-I mean, there’s nothing really going on this week, is there? Let’s just skip this section. Oh, no, wait, Gencon 2017 is happening, so Book 5 and Upgrade cards are flying into people’s hands! And you’d better get your damned Upgrade decks fast, because the webstore is already sold out. So, bummer if you didn’t get it, but don’t worry, because Malifaux Musings is going to break all the new stuff down for you. You’ll at least be able to see what your new models do as we make our way through the upgrades. In the meantime, Phiasco sent me some pics of Wyrd’s booth, so I’ll put ‘em here.
-Before we get to the articles, I'd like to point you to a way through which you can support our humble blog. Malifaux Musings is officially on Patreon! I love this blog and I love Wyrd products. Wyrd, however, still insists on trying to make money off of their products rather than just giving them to me (the fiends.) Additionally, I have kids who'd probably like to go to college some day or something. You can help make these things happen! If you appreciated the model break-downs or the forthcoming upgrade spoiler articles, and you think our efforts are worth $1 a month....well in the words of Dan Carlin, I'd love to have it. Thank you in advance for the support.
Ten Thunders Broken Promises Upgrades
Adam-Hey, Jon, while I wait for an upgrade deck to get here, you could send me pictures of the final upgrade cards so I can start breaking them down.
Phiasco-Cool, we can start with Ten Thunders.
Adam-Are you sure? I mean, they’re not the most popular faction. Maybe we should-
Phiasco-Well, you’ve got a point there. How about I send you Ten Thunders?
Adam-Ok, ok! Geez.
*Disclaimer: Not representative of the actual conversation.
So, we’re breaking down Ten Thunders upgrades from Broken Promises first. As with all the factions, each master, including the new ones received a pair of new upgrades (with a handful of exceptions). Additionally, the Book 4 masters received a Conflux upgrade to attach to their respective factions’ emissaries.
Holy heck, did Misaki get some cool stuff! Probably the one that will draw the eye immediately is The Storm, which allows her to place any blast markers that result from her attacks anywhere within 12” and LoS and makes the resulting damage from the blasts irreducible. Gross. Additionally, it gives her Thunder attack a crow trigger that allows the damage flip to be cheated regardless of any – modifiers to the damage flip. Which, jeez, imagine if Sonnia could cheat her damage flips regardless of any –'s. That would be ridiculous, right? It’s Limited, so you have to pretend that you must decide between her other Limited upgrades (cut to a shot of a Terracotta Warrior laughing uproariously. Also, possibly slapping his knees. Knees are being slapped, people.)
Second, and possibly the most broadly useful, is Risk and Reward. This upgrade lets you avoid the standard “Take the fewest soulstones possible” build with her. Instead, Misaki can throw any number of soulstones away at the beginning of the turn to give her the Risk condition equal to the number of stones. At the end of the turn, you heal a point of damage equal to the Risk condition. “Oh no!” you say, “There goes all my soulstones!” Fear not, her reward ability lets you put back any stones discarded to Risk. As such, you now can have lots of stones in Misaki's pool for the game and still take advantage of her built in abilities for being out of soulstones. This offers more flexibility than you would expect, even, as you get to draw your hand before you have to decide how many cards to ditch, so you can keep one to draw more cards. If you know that you’re going to need to go first, you can save another stone for that and, if you don’t end up needing it, throw it to buff one of Misaki’s flips later on to get back down to 0. Probably a must-take in every game for her. Am I excited for Misaki's new stuff? Well, there's a reason I spent my Guilders for the retro version of her model.
Shenlong got a pair of upgrades that tie together, in that you can’t buy both at the same time, but can flip back and forth between them during the game. Yin lets him lower his poison to increase his defense by one every time he’s targeted with an action. Also, it gives him the Butterfly Jump ability. Good, but was Shenlong really struggling to survive before this upgrade? I’m not sure he needed it.
Yang, on the other hand, boosts his offensive capabilities. When Shenlong charges, he can discard a card to make an additional melee attack as a result of the charge (so, it still must target the initial target.) Additionally, at the end of his activation, any enemy models within pulse one of him takes an additional 1 damage. So…this does improve his attacks, but not by much. I guess it encourages you to get him into melee with a lot of targets, but to take advantage of Power Unleashed you have to still be in Yang and so can’t take advantage of the defensive buffs of Yin. Time will see on this one, but I’m not convinced his upgrades will make it too often.
Phiasco and I’s favorite master, Jacob Lynch, gets a couple of interesting upgrades. Burn Out gives him the option to summon Depleted off of any Brilliant models that die within 6” of Lynch by discarding 2 cards (at least one of which will likely be an ace.) It doesn’t come in on full wounds, though, starting with 3 points of damage or 4 if you used an ace (which you probably did.) Admittedly, damage on The Depleted isn’t such a big deal since they have Hard to Kill and you kind of want them to die anyways, but the fact that you have to get Brilliant on a model that’s within short range of Lynch (who usually doesn’t want to be that close to a lot of stuff) or Hungering Darkness AND you then have to kill it. All of this suggests this upgrade may be fool’s gold, but I do like Depleted a lot and summoning is very good. This card asks a lot (just think how hard getting Sonnia’s summon to work is, and that can be done from across the board.)
The second upgrade is Cheating Bastard, which gives him two abilities. One lets any Friendly Models within 6” of him or the Hungering Darkness always chat fate second, which is potentially quite good. The second ability, House Rules, potentially makes your life a little simpler by letting you reveal any number of cards from your hand and triggering effects for however many of them are Masks. If you reveal even one mask you can give an enemy within 8” Under the Influence automatically, which is great for Lynch’s action economy and takes a card flip out of the equation. The two mask ability lets you (in addition to the previous Brilliance distribution) drop a pair of scheme markers, one in base contact with Lynch and one off of Hungering Darkness. And the third lets every friendly model heal two damage. Sounds pretty good, right? Here’s the tricky part: Cheating Bastard is a Limited upgrade, so you have to choose between this, Endless Hunger, and Rising Sun. Right? (Again, cut to the Terracotta Warrior, who is laying on the ground with little Terracotta tears rolling from his eyes.) But seriously, with Lynch this is a tougher call because you need to have Rising Sun on him before HD dies, or he’s dead instead of buried. It does make the Brilliance version of the crew a lot more viable, however, especially with his new friend Gwynneth Maddux in the mix. So, you’ll have more excuses to pick up that fun, face tentacle-y alternate Hungering Darkness model in the future and get him on the board. Funny how that works, isn’t it?
Unsurprisingly, McCabe’s stuff plays back into his artifacts. One of them is a new toy, the Cloak of Invisibility. When McCabe has it, he gets Perfect Camoflage ala a Sillurid. When he throws it to somebody else, however, they get Don’t Mind Me and Disguised. Not as powerful as Saber or Badge of Speed, but still situationally useful. If nothing else, it saves you the trouble of hiring in a Performer for Headhunter games to go grab the heads out of melee.
His other upgrade is Loot Bag, which gives McCabe a version of a motif we’ve seen a lot recently: the flexibility of switching from one upgrade to another. Essentially, whenever McCabe activates, he can ditch any of his specific upgrades attached to himself and then attach a different one that isn’t currently in play. So, referring to the other upgrade, if you wanted to start with the cloak for the first turn to keep McCabe safe from range as he moved upfield then swap it for the Saber, you can do that. Or, alternatively, you could just attach the Loot Bag instead of the Badge or Saber, then swap the Bag for it on the first turn, saving you a soulstone. Not the most creative use ever, but if you don’t care about having the flexibility for the rest of the game there’s no reason NOT to do that.
