Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Broken Promises Upgrades Review: Guild

Home stretch, Musers. One faction to go. Before we jump in, though, one last word about our Patreon account. Inspired by Kyle AKA Kyodee (I mouth it to myself everytime he says it on Schemes and Stones) I decided to add a monthly drawing for models from my patreons, which will start next month. Next month's model is a Miss Ery, an alternate Teddy model from a previous Gencon. Only people who've signed up for our Patreon by September 30th are eligible for this drawing. So, if you want a cute, adorable li'l Teddy Bear of horrible murder, and you've got a dollar to help support our blog, we'd love to have it.

Lady Justice

               The symbol of the Guild in many ways, it’s been a shame that she hasn’t seen a ton of table time for most players. To address this, Lady J’s upgrade Swordfighter was the first one to be released in the original preview ads for the book in Wyrd Chronicles, and it’s easy to see why. Her (2) Acrobatic Assault Tactical Action changes her from being a balls out offensive model to one that can act tactically and function for area denial. It allows her to place within 4” and then take a (1) Ml attack, then place 4” away from that. If she damages an enemy with the attack, she gains a condition called Counterstance which grants a + to Df flips and adds a mask to her defense. Translation: do not attack Lady Justice in melee. Adding to her offensive capabilities, Justice at the End of a Blade lets her pick an enemy Enforcer, Henchman, or Master and gain + to all flips against that model until the end of the turn. There’s some versatility there, as you can use it to add to her ability to take that model down or, if you’re expecting a countercharge, name the offensive model and add to her defense. Most Lady Justice crews run her pretty upgrade light anyways, so there’s no reason NOT to take this.
               Ashwood Coffin lets her join the rest of her Guild Marshals in crafting her casket beforehand and using it to throw the Guild’s enemies into a pocket dimension. Her coffin action has a Ca of 7, but otherwise works pretty much the same as the Death Marshals. I can see I being useful to keep in her pocket for when she runs herself into a situation where she charges multiple models and kills one but can’t take down the others, or to deal with High Df Low Wp opponents. Additionally, she gains an attack called Punishment that lets her strike buried models. It’s Ca 7 vs. Df and 3/4/5, so it’ll put some hurt on in the situations where you get to use it. It would have probably seen more anti-Arcanist play if Practiced Production-Malifaux Raptors hadn’t gotten a nerf, but could still be useful against Leviticus I suppose. I don’t think boxing someone and then attacking them (which is thematically the point of the attack, I suppose) is very efficient. I think this upgrade will be seen a lot less frequently than Swordfighter, but could still be useful.


               Sonnia has had a rough last few years in Malifaux. First she gets possessed by a Tyrant. Then her best friend locks her inside an iron mask. And then the Tyrant leaves her to go become the burning man, severely burning her in the process. I think she can be forgiven for being a little cranky (although I think most of the Witchling Stalkers might not have much sympathy for her.) Maybe that’s why she’s got an upgrade to make her better at melee: she needs to work out some frustration. No More Mask lets her use Ml for her Forbidden Lore ability and, if she does, adds a Blast to her moderate and severe damage. Additionally, any model that she damages in melee gains Burning and gets pushed away from her. I don’t think she’s going toe to toe with the Viktorias anytime soon, but I’ve been surprised more than once when I’ve tried to engage Sonnia in melee with a little scheme runner or something and gotten my butt handed to me. She’s already decent, it’s just that the ranged attacks are so much better. I still think this upgrade is mostly just there to discourage you from trying to engage her, but it’s interesting that it gives her some more options.
               Cherufe’s Parting Gift gives the Purifying Flame the Witch Hunter characteristic and allows her to summon it out of any enemy models that die with Burning on them (as long as you don’t summon anything else.) Free model summoning is a good thing, but nobody used the Purifying Flame before this. Partially this is because the model hasn’t historically been seen as all that effective, and partially because the Malifaux Child can copy her Flame Walls. You have to sacrifice any other totems you have in play if you bring out the Purifying Flame, so that’s not a great combination with this upgrade. Follow the Flame is maybe a little more interesting, as it lets Witch Hunters within 12” and LoS of each other activate after each other as Chain Activations. My first thought is, maybe, a Witchling Handler putting her burning buff on a Thrall and then sending it in to smash and…burn things? No, probably just “Model A sets Model B on fire, then Sonnia Chain activates and blows up model B.” I don’t know, I’m not sold.


               My first love in Malifaux, the gunslinger has always had a reputation as being a strong option as a starter master. Wyrd seems to have leaned into this with Fastest Draw in Malifaux. It gives her +2 to initiative flips and lets her draw a card if she loses anyways. Simple. Straightforward. Effective. Especially given her crew’s propensity for wanting to chain a couple of strong activations together and seize the advantage, it’s a good upgrade for her. Not much else to say.
               Shooting Cans gives her a little bit of scheme marker removal. She gains a Tactical Action to remove target Scheme Marker with a TN equal to 5 plus the number of inches from Perdita to the marker. Additionally, with a tome she can take the action again, as long as the next target is further away than the one she just removed. Again, not too complicated (other than the math, I guess) but it’s alright. I imagine you’ll try to find space for it in pools with lots of marker placement. And, of course Perdita finds a way to solve the problem of enemy scheme markers by shooting them.


               Hoffman’s needed a little love for a while too, and I’m glad to see him get it. I find him to be one of the most interesting characters in Malifaux, and frankly who doesn’t like a crew with big stompy robots? Improved Harness is the upgrade you’re going to see in every game. Increasing his armor by a point and giving him a (0) action for a pseudo-leap are decent additions, but the real strength is Adaptive Armor. One of his crews’ great weaknesses is models that ignore Armor. Generally models with Armor don’t have great defense, so if you can get around it (see also: the Viktorias) Hoff’s crews go down in flames. This upgrade prevents any models within 6” of Hoff from ignoring armor. That’s going to make the Hoff ball pretty tough to crack.
               Pneumatic Upgrades is something very different, but still pretty interesting. Apparently the head of the Amalgamations Office is going full-on with his hypocrisy, as he’s going to start “upgrading” other living models to become cyborgs like his brother Ryle. Again there’s an ability we probably don’t care much about, Power Conductors, that lets him cancel Power Loop on any number of friendly models in play to increase the range of one of his Ca’s by 2” per ended loop. Don’t really see this getting a ton of mileage. The interesting part is We Have the Technology, a (1) action to attach a Cyborg upgrade to a non-construct Guild model within range. Cyborg gives them a limited ability to participate in the Power Loop (they can only use one stat a turn, but there’s no limit on other constructs using THEIR stats.) More importantly, it gives the Cyborg a (0) to attach one of Hoffman’s Modifications to itself. This is deceptively useful, as one of Hoff’s problems is his just not having enough AP to do everything he needs to in a turn. If he had been the one required to attach the Mods, this would be just kind of a side-grade. But, their being able to do it themselves frees him up to do other things. Obviously there’s a lot of interesting options for who to make into a Cyborg (there’s a Rare 3 limit on the upgrade, so you can only do so many.) Francisco comes immediately to mind, if only to let him share his Ml 7 to the other power looped models. Personally, I’m kind of interested in making a Robo-cutioner who can attach the Nimble upgrade to himself. That plus his 0 stone upgrade could make Fat Wolverine pretty darned speedy.


               The Secretary-General may be on the outs with the new GJ, but he’s not going down without a fight. His big buffs from the 2017 erratas started the process, and Deep Pockets is some nice Icing on that cake. Essentially he gets a better version of Arcane Reservoir. His hand size is one bigger, and he can discard a card at the beginning of his turn to draw one. And if that’s not enough, you can reveal the card you drew and compare it to the one you discarded. If its value is lower, you can pitch it as well and draw again. Hand manipulation is nice. There’s a reason I play Lynch as much as I do. I’ve always felt kind of bad that my two main factions are Guild and Neverborn but, for whatever reason (read: he used to be bad) I didn’t have Lucius crew. I should probably rectify that at some point…
               The other upgrade, Condescending, I’m less crazy about. The Perks of Power lets you remove an enemy scheme marker at the start of Lucius’ activation as long as he’s ahead on VPs. Seems like a “Win-More” ability to me, which isn’t great. He can add a soulstone to his pool if he kills a friendly minion with Devil’s Deal which, I’m led to understand, doesn’t happen very often. And finally he can perform a Ca 6 v. Wp to block a target model from cheating fate. I mean, Tannen is a mimic, and he already sort of does this in an aura versus just one target. Not as crazy about this one. Lucius will just have to settle for having some of the best card manipulation in the game.


