Saturday, January 11, 2020

The Franky Awards

Truly Malifaux's Most Prestigious Award

            The Golden Globes were last week, and Oscar season is right around the corner, so in the spirit of the times I thought I’d bring back an old premise from an MM article from a long time ago, the Malifaux awards show. When I did it before, however, I had a bunch of general categories, tracked a bunch of stuff with the competitive scene, yadda yadda. I’m not as tapped into everything at the moment, and I think most people consider the competitive scene to still be evolving, particularly given that a large number of the new models haven’t been released yet. So, I thought I’d come at it from a different angle this time.
            If you played against a Guild crew in 2nd edition, you almost certainly played against Francisco. As in, he was in every single Guild crew, regardless of what they were trying to do. All of them. Playing against Nellie? She’s bringing Francisco. Sonnia Criid? Francisco with a puritan hat. Hoffman? Cyber-Francisco. Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot of that in 2E in general. As described (frequently) on the Wyrd boards, most crews were an all-star team with different leaders in charge, but Frank was the poster boy for this sort of thing.
            Obviously there’s a lot less of that these days, from the keyword system and the out of keyword (OOK) tax. But versatile models still exist, and some models are proving to be good enough that crews are consistently hiring them even with the tax. And so, in the spirit of models that have the potential to show up in many of the games we play against particular masters, I’m pleased to present to you the first (and likely last) Franky awards!

Nominee #1: Yasunori



            Ok, as most people will explain to you (laboriously, and at great length), the Ten Thunders have no shortage of solid models. In fact, they’re probably the faction that has the most non-themed crews going around in the current M3E environment. There are no shortage of strong candidates in the 10T for this award. But I think the model making the most frequent trips to the table for this faction is probably Yasunori.

            He’s a big point investment, which is going to be a common theme in these models, but you get a lot for him and he doesn’t ask much of your crew in return. Outside of a little bit of anti-synergy with Youko (since he relies on cards in the opponent’s hand), he goes into just about any crew and will do what he does, which is deal damage and be resistant to taking hits back. He’s mobile, adds plus flips to his attacks, and so long as you watch for enemies that negate resistance triggers, can be a real problem for the opponent to get rid of. Anything the master/crew does simply serves as a bonus, be it Shenlong stacking focus on him, Chiaki transferring a reliquary onto him, or Misaki ordering him to take a charge action out of his turn. If you’re playing against 10T, you need to be ready for Yasunori.

Nominee #2: Archie



            Not a lot of explanation necessary here. From what I understand, most Resurrectionist players consider Archie to be a 10 stone versatile model at this point. 3/4/6 damage track. Leap that’s almost automatic is invaluable for a huge beater, particularly in a faction that (generally speaking, though with some huge exceptions) aren’t as known for mobility. He heals every time he flurries from his fading ability. He’s got Ruthless, so Terrifying and Manipulative won’t work. Archie can be used to smash whatever you need smashed early on in the game and then change gears to run schemes later on. In a Yan Lo crew, throwing Manos’s reliquary onto him helps to offset his biggest weakness, his low defensive stats. Manos can probably give Archie a run for his money, actually, since he is also a mobile resilient beater and has a soul lantern to block Demise abilities, but I gave Archie the nod since he does more damage and is immune to conditions.

Nominee #3: Soulstone Miner



            Unlike the Ressurectionists, there is a number-one with a bullet obvious choice for the Arcanists. If you’ve played against a Soulstone Miner, you know the power that they represent. They can bury and then unbury anywhere on the board. That’s really all they need to have to be amazing. Whether you want to complete Breakthrough, Search the Ruins, Stake a Claim, maybe even Take Prisoner, what have you, this model is the best option for completing those schemes. Oh, and there’s always Plant Explosives or Turf War Marker flipping. They’re probably pretty good at those too. Then of course there’s the fact that they’re Armor +2 and Unimpeded. Also they blow up destructible terrain. And, of course, if they’re not scoring you VPs they can give themselves Stunned at the start of their turn and add Soulstones to your pool. Now, a model that can do all that probably costs something like 8 stones, right? Oh, no, miners cost 6. Sure. Of course. There’s a reason many of us are instantly driven to rage at the mere mention of this model. If you’re up against Arcanists, you’d better have some way in mind to deal with a soulstone miner, whether that be the ability to attack buried models, ranged Willpower duels, or something that can paralyze them. Come up with a plan for the miners. You’re gonna need it.

Nominee #4: Big Brain Brin



            Given the fact that Brin has no attacks that do any damage on his card, you may not think of him immediately as the first candidate for this award. The largest effect Brin has on the game is through card manipulation. Burning out 10 cards and then shuffling back three of them lets you prime your fate deck in a way that is unmatched in any other faction in Malifaux. And then, of course, you get to draw a card afterwards (you know, after you’ve heated the deck up and removed low cards.) You won’t need to cheat the first flip for this, almost guaranteed, because he gets to look at the top three cards of the fate deck and then return them in any order. Oh, and he has Arcane Reservoir. So, yeah, Brin has an unmatched ability to set your fate deck up for success at the beginning of the turn. It’s kind of crazy. Putting 9 points (8 if you’re Tricksy) in a corner all game long feels kind of bad, but it’s absolutely worth the expenditure to set your whole turn up in advance like that.

Nominee #5: Serena Bowman



            Of the models built from the worldwide event several years ago, Serena Bowman seems to have benefited the most from the transition to M2E. She doesn’t automatically come back to life the way she did in M2E anymore, but she has Demise: Eternal. Put that with Disguise and Feed on Fear, and Serena’s pretty tough to take down, plus she doesn’t teleport back to your deployment zone every time she’s killed the way she used to. Her ranged attack can target Df or WP and has a trigger to place models within 6” of their current location, which is pretty solid, and she can draw range for her melee attack out of other Nightmare models. That would normally only matter for when you’re playing against the Dreamer, but the prevalence of ways to summon Stitched Togethers increases the likelihood of being able to use it with other crews as well. She’s just a solid model that is annoyingly difficult to get rid of and can really make a big difference on the board, especially if you have multiple high Tomes in your hand.

            So who wins the Franky award? I’m going to leave it up to you! Vote in the poll on the Malifaux Musings Facebook page, and you can decide who goes home with the golden Franky.

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