Tuesday, August 30, 2016

On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Previously Released Models to Aid the Queen

So, here’s to Titania being out and her information being available to the public, and here’s to not having to tiptoe around what I write about her anymore. Rejoice! The Queen is Risen! She is Risen Indeed!

                As previously stated, I’ve been amped for Titania since her first appearance during the Nythera event, and I’m anxious to get her on the tabletop to see her in action. I do, however, have some ideas of models from the Neverborn faction (and a mercenary) that work well with her. So, I thought I’d throw together a quick post to discuss some of these.

1)      Performers- I think you’re going to see these mercenaries hired into many Titania crews in the future. The Venn diagram of Performers and Dopplegangers overlaps in several areas and the ladies of the Star Theatre don’t bring Ill Omens, so there’s definitely some competition there. However, the reason you would want to take one of these is the Tactical Action “Seduction.” For the cost of a 7 out of your deck, you blow up a scheme marker (note: not necessarily yours, though you’ll have no shortage,) and every enemy model within 3 of it have to perform a WP test or get a double – to Df and WP flips for the rest of the turn. As someone who’s been on the receiving end of this in the past, I can tell you that this is not a lot of fun and your model is not likely to survive the turn at that point. Now, as people who have played a Terrifying crew can tell you, the real reason for forcing a large number of simple duels on the opponent is to drain their hand cheating to pass them, so you won’t want to count on the enemy getting the debuff, but either outcome will help the crew immensely. Give them a close look, and help me figure out how to make a proxy with a donkey head to represent Bottom from Midsummer Night’s Dream.

2)      Sorrows- This crew creates a lot of incidental WP duels. All of the Wicked Silence attacks go after WP. Any enemy models that activate in base to base with a scheme marker take a WP test. A New Harvest, An Audience with the Queen, Curse of Autumn…you get the idea. Lots of WP tests to potentially trigger a Sorrow. Their biggest weakness is that they’re fragile, and Titania offers them some protection by being able to tank for them. They’re worth looking at closely.
Teddy's the one on the left

3)      Teddy- I mean, he’s Teddy. He’s pretty good anyways. But the thing about Titania is that she doesn’t in and of herself deal a ton of damage. If you’re in a game where you’re going to do some smashing, you’ll need to hire one of the Neverborn’s big hitters to do the heavy lifting. Nekima is kind of the gold standard for this (and she’s a perfectly acceptable choice,) but I like the synergy of Teddy’s Smell Fear combined with all of the incidental WP duels for 2 stones less. One of his weaknesses is typically his lack of speed and low defense. Titania can push him around with The Queen Has Risen and can, again, soak up blows for him. I think Teddy can do some serious work in this crew.

4)      Barbaros- There’s a lot of buzz around including B with T to give you a pair of tanks rather than just one and, in fact, overlapping the two auras to punish models for attacking at all (you have to attack Barbaros because otherwise the action fails, and you have to discard 2 cards because you didn’t hit Titania, plus any additional damage Sorrows might inflict.) I have to confess not having tested this personally so I can’t really speak to its efficacy. It seems good on paper, though.

5)      Mysterious Emissary-  Here, at last, is a master I think can really synergize well with the ME. Titania crews aren’t built around speed, necessarily, so they’re less likely to leave the Emissary behind when rocketing up the board. Titania can fly over the hazardous terrain Hungry Land markers, and the ubiquitous Hard/Impossible to Wound makes it less likely to do serious damage to your models if they wander into one of them (though it also makes you more likely to hit a Red Jokered 6 damage. Thankfully, that happens to me every time anyways, so it’s no big deal to me.) The generic Mysterious Conflux gives + flips to attacks for any minions within 4” of the Emissary, and it’s likely that you’ll have at least a few of those between the knights, performer, and/or sorrows. Speaking of the Knights, their challenges can pull people through the hungry land markers. And, the Emissary summons Changelings out of scheme markers which, again, you’re likely to have a couple of those on hand. I think the big tree-man definitely has some potential in a Titania crew.

That’s all I’ve got for you right now, but let’s hope I’ve got some more on the tabletop (or Vassal) experience for next time or, failing that, at least some pictures of painted models. This is my project for the next several months (she is the Autumn Queen, after all.) So tune in for updates in the future. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Shadow and Void: A Death Marshals Story-Prologue

“In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep…And God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good,” – Genesis Chapter 1 Verse 1-4.

“Trouble is, God forgot to ask the Darkness for permission first…” Death Marshall Burns

                He didn’t see me when he stepped into the office. The remainders of the rain ran in rivulets from the wide brim of his hat, dribbling down his duster to pool on the smooth knotwood floor. He pulled the gloves from his gnarled old hands one-by-one, tossing them carelessly at on the floor beneath his coat rack. It wasn’t until he’d finished removing his soaked garments and turned, probably already tasting the amber whiskey waiting in the flask hidden in his desk, that he caught sight of me in the orange beam of light streaming in through the window.
                “Christ, Burns!” he shouted, his back slamming back against the doorframe as he reached for the gun at his belt, “What do you think you’re playing at? You’re lucky I didn’t put a hole in your…” he drifted off as I leaned forward into the light, letting it fall on the maimed remains of my face. “Holy…what happened to you?’
                I smirked, or at least I tried. I suddenly became acutely aware of how many muscles it requires to create that facial expression, and how many of them I was now missing. The right side of my face angrily grimaced at him, the bottom row of teeth showing clearly through the ripped away portion of my lip and cheek. “I found the Butcher, Tom,” I replied, the hard B slurring slightly. “He didn’t go quietly.”
                His eyes widened, working through this new information. He ran a hand through the thin, gray hair on top of his head before finally scratching at the sandpaper stubble on his cheek. “Shouldn’t you be in a surgeon’s office?” he finally said.
“I suppose,” I answered, “But I’ve already been and went. There ain’t much they can do for me. The wound’s torn so bad that, even if I had the missing bits, the docs wouldn’t be able to sew ‘em back on. Besides,” I chuckled, “I didn’t feel like digging in the bastard’s belly to get them back.”
“Well, hell,” he finally answered, nimbly stepping past that particular mental image, “If you killed the bastard, then it sounds like reason to celebrate to me. You’ve been on his trail for, what, two years now?”
                “Three,” I growled, “He dropped fourteen bodies in all, that we know. Fifteen, now, I suppose.”
                Tom crossed the room, pulling open the drawer to his desk. He pulled out the amber bottle and two glasses, laying them out on the table and pouring us both a finger’s worth. He slid one across to me and we held them up into the beam of gaslight. “Well, they can rest easier now,” he said, “Well done. How’d you find him?”
                “The bastard really was a butcher, if you can believe it,” I replied, “The most recent victim, a girl from Ridley, had a receipt in her pocket from his shop.” I tossed back the drink, wiping away the trickle that leaked down my right jaw in irritation. “I showed up at his place near the Howling Slums last night and took him down.” My voice drifted off for a moment, remembering the horrors I’d found in that butcher shop, but I shook my head to scatter them. “Kind of hard to believe it would end that way, after all this time, with just some stupid screw-up.”
                Tom shrugged. “Sometimes we just get lucky,” he said, “Though in my experience, a lot of the time, these rippers want to be caught so the truth of their story can get out. Nothing makes them crazier than when the newsbills get the details wrong, you know. Why, I interviewed a man once who spent twenty minutes haranguing me for the amateurish way his crime scenes were photographed. Did I ever tell you about the Howling Slums Strangler?”
He stood up, pouring himself a second glass and swirling it thoughtfully as he started to pace towards the door. I could see the telltale signs of one of his lectures coming, and I moved to interject. “That’s the peculiar thing, Tom. They didn’t get any of the details wrong with the Butcher. Just this morning, the Tattler published a story speculating that the Butcher was taking the girls’ meat for use in food, based on the style of the cuts. Sure enough, there was hamburger in the cold rooms of this guy’s shop that…well it wasn’t beef. Thing is, we never released those details regarding the state of the victims’ bodies. How did they figure that out, do you suppose?”
                Tom shrugged again. “Who can say? That bloody Cochrane woman has a lot of fingers in a lot of pies. Maybe she heard something, or found some clue we missed?”
                “Or maybe she had a source,” I answered, voice turning to ice, “A source who knew who and what the Butcher was all along.”
                Tom’s footfalls suddenly stopped, his back stiffening. His free hand dropped down next to his holster before the ugly click of the hammer of my Peacebringer echoed in the silence.
                “How long, Marshall Vinton?” I growled, “How long have you been a goddamned Resurrectionist?”
                Tom craned his neck back, the fingers of his gun hand relaxing as he scanned the water stained ceiling for elusive answers. “Sometimes it seems like only a few weeks,” he finally responded, his voice haunted. He lifted the glass, taking one last pull of the liquor, and then gave a dry, raspy chuckle.