               Much like with Sandeep, Nellie’s already really good and, frankly, probably is on top of the faction as far as tournament play is concerned. Thus, I didn’t expect a ton from her upgrades. Editor in Chief offers an interesting option, however. Headline: Guild Destined for Victory is another “Win-More” ability, but letting everybody heal a point and gain a + to WP is also kinda situational. On the other hand, she gains the (0) action Frantic Editing to discard a soulstone and change one of her unrevealed schemes for a different one in the pool. That could have some interesting uses, though I suppose an argument could be made that the best tactical players would expect to have selected the right schemes from the beginning. 2 stones for an upgrade where you MIGHT only need one of the abilities (and then, only if you’ve screwed up) is maybe not the best use of stones in the world.
               Alternate Facts would be a fun upgrade name, if it didn’t hit too close to home. It gives her a passive ability to gain a point of evidence everytime someone discards an upgrade within 8” of her. She gains a trigger on Propaganda to apply the Fees condition to an enemy, so maybe she can play nice with the Jury if she has that upgrade, as the Fees condition has previously been underwhelming.) And, finally, she can spend a (0) to draw cards equal to the value of her Evidence condition. It’d be great if it ended there, but it then makes you end the Evidence condition. That makes it tougher, as you may need the Evidence to fuel some of her abilities, but if you have a few extra points of Evidence you could get some good mileage out of this. Kind of a weird mixed bag of an upgrade, really. Like I said, Nellie’s fine without any help.
               Oh yeah, her Conflux. She has one of those. It’s kind of funny how the Emissaries all ended up being either amazing or meh, isn’t it? Like, there’s no Emissaries that are just good. Anyways, the Brutal doesn’t see a ton of play as it stands. Nellie’s Conflux gives him a mask trigger on its Rule of Law attack to send her some Evidence. Additionally, he gains a (0) to put a condition on an enemy model that lets Nellie draw three cards at the start of its activation. The model can choose to take up to three damage and reduce the cards she draws by the same amount. That’s pretty nasty, but you always have to realize that, since the choice is theirs, they will always give you the option that gives you the least benefit. I don’t like giving that power to my opponent. Still, not bad for a (0), but I imagine Nellie’s got better stuff to spend her Stones on, especially with all the new toys from Book 5.

Phew. We did it, folks. That’s all the upgrades from Book 5. We’ll be going back to the regular once per week schedule after this. Tune in next time for an in-depth review of the Through the Breach: Core Rules book. 

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Gaining Grounds 2018 open Beta : Schemes Last edit 8/26

This blog will cover the evolution of the scheme portion of Gaining Grounds 2018.

Jumping right in...

The Always and doubles schemes appear unchanged from 2017.  Currently Claim Jump and Eliminate the Leadership respectively.

All four suited schemes are currently new and all four can be accomplished even if the enemy crew is immune to conditions.  If this holds and your event is run in a 50 SS standard format then you ought to have bare minimum 3 schemes your opponent can't deny with crew selection.  Furthermore there are currently 0 schemes that hand an enemy a condition. I don't know if I expect that to remain until the end of beta but I would happily take the compromise of not having the hand out condition schemes suited.  But I do like the strategy where you interact to acquire a condition and that gets neatly around condition immunity.  Or Wyrd can extend the can't be immune to scheme conditions as well.  But I suppose that is what beta is for.

- Smuggled Across (masks); Once per game your crew can reveal this scheme to score a number of VP equal to the number of minions on the enemy half of the table and not within 6" of the center.

Initial reaction;  First I'm not entirely certain they didn't mean centerline because on flank deployment this is probably scored 3-3 at the end of turn 1.  Gremlins will, more likely than not, auto score this after turn one if there is a pigapult present.  In the current iteration most summoners can also probably be up 3 at the end of turn 1.  I predict there will probably be a change to this scheme in its current form.

- Charge Soulstone (crows); Kill an enemy model within 6" of a master or a henchman and then discard a Soulstone to score 1 VP. 

Initial reaction; Most crews I run that don't summon can get by on 3-4 SS.  With that said odds are if you run a summoner and think you can kill 3 models in 1 activation you might catch someone by surprise since very few would expect a summoner to use SS in a non summoning function.  This scheme will certainly foil the (current)mask scheme to some extent if you want to expose your minions in that fashion.  I find this scheme interesting and I hope it makes it in some form.

- Buried Treasure (tomes); At the end of the game score 1 VP for each scheme marker that is both more than 6" from your deployment zone and more than 6" from all non leader models.

Initial reaction; This is 3 VP on corner deployment.  Outside of that gut reaction this will be relatively simple for the masters and their crews which drop schemes everywhere as a byproduct of what they are already doing.  Sensei Yu in most cases will get 3 easy VP as well. Ranged scheme removal and solid models that tank well will help defend this.

- Collect Evidence (rams); use interact to remove enemy scheme markers to reveal scheme and score a VP.  If revealed you also score 1 VP at the end of the turn if there are 0 enemy scheme markers outside of 6" of its deployment zone.

Initial reaction; I love this scheme.  I love that it is a foil for the tomes scheme if they both end up in the same pool.  Chatty models will see a lot of work in 2018.

The number schemes appear to be a grab bag of book schemes, 2016/2017 schemes, and a hand full of new schemes.  I won't list the numbers because there is a chance these will end up shuffled from where they currently sit.

- Hold Up Their Forces; Use no more than one model to engage more than one enemy model and maintain through the end of the turn.  Score 1 VP at the end of each turn after the first if the requirement is satisfied.

Initial reaction; I'm not sure how I feel about this scheme.  It punishes lists that rely on auras.  Also peons currently count.  So raptors can drop in end of turn and catch a bad positioning by surprise.

- Challenge; reveal the scheme at the start of a turn and then select one of your models and an enemy model as challengers.  If the enemy challenger is killed by the friendly challenger score 1 VP and unreveal the scheme.  You may discard 2 cards to unreveal the scheme and remove all challenge tags assigned by this crews scheme.

Initial reaction; this is basically the same thing as Vendetta (with Vendetta currently in the pool) only Masters and 0 cost models can be involved and you can aim for peons with 13SS models if so inclined.  And if the enemy wins initiative then he can kill his model and you have to discard 2 cards to try again next round.   So right off the bat cheating initiative is huge on both sides of scheme.  I predict some form a change or possibly a full replacement of this scheme.

- Take One for the Team; Basically Frame for Murder with different scoring conditions.

Initial reaction; I prefer this to Frame For Murder because I can deny a point by using a cheaper model to land the killing blow and go about what I was doing.  As an aside moving it to a numbered scheme will have less people complain when it does show up.  I liked Frame and I think I like this version better.  If anything makes it through unchanged this will probably be the first thing I would bet on.

- Don't Leave a Mark; when you scroll to the description it's Leave Your Mark.

Initial reaction; I'm probably not the first to catch the error.  reserve initial reaction for the correction when I find it.

The other nine schemes are unchanged from what I can tell from their previously released versions.

Broken Promises Upgrade Reviews: Neverborn


               Our next faction break-down is going to involve taking a look at the good-guys of Malifaux, the Neverborn (you heard me. Look at the facts, sheeple.) But first, a word from our sponsors.

               Oh wait, our sponsors are you! Because we’re on Patreon now! How about that? This is your chance to help shape the future of Malifaux Musings. Have a topic you’re interested in reading about? Want to point us towards more Through the Breach, The Other Side, or Malifaux content? Really into Bayou Bash and want us to review it? Sign up and then drop us a line on the patron’s communication board. I guarantee you we’ll listen.


