and if they do they work too well. That is a very binary answer-or-die scenario and since the question whether the opponent has removal or not is mostly dependent on luck this pretty much turns the outcome of the game into a coin flip. Gauntlet is not my concern in this thread.
So with the goal of making Ranged/Blast minions viable outside of the Songhai faction and make the game generally better I think it would be good to rework the Ranged/Blast mechanic and make it weaker in order to be able to stat these minions better and having them actually survive and do something. So make Ranged/Blast minions work more often but in the tradeoff be less powerful if they work. This would also open up design space for better and fun additions.
So here are my suggestions for how to lessen the power of the Ranged/Blast mechanics while improving the gameplay and making them more interesting and fun:
- Ranged minions: Range is limited to 3 tiles.
This way Ranged minions would still be able to attack enemies without taking counterattack damage (green tiles) but if this target is not killed it will put them into movement and attack range of the target in the opponent’s next turn so the Ranged minion has to be protected by blocking the path. This way we can have actual positional warfare with blockers in the front protecting the ranged behind them and so on.
- Blast minions: Do only half the damage (rounded down) if they have moved the turn.
This way Blast minions become a powerful area denial tool (fitting the Vetruvian theme) by limiting the opponent’s movement and summoning option while still retaining flexibility to move and attack but with a less devastating effect.