                “Sometimes it feels like all my life.” 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Other Side of Gencon

                One thing I’m surprised hasn’t gotten a bit more coverage in the weeks after Gencon is the pamphlet they slipped into the shopping bags regarding the upcoming army scale game, The Other Side. It has a handful of images I haven’t seen anywhere else and some details regarding the game itself. I thought, perhaps, I could share them with you.
                As we know already, The Other Side is a combat game featuring larger scale armies battling earthside against an invasion of creatures from Malifaux. From the Ripples of Fate fluff, we can infer that the cause of this invasion is a general disruption of the aetheric barriers between Malifaux and Earth caused by the Governor-General’s failed attempt to become a Tyrant. The year is 1906, and a blazing light has appeared over London, portals to Malifaux through which aquatic creatures are pouring en masse to invade Earth. They’re opposed by the forces of The King’s Empire, aka British troops that are defending the city from the Gibbering Horde. These two forces will be included at the launch of the game in the Battle of London, with others being introduced later. The pamphlet’s a little vague on the details, but presumably the rate of their inclusion will depend on the success of the coming TOS kickstarter and could feature the Cult of the Burning Man and the advanced steampunk armor and weaponry of the African nation of Abyssinia (one individual from the latter is responsible for building the Infamy, Captain Zipp’s stolen skyship.) The ultimate goal of this, according to Wyrd, is to plunge the Earth into a true World War, so this is likely just the beginning of the possibilities for future allegiances.
                Mechanically, the game will be played on a 6x4 table with scattered, light terrain. It will keep the alternating actions format from Malifaux and will still feature players trying to complete objectives that will lead to ebb and flow of the battle. Rather than the traditional morale rules from most games (IE your unit fails a test and runs away/has something bad happen to them) TOS will feature Glory, where your troops are inspired to greatness by things happening in the game. Every unit’s stat card will have a normal side and a glory side. When certain conditions occur on the board a player flips them over and the unit gains better stats, actions, and abilities. Additionally, armies will have Stratagems they can use during the battle to represent lines of supply, hovering zeppelins, and magical rituals that are activated by the commander at strategic portions of the game to give your side an advantage. At the beginning of the game you’ll select your allegiance and choose a commander to lead their company into battle. You still hire your troops after you know the mission, so you can still customize your force to the scenario.

                Perhaps most welcome of all to those who have fallen victim to the curse of Yan Lo’s beard, all models from TOS will come preassembled and ready to play. Models will be placed together on movable bases to allow small fireteams to act independently during the game. Models are 32mm scale and “highly detailed”. Their stats in the game are represented on stat cards that include their abilities, and actions are resolved via the Fate Deck as per Malifaux.

A happy group of vict...I mean players.

                As for the convention itself, I had a great time (as expected.) I’d never had the opportunity to run RPG games for conventioneers, and it was truly fantastic. The Hooded Rider, sadly, never managed to escape from the parties of adventurers who came to fight it. Between the teleportation spells of my pre-gen character and the chain spear of the Peacekeeper all my players managed to repair and bring with them, as soon as Hoody decided to make a run for it, it was usually too late. However, I did have a very satisfying time chopping one of my players in half anime-style in the final game of the convention.

Final statistics:
Fated Killed: 2
Red Shirt Mercenaries Killed: 22
Highlights: 1) Mary the channeler teleporting Leshe the corrupted Waldgeist 30 yards away and the party then spending the rest of the combat pelting him from range as he ran back, killing him before he ever got back to melee. 2) Mary teleporting the Doppleganger that tries to integrate into the party next to the Peacekeeper and then ordering it to tear the thing’s head off. 3) Cutting Johnathon in half with a 21+ flip on the severe critical table. 4) Having the players construct a litter for Captain Daughtery that they attached to the back of the Peacekeeper in one game. 5) Having Mason (author of Bad Moon Rising and current writer for TTB) come by after each game session to see how the players did. 6) Obviously, meeting so many cool people and playing so many cool games.

                I have to say, given the opportunity to volunteer for Wyrd again, I would leap at the chance. Not only was it a lot of fun, but they really take care of their helpers at the con. You’re sacrificing your time, obviously, but if you’ve been to Gencon for multiple years you know that, eventually, you start to get a little burnt out when you’re all-day every-day doing convention stuff. This is the first Gencon I’ve been to when that didn’t happen. I was still fresh and excited to play my final session of Bad Moon Rising on Sunday (though I’ll admit my voice was not.) I also did a couple of sessions of demoing Malifaux for new players in the miniatures hall, which was also enjoyable. I do wish that people would show up in a better mood and slightly less drunk when they come for demos in the evening, but for the most part people were interested and excited to learn the game and it definitely passed the time in a hurry. That would be reward enough, but getting your badge paid for and getting reimbursed by Wyrd for, essentially, playing games all con long was really top notch. I can’t recommend it more highly to people who are thinking about volunteering next year.

This lasercut wood deck box was one very surprising bonus.

                The only cost is, of course, that you don’t have as much time for gaming. The only tournament I played in was a henchman hardcore on Friday night which was a last minute impulse entry. Ultimately, I should probably have just gone home to bed, as I was playing with Jon’s Hungering Darkness and a crew I threw together just before the event (having never actually played this format previously.) Pro tip: Df3 Hungering Darkness has a hard time in Hardcore. I’m not crazy about the format in general, as the short game times essentially turn most games into an exercise in who can alpha-strike the other crew’s henchman faster, but that could be just sour grapes on my part. Maybe with a bit more time and effort put into preparation I would do better. In any case, I finished middle of the pack, handed my models back to Jon, and went off to bed that night with knowledge of a new format, so I suppose I can’t complain.
                Most importantly, the reason I went was to go see people I don’t see otherwise. Most of my gaming friends live in Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska. I moved away three years ago and, since then, have only seen them when we go back for Christmas to see my parents. They’ve since moved away themselves, so there is now no other time when I’ll meet up with them other than at the convention. Hopefully, I’ll be able to make it back next year and keep the tradition going. Additionally, I met up with Nick and Victoria Hrenda from my Malifaux group in Lincoln. They’ve since partnered up with other henchman in Omaha and the Midwest and grown the community into something huge, and I like to think I at least played a little part in getting the ball rolling for that. They’re a great group of people who were members of the Through the Breach podcast and have orchestrated their own large-scale tournament in Omaha. Plus, I got to meet a lot of members of the Malifaux community at large, including Mason, Aaron, Nathan, and Eric. Excitingly for the future, I also met Dawn (Sassy Lady) who runs the Southeastern Malifaux Players Group in North Carolina. Hopefully I’ll be able to make my way to some of her tournaments someday soon.
                So, I think that wraps up the Gencon coverage. I’ll certainly miss having a new topic to post about regularly (and the additional traffic to the blog.) I’ll admit, I was surprised at how popular the review posts were and I’ll be committed to doing more like that in the future. Towards that end, I’ve added our blog to Patreon as a way of covering expenses for future books, conventions, etc. I know Jon’s enjoyed writing up tournament report posts, and hopefully we can start offsetting some of his travel costs to keep those coming. And, of course, books and models also cost money. If you enjoyed the reviews and think our little blog is worth a dollar a month, we’d love to have it. Just go to https://www.patreon.com/user?u=3845239 and sign up as a patron. We don’t have a ton of rewards designed yet, but in the future we may work our way up to premium content in the form of strategy and tactics articles, fiction set in the world of Malifaux, and organizing Vassal leagues and/or Vassal Through the Breach campaigns to keep things growing.