               I figured I’d start out with my community mandated master, the Puppet Master Collodi. Dreamer, Lucius, and Collodi are probably the masters with whom I have the least experience in faction, but I’ve at least started a game with C at this point. I do, however, know enough to be aware that his main attack action is probably one of the best in the whole game, so anything that’s going to try and replace it would have to be amazing. Four Arms takes on this job, and it’s questionable if it achieves it’s goal. It’s a pretty standard Neverborn melee 6 2/3/5 damage attack, with the bonus that it lets you draw a card when you do moderate or severe damage. The built-in mask gives you a trigger to get Hold Still, which allows him to increase his final duel total by a point for each puppet within 6” and LoS, which certainly raises an eyebrow. The other trigger, a crow, gives the target a condition until the end of the turn preventing it from declaring walk action. Interesting, but there are so many pushes in the game anymore that this is easily overcome and probably not worth cheating or stoning to accomplish. The thing is, Collodi’s brittle. His defense trigger is designed to get him out of combat, not in it, and his WP is mediocre at best. And let’s not forget, he has the most unpleasant attack in the game. Obviously Four Arms lends itself more towards the Bag of Props “Collodi’s crew makes him better” build rather than the “Collodi makes his crew better” version, which makes sense. That version could probably use the help. I’m just not sure if this does it.
               Doll Collection instead opts to add mobility. It gives Collodi a 1 ap action to place a 30mm Doll marker anywhere within 8” and LoS of him. Then, at the end of the turn, you can choose any number of Puppets, discard a card, deal 2 damage to them, and then move them into base contact with a doll marker (one puppet per doll). You then ditch the doll marker and place a scrap marker. This could add some interesting mobility tricks to Collodi’s crew, but it’s very resource intensive. The fact that it activates at the end of the turn means it will be most useful to do some Malifaux Raptor-esque tricks (albeit with much less range.) I’m not too jazzed with this immediately either. We’ll have to see if either of the Puppet Master’s upgrades have some hidden juice we’re not seeing.

The Dreamer

               One Gencon long past, when the first sculpts of the Carver were coming out as part of a story encounter, I asked Erik if there were plans to make rules for it and release it as a mini for the game. His response was “Well we wouldn’t make the model if we weren’t going to put it in the game.” Using the same logic, when I saw the picture of Dreamer as a more grown up, cricket bat wielding little bastard, my first thought was “They’re going to find a way to bring that out in the next book,” which led to my guess that new master upgrades were coming. This comes in the form of the Limited Upgrade “Growing Up.” He gains the ability Adolescence, which probably has the most sub-abilities tied into it of any ability in the game. It gives Dreamer +4 Wd and Cg 7, prevents him from being damaged when Buried, and gives him an extra AP per turn to take an extra Melee action. It also gives him the (1) Cricket Bat attack. I just got done calling Ml6 2/3/5 an average attack for Collodi, and it’s just as true here, but the importance of this attack is the fact that it lets Dreamer increase or decrease his Waking condition by 1 per successful attack. Additionally, it has a mask trigger to do a short range Tangled Shadows between Dreamer and another Nightmare. Cool stuff all around, but what’s the point of this?
               Well, Sleep Cycles, his other upgrade, completes the picture. Falling Asleep lets Chompy activate as a Chain Activation when Dreamer buries. Yeah…shades of old school M1E Dreamer crews, here we come. Additionally, the chain activations can go the other way as well (Chompy buries, then Dreamer goes.) Now we’re talking. When the Dreamer/Chompy engine rolls into your crew, people is gonna die, folks. Additionally, Sleep Cycles adds a little utility to your Daydreams, giving them a melee attack to deal 2/2/3 damage. Not great, but they’re cheap totems you summon. I mean, you can’t have cheap little peons getting cool attacks, can you? (Looks at Assura Rotten.) Sleep Cycles is probably the MVP out of these two, as it has uses for all 3 builds of Dreamer (assuming there are still uses for Shooting Dreamer rather than going straight to Adolescent, which I don’t see.) I appreciate that they brought out a new playstyle to rival “hide and summon” Dreamer and have tried to give Chompy Bits a chance to be the scary boogie man he’s SUPPOSED to be.


               The master everybody loves to hate (keep doing it, she feeds on your tears,) Pandora’s upgrades are…interesting. Rile Them Up is the most intuitive. It gives her the Mania ability, which lets her discard a card to take Incite as a (1) action once per turn. This is reminiscent of old school Pandora, who could keep casting the original version of it over and over as long as she didn’t target the same model more than once. The days of her circling the board in one turn and Inciting the entire enemy crew are long gone, but this does give her some good mobility options to get out of (or into) trouble, which is important for a relatively fragile master. Additionally, she gains a mask trigger to her Self Loathing and Harm attacks (both of which have the suit built in) to replace the enemy’s damage track with 2/3/4 and prevent its being reduced. While this will help her to hurt masters/henchmen/armored things, the main idea here is to improve the efficacy of these attacks vs. models that don’t HAVE a damage track for their Ml or Sh. Pandora can be a little bit hungry for Upgrade slots, but I think this one is worth the space.
               I won’t lie. When I first saw Woe Is Me, my thought was “They’re giving Pandora summons now? I’m never going to be able to play her again.” Then I stopped and thought about it, and it’s not that bad. In fact, a question exists as to whether this is actually any good at all. I don’t mean to poop on it right out of the gate, because it legitimately could be a strong build for her. But it could also be terrible. But what does it do? Well, first of all, it lets her have infiltration Woe, so she can hire Field Reporters (I figured this was coming) and any future non-NB woes. Additionally, if a model dies from Misery, you can summon a Poltergeist off of it. This really doesn’t happen often enough to rely on, but I understand wanting to increase Poltergeist's table time, especially given that it has such a cool model. Finally, the point of all of this is the ability to summon a Sorrow for a 10 of masks or higher. The model has to be summoned next to an enemy model which has a condition on it, and it allows the enemy to end any conditions on the model after the summons. At first blush, this doesn’t seem like a good trade. If you spend an AP to give something Paralyzed, let’s say, you don’t want to then spend one of Pandora’s AP and a high card AND give them the chance to remove the Paralyzed just to get a Sorrow, do you? Well, first of all I should point out that Sorrows can be quite good. Some people know that, some don’t, so let me make sure you know I’m in the first camp. Second, it doesn’t specify what type of Conditions the enemy model has to have. You can use Focused, Adrenaline, Defensive, etc. etc. etc. just as well as the ones you’re putting on them. And even if you need to use one of your own, sometimes you don’t need Incite on a model anymore, especially if you’re putting it on two models a turn as a way of improving Pandora’s mobility. And this is one of the few summons in the game where the new model comes in at full wounds. I’m not saying this is game breaking or anything, but I’m just saying it might not be terrible either. Let’s give it a chance and see.
               Also, this is the one that should have been called “The Box Opens,” since we know that Sorrows come out of there. But hindsight is 20/20.


               Hey there Mama Monster. How you doin? You likin’ those new upgrades? I know you are…

               Excuse me. Sorry you had to hear that. Forgot you were there for a second…

              *ahem* Lilith received one general use and one specific crew build Upgrade. The one you’re going to see all the time is “The Song of Blood.” It gives her a couple of abilities that aren’t as important as the tactical action: One to place a scheme marker when an enemy model is killed by Black Blood (situational at best) and Blood in the Air, which lets you draw a card when one of your Black Blood models dies (better.) The (0) tactical action The Blood Heals is why you’re bringing this, as it gives her the ability to heal another friendly model with BB within 6” for 2. So, you know, Nekima and Graves. There are others, but...Nekima and Graves. She now has 3 0’s on her instinctual build, but the turns when you’ll need all 3 are infrequent. This is just good. The only way it would be better is if she could heal herself, but that might (probably would) be too much.
               The other upgrade is The Land Consumes. I have a confession to make…I want this Upgrade to be good. I can’t be impartial about this. I want the “Fill the board with terrain” version of Lillith to be a thing. Problem is…it just isn’t for most games. Don’t get me wrong, the Mysterious Emmissary’s markers plus Lillith plus some Waldgeists is going to be a crap load of blast markers getting in your opponent’s way, but there are too many ways to get around them and…well why don’t I tell you what the upgrade does first? It gives her melee attack a ram trigger to summon a 50mm marker of hazardous terrain within 1” of the target. Ok, nice if it happens but maybe not worth cheating to pull off. Additionally, she gets to summon one within 3” of her at the beginning of her activation. She puts out a 6” aura letting her friendly models join her in being immune to Hazardous Terrain, which is also vital (and improves her synergy with the ME.) And, finally, if an enemy model is killed by Hazardous Terrain, she gets a 2/3/4 healing flip. It’s all good stuff, but you just can’t get enough terrain on the board (in my experience) to completely jam the opponents up. Or they have incorporeal or flight and ignore it. Or maybe you’re just lazy and summoning 3 different types of marker terrain on the board with different rules for each gives you a headache. They’re all possible reasons to leave this one in your card binder, especially for tournaments where terrain is (on average) more sparse. I’m sorry to be a bummer, and if I’m wrong and this build works I’d be delighted, but for now I’m not sold. I think it's just a meme list. That said, if you play on a very congested board (I’m looking at you, most of the Vassal maps) it can be brutal. And now, to move on seamlessly to the next master, like the professional Bloggist that I am.

               *whispers* Later, girl. Hit me up on my DMs.


               Big Z is a master that needed help, so she got it. *thumbs up* Powerful Control gives her Obey action a trigger on 2 masks to let the model she targeted take a (2) charge action instead of a (1), which was absolutely required. It was bologna that Zoraida’s whole shtick was using Obey on models when she was arguably the worst Obey master in the game. Being able to declare a charge with the enemy should make a huge difference here, as you're effectively exchanging one master AP for about 2.5 AP from the enemy model. Additionally, her Bewitch gains a double mask trigger as well allowing her to use Obey on the target immediately. It would be a whole lot of masks to pull off both triggers in a turn, but it could be very rewarding if it happened. 
                The other upgrade is a little more situational and ties in thematically to her Voodoo Doll interactions. Poisoned Fate makes any enemy models with conditions on them take 2 damage whenever they cheat fate. That’s…a lot of requirements, but I just got done pointing out how many conditions are in this game up above. It doesn’t have to be the Voodoo Doll’s stuff that would be triggering this, it could be Focused. It also gives Zoraida a decent way to do some direct damage, a Rg 18 attack vs. WP that deals damage to them based on the number of cards in their controller’s hand. Damage that doesn’t require a flip is always a crowd pleaser, but it requires them to have a condition first. There’s an incidental Crow trigger to put slow on a model (not saying Slow is incidental, but it seems like Zoraida’s gonna need her stones for masks now, so you’re maybe not gonna want to work too hard for this trigger.) This seems like a lot of work on its own, but remember that you can do these attacks through the Voodoo doll. This gives you some added flexibility, as 1) there’s nowhere the hemmed model can hide to keep you from hitting them and 2) since you control the Voodoo Doll, you can use this on him while you have lots of cards in hand to spike up the damage. This will probably mean you need to activate Zoraida early in the turn when you’re going to use the attack (we can’t all be Lynch and just refill our hand on the last activation,) but it’s a versatile attack that’s useful with or without the Voodoo Doll. The first upgrade is an every game take. The second is a good option for a specific type of crew, but not necessary every time.


               My queen! *bows* What? No, of course I wasn’t flirting with Lilith. I wouldn’t presume to disgrace the Autumn Queen in such a way. I…*gulp* please stop looking at me that way…Hey! Let’s talk about your upgrades!
               Titania also needed some help….uh…I mean she needed no help, but her overwhelming power has only grown as she’s recovered from her exile in Nythera. *phew, that was a close one* She gained a couple of Limited upgrades from Broken Promises. The first, Pact with the Grave Spirit, represents Titania’s ability to break leader models, as she did when she destroyed the Tyrants’ mortal forms. As such, her first ability, Death of Tyrants, lets her add a suit and deal +1 damage on any attack actions she takes against enemy Leaders. Additionally, she gains a version of Decaying Aura (I like the thematics of this) that extends out to aura 3 from her and prevents soulstone use to prevent damage or healing. Finally, she gets The Rot Within, a Ca action that requires a Crow on its TN, but deals an amount of damage to the target equal to the damage they’ve already taken, up to a maximum of 4 (or 5 with Death of Tyrants.) Additionally, a built in trigger lets you place a scheme marker in base contact with the model before removing it. So, obviously, Pact with the Grave Spirit is a much more offensively minded upgrade designed to have Titania go master or high point model hunting, setting them up with her other attacks (or her crew’s attacks) and then turning them into compost to finish things off.
               Her other new limited, Royal Indignation, goes the other direction and lets her punish modes with lower Stations than her while giving her a limited ability to enhance her own crew. First of all, it changes any living minion or enforcers she hires into Undead Fae (for insight in how this is accomplished, see the Nythera module of Through the Breach. Or, alternately, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.) There isn’t a ton of built-in synergy to this other than the Taproot upgrade, which doesn’t see a ton of play anyways, but it does make the models no longer subject to Terrifying: Living tests…which is good I guess. The meat and potatoes of the upgrade is the Royal Indignation ability that reduces damage from an enemy model by an amount equal to its station, 2 for a peon or minion and 1 for a henchman or enforcer. On top of her Impossible to Wound and healing from scheme markers, this gives her what she needed to be the tanking Master she was designed for in the first place. Finally, she can use a (1) action to give another Fae without the Armor Condition (so they can have Armor built in) the Armor Condition. This is a way to boost up her minion Fae mostly, I’m thinking, as 2 armor hard to wound models are going to take a disproportionate amount of AP for most crews to remove, but it could also be some synergy with the converted models from the top of the card. So, essentially, Titania’s Limited upgrades offer you a choice of playstyles (as most good Limiteds do.) If you want her to tank and support, go RI. If you want a smashier crew, go with the Pact.
               Finally, her Conflux is pretty solid, too. It allows the M.E. to add a suit of its choice to its duels whenever it’s within 3” of a Hungry Land Marker (which it wants to be most turns.) Finally, it adds a 0 action (because it doesn’t have enough of them to choose from, apparently) to give some buffs out to friendly Fae ranging from the Armor condition, healing a couple points of damage, burning+1 to any enemies’ they’re engaged with, or a scheme marker. It’s a shame he isn’t Living so Royal Indignation would turn him into a Fae and he could do it to himself, but you can’t have ALL the buffs I guess. As an unapologetic Mysterious Emissary apologist, I’m excited to try it if only for making his Changeling summons a lot easier.

               Phew. Home stretch, folks. Lynch was reviewed in Ten Thunders. Lucius will be in Guild, who are the only faction we’ve got left to review. See you next time!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Broken Promises Upgrade Reviews: Arcanists

Took a little break (silly jobs that insist on my doing things besides writing about Malifaux) but we’re back to talk about the Arcanists.

               First, however, let me remind you about our Patreon page. For those who are unfamiliar, Patreon is a way by which fans like you can help content creators like me turn our ideas into reality. It cuts out the middleman of having to put ads up on my blog and lets you lend support to me directly. But what am I going to do with this money, you might ask? Well, one of the things I had in mind was to do product reviews of each of the Malifaux, The Other Side, and Through the Breach books when they come out. I would put the money you use towards it directly. Another idea was to acquire prize support to run a Vassal Malifaux league. I have some more thoughts as well, but you get the idea. The more successful the Patreon is, the more I can build. Additionally, I've thought about having Through the Breach adventures written exclusively for my patrons. And I just like interacting with the patrons directly. Today’s article topic, the Arcanists, was picked by Rich, who was our first patron. The next article will be Neverborn because of our second patron’s preference. Anyways, enough with the pitch, but if you’ve got a dollar to spare per month, I’d love to have it.


               It may surprise you that the words “Spider” “Arachnid” or “Construct” do not appear anywhere on Dr. Ramos’ upgrades for this book. Instead, it appears that his new options are designed to improve his ability to do things other than summon the four-legged spiders onto the board. Given the deemphasis of the role of Summoning in the new GG2018 (which Phiasco wrote about in this post) that may be a good thing. The first, Leviathan Power Core, gives Ramos a buff based on how many Soulstones have been used by models during the game. Every time this happens, he gains the “Powering Up +1” condition that extends the range of his electrical fire an inch per point of the condition. Additionally, when he activates he can lower his powering up by an amount he chooses and gain buffs based on the amount it is reduced. These range from giving him a + modifier to the first duel of the turn for 1 point to giving him Fast for 4 points. You can’t control how your opponent is going to use their soulstones, so you only really know what you’re going to do during the game. It may be interesting to try it from the perspective of using Ramos to summon on the first couple turns of the game, discarding stones to increase the condition, and then transitioning him to a ranged combat master for the late game. I’d have to see it in practice to gauge for sure.
               The other upgrade represents his position as (former) leader of the Union, Vox Populi. It gives Ramos a 0 action attack against WP that can make a model count as a Peon for encounter purposes and block it from taking Interact actions until its next activation. Additionally, his Strike! Action lets him throw out a pair of 50mm markers not touching any models or each other. Enemy models treat these as 3/4/4 damage Sever Hazardous terrain. They only last for a turn and don’t provide any cover, but they could be useful to block a choke point. Turning a model into a Peon is useful, but only being able to do it once a turn limits this. Overall I’m kind of “Meh” on Ramos’ upgrades. They’re not bad, but they don’t leap out at me either.


               Apparently Marcus and McMourning have been collaborating, given that now the good Doctor can bring beasts into his fights and Marcus has learned some of his former pupils’ poison tricks. Venomancy gives him the standard Infect trigger to his Shillelagh attacks. It lets him use a 0 to pulse poison off of one of his beasts to put a point of Poison on any model within 3” of it, or 2 points of Poison if the beast has the Infect trigger on one of its attacks. And, finally, it grants Marcus and any of his Henchmen with Beast the Virulent ability to make models take 2 points of damage per tick of poison rather than one. The big thing that’s missing, of course, is McMourning’s ability to force models’ poison conditions to tick at the beginning of their activation, which improves the conditions’ ability to actually kill something in a timely fashion, so it remains to be seen if this will be enough to make Poison Marcus a thing. But they’re sure trying to get there, aren’t they?
               The other upgrade for the Beastmaster is a new Limited, The Gods Path. This version seems to lean him towards a defensive tanking and support role, as it automatically gives him Wicked on his attacks and allows you to discard tomes (as per the other Limiteds) to gain Armor +2, +1 Ca, and/or an ability that forces models to take 2 damage if they end their activation within his engagement range. The Trail of the Gods upgrade is really good, and the silliness it lets Marcus get up to on the board is one of the reasons people like him so much. This upgrade lends itself to a much different role which may turn some players off, but I think could be effective in boards that are particularly dense with terrain or otherwise won’t require the big movement buffs. Armor +2 will help improve his survivability, but he's still Df 5 without other significant defensive abilities. I don't know if it will be enough, but I'm curious to see. 


               Obviously, one of the advantages of these new upgrades is the ability to introduce a new playstyle to old masters. One of the biggest examples of this would be Enveloped in Ice for Raspy, which increases her Walk, gives her a point of armor, and allows her to perform a 1 melee action once per turn on a model that ends its turn in her engagement range. “But wait!” you say, “Raspy doesn’t have a melee attack.” Oh ho, my friend, do I have news for you…she does now from this card. Ok, I guess that wasn't as dramatic as I built it up to be. I mean, it’s Ml6 2/3/5. That’s not amazing, but it can’t be reduced by models with the Slow or Paralyzed condition and has a Tome trigger to give that condition out. She still has no charge and this only makes her Walk 4, so it would more likely be useful as a counter-attack action for when opponents try to engage her to cut off her ranged attacks. Still, Melee Raspy…that’s just hard to picture…
               Maybe more interesting is Frozen Servants, that gives her a limited ability to start pretending to be a summoner. For the cost of a 7 of tomes she can summon an Ice Gamin out of a scrap marker and, upping the cost to an 11 and two tomes (meaning you need an 11+ of tomes and a stone) you can summon an ice golem. They both take about half their Wounds in damage when they come in, but considering they explode when they die this might be more of a feature than a flaw. Finally, any Living models with Frozen Heart gain a 0 action to eat corpse markers to gain a healing flip with the unusual requirement of making a WP duel to do it. Cut to a shot of the newly summoned ice constructs giving you a “Hey, what about us?” look. Because, apparently, I don’t hate playing against her enough, so now she can be a summoner too. I guess if she’s doing that, she’s not blasting my crew to ribbons…


               The M&SU’s new president (no word on whether she’s vowed to make the M&SU great again) gained the ability to manipulate her Adrenaline condition a bit more by electing not to reduce it and heal at the end of the turn. Additionally, a (0) Tactical Action gives her a Challenge ala Barbaros which fits well with her “get into the middle of things and mess stuff up" ethos. From my times playing Titania I can tell you that these Challenges are more disruptive than you think (the look on an opponent’s face when they realize they have to pass the test to target their own friendly models is usually worth the price of admission all by itself.) Complementing it, her other upgrade lets her increase Adrenaline at the beginning of her turn by 1 and gives her a ram trigger on her Brass Knuckles to heal an amount of damage equal to the damage she causes. These two are pretty complementary, so I’d imagine you’d take them both in tandem, step to the middle of the opponent’s crew and dare them to move you.


               Audience Participation, her first upgrade, has some fun concepts on it. The first, “Add an Extra Flourish,” gives her an 8” aura wherein any Showgirl Minion models that activate gain Focused+1. This would be cooler if there were more minion showgirls to choose from (and I’m certainly not wearing my Seamus hat while typing this) but as it stands, will mostly help her Performers and Coryphee more than anything I’m thinking. She also gains a 0 action, “I Need a Volunteer” that allows her to do a version of Collodi’s hated “I use your first AP for you” trigger after winning a Willpower duel. You need a 7 of tomes at least to cast it, but it could be quite irritating.
               Her other upgrade alters The Dancing Blade, her 0 AP melee attack. The upgrade allows her to discard one of her scheme markers within 8” to perform the attack as a (1) action. If it hits and does damage, it also Slows the model. To offset the cost, she has a Mask trigger on the attack to also discard an enemy scheme marker. I don’t know about this one. Maybe if the trigger had allowed you to place one of your own scheme markers instead I’d like it more.


               The Guild’s #1 most wanted terrorist (arsonist? I guess they’re not mutually exclusive…) picked up a number of things related to heat, fire, burning…you get the idea. Heat Wave (and yes, if you play this upgrade you’re required to sing the Martha and the Vandellas song) puts Burning +1 on a model when it activates and/or when it ends an activation within 3” of her. Yes, that means you get Burning +2 if you start and end next to her, so you probably don’t want to do that. Interestingly, she also gains a 0 action to apply the condition Heatstroke to enemy models within pulse 6 of her. Heatstroke starts out at 0 but can be increased by reducing the Burning from any models within the pulse 1-for-1. Why would you want to reduce burning? Because Heatstroke reduces final duel totals by an amount equal to the value of the condition, to a max of 3. That’s actually pretty significant. Imagine if you were DF 5 and then effectively changed to DF 2. You won’t want to do it all the time (as a model that dies from burning has its duel totals much more significantly reduced, you might say) but it could be pretty decent, I think.
               The other upgrade, Flaming Angel, is a bit more intuitive. It gives her a 1 AP action to push up to 8” in any direction, ignoring intervening models. At the end of this, any model she moves through during the push gains Burning +1. This has some utility for movement as well as offense, as her walk is normally only 6. Additionally, a second tome on her Immolate action lets her spread Burning to other models within pulse 3 of the original target. More movement plus giving her a pseudo AoE that fuels her other abilities=good times.


               So, the undisputed king of the Arcanist tournament scene. What can we give him that won’t make a tilted faction become even more tilted? Well, how about letting him borrow spells from other Academics the way they borrow them from him? Oh, your favorite Ca action is on a model that isn’t an Academic? No worries, he has a Rg6 (0) to give them a + to Ca actions and makes them count as an Academic until the end of the turn. Admittedly, he has to discard a card to use the cast from these pseudo-Academics, but still, there are opportunities here. I’m not sure there’s anything in particular Sandeep was missing that this fixes, but versatility is Sandeep's strength. Giving him more options isn't a bad thing.
               His other upgrade is a new Limited (thank god) that tries to turn him into a melee master. His melee attacks gain Burning +1 or Burning +2 if Banasuva isn’t on the board. It also allows models with the Toss ability to treat him as being Ht. 1, which is at least an amusing mental image. He also gains a Tome trigger to summon Banasuva into base to base with a model he damages with said melee attacks, ignoring its Jealous Firelord ability. If big B is already out on the board, the same suit can activate a different trigger to push him 4” towards the enemy model and give them Burning +2 if he engages them. This would be a very different version of Sandeep than what we already see, obviously. Again, GG2018 deemphasizes summoning, which may make up for the loss of his other Limited upgrades. And, honestly of the summoning masters, he's probably the one that is least reliant on his summons. But still, my knee-jerk reaction is “He was good the way he was. Why would I change to something completely different?”

               His Conflux upgrade turns the Emmisary into a Gamin and gives it the ability Teaching Assistant which allows other friendly models within 6” of him to use his casting actions at -1 Ca once per turn, much like Sandeep. For those of you who (like me) forgot what its Ca action looks like, it’s a Ca6 (so they’ll have Ca5) Rg 6 or Melee 2 that does 2/3/5 and has a trigger for each suit. As with the initial examination of Sandeep himself, this ability is kind of average on its own, but spread out to other cheap minions could be pretty cool. The thing is, the Arcane Emissary has this Ca action and doesn’t see a ton of play as is. Will this be enough to change that? I’m not sure. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Gaining Grounds 2018 open Beta : Strategies Last edit 8/24

By: Phiasco

So for those of you who haven't heard Wyrd has opened Gaining Grounds 2018 for beta testing.  Odds are I won't get around to updating this blog real time.  So what I am thinking is I will update this once a month or so.  I will endeavor to record the evolution of the document to it's final form.

I think this link will get you to the page where the link to the current iteration of the document can be found.  Link to page with the current Gaining Grounds 2018 document.

If you wish to participate in the beta there are a few things you should keep in mind.  There are likely things you might have strong feelings about.  The best way to make sure your opinion is considered is to play games to generate data in a battle report.  From what I understand, if you send them I think this X scheme ought to be written as Y, and there is no data to support it, then odds are good it will be ignored.

Things that I have noticed have changed in the general document:

-There appears to be a change to deck etiquette.  But the language needs to be cleaned up as there is contradictory elements but it looks like players will gain the ability to refuse to cut your opponent's deck.

-Slow play has been redefined since it is difficult to establish it is intentional.


-Strategy conditions may Not be ignored in any way.  This includes things such as condition immunity.
Initial reaction; Up to now there have been no strategy conditions.  As such this has possibly been an issue for schemes where some crews just shut down condition schemes forcing the opponent into a smaller pool.  Looking at the document I am happy with strategy conditions sticking to all models.  If we are lucky the handing out condition based schemes will not fall on suits or doubles and then worse case scenario is there are 3 viable schemes verse Hamelin.

-Summoned models do Not count for strategy purposes.
Initial reaction; McCabe's horse reclaims its Master status.  In all seriousness this is something the game probably needs regardless if this iteration makes it or not.  In the end it changes the function of summoned models to screen for scoring models or to go run schemes.  I have a feeling this will cause the greatest gut reaction but I think most players will adapt and a few will abandon summoners instead of embracing the challenge of slight alterations to play style.  To be fair summoned models in most cases feel like cannon fodder I care less about then the peons in my lists.  So thematically it doesn't make sense for them to score.  I expect there might be a tweak to this condition but I do expect it to make it through to the final document in some form.

- Ours (masks); Basically reconnoiter but you add up SS value of all of your models per quarter vs the SS value of your opponents models.
Initial reaction; I have a feeling this will be clunkier than intended.  I know people who have trouble adding their acting value to the flipped card in a timely manner to the point I have started to memorize the acting values of most of the common models.  I will attempt to play test it as is when I get a chance.

- Ply for Information (tomes); I read this wrong in the late hours of last night.  Your model interacts with an enemy model to gain the condition on your model.  Then you try to keep the condition until the end of the game.
Initial reaction; Your crew will want to be able to hit, run and survive.  Or just have a ton of activation control.  Very interesting in any case.

- Public Executions (crows); Kill a non peon bad guy and prevent the bad guys from capturing the flag it drops.  Score if you have more friendly flags than your opponent.
Initial reaction; Summoned models won't drop flags, they can make the enemy drop them, and claim them (the turn after they are summoned).  Lure and anti lure tech will be big for this strategy.  I like the idea but something feels off and I probably won't see it until I play it a few times.

- Symbols of Authority (rams); Place 4 flags (2 on each side).  Score VP for flags you remove from their side and flags remaining on your side at the end of the game.
Initial reaction; Chatty, Don't Mind Me, Lure, Anti-Lure, push, anti-push, and probably a couple other abilities will be big.  It will probably play a lot like Rock, Paper, Scissors depending on if your crew trumps what your opponent crew is trying to do.  I like strategies where there are only 4 VP total to be had.

- Put Out a Hit (jokers); <I realize this is in programmer speak> place 2 30mm strategy markers, one on each side not in deployment.  Discard a card a the start of any turn to hand out a condition nested in another condition to an enemy model.  Then kill the enemy model to collect the nested condition.  Bring the nested condition to either marker to score VP.
Initial reaction; So basically my crew discards a card and selects super beater model in the other crew.  Then I kill that model to get the payment condition and try to get the model with the payment condition to either strategy marker to score. If the other crew kills or sacs the model after it is targeted then I score a VP.  There are a few moving parts to this but outside of Ours it seems the most straightforward new strategy.  Can't wait to play it to have some constructive feedback.

I will run the new Schemes in the next blog which I ought to have out shortly.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Broken Promises Upgrade Reviews: Gremlins

Standard disclaimer: I don’t know Gremlins. I don’t play them. I rarely play against them (with one exception...curse you Wong...). So, there’s a very real chance this article will be more filled with inaccuracies than usual. So bear with me. Luckily, the Max Value podcast did their Gremlins episode on Sunday, so I at least had that to listen to and prepare. So if our opinions sound similar…there’s a reason.


               Her first upgrade is Useless Junk. No, that’s the name, not my opinion of it *rimshot*. It allows her to dump a 30mm Trash marker anywhere in Ophelia’s LoS whenever she discards another upgrade. What’s a trash marker, you ask? Where would I be without you, my easily suggestible audience? At the beginning of any other kin model’s activation, they can push 6” towards a trash marker. If they come into base contact, they heal 2 and drop a scheme marker, but either way the Trash Marker gets discarded. An interesting utility tool for kin heavy Ophelia crews (which, let’s be honest, just means it’s a way for Francois to get some free movement.)
               Metal-Lined coat seems decent as well. It gives her Instinctual, which is usually useful. Also, if you discard it for Plink! It prevents 2 damage instead of one. It costs 2 stones, which seems a tad steep, but since her little cousins can toss her stuff during the game maybe you can attach it later on. Not flashy, but decent.

Som’er Teeth Jones

               Neither of Som’er’s (the rare double apostrophe) upgrades really blew me away. Insectophile adds a trigger to his melee attack to summon a Skeeter with a crow. Skeeters are ok, but a melee summoning trigger’s not great in general, and Som’er Teeth wants to summon Bayou Gremlins or shoot his gun. Hell, it’s even on the same suit as the piglet summoning, so it’s really just giving you a choice of summoning one or the other when most folks I don’t think really used the piglet summon anyways. Higher Proof is a little bit different, as it lets a friendly model in LoS that uses Drunk and Reckless gain a condition that increases it’s Sh value but prevents you from declaring triggers on your attacks. I guess if you wanted to do a gunline type list this could be good, but I just don’t see it. Maybe I’ll be proven wrong.


               I’m glad to see that they gave Brewie some stuff to do besides just get the opponent’s crew drunk and try to lock them down all game. A Barkeep Never Sleeps gives him an ability to make poison tick for 3 damage rather than one ala Sebastian for any models within 6” of him and gives him a 0 action to resummon Apprentice Wesley. I don’t know how often Brewmaster crews would lose Wesley, but I suppose it doesn’t hurt as an insurance policy on your insurance policy.
               The other upgrade is A Friendly Ear, and I think it has some interesting potential as well. When targeting a model with the poison condition on it, the TN for his duels (namely his Obey action) gain +Mask to the final duel total. So, if he does it to a friendly model with poison, all he has to do is hit the TN to succeed, which is huge. And it makes using the Obey on enemy models much more practical. Handy, especially for a control oriented master like Brewy. The other action, Explosive Mixture, makes all enemy models within 3 pass a TN 12 Wk duel or suffer 2 damage. Again, this one seems like icing on a good cake, but also again I’m glad to see Brewmaster gain some offense rather than just being a passive lock-down (even if it’s in the form of “lock you down and then blow you up.”


               His upgrades very much are what one would expect for a support master. Disembodied Sooey lets him target a non-pig model within 8 and have every pig within a 6” pulse move their Cg towards it. One of them that moved at least 1” gets to make a 1 Ml attack action against it. This is alright, but it seems like models that can charge for 1 AP and are within 6” of a target don’t really need this to get the job done. If it was longer range and worked like Mortimer’s Fresh Meat I could see it being really useful, but this seems more situational.
               I was saying in the Resser article that an ideal upgrade for a Summoning crew is one that provides passive buffs, as their AP are mostly spoken for on the majority of turns. Pig Midwifery is a good example of this. Any pigs that are summoned within Aura 3 of Ulix don’t become slow, and any Living Pig that is killed or sacrificed within 8” of Ulix and 3” of another pig lets the other pig heal 2 points of damage (ostensibly by eating the dead one.) Simple, straightforward. If Ulix crews have the space for it and plan on doing some summoning, there’s no reason not to bring it along.


               Ah, Wong, my old nemesis. What new tricks have you learned? Behold My Effervescence! gives him a 3 AP action to Lightning Jump every model within range and Line of Sight. They don’t randomize when shooting into engagements, which seems like the opposite of what Wong wants most of the time. Additionally, he gains a 1 AP action to flip a card for each model within pulse 6 of him, with a random effect based on the suit that flips. This is randomness, and the kind of randomness that would drive me crazy and lose me games. I don’t like it.
               The other upgrade increases the benefits a model gains from being deemed “Magical” at the start of the game, granting them Don’t Mind Me and Agility and preventing the condition from being removed in addition to the normal buffs. If the Swinecursed didn’t exist, I’d be worried that this was putting all your eggs in one basket, as killing that one model would make the upgrade useless. Spreading it around to other models helps, but I wonder if Don’t Mind Me and Agility are all that useful to a Swinecursed model. Time will tell, I suppose.

Mah Tucket

               I’m told that Mah Tucket isn’t very good in Malifaux. I’m also told that these upgrades make her a lot better. I can’t tell you for sure whether they do or not, as I’ve never seen this “Mah Tucket” in person.
               Manifest Destiny seems to be the big one. It lets any models with “Get off my Land!” (Mah, the Little Lass, and Bushwackers, unless I missed something) use it every turn rather than just on the first one, and allows them to cross the center line with it on any turn after the first. Additionally, any time Mah discards a card outside of a duel she gets to then draw a card. The aforementioned Get off my Land is one thing you have to discard for. Also, her 0 actions. Card cycling is good, ya’ll. Finally, her melee attacks gain an inch of range. So this isn’t so much an upgrade card as a straight buff. Go ahead and staple it to her.
               The other upgrade is Pit Traps, which lets you throw out three 30mm pit trap markers after both crews have deployed at the beginning of the game. Rather than Blight you, they force you to discard a card or become slow. They can also be removed in the same manner as the Plague Pits, but Mah gains a 1 AP tactical action to discard a card (and then draw one, since you’ll have MD) and place a new trap marker in base to base with her. You can’t take it while engaged (that would be mean) so it’ll take some foreplanning to make it work. It’s not as useful as Manifest Destiny, but it’s got potential.


               Zipp’s upgrades are a little all over the place, in that one I think I’d use most of the time and the other is…situational. Let’s get that one out of the way first. Supply Drop at least doesn’t cost Zipp any of his AP (you couldn’t pay me to use it if it did.) Instead, it allows Zipp to flip a card once per turn after he completes a walk action. Based on the suit, an effect happens. One drops a blast marker within 2” of him that deals 1 point of damage to everyone touching it. Another drops some blocking terrain within an inch of him. A third drops a scheme marker, and the fourth pushes Zipp 2”. Jokers let you flip two cards and resolve both. If you were able to cheat the flip, it would be a different story. As it is, the effects are all too different from each other, so you’ll never know what you’re going to get and it will often be the one you don’t want. Pass.
               The Dread Pirate Zipp on the other hand is quite amusing. It gives Zipp a 0 action to summon a Bayou gremlin and then bury himself, called “I am not the Dread Pirate Zipp.” At the end of the turn, you resummon Zipp in base to base with any Bayou Gremlin you have on the board and sacrifice the Bayou Gremlin, as that one is obviously the “real” Zipp. While he’s buried, all the Bayous in play gain a 0 action to hand out Incite to enemy models, which is pretty cool. Playing this upgrade on Zipp is interesting and a good way to potentially get him out of danger, but may not actually be the best use for it. A lot of what Zipp does is annoy the opponent by being on the board and messing up their stuff. An idea I heard the Max Value fellas talk about (and one of them borrowed it from someone on the Wyrd forums, so citing sources gets even stupider…) is to instead put this upgrade on Sami. I think it’s Sami. That’s the one that can attach a master’s upgrade, right? Anyways, whatever that one is, put this upgrade on them. They activate at the beginning of the turn, do their thing, and then bury themselves. Meanwhile, Zipp still gets to flit around and mess things up for your opponent, and you have Bayou Gremlins with Incite that is incredibly obnoxious (you know, unlike the rest of this crew…)
               Finally, his Conflux for the Lucky Emmisary lets it work like the giant death wheel that it really is. The model gains the Trample ability allowing it to move through Ht 1 and 2 models during any move or push. It also gains the Death Wheel ability which allows it to, once per turn, force any models it moved through on a walk to make TN 12 wk duel or suffer 2 damage. Oh yeah, and he gets Witty Banter to turn on a 4” Chatty aura as long as he has LoS to Zipp as a 0 action. Seems good.

               So, that’s it for the Gremlins (Zoraida’s a Neverborn master, and I won’t hear any argument to the contrary.) You may have noticed there was no pitch for the Patreon account at the top. That’s because we got our first patron, and as a reward for being first in line, I let him pick the next faction to review. So, next out of the chute is going to be the Arcanists! If you want to pick who is coming after that, go to our patreon page and sign up. A $1 donation will at least get you a vote (assuming that this magnificent, inspirational reward gets the pledges rolling in that is. More likely you’ll be the only one to sign up and you’ll get to pick. Tough to argue with that!) 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Broken Promises Upgrade Review: Ressurectionists

For this next post, we're going to talk about the cool new upgrades for Rezzers. Before I do, though, I want to take another opportunity to encourage people to sign up as my patron on Patreon. I've really enjoyed all the positive response these articles are getting, but it isn't an insignificant amount of work to get them done. It would be amazing to get a little something back for the effort. I'm not talking a lot of cash, here. I would love for you to start at $1 a month just to let me know you enjoy the work as well. 


               Ready for some weird science? Get ready for Dr. M, because stuff just got weird. To start with the more normal one, let’s go with Guild Coroner. It gives him an ability to, after killing a model with a melee attack, drop a scheme marker in base contact with a different enemy model within 12” and LoS (effectively, him pointing at them and saying “He did it!” McMourning is then allowed to use one of the 0 actions printed on the stat card. One lets him discard every corpse marker within 3” of him, adding a soulstone to his pool for every two corpses ditched in this way (I would think this would be 1 most of the time.) The other, corpse retrieval duty, lets you ditch a single corpse to draw two cards and then discard one.  I like that they don’t cost you anything you wouldn’t be doing anyways (killing stuff.) Not sure how much the soulstone thing will pay off for you, but could be useful.
               On the other hand FRIGGIN TEST SUBJECTS! *ahem* *composes himself* This upgrade allows Dr. McMourning to hire 4 non-Gamin beasts or academics from other factions into his crew. That is bonkers. Welcome to Marcus 2.0, but with Academics and potentially the Guild as well. There are too many options to go through all the stuff that could end up being useful here. Guild McMourning gets the most use out of it, as this lets him hire Rogue Necromancies and the University Transmortis stuff out of faction. I like that it lets him hire Myranda in, since they’re family and all. I’m just jacked to see all the things you can try with him now.



               Do You Know Who I Am? Enhances the fear based Seamus crew by punishing models for passing their Horror duel. Once per turn, an enemy that passes a horror duel within 6” of him can be forced to take a 2/3/4 damage flip. If the flip does severe damage, you can place a condition called Infamy on Seamus to increase the TN of his Horror duels by one, to a max of +3. If you’ve built yourself to be attacking Horror, I would have to think it’s worth the card to cheat in and move up the TN. On top of that, he gained a new 0 action, Boo! It forces all enemy models within 3” of him to pass a TN 12 horror duel. Making the opponent flip more cards when nothing good can come of it for them and plenty of bad can happen instead is a good thing. Plus, it has a built in trigger called You Can Run that lets you push anybody who passes the duel a number of inches away from Seamus equal to 2+ his Infamy condition. I think this upgrade is pretty strong.
               Maybe likely to gather more buzz is AKA Sebastian Baker, which allows Seamus to hire Showgirls at the beginning of the game (what’s the deal with the Rezzers expanding their hiring pools this book? Can Nicodem hire Oni now too?) Additionally, when he uses his Arise My Sweet, he can sub in a Showgirl minion instead of a Belle. The Showgirls lose the Living characteristic and become undead whether they’re hired or summoned. The hiring is interesting as it grants him access to showgirls like Carlos and Cassandra (though you’d think Collette would have noticed the smell if Seamus had murderd and reanimated them.) Hiring a performer without the merc tax for games like Headhunter is ok. My thing is, Seamus only gets to summon once a turn, and if he gets the opportunity I would think he would want to summon a Belle. More flexibility is a good thing, I suppose, and he could potentially get an Ice Dancer, which would be ok. Oh, and he gets to use a 0 action to place a scheme marker in base contact with a piece of terrain somewhere within 12”. It’s not a BAD upgrade by any stretch of the imagination. I just feel like “Do You Know Who I Am?” takes an already pretty good Seamus build and makes it objectively better.


               So, one of his upgrades is Their Last Breath, which basically lets him take a living friendly Rezzer model who dies anywhere within his LoS and buy you a few more turns with it. It isn’t killed and heals all wounds, but gains a Decaying condition. This makes them Undead, limits them to healing no more than the Decaying condition every turn (it starts at +2) and deals 2 damage to them when they activate that can’t be prevented, ignored, or reduced. Every turn the Decaying condition increases. I’m trying to think of who would be a prime candidate for this and nothing’s IMMEDIATELY jumping out at me. Mortimer? I guess that could be useful, since Morty is trading his wounds for corpse counters all game. (Also, why are there no Nic and Morty memes out there anywhere?) Vincent St. Claire? The new Assura Rotten henchman? I’m really not sure what the best application for this would be. I’m sure someone will point it out in the comments. Also, it’s worth noting that this works like Titannia’s Queen’s Champion where it goes off when the condition is met, rather than when you choose, except this one doesn’t have the ability to pay a cost and keep it from activating at all. So, whatever you’re going to do with it, it’s probably best if you only have one target in your crew that can gain it (so, no Vultures I guess.) This would, however, be pretty sick in a doubles event. Oh, you killed Seamus? Guess what, he’s still alive.
               Speaking of Vultures, his other upgrade is Circling Buzzards. This one lets you discard however many cards you want at the beginning of the game to place one corpse for each two cards on the centerline, so long as they’re at least 8” away from any other corpses. Getting more corpse markers on the board is undeniably good for Nicodem, but I wonder if the cost is too high. They do have a lot of card draw in Phillip and the Nanny abuse, but if you drew a pretty strong opening hand it might be kinda painful to ditch four cards for 2 corpses. Also, Nico gains the ability to summon Vultures into base contact with a Corpse Marker at Range 8. There’s a Ram trigger to drop a scheme marker behind when you perform the summoning as well. Again, debatable if this is better than what Nicodem already uses, but ranged Scheme Marker placement without an interact isn’t terrible.


               Both of Kirai’s upgrades give her passive abilities, which I like for summoning masters. Their AP is usually pretty much spoken for every turn. The first, Ectoplasm, grants her the ability to place a scheme marker in base to base with any non-peon Spirit that she kills or sacrifices during her activation. This will typically be Ikiryo I would think, who you sacrifice to then resummon somewhere else on the board, allowing you to potentially generate an extra scheme marker per turn. Still, there could be some utility here. Second, Spiteful Wrath makes her Seishin count as Undead and allows them to be affected by the Malevolence Aura from her and the Lost Love. This could potentially make them very annoying for opponents to deal with.
               Vengeance Will Be Mine gives her an aura that prevents removal of the Adversary condition from models within 6” of her. As someone who has played Beckoners before, this isn’t that big of an aura, and it will be difficult to plan on using this offensively in a game. On the other hand, enemies are likely to want to get up close to her to stop her summoning, so this could be a useful defensive ability. It just remains to be seen if that’s enough to warrant an upgrade slot and a soulstone.


               I’ve secretly suspected that one of the unspoken design goals of this book and the upgrades in it are to give really strong options to masters that needed a boost while, instead, granting side-grades to ones that are already pretty good. One of Molly’s upgrades kind of flies in the face of this, though, as I consider her to be a Tier 1.5 master at worst, and her Back on the Job upgrade is one of the strongest tactical options in the game IMO. Embodying her new-old job in Malifaux as a reporter, Molly’s Thorough Investigation allows her to LOOK AT HER OPPONENT’S UNREVEALED SCHEMES AFTER CREWS ARE DEPLOYED. Now, go ahead and think about that one for a second. You don’t get to know the names or variables on the schemes, so you don’t have to say who the sucker is on Frame for Murder, but just knowing that this is what they’re doing is in-freaking-sanely strong, and lets you immediately move to block what your opponent is doing with the assurance that your guess is most likely correct. Wowzers. The Tactical Action to discard an enemy Scheme Marker and draw a card once a turn, which is pretty good in and of itself, is just icing on the cake.
               Possibly overshadowed is Forgotten Items. Lost and Found allows Molly’s summons to prevent damage based on enemy Scheme Markers within pulse 3 when they’re summoned rather than enemy models (you get to choose which.) The flexibility is probably pretty good. And Things I Almost Remember allows her to draw 2 cards when she reveals a scheme. Card draw in a summoning crew? Pretty solid. I think Molly did pretty well with these upgrades.


               As with all the other Book 4 masters, Reva gets 2 upgrades and a conflux for the Carrion Emmisary. Riders in the Sky allows her to force an enemy model to take a TN12 Horror Duel when she charges them. It also gives her a (0) action to place a Blast Marker touching every Corpse Marker in play, regardless of LoS. Every model touched by one or more blast markers must succeed at a TN 12 Wk duel or gain Burning +2. Additionally, there is a tome trigger that makes every model which gains Burning pass a TN 10 Horror duel (is it me, or if a dead body just exploded and set me on fire, wouldn’t the TN be higher than 10?) I don’t know that most players would be going near corpse markers in games against Reva if they could help it anyways, but often you don’t have a choice.
               Specter of Death gives Reva something else to use as the source of her attacks: spirits. If you use them as the origin of the attacks they do one point less of damage, down to a minimum of zero. Additionally, it gives her a crow trigger on her Ethereal Reaping to summon a Seishin when she kills something. I can see the benefits of adding more things for her to attack out of, particularly when they can move towards the enemy. I think using spirits is clever, as they don’t drop corpses when the enemy kills them to prevent a positive feedback from the effects. It really just depends on whether this was necessary, ie if Reva was having trouble getting targets in range before now. I don’t think that was the case, but more tactical flexibility is never a BAD thing.
               Her Conflux upgrade gives the Carrion Emissary the ability to count as a corpse marker. A 50mm mobile corpse marker could provide her with quite a bit of increased threat projection. Adding to this, the Emissary can discard a card as a 0 action to place themselves in base to base with a corpse marker. If the card is a crow, you can push the marker 3” in any direction after placing yourself, also potentially improving their placement. It does deal 2 damage to the Emissary when you use it, so you might not want to do it every turn, but I think it could be pretty useful for Reva. Given his Shards’ ability to summon Mindless Zombies which also function as mobile corpse markers, I think you’ll see the Carrion Emissary in many Reva crews (assuming you don't already).

               Tara’s upgrades are discussed in the Outcasts article, and Yan Lo’s are in TenThunders. Next time we’ll be talking about the Gremlins.