Press the Advantage is an interesting upgrade that allows Mei to declare a trigger on her attacks from any of her attack actions, rather than the specific attack to which the trigger is attached. I don’t know enough about Mei to say specifically what the advantage of this would be, but it reminds me somewhat of the old days of Mei when she had a massive flowchart of triggers for all her attacks. Additionally, all of her melee attacks gain a trigger to take the Railwalker action immediately after succeeding. More mobility is always a good thing, so I have a feeling that will be useful.
Speaking of mobility, her other upgrade is Rail Lines. This one gives any Foundry models that begin their activation within 8” of her +1 Wk. As the Foundry crew tends to be a little slow, this could be potentially useful. Moreover, her Railwalker action gains a mask trigger, Passenger Line, which lets her choose any friendly model within 3” of her and, after jumping, place that model in base contact with her. Good for jumping a model out of trouble (or into it.) Seems pretty good.
The old man got some nice upgrades out of Broken Promises as well, and got one extra upgrade beyond what the others received. Follow Their Footsteps lets him gain a point of Chi every time the opponent gains a VP. Additionally, it essentially allows him to swap between Ascendent upgrades at the beginning of his activation (paying or gaining Chi to make up for the difference in costs.) That gives some great versatility and reduces one of the hardest parts of playing Yan Lo, figuring out which Ascendant upgrades to purchase given the board state. This should help quite a bit in getting him up the ladder and, more importantly, making sure he can save himself if he starts going down the wrong path.
Possibly more important, Awakening gives him Instinctual and turns his Lightning Dance action into a 0, essentially just giving you a free ability to Lightning Dance. Additionally, he gains a tome trigger on Lightning Dance that, if he is still in base contact with the target after completing the jump, inflicts 2 damage and puts Slow on them. Again, more mobility is always a good thing.
And, finally, he gets a new Ascendant upgrade. At a whopping 4 stones, it’s going to take some doing to attach Blood Ascendant. But in exchange for this, he gains Casting Expert and a new melee attack. This is a Ca attack that hits anything within 2” and deals 3/4/5 damage. This attack targets Willpower, so it lets Yan Lo have some flexibility on which defense to attack. It has a small heal for all ancestors if it kills a target, though probably not enough to make a huge difference. Casting Expert plus the Lightning Dance as a 0 action lets Yan Lo hop into the middle of the enemy and drop 4 attacks on fools (5 if you can make him fast) that’s going to be really tough to survive.
Bad Hair Day is a 1ss upgrade that improves her summoning and gives her a little versatility. Any time she flips a simple duel and fails it, she can discard a card to ignore the failure and flip another card. That’s helpful in general, especially for cheaper summons like the Yokai, and provides you with some Black Joker insurance. Additionally, she gains a range 8 melee attack which places a condition on an enemy model that prevents it from taking walk or charge actions.
Possibly more interesting, she has Borrowed Time. It prevents the enemy from removing conditions off of her, which is necessary given the fact that it also gives her Flicker +7 at the beginning of the game and turns Flicker into a resource she can use. Why in the world would you want to do that? Well a couple of reasons. First of all, she can reduce her flicker by one when taking an action to add a suit to the final duel total. Also, when she summons something, she can reduce her Flicker by an amount and then increase the summoned model’s Flicker by the same amount. She can get some Flicker back by killing an enemy model with a melee action. This isn’t likely to happen a ton (though she can chew up weaker models when given the opportunity,) so her totem may be necessary to help replace the Flicker that Asami is losing over the course of the game.
Finally, she gained the Orochi Conflux to add to the Shadow Emissary. It gives the Emissary the Oni characteristic and makes it so that, when an Oni model is sacrificed with 6”, you can place a scheme marker in base contact with it first. Additionally, the Emissary gains a 0 action, This Flesh is Temporary, which lets it cast a spell to increase a target Oni’s Flicker condition by 1 at the cost of making it suffer half of its total wounds. That seems a little fiddly, but I can envision a situation where an Oni is needed to hold a quarter or something and is far enough away from any enemy models that losing the wounds won’t be helpful. Not sure if this will be as useful as the generic conflux or another Recalled Training, but maybe I’m missing something.