              If you missed them, here are some links to each of the review articles for the factions in Ripples of Fate: Guild, Neverborn, Resurrectionists, Arcanists, Outcasts, Gremlins, Ten Thunders

Friday, August 12, 2016

Ripples of Fate review: Ten Thunders

So I guess we saved the best for last... (debatable but I feel I must represent!)

Without further ado...

Asami's upgrades
- Feigned Weakness.  1 SS  In my opinion this strikes me as a trap.  It allows you to summon a model if your opponent ends the turn with more VP than you.  It will come in with flicker +2 and the bigger the difference in VP, the bigger the model you can summon.  If you have schemes that score end of game and you are close to 100% certain you can score them this is a bargain for 1SS but in a tournament differential is a thing so ceeding your opponent VP to use this ability is generally not a good idea.  But it is totally a play style decision.
- A Heavenly Design.  2 SS gives Asami a 0 action 6" teleport and a 10" aura that when a friendly model is sacrificed place a scheme marker into base contact.  It should be noted when flicker ends the model is sacrificed so this is going to be free VP for the summoning she is going to do anyway.
- Grasping Strands. 1 SS gives her an aura 4" that reduces the number of attacks generated for enemy models by the charge action by 1.  Also grant a trigger to Reaching Tendrils for a free Ml after succeeding.
- Nefarious Pact.  2 SS after she activates draw a card.  More importantly 10" aura where friendly models can chose not to end conditions if an action or an ability of an enemy model would require you to do so.  I don't see a ton of condition removal in lists.  That said you can either hunt those models or take this upgrade and not worry about the summoned oni being 1 shotted.
-A Fate of Mortals.  2 SS.  Any Oni model can take this upgrade.  once per turn if your opponent scores 1 or more VP, 1 target friendly Oni gains flicker +1.  Also a 10" aura if a friendly Oni minion kills or sacrifices an enemy it may draw a card.

Amanjaku- 3SS peon totem-  insignificant, disguised, manipulative 13.  a 1" Ml for 1/2/3 and plus damage = to your opponent VP upto +2.  flay trigger.  A Ca action that lets you increase the value of a condition by 1.  And a 0 action that requires  a TN and a suit to put up an aura to put Sh on a negative within 6"  Not sure how I feel about this totem but when I get the set I will put it on the table before I reserve judgement.

Ohaguro Bettari- 8 SS henchman - The Bird and the Snake, Enemy models with in aura 6 may not declare Df or Wp triggers.  Squeel all you want gremlins... it will do you no good.  Drawn to Essence, may chose to place into base contact with models that summon in within aura 6".From the darkness, May charge regardless of LOS and ignores models and terrain during the charge.He has a 2/3/6 Ml with flay, and 2 other triggers.  Ploughed Over if you win do no damage, push the model 4" away and then charge a different target, once per activation.  Or after succeeding place a corpse marker into base contact with the target. He has a 12" cast to place a condition that stops the model from charging.  And he has 2 zero actions, 1 makes a oni at range 6" to take an interact, and the other turns on a 4" aura to add masks to Ml for oni... sad illuminated but still solid (auto flay??? yes please!).  I'm kinda mad I didn't buy this box just to have this guy at gencon.  But I can wait for release.  Also has a 1SS upgrade for eat your fill.

Yokai - 5 SS minion  - plus flip to charge attacks.  Starts with flicker 5 if you hire him. Gets the option for an extra flicker +1 on summon.  And if he is still on the table after flicker and poison is lowered you may place it within 3" not in terrain. Ml for 2/3/4 damage with flay and 4 other triggers.  And he comes with 0 action to lower flicker by 1 to take a 1 interact with a heal trigger.  Don't know if I would hire these guys but I might try it just see.  But odds are I won't have stones to hire them anyway.

Terracotta Warrior - 5 SS minion - I'm going to say I was on the fence about this guy but he has a little bit of versatility.  Thousands Strong, if this model suffers damage from any source other than something that targeted it it may place a card from your hand on the bottom of your deck to prevent the damage.So if you get a bunch of crap cards this guy can potentially go into overdrive.  Armor +1, Unimpeded.  A 1/3/5 Ml with a trigger for +2 damage to you and the target.  It has a Ca to place a condition on non Terracotta minions or enforcers where you can misdirect the damage to this model and end the condition.  And a 0 action to change upgrades that cost more than 0 to other upgrades.  You have to pay stones if the new one costs more.  I will be running this tomorrow just to see what in all I can do with it.  This guy is more utility than most minions so it plays into some of the things I like to do.

Sun Quiang - 8 SS enforcer.  4 abilities on the front of the card.  Thirteen Measures, enemies that activate within 4" must past TN 12 Wp duel or gain slow.  Don't mind me. Absolute Sincerity, when this model activates all models in pulse 4 heal 1 damage.  King of medicine, when a model within LOS suffers damage you may place a card at the bottom of your deck to push up to your walk toward the model.  If you push at least 3 you may take a 1 interact.  He has a weird Ml which is Rg 6 or close 1 no damage track but 4 triggers, tome discard all scheme corpse and scrap marker within pulse 2 of target, Ram (built in) heal or deal 2 damage, Crow hand out the adversary condition, Mask after succeeding vs an enemy place the target within 6 of its location not in terrain.  His tacticals are a 1AP Ca A Recitation of the Essential Formulae which activates an aura that makes enemies within 4 count as a peon.  His zero Study targets a scrap corpse or scheme marker, place a friendly scheme marker then discard the target.  This guy is going to be very annoying for the opponent.

Yasunori - 12 SS enforcer. This guy is kinda a rider as far as stats go but that's where the comparison ends.  He does come with armor +1, stubborn, flight, scales of heaven once per turn, when this model suffers damage draw a card.  He has a 3/4/5 Ml with plus to attack that has 2 once per activation triggers for a bonus attack, 2 suits for 1 and the other 2 suits for the other.  A cast to make any minion take a 1 AP attack action with a trigger for bonus damage equal to VP the models crew has up to 3. And he has a 0 action to look at the top 3 cards and put them back in any order. With Asami if you give this guy fast and use recalled training you can charge for 1 AP with a 12" threat range and if you kill that model in 2 to 4 attacks you can charge a second target with 2 plus the remaining unused triggers.  This guy is going to wreck 2 models and then probably die if he is in the thick of combat.  But he will soak up AP to remove so still worth it.  He is not as scary with other masters but still needs to be dealt with.

Fuhatsu has a 0 SS upgrade to get +1Wk and a 2/4/6 Ml.  Odds are I still won't buy this model.

The Peaceful waters- Grants the Low river monks a Rg 6 heal flip if they are within 12" and LOS of the model with the upgrade.

Equality - once per turn after the opposing crew scores 1 or more VP do one of the following:draw a card, place a scheme marker in base contact with this model, or heal 2 damage.  I don't see myself taking this upgrade to have it, but I might use it to draw a card or 2 then flip it to something else with the terracotta warrior.

Death contract- comes with a decoy card, both don't count vs upgrade limit, play both face down, and if you kill or sacrifice the model the model that killed it must discard 2 cards or 2 stones or be killed..

Let me know if I need to fix anything since this is not really a strong suit of mine.  I will go back and update the Arcanists when I return from Wandering River Style.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Ripples of Fate Reviews: The Guild

1.       The Printing Press: This is a pretty boss totem. It’s a mechanical press on arachnid limbs Nellie constructed and animated with a soulstone carried by her father. Its protectiveness has led her to suspect that it may have a portion of his soul inside. It has Arcane Reservoir+1, which is always a good thing. Df5 and WP6 are pretty strong for a totem, especially paired with Armor+2. Models that are pushed or placed in base contact with impassable terrain within 8” of it take a point of damage. Its melee attack hands out slow, which is awesome, and deals a little bit of damage if the target is already slow. And, for a (0), it can hand Nellie some evidence and let her go immediately after it as a chain activation. Very good. Don’t know why you would leave home without it.

2.       Phiona Gage: She’s a union worker who suffered a terrible accident, was denied work, and is now held up by Nellie as an example of the Union’s corruption (despite the fact that the Guild caused the accident that injured her in the first place.) She has ok defenses for a henchman, hard to kill, and goes up to 7 DF when she’s in terrain. Unimpeded helps make it so you’re essentially never going to want to walk her in the open if you can help it. She gets a smell-fear-esque free attack on enemies that fail a WP duel outside her activation. Her pick-axe does pretty solid damage and gets a + to attack versus models that have already activated (which Nellie can set up with Incite from one of her upgrades.) Probably one of her most defining abilities is calling up a 50mm stone pillar of hard cover blocking impassable terrain (we all know Adam likes summoning terrain.) And, finally, she has a Francisco-esque ability to jump into melee with someone who is engaging one of her friends and then push the friendlies away while gaining a free attack. She’s a pretty solid henchman who would be used all the time in some other faction. In this faction she has to contend with Ryle, Francisco, etc. in this point value slot so we’ll have to see how she measures up to them.

3.   Allison Dade: Hurray for Through the Breach characters in Malifaux! Dade is a reporter from the backwater contract town of Innocence who survived the chaos there and has relocated to Malifaux, joining the staff of the Tattler. She’s a monkeywrench henchman designed to basically screw up whatever the opponent is trying to do (very Lois Lane-ish.) Before she activates she penalizes enemy models for declaring attacks near her, and after she attacks she heals her friends when they attack, so deciding when to activate her will be important. She’s manipulative 12 and can gain fast by discarding a card whenever the opponent gains VP. Nice. Her attack hands out slow, deals damage if the target is near a guardsman, and has a trigger for each suit that hand out a variety of debuffs (Discard a scheme marker or take damage, push a target away, discard a card or take damage, or push a friendly into melee with the target.) She can put a condition on enemies for a (0) action that deals damage if they declare an attack action, and her tactical action forces an opponent to either discard a scheme marker or show you their hand. She seems incredibly annoying.

4.       Field Reporter: What can I say about these guys that Joel Henry and the Schemes and Stones folks haven’t already drooled about? 4SS earns you an unimpeded, disguised, manipulative 12 minion that can function as a scheme runner. They’re woes, which is odd since Pandora doesn’t get an upgrade to hire them (maybe some time in the future, fingers crossed.) Their attack action does nothing on its own but has an array of triggers including dealing damage every turn, slowing, giving a – to attack actions, or pushing the model 5” away. They can hop to enemy scheme markers and discard them with the same AP. And they can ditch a card for Reference the Field manual to let them choose the trigger on their attack. For the cost, these guys are pretty solid. Joel’s suggestion of taking Embedded on Nellie and hiring four ronin and three of these guys seems really aggravating, to be sure.

5.       Death Marshal Recruiter: These guys are basically what you think they are-Death Marshal veterans that go out into the world to find new Death Marshals. We need “Lady Justice Wants You” recruitment posters. They have DF/WP 6, 7 wounds each, and hard to wound 1 to help keep themselves alive. Apparently the soft life of a recruiter has caused them to forget how to finish the job, but they can now discard a card to keep friendly Guild Marshals within 4” from dying. If you can keep one of these near Lady J, they can keep her alive. Additionally, they can discard a card to target something that is buried. His recruiter’s sword has the ubiquitous critical strike built in to go with the 2/3/4 damage spread and can, with a tome trigger, use Glimpse the Void to bury the target. He also has a Peacebringer for…reasons. He can push 5” towards enemy targets with a (0) action and can, with a trigger, pass out attacks to another friendly model engaged with the target. Additionally, he can use a (0) to give a friendly non-leader model Guild Marshall for a turn. Shame it doesn’t last for the rest of the game like Shotgun Wedding, but there’s probably something exploitative about that. Still, I think they’re pretty solid, and the ability to keep Lady J or The Judge alive for the cost of a card means they should at least merit consideration.

6.       Witchling Thrall: These guys are rogue spellcasters that Sonnia gives…special attention. They’re 9ss minions that sit on a 40mm base and are essentially berserker dudes. They have 12 wounds and impossible to wound, so their defenses probably don’t matter (5/5 for reference.) They automatically pass Horror duels, regardless of the total and can, once per turn, take a melee action when a model places a scheme marker within 4” of them. Said melee attack does 3/4/6 damage and can choose between a pair of built in triggers to either heal the thrall for 2 if attacking someone with a WP 6 or more or force the opponent to discard a card if WP 5 or less. They have a range 8 Ca that adds a little more blast damage to a Sonnia crew and can push all damaged models with a trigger. Finally, they have a (0) action Yank the Chain to push into base contact with a friendly model. The last bit has a crow trigger you have to take if possible which results in your making a melee attack against the friendly model, so you have to be careful. They seem like they can do some hurting, so expect to see some play, particularly in strats like Collect the Bounty where high damage minions are at a priority.


Nellie: Guild Funds give Nellie more things she can do with her evidence condition at the end of her turn, allowing her to dump evidence +2 for healing, Evidence+3 for giving a model Hard to Kill until the end of its next activation, or dropping Evidence+4 to gain 2 soulstones. The last will likely never happen and the third is only situationally useful, so the heal seems like the most frequent. You also gain a trigger to df/wp that gives her more evidence and gives her the ability to let you count a death from conditions near you as her kills for strat and scheme purposes. Embedded is the infamous “hire four mercs and don’t pay the merc tax” upgrade. It also puts a couple of triggers to add more utility to her Hot off the Presses attack. I like the Misleading Headlines upgrades, which gives her the very powerful Incite (0) action and lets her lower her evidence or discard cards to pass activations (no more out activating us, jerks.) Probably the upgrade I would use most frequently is Delegation, which gives her a Tactical Action to pass out Fast to friendly models and, at the cost of lowering her evidence, place a scheme marker in base to base with them or heal them. Finally, there’s a Journalist upgrade that makes all other journalists within aura 8 have an attack trigger, transparency, to drop scheme markers after succeeding.

Generals: Phiona’s upgrade gives her a + to damage flips when hitting models which have already activated, emphasizing her “activate me late” modus operandi. Captain Dashel gains a (1) ap cast action resisted by Wk to summon a Guild Guard in base to base with the model (a resisted summon spell? Weird) and puts a couple of triggers onto his pistol for critical strike or a tome trigger to discard an enemy scheme marker and push the target. The Executioner gains Ready to Work which gives him +1 wk and the ability to discard the upgrade when it declares a charge and take it for (1) ap. Curfew may as well say “take this when playing Gremlins,” as it allows you to give slow to all enemy models which haven’t activated when your crew has no one left to activate. It costs you the upgrade and a soulstone, but taking away that advantage for a turn could be pretty helpful I’m thinking. Numb to the World may as well be a Papa Loco upgrade, as getting to ignore conditions and being able to discard a card to keep your opponent from Obeying him to explode would be very valuable to him. Otherwise you'll have to chose if its worth the cost to protect your big beaters from these. Finally, A Debt to the Guild is the Guild’s answer to Show of Force. If the model with the upgrade is killed or sacrificed, you add a Soulstone to its pool. Also, once per game the model can draw a card at the start of its activation and deal an additional point of damage with all of their attacks. You don’t discard the upgrade, so it stays in play for the game. Nice. 

Ripples of Fate Review: Arcanists

Hello all.  I figured I would give Adam a hand with a couple of these so you can get them faster.  And seeing as how I already faced Sandeep at Gen Con Avatars I may (but probably not) have better insight.

I will start with Sandeeps upgrades.  Sandeep has two limited upgrades available both of which allow him to summon gamin.  The difference between the two is that one lets you paralyze your target if you do moderate or severe damage, and the other increases his damage profile to 3/4/5. His summoning mechanic involves attaching upgrades to the gamin that are summoned.  There are six rare 1 gamin upgrades tied to each of the limited master upgrade.  Sandeep must attach an upgrade to summon so he can only have plus 3 models over what he started with at any given time.  All six upgrades buff and debuff the summoned gamin in different various ways.  One set of three are scheme and interact related and the other three are combat oriented.  An example would be this gamin may not be moved or pushed (which I assume includes walk and charge actions along with effects from other models) but gains an aura that makes the enemy discard 2 cards to interact or the action fails.  If you only use the upgrade to summon Banasuva I still don't think you put Sandeep on the table without one of the two.

He has two other upgrades.  Enlightened Soul allows Sandeep to draw a card once per turn if he kills an enemy model.  And there is a cast that hands out incorporeal to other models until the end of that models next activation. Just what a nimble Howard needed...  The other Unaligned Sage allows him to hire in model with the academics keyword from other factions.  And there are two 1 AP tactical actions.  One will let you draw a card once per activation if an academic discards a card (so things like flurry but there is a call out it doesn't work for cheated cards).  The other turns on a 6" aura that make academics not randomize.  Both seem useful depending on the crew build but not auto include by any means.

1. Banasuva.  An 8SS rare 1 minion totem that is summon only (cost is there to set the summon TN).  This thing has melee expert and hits like a truck (3/4/5).  It has the Ice Golems toss ability and a zero action to copy an ability or action from close by friendly gamin (editor's note: see also Armor +2 on Iron Gamin.)  It has 8 Wd's, Df 6, and Wp 4 and no other defenses so it can be a liability for hunting party but outside of that I don't see this master without this guy on the table at least once.

2. Kudra.  A 7 SS rare 1 academic henchman.  She has a few neat abilities on the front of her card.  Butterfly Jump, a Df/Wp (built in) trigger to draw a card once a turn if hit, once a turn spend a SS and discard a card to add the SS back, and 4 melee attacks on a charge (too bad the spread is 1/2/3 and 1 poison or this might be awesome, but I do see it being good against high armor or something with high Df with 1 wound left).  She has a ranged cast with a gun icon, Elemental Bolt that has a few triggers.  She also has an upgrade that give her various buffs if the elemental gamin are in range, and a 0 action to sac a gamin (I assume to free up an upgrade of kill denial ((Editor's Note: Also, to sac and resummon Banasuva with a different one of the negative upgrades attached or in a different position.))).

3. Amina Naidu.  A 9 SS rare 1 M&SU, academic henchman who is essentially the M&SU's injury lawyer.  If she suffers damage from an enemy attack action she can push it 2 inches (potentially out of range or LOS) by discarding a card. She has a 6" aura if an enemy interacts she may discard to add 1 SS.  Another aura of the same radius allows her to put an attack at negative if its targeting another wounded friendly model by Amina suffering 1 Wd.  A cast that hands out slow with a taunt like trigger.  A collier pistol.  A 12" pseudo lure with a trigger that prevent the target from attacking things with less Wds then the models Wd stat.  She also has 2 zero actions.  One is Ca v Wp take 4 damage and may reduce by 2 for each card discarded with a trigger to take the next 0 action.  Ca v Wp of gain Peon and may not take interacts action for the rest of the game or until Amina is killed or sacrificed.  She seems like a very annoying control piece and to get the most work out of her you are going to have to understand what she is in the list for and remember her auras.  She is definitely not a model to just drop in a list and go.  I would recommend playing some small friendly games to learn what she can and can not do.  Models with a lot of text will slow down a game if you don't have a decent grasp on all of the various interactions.  But once you unlock her she might turn out to be a cross between a lawyer and brewmaster.

4. Carlos Vasquez.  A 9SS rare 1 showgirl henchman.  He comes with smoldering heart.  An ability to treat burning like armor (up to +2), may push pyre markers after a walk action to cause Wk duels and avoid the damage.  And he gains burning +1 after resolving initiative.  He comes with a decent 3" melee with built in triggers (all 3 need 1 tome).  Give burning +1, do extra damage equal to the burning on Carlos (up to 3 damage and ending the condition), or add burning to Carlos.  Zero action to place a 50mm pyre marker until end of turn, or a zero action 4" push and add burning +1 or trigger to remove it.  An interesting model and probably play fine as a solo model but he will probably do better if there is more burning in the crew.  He also has an upgrade to heal from burning at the end of the turn.  And it also has a 1 AP blow up a scheme marker to pulse burning +2.

5. Poison Gamin.  A 5SS minion.  1 more wound than the typical gamin but more or less function like the rest of the gamin.Melee attack to deal 1/2/5 and grant them Poison+1 with a built-in trigger to do additional damage to targets that are already poisoned. It pushed 3" at the end of its turn if it took an attack action and heals a point of damage instead of taking damage from poison. Their ranged attack does not that impressive damage and has the infect trigger, but not built in (odd.) As a (0) action they can turn on a version of McMourning/Sebastian's ability to tick a point of poison off if they activate within 4" of a poison gamin. I'm not confident enough in the rules to know for sure, but I suppose you could put multiple poison gamin together to tick multiple poison damage on a turn. It's resource intensive and easy to disrupt, but I know that one criticism of Kudra was that her poison is less effective without these mechanics in place in the faction, so that's not ENTIRELY true.

6. Shastar Vidiya Guard.  An 8SS enforcer.  The model can draw a card if it cheats a Df duel once per turn.  When it activates it may discard for focus +1. and comes with hard to kill.  Also comes with a 2/4/6 melee with a trigger on every suit. A weak Rg 10" attack with a built in trigger to hit other targets (that were not targeted by this attack once per activation) in range and Los. ( I see this working good with Raspy.)  and a zero action to push another friendly model within 6" up to 2".

The generic upgrades seem kinda meh to me but I'll cover them and let you decide.
-Circus Bear.  0 SS - Gives the slate ridge mauler +1 Wk and +1 Ml and a 0 action Ca to push 2"  with a trigger to use a second 0 action.
-Temporary Shielding  0 SS - makes 3 Oxfordian Mages cost 15 ss instead of 18 and you can discard the upgrade and a card to reduce damage it suffers by 2.
-Well Rehearsed. 1 SS rare 1, enforcer - when a scheme marker is placed within 3" the model may push 2".  When a friendly living model within 3" is killed, you may discard the upgrade to leave the model alive with 1 wound.  (I don't see this replacing imbued energies unless you somehow have 3 on other models and an enforcer with an upgrade slot and SS left over during hiring... so not likely).
-Blade and Claw.  1 SS rare 1.  requires you hire a beast and a construct in the same list and it lets them swap places as a 0 action.  (I'm not sure this is worth the ink used to print the words on this upgrade.  But I'm certain there will be one person who thinks its the coolest thing since sliced bread.).

I have the ten thunders review and then I will have an origins/gencon super tournament report (including my match verse Sandeep).  I didn't snap pics of the posters so maybe Adam will edit it in and post it to the guild one he is doing next.  I hope to have the thunders done tonight. (Editor's Note: Done and Done.)

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Ripples of Fate Reviews: Outcasts

1: Doc Mitchell: A failed doctor and alcoholic who Parker kidnaps in his fictional story, he’s a 3SS insignificant minion totem. At the start of his activation he can discard a card to push up to 5” towards a friendly Bandit within 12”, so that’s a nice little movement boost. His best ability is probably his Stitch Up heal for 1/2/3 and a trigger to give the healed model Hard to Wound. Offensively, he isn’t particularly effective, as his melee attack isn’t very good and his ranged attack ends with him dying if Parker can see him use it. 3ss is a pretty good cheap activation and some nice healing, so I imagine you’ll use him.

2: Mad Dog Brackett: A 9ss henchman, he’s Parker’s right hand man. The weapon is a shotgun, for those who weren’t sure, and it’s a good source of damage and blasts that pushes damaged models back with a built in trigger. All enemy scheme markers within 2” of him become friendly at the end of the game. He drops a friendly scheme marker in base to base with a model after he kills them. And, finally, he gets a Santiago-esque bonus to attack and damage flips when he has four or fewer wounds remaining. He can Rapid Fire, so he’s definitely built around ranged attacks. He doesn’t really have a melee attack, as his main one involves putting his cigar out on people. It does Burning+2 and, with the appropriate triggers, can do a little more damage or give him a melee attack with his shotgun (to push the enemy out of melee, if it hits.) Finally, probably the most interesting ability is his Blow it to Hell (0) ap action. He needs a ram to cast it, but it places a 30 mm Blown Apart Marker within 8” and LoS. Any models within 3” of a marker is unable to use cover. I think that could be pretty effective for a ranged crew, though it might be better if you could also ignore LoS. Still, I think he’s a pretty effective damage dealer, but he’s in the Outcasts so he’s going to have a lot of competition for this slot.

3: Aionus: You know what he does. Moving on.

4: Bandido: These are the minions that come in Parker’s boxed set. They’re 5ss fragile minions, as Bulletproof+1 is probably one of the least useful of the situational defense abilities. They only have 5 Df and 5 Wds, so I don’t think they’re going to get to use Life of Crime to convert enemy scheme markers into Friendly at the end of the game. I guess it’s a good thing they have Finish the Job. Their gun deals 2/3/5 damage and can force the enemy to drop an enemy scheme marker with a trigger. Finally, they can Run and Gun for 2 ap to let them move, shoot with a + flip, then move again. I don’t know, they just look fragile to me. Run and gun will protect them somewhat, but who knows.

5: Dead Outlaw: Where I’m not crazy about Bandidos, Dead Outlaws look a lot tastier. They’re just what the title says, dead bandits that wake up and then resume banditry. They count as undead/tormented/bandit minions. For 6ss they’re a point higher defense, one more wound, hard to wound, and get a heal every time an enemy scheme marker is placed within 6” of him (which should be fairly frequent in a Parker crew.) Their ranged attacks have a better attack value, deal extra damage to targets which have upgrades attached from a built in trigger or can reposition with the same suit. For a tome you can either use Drop It! to force the enemy to drop an enemy marker (and heal the Dead Outlaw, presumably) or ignore Armor, Hard to Wound, and Hard to Kill. Their melee has an odd damage spread (1/1/5) but has some useful triggers built in that can give the enemy slow or push the outlaw out of melee. Finally, they can cast a spell to give an enemy a condition “Curse of the Covetous” which makes it so they can’t take any actions besides walk and interact. The model can choose to take 3 damage at the beginning of its turn to remove the condition, but it could be useful to lock a melee model on low wounds out of attacking. Altogether, I don’t know why you would take a Bandido over these.

6: Wokou Raider: These are oriental pirates who sailed the waters of the Three Kingdoms and were imported by Malifaux to try their skills on its rivers. They haven’t had as much success with this, but they’re still effective combatants so the Ten Thunders keep using them. They’re Bandits and Last-Blossom minions which cost 8ss, so on the pricey side. Bulletproof is a lot better, in my opinion, when paired up with Combat Finesse which makes it so enemy models can’t cheat fate on attack actions which target Df. Every time an enemy scheme marker is placed within 6 of them they can push 3” in any direction, so they could have a lot of added mobility in the Parker crew and can potentially dodge away from Detonate the Charges. Their 2/4/5 with plus flips melee attacks are pretty strong and can hit the Drop It! Trigger from a built-in tome. With a mask they can give a free attack to another friendly model engaged with the same target. And, of course, they have critical strike. I doubt you’ll use their gun much, as it’s pretty standard. And, they have a (0) action to reposition a scheme marker. They’ve got some interesting abilities, and I think they’ll see some use for Parker and Misaki, at least.

Upgrades: Parker has a ton of upgrades, so buckle in for this one. The two limited actions both give Parker Bulletproof. One lets him add a soulstone to his pool whenever a friendly model takes an action to remove an enemy scheme marker and can hand out free interact actions to friendly models as a (0). The other lets him draw cards when friendlies remove scheme markers and can hand out (1) ap attack actions. So, essentially, you’ll probably want one of those attached most of the time. To rapid fire through the rest: Crate of dynamite lets you blow up a scheme marker to deal damage, Hail of Bullets lets you place two 50mm Ht 0 Hail of Bullet markers which are hazardous terrain and can provide cover as well as adding a trigger to “Hands in the Air.” Stick Up gives him a WP attack that will either deal 4 damage to an Enforcer, Henchman, or Master or will steal one of their soulstones for you. Human Shield gives you soft cover and lets you pass one attack off to a friendly model within 2,” and finally Coordinated heist gives all bandits within 8" of Parker Scout the Field and a cool ability, “You were told to duck…,” which lets him fire into an engagement involving a friendly model and get an attack on every model involved. You have to discard the upgrade at that point, but you can reattach it to him and take the action again if you’ve got a particularly good pile of enemies in the combat. Phew. As I’ve said several times, Parker’s concept is pretty easy to learn, but you’re going to have to learn when to attach each upgrade to play him effectively.

Mad Dog’s Lucky Poncho gives him Hard to Kill and can grant him Focused+1 if you discard it when he has 1 wd at the start of his activation. Hans gets an upgrade that gives him +1 Wk and a (0) action to give him Focused. Pretty good for a sniper. Montresor gets one of the best “Fix Me” upgrades, I think, as it forces enemies in base contact with him to discard a card to attack and gives him Hard to Wound+1, effectively turning him into the tarpit/tank that he was supposed to be in the first place. One of the generic upgrades, Return Fire, gives the enforcer it’s attached to a Df/Wp trigger on a crow to let them shoot back at the attacking model after resolving. And, finally, “The Bigger They Are” make their melee attacks deal an extra point of damage to non-master models with upgrades attached, and so it is a good anti-Show of Force upgrade. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Ripples of Fate Review: Resurrectionists

1.       Corpse Candle: There’s actually some cool fluff behind these, where they’re the souls of a pair of zombies Reva took in and sheltered who feel so loyal to her that, even with their physical forms gone, the spirits move from body to body animating them and burning their energy out to help her. They can count as a corpse counter for friendly models and must be summoned by Reva, not hired. They have a pitiful melee attack which you will never use for anything besides perhaps disengaging strikes. They have two abilities that will see any use. One is Light the Way which pushes all corpse markers within (3) of her up to 3” in any direction.  The other is The Essence Remains, wherein you sacrifice the corpse candle to either give a friendly target Disguised, give you + flips to attack against an enemy model, or allows a friendly model within 8” to draw a card then immediately activate as a chain. You'll use them with Reva, obviously.

2.       Vincent St. Clair: Reva’s henchman is the exorcist that rescued her from her parents’ house, where they had her sedated and restrained. He believes in her, but has begun to question whether that belief is real or just another byproduct of the devotion he’s seen her inspire in others. He is a 9ss living/revenant henchman. He heals a point whenever a model is killed within 8” and draws a card every time a corpse counter is discarded within 6”. He has abilities to do those things on his own, but will also definitely make certain other Rezzer masters have a bad day with those two abilities. He is himself able to burn corpse counters to add a suit to his flips during his turns (only one specific suit per turn.) Finally, he can push 3” in any direction after resolving a defense or willpower flip with a trigger. It’s built in for defense, but not for WP. So yeah, the front of his card is pretty hefty. His profane crossbow doesn’t include spirits when randomizing into melee combat. Its built in trigger adds damage for corpse counters within 3” of the target, or he can repeat the attack with a tome or add 1 soulstone after killing a model with a ram trigger. He can attach a condition to models to make his damage unpreventable with a (0) action. Finally, he can blow up a corpse counter and place blast markers off of it to force models beneath the blast to take a Wk duel or take damage. Vincent has a lot of cool abilities, but you’ll have to be careful to keep him protected from ranged attacks from which your defense trigger can’t protect you. He's sort of the uncola of Rezzer henches, which makes sense as he is still alive and up to recently was employed by the Guild. 

3.       Archie: This guy is hilarious. He was made by McMourning to be a companion for Mollie. As such, he’s a henchman Horror. You have to compare him to Nekima because he has a 13ss cost, and I think he does well side to side with her. 12 wounds, terrifying all 12, and hard to wound 1 means he won’t be falling down nearly as easily as she does. He can only heal 4 wounds per turn from the humorous ability "He's dropped his ice cream", the reason for which will become apparent shortly. Thankfully he also has Attack Expert to get an extra AP for melee, as his walk is not very good off the base card (though this is fixable). I’m going to break from format and point out his upgrades, as they’re vital to understanding how Archie works. He has 3 upgrades which represent odd…augmentations to his body. One can grant him +1 armor. Another can give him leap, which will help add some mobility to get him into the thick of things. The last is Doc found a tentacle, which will give him a (0) action to pull an enemy into melee and gives him Focused when its discarded. How do things get added and removed? Well, his ranged attack requires him to discard an upgrade or a corpse marker within 3", effectively reflecting him picking up a dead body or pulling bits off of himself and throwing them at the target. It does reasonably good damage and places a corpse counter in base contact with the target (Nicodem will then likely turn that into a punk zombie and mince you.) He can reattach a new upgrade specific to him with a (0) action. Doing so damages Archie unless you discard corpse markers. That’s a mouthful, but there’s also always his brutal 4/5/6 damage melee attack as a baseline, so I think he’ll see some definite use.

I don’t know why all these henchmen are so much more complicated in this faction. The write-ups will be shorter from here, I promise.

4.       Shieldbearer: These guys are the frontline fanatics that serve Reva. Their gimmick revolves around, when they are killed, attaching one of three soulbound upgrades to them, healing all damage, and dropping a corpse counter. Effectively, this is meant to reflect their instantly reanimating as a murder ghost and flying off to attack the enemy. This essentially means you have to kill them twice, which explains why they only have 4 wds. Cool. You actually want these guys to eat a red joker flip for your crew, as there is effectively no cost (the soulbound upgrades are also minor buffs for the models.) Their shields and swords are so ridiculously big because, in the fluff, they’ve looted them from Guild Guardians and are able to wield them because their fanatic devotion gives them supernatural strength. They gain fast whenever a friendly model near them uses a soulstone, and they have armor+1. Their salvaged sword has a reasonable minion damage track and triggers to drop corpse markers or deal a point of damage on a miss. They can also push enemy models with the shield slam. And on top of that, they can spend their (0) every turn to give themselves either a + to damage flips or a +2 bonus to DF. If you want to use them to hold a point you’ll want to do that early to take the most advantage, but I like these models. They seem fairly solid, particularly with Reva's ability to push them with one of her upgrades adding mobility.

5.       Draugr: Some people who come through the breach have a magical ability that doesn’t awaken until after they die. These are Draugrs, which are reflected in the game by an 8ss minion/revenant/horror. At the start of their turn they choose their Ht (1,2, or 3) and gain a variation of abilities based on which they choose. At ht. 3 they have Hard to Wound, can hand out soulbound upgrades to non-leader non-peons if they’re ht. 1, or can take their Trollskap ranged (0) ap casting action if they’re ht. 2. Trollskap forces the opponent to discard a card and applies a debuff based on the suit (which I don’t love, since your opponent gets to choose.) Draugr give a + to attack flips of models within 6” with soulbound upgrades, so they’re a decent anchor model in Reva’s lines, and they heal a damage whenever any non-peon dies within 8”. The damage track for their melee axe is interesting, as its damage flip is 0/1/2, but you add your ht. to the damage. So yeah, weird. I can’t tell if they’re good, if I’m being honest, but they are definitely interesting.

6.       Goryo: These are strong willed warriors or lords who martyr themselves in battle. It’s a spirit/retainer minion. Incorporeal as expected, and a pair of new abilities on the front. When another friendly model dies within 3” he gains Fast and he can charge for 1 AP versus models with Adversary. I think Kirai will like them for that, though a 7ss minion is a bit of a pricey summon. Their sword ignores armor with a decent damage track and can hand out slow with a trigger. They get a final little sting attack as a (0) ap action to help you polish off hard to kill models which can, if the thing lives through it, give them adversary with a trigger (so you could also use it to set up a 1ap charge.) Also, as a 1 ap action, they can do 2 damage to themselves and summon a seishin in base to base. I don’t know Kirai crews from personal experience, but this seems like it would be a pretty strong summon minion for her. Wk 6 incorporeal means it can get where it needs to, I suppose, but we’ll have to see if its good enough to get into other crews.

Upgrades: Reva-She has two limited upgrades. One lets her attack out of corpse counters even when she’s engaged and lets her summon a corpse candle on the opponent’s half of the board (not within 8” of an enemy model) at the beginning of the game. The other helps her melee abilities, granting her regeneration+1 and a trigger for her melee that lets her deal no damage and then charge a different legal target. I prefer the ranged upgrade for its flexibility, personally, but time will tell. One of her other upgrades, Blood Mark, gives her a ranged push for friendly models that grants them a free (0) ap action (useful to get both of the buffs on shieldbearers, among other things) at the end of the push. With a trigger, she can also count them as corpse markers for her abilities. Finally, her Litany of the Fallen puts a built-in trigger on her melee attack to make the damage irreducible. Usually useful. I don’t know why you would take Vincent without his upgrade, as it grants him From the Shadows and a (0) ap push action to get him out of melee. Maybe you might decide he has too many things to keep track of already and he makes your head hurt. Finally, the soulbound upgrades can either make the model explode when it dies, gives them finish the job, or gives you a refund to grant you a soulstone if the model dies in exchange for a card in hand.

General: I already discussed Archie’s upgrades, so we’ll skip along. Wronged Spirits is a rare 1 upgrade which makes all friendly Onryo within aura 12 gain +1 wk and cg. The model carrying it can discard it to give all Onryo in play Focused+1. Not sure this is enough to make the Onryo playable, but I don’t have firsthand experience to know for sure. I was personally surprised to see Phillip and the Nanny getting a free buff upgrade, as I know lots of people use them, but perhaps the idea was to give them some abilities besides “walk down the board, eat scheme markers, draw cards.” The upgrade in question gives him Haunting Cries, a range 12 Ca v. Wp action that does 2/3/4blast damage. A tome trigger grants a TN 10 horror duel. Again, Phillip players can tell me whether they’ll actually use this or just keep drawing cards with them, but I suppose it’s a free upgrade so why not take it. One of the Rezzer generics is Admiration, which allows a model to push to any summoned models that arrive within aura 6 of them for the cost of a card from hand. It’s costly, but I could see putting this on a slower model like Izamu to give it some added mobility in a summoning crew. The other is My Little Helper, which allows you to summon a Mindless Zombie off of the upgraded model if/when it dies and, once per game, makes the model untargetable by any actions more than 3” away and lets them use two (0) actions for that turn only. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Ripples of Fate Review: Neverborn


      I'm back home from the convention, so I should be able to crank these out sooner. If you want to order a copy of the book, make sure to get it done today before the webstore closes pre-orders. 

1.   The Gorar: Titania’s totem is a symbol of death and rebirth among the Fae (note the egg that the snake is cradling in its coils.) Its main function is to get to the center of the board (within 6”) so that, if a minion you care about is killed, you can sacrifice the Gorar to resummon it. This is important, as the knights and Rougarou are all minions and this is a way to protect them from being killed. It has unimpeded to help it get there through terrain, which is good because it doesn’t have much else in the way of defense. Its melee attack creates a scheme marker and does a little damage and its ranged turns a slow condition into paralyzed (this will make more sense in a moment,) but that’s not why you would be taking it. It’s going to attract a lot of fire and you'll have to work pretty hard to protect it, so I’m a little worried how much use this model will see when Primordial Magic exists.

2.       Aeslin is the Dryw (old English for Druid) that serves as a sort of major domo for Titania. She has Curse of Autumn (as do the knights) which force targets that begin their turn engaged with Aeslin to make a TN 13 WP duel or become Slow. She will get less use out of this than they will, I would assume. She’s a spellcaster with casting expert and the ability to dump a scheme marker to fire into combat without randomizing. Her two attack actions are the same A Wicked Silence melee as the Gorar, but you’ll more often use the Rot and Rend ranged spell. It has no TN, Ca 6, and a pedestrian 2/3/4 damage spread. The real strength of this spell comes from triggers, which can discard scheme markers to do more damage, drop another scheme marker with the ubiquitous A Trophy for the Queen trigger, push a model, or hand out slow. Her (0) actions can either inhibit the opponent’s casting flips or prevent them from moving, pushing, or being placed within a short range. Overall, Aeslin is a short range caster with ok damage and some interesting triggers. I question how much staying power it will have in the crew, but Titania’s ability to tank for her should help.

3.       Tooth, Claw, and Thorn: The three autumn knights are essentially the same theme with variation. The front of their cards are the same, with ok defenses and stats, hard to wound, armor+1, and curse of autumn. All of them also have the (0)AP tactical action A Clear Path to push towards scheme markers within 4”. The differences come with their attacks and their challenge actions. The tooth has a melee sword which automatically drops a scheme marker as a trigger and can hit a different one to get a + flip to damage. Her challenge forces an opponent to move into base to base with the tooth, gives them a free attack at a -, and then gives her a free attack back. The claw (possibly my favorite) has a spear which works as a ranged or melee attack, has the same triggers as the tooth but with the other trigger built in instead, and has a challenge which pushes an enemy model into base to base and can, with a trigger, give them a – flip to defense for the rest of the turn. Finally, the Thorn lashes you with vines that do slightly worse damage but has the + flip to damage trigger built in as well as a separate trigger to let you draw a card if the enemy is close to a scheme marker. They seem tough but not quite as tough as Illuminated, but they’ll probably be necessary to get scheme markers out for Titania.

4.       Bandersnatch: This creature is cool. It’s a Rare 1 Nightmare minion that jumps into your shadow and can attack others from there. This is represented mechanically by the (0) Crawl Into Shadow. If successfully cast against a target, the Bandersnatch buries itself and places an “upgrade” on the target which does damage to it every turn and allows the buried Bandersnatch to use it as the origin point for its attacks. In effect, it acts like the Bandersnatch is attacking out of the shadow at other enemy models, which then allows it to drag the enemy models into melee with the poor sucker and even has a trigger where the second model might attack the first one out of confusion. The 2” melee range of the Snatch is increased by the height of the model. The “upgrade” falls off after the second time it ticks on the original target for damage, so it will be important to activate the Bandersnatch right away to jump back into a shadow and avoid getting hit back, but I think this model is very cool and thematic.

5.       Will o’ the Wisp: These guys are rare 3 spirit swampfiend minions that are incorporeal but also insignificant. Any model that fails a WP duel within 3” of them lets them place a scheme marker in base to base with the enemy. Their attack isn’t very good, but with a cost of 3 they’re not really expected to hit hard. You’re really taking them for 2 reasons. One is The Wisp’s Call, a ranged spell that places a condition on the target which forces them to take walk actions toward the wisp with one of their AP and prevents charging. It has a possibility to disrupt enemy movements, but seems somewhat situational. They also have a tactical action to use a (2) action off of another Neverborn model within 10” for (1) AP. The immediately obvious use is to summon Voodoo dolls for Zoraida, which allows her to use her AP for other things. There is a lot of careful wording to make sure you can’t abuse this (you can only target a single model one time with this per turn and can only be taken once by turn by the Wisps) but could, over time, end up becoming even more useful as new models are released. I'm interested to see these guys in action with Pandora, Zoraida, or Titania for three entirely different reasons. 

6.       Rougarou: If you watch Supernatural you already know that this is a sort of wolf creature which, inexplicably, all the recurring characters are always off hunting to explain why they aren’t in the episode. They’re 8ss fae/beast/undead minions (so hurray for Marcus, I guess.) They’re melee beaters that don’t have a ton of resilience off the card. Hard to Kill is decent, but they could really be scary if they had been given Hard to Wound as well like the rest of the knights. Instead, they have the ability to eat a scheme marker within 3” at the start of their turn to either heal 2 wounds or push 3”. Their claws have a high severe damage and a ram trigger that gives the damage flip a + so its more likely you can cheat for it. Its tactical actions are a pair of (0) actions that either force a target to make a TN 13 WP duel and, if it fails, gives the Rougarou a free melee attack or can push all enemies with pulse 4 into base to base with the Rougarou if they fail the same WP duel. There’s also a fun trigger on this action which lets it jump into base to base with one of the model who succeeds the WP duel after the others push in. Not sure how strong this one is, since it may be a bit too fragile to stick around. There are probably better options at 8 points.

Upgrades: Titania-The Queen has no limited upgrades, so they can be used in whatever combination you prefer. One puts a mask trigger on all of her attacks which forces an enemy to discard cards to target anyone besides Titania. Another gives her the ability to place an enemy model into base contact with her and can place a scheme marker with a trigger. Both of these add to her ability to tank for her crew. The Forest Claims All seems like one which should be used in most games, as it allows her to change all corpse or scrap markers placed within 4” of her into scheme markers unless the opponent discards a card. This seems good for not just disrupting Rezzer, Ten Thunders, and Aracanist summoner crews, but also for getting scheme markers for Titania when the opponent doesn’t care about those markers at all. Finally, The Queen’s Champion is an upgrade which you place on Titania until one of her models kills something. The upgrade then jumps to the new model and grants them Armor+1, a + flip to attacks, and placing a scheme marker every time they damage an enemy. This one seems most likely for me to leave off simply because the cost of controlling which model gets the upgrade (discarding a soulstone if you don’t want it to jump) is pretty high, and I don’t like things I can’t control directly. The general Fae upgrade gives them a 10” aura which grants all Fae the ability to, with a trigger that is built in for the knights, discard a scheme marker and push 3”. This one might also get left behind unless the knights really get a lot more use out of it in play than I'm imagining.

Generalist-Lelu gets Satisfying Punishment, which increases his DF+1 and gives him an ability to deal itself 1 damage at the end of its turn to cycle a card. Iggy gains a melee attack with a 2/3/4 damage spread and the Hide in Shadows trigger. The generic upgrade A Thousand Faces has to be used on a Non-Master and is Rare 2 but allows a leader to take a (1) action if the model with the upgrade dies and may be swapped out for a different upgrade at the start of its activation (paying the difference in soulstone cost, if its higher.) If you choose to switch to Pact, you also get to draw a card. I think I like the other upgrade, Malifaux Provides, better (although I suppose you could always start out with the first one and then switch to the second one when you need it.) It allows a model to discard a scheme marker within 3” to heal 2 and, when the model would gain a condition, allows the model to ditch the upgrade and ignore it as well as drawing another card. Now that I think about it, you may as well start with the first one in case the enemy does something you don’t expect and kills a model early on, but then later switch to the second or any of the other Neverborn upgrades as you feel necessary.