Friday, July 14, 2017

Book 5 Pre-Previews: Ten Thunders

A heavy couple weeks of news and announcements, followed by a quick look at the new models coming for the Ten Thunders.


-OMG Gosh it's Book 5! We got a peek at the cover, as well as a description of what's coming inside, namely new upgrades for all the old masters! Hmm, where did I hear that one mentioned before... Ok, so before I get in trouble, let me reiterate that when I wrote that post, I WAS NOT on the playtesting team for Book 5 yet, and I did not, in fact, know anything. There's a reason I haven't mentioned the theory again since. Anyways, we saw a quick preview of a couple of the new upgrades that are coming, one for Lady Justice that gives her more of a hit-and-run style of play, and one for Seamus that takes his already impressive ability to manipulate Terrifying checks and turns it up a notch. More on these when there are more available to discuss.

-A new issue of Wyrd Chronicles came out as well, discussing some of the design process for Book 5 and what's coming. Also, there's a Through the Breach adventure published in there by one of my favorite authors, wherein you take a fellow he's afflicted with Black Blood to go get a cure, only to discover that the cost of this cure may be quite high.

-The cover of said Wyrd Chronicles features this year's Gencon Nightmare Edition box, which has been shown to be an alternate Hamelin crew styled like a Crazy Cat Lady. Not my cup of tea (I don't play Hamelin) but it's a funny idea all the same.

-Additionally, the issue of Wyrd Chronicles mentioned that this year's Miss Model is an alternate Taelor named Miss Deed, who looks like she'd look right at home in any Western themed crew. Additionally, an alternate Sybil was shown as well. You earn this one by spending $60 on Malifaux products during August (like, oh, I don't know, Gencon stuff or instance.) You fill out a form on Wyrd's website, send them a picture of the receipt, and you get the model. Couldn't be simpler!

-Are we done with Chronicles yet? NO! There's also a competition going on with the Gencon sales! Any time you buy something at Gencon or online during the convention, you get to vote for whether Nicodem or Lady Justice wins a duel of fate! What could be the consequences of this? Who knows! 

-The art previews have continued to come, this time for the Cyclops from Neverborn in Monday Previews and two more commanders from The Other Side. I don't want to link them all, you can find them easily enough. 


Ten Thunders

Gwyneth Maddox-8ss Henchman-A henchman Lynch has to pay for? Hard Pass! But seriously, she’s interesting. Seems to be an upgraded Beckoner with some interesting card manipulation abilities. Luck thief makes enemy + flips count as – flips against her and allows her to heal when models miss attacks against her, which should provide some interesting defenses. At the beginning of its activation it can stack the top 3 cards of the fate deck or throw them away, so some more card manipulation for the Ten Thunders, particularly when paired with her (0) Hit Me to draw some of those cards into your hand. And The After Party lets you get away with not bringing the Addict upgrade by just building it in to her from the start. Her gun is ok, with a built in trigger to spread more Brilliance which the Lynch crew has probably needed. And finally, her 1 AP Come Play At My Table works a bit like Bert Jebsen’s Cracker Jack Timing as a way to pull models into base to base with her, and can also hand out some more Brilliance with a trigger. Very interesting model.

Katanaka Crime Boss-8ss Enforcer-Finally, the alluded to mafia side of the Ten Thunders is getting some representation in the game. These guys seem like they’re designed to hold points in the game, as the front of their card is designed to resist shifting them from a particular spot and punish enemy models for dropping scheme markers near them. This is paired with a decently damaging melee attack on the back and a nasty one-two punch with the A Lesson You Won’t Soon Forget that boosts the Nagamaki’s mediocre Ml value to 5 and grants a + to the damage flip. It can heal with a 0 action with the familiar Calls Unto the Chi tactical action and can give itself an ability until the end of the turn to draw a card whenever an enemy model activates inside the Crime Boss’s engagement range. Interesting not just for the abilities, but because the Thunders don’t have a ton of “Hold this Point” type models.

Lotus Eater-6ss minion-Another defense oriented model, the LE has the same protection money ability as the Crime Boss and Bully, which makes an opponent discard a card to walk or interact within 3” of them. The Lotuses that the minion eats are scheme markers, and it can chew on one at the beginning of its activation to either heal 2 damage or take a 0 action (even if it has already declared one this turn). One of the model’s 0 actions lets it move and eat another scheme marker, potentially allowing for a chain of movement and making it pretty good at defending against Claim Jump. It has a middling melee attack that uses CA and heals the LE, or it can place a condition on an enemy model forcing it to discard two cards to be able to declare actions on its turn, which can be enhanced with the Aggressive Stance to force weaker WP models near the LE to take a – to all duels involving the LE. Could be useful as a denial piece.

