Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wrath of Nature: Musings on the Mysterious Emmisary

                Because of [reasons] I’ve been struggling to get some Malifaux in recently, and have temporarily sidelined my drive to play each of the Guild masters a certain number of times to master the faction. That’s the reality of kids, family, work, and all that other stuff. Truly, there is no Tyrant who poses a greater threat to the good folk of Malifaux than the home life. I have received a Miss Step from my buddy Jon that I’ve assembled and will look to use with Hoffman at some point in the future, but I’ll post that when it gets some paint on it.
                In the meantime, we had a night recently when we sat down as a family and all painted minis. My wife had an m1e Miranda that she’s going to use as a TTB character. My kids had their own models. And, mostly because A) I have a few m1e avatar models which I can theoretically use as Emissaries and B) I’ve been playing a lot of Arkham Knight on the ps4 and Poison Ivy gave me a bit of inspiration for the Neverborn’s walking angry plant creature, I decided to dust off the Avatar Zoraida I built long ago and get it in ship shape. As such, I whipped together my new proxy Emissary, and it looks a little something like this.

You know you can't resist her

I like it, though the old GW brown wash made the tree way shinier than I had initially intended and, of course, a black crow with a gray beak isn’t exactly distinctive. It’s missing some basing that I think will be pretty cool (I saw someone who had used pistachios to essentially create the piranha plants from Mario to simulate “hungry land” that I just have to steal.) But, this is the general idea, and I’m fairly happy with how it turned out. Now time to drop it off the table the first time I go to use it and break the thing, I suppose.

Of course, as soon as I decided “Cool, I’ll paint up this Emissary in a theme that I like and get it on the board,” I realized a couple of days later that it is widely considered to be the worst of the lot (explained by UK no. 1 Greg Piskosz in this podcast The tl:dr version is that Neverborn’s main advantage is maneuverability and speed, whereas the Emissary summons hazardous terrain that project an aura around them that restricts movement. Also, they have a short range summon spell and a desire to sit on top of said hazardous terrain, meaning that the Changelings have a very limited safe space where they won’t get eaten when they appear. Greg refers to it as being essentially “anti-synergy,” which is a bummer. But I painted the thing, so I’m by-god gonna get it on the tabletop. Period.

So how to make use of this possibly clunky thing? Their suggestion is to go with one of the two masters that grant strong conflux upgrades to the ME (I’ll use that abbreviation from here forward.) Pandora’s conflux is kind of crazy, as it lets the Emissary copy abilities from other models within a certain range of the model. For those not aware of what “abilities” means, flip to the front of your stat cards. The stuff written under the stats are the abilities. So, you can borrow things like regeneration, terrifying, armor, the Hooded Rider’s triggers or ability to add masks, etc etc etc. There’s got to be something in there that’s broken, and it’s one of those abilities that will only get better the more models come out in the future. The other one is Collodi, because picking up buffs in response to summoning the Effigies works out pretty well and can help the whole crew. However, I’m the kind of nerd that is bothered by crews that aren’t at least pseudo-thematic, and my plant lady ME doesn’t quite fit with those two dazzling-urbanites. So, let’s broaden our thought process a bit, shall we?
This, plus some news I’ll share as we get closer to Gencon, inspired me to shift focus to a new theme: Wrath of Nature. The Neverborn have a lot of models that involve channeling plants and the land itself to destroy the human invaders, and I wanted to combine this idea with the ME. Waldgeists are sort of the marquis minions of embodying this idea, as they’re essentially animated trees which can summon severe terrain and lash out over a massive area with their vines. The masters which play most closely into the theme are Zoraida and Lillith, IMO, where Z likes her Swampfiends and Lillith can summon an additional tree and see through the bushes to the enemy. Neither have particularly impressive Emissary upgrades, so I imagine I’ll be using the generic one that buffs minions (like, say, Waldgeists.)

I mean, I guess you could say Lillith has some thematic synergy with nature...
Lillith I think is a very interesting combination with this crew, as she gives you increased maneuverability and manipulation of the terrain that I think combines interestingly with the summoning of forests she can do along with her minions (I’m aware that the Waldgeist’s markers don’t block LoS, but go with me for a moment.) She can see through them and use Tangled Shadows to shift models into/around/out of them. This can also solve another ME problem, namely its not being particularly mobile. Walk 6 isn’t bad, per say, but we’re the Neverborn and we can do better. A walk 6 model is in danger of getting left behind, and dropping the ME forward on the board to start projecting its dangerous terrain into the enemy’s face might help improve its efficacy (assuming, of course, it doesn’t just get killed. I’m realistic.) So, here’s my first stab at a list using this concept.

For some reason the pictures I took of my Lillith are very pixellated. Its not an amazing paint job, but it isn't this bad...

Wrath of Malifaux Core Crew
Lillith-Beckon Malifaux, On Wings of Darkness
Doppleganger-Mimic’s Blessing (because why wouldn’t you)
Mysterious Emmisary- Mysterious Conflux
Cherub- (I figure if we’re going with the theme, might as well go all out)
Waldgeist x2

This puts us at 35/50 soulstones. I think you fill in the rest of the crew with either Sillurids for scheme running scenarios or something that can hit hard (Nekima? Illuminatedx2?) for more killy stuff. Illuminated getting + just for being within aura 4 of the emissary seems good (of course, that also likely puts them close to the severe terrain. Ugh.)

Will it work on the board? I don’t know. I think it would be better at scenarios like Turf War where you’re going to pile into the center of the board and you can just castle up and hold points, but I could be wrong. Likely am, if this blog’s history is any indication.

Let me know what you think in the comments.