Obsidian Statue-9ss Enforcer-A heavy beater for the faction, this model combines some defensive abilities with a relatively hard hitting melee attack. At the end of its activation, it drops a ht3 50mm marker in base to base with itself to create some mobile cover. It has armor, can’t be pushed, placed, or buried while the statue marker is on the board, and drops scrap markers every time it gets hit which can then be used to heal itself. The model is designed to set things on fire with its Spew Lava attack to give it burning and then land a melee attack with its obsidian fist, gaining a + to the damage flip if they have burning. It’s always tough to tell which beaters will end up being most effective when so many are already in the game. It isn’t very fast and the Df of 3 leaves something to be desired, but it could do some damage in a crew that can overcome these issues.

Charm Warder-5ss Minion-Another defense oriented model, this one punishes enemy summoning crews. Any model summoned near them gains the Entropy condition, which deals damage to equal to the condition when the model activates and can then be reduced at the end of the model’s activation, at the cost of discarding cards (which most summoning crews can’t afford to do.) They also block scheme marker placement near them, and can offer some protection to friendly models near them that have activated, granting them a + to Df and WP duels and by using its Charm of Vanishing (0) action to make attacks against the model have the chance to fail. They can also hand out Disguised, deal a little damage in melee (not the reason you would take a warder, but still handy to be able to switch between Ml or Ca for the attack and Df or WP for defense), and can add on Entropy with an attack.

Tanuki-5ss Minion-This model is an odd one, as tends to be the case with Tri-Chi. Any model that activates within 8 of it and in base to base with a scheme marker gets a point of poison, which can end up being slightly easier to set up than it sounds with its built in defense trigger to place a marker every time they succeed on a defense check and get a little extra movement or with its Gourd Bop attack, which also drops a scheme marker. It can force models to reduce their poison condition by half and take all that damage at once, which is potentially useful (or painful for a McMourning crew.) Alternatively, friendly models can reduce their poison condition by up to 4 and heal a point for each. If done to aTri-Chi for 3 or more wounds, it hands out Reactivate to minions or enforcers or Fast to Henchman or Masters. Finally, when they activate they can chose to immediately end their activation, drop a scheme marker, and then count as two models for the purpose of the strategy. So, they could be good as scheme runners, presumably, though Wk 5 and no mobility tricks other than the defense trigger don’t naturally suggest that. I’ll not pretend to be an expert on the Brewmaster, but this doesn’t immediately jump out to me as being amazing. 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Book 5 Pre-Previews-Rezzers and Outcasts

I've had some personal life stuff going on lately and been grappling with a bit of burn-out, so I apologize for the lack of posts in recent weeks. To make up for it, I thought I'd give you a double-sized pre-preview article, this time taking a look at the Ressers and the Outcasts. But first, an art heavy segment of mini-musings!


-There've been a few Art Previews since last I wrote. One is the Bultungin, the Neverborn minion previously discussed. It looks like the image above. The other is the Lampad, whose image I put with the Ressers below. Finally, there's the Guild's Monster Hunter, pictured immediately below. I dig her. 

-Meanwhile, The Other Side has started doing Friday Previews as well. Here comes Charles Edmonton and the Storm Siren. 

-Ok, I lied, there's one more Art Preview. Nathan stuck it in a different place on the forums. It's Kandara, the Arcanist model coming out soon. And, if you follow the link, you can watch a video of Alyssa actually painting the image. Cool.
-Wyrd has another Game Designer job opening. Got what it takes? Send 'em an application.

-Finally, the Malifaux game rules are now available for free in French, German, Italian, Russian, and Spanish (as well as English, of course.) 

Benny Wolcomb-8SS Henchman. A new friend for Hamelin, Benny seems like he might be another member of the rat catching brigade. If he takes damage, he can discard a card to summon a rat. Also, he has an important role to play in removing enemy scheme markers. His Rat Presents ability allows him to place a friendly scheme marker next to an enemy scheme marker within 3” of a vermin at the end of the turn and then remove the enemy marker. Rude. To help make this happen, several of his abilities have a tome trigger for “Drop It,” where you make them drop an enemy marker after damaging them. His greatest offensive potential in the late game comes from Bleeding Disease, but he has a melee attack from a knife and a 0 action attack that scales damage based on how many vermin are standing within 3” of the target. Finally, he can eat other rats within 3” of him to heal himself a point per rat consumed. An interesting defenseman model to confound enemy scheme efforts, and a pretty decent henchman.

Freikorps Engineer-6ss minion. A fairly standard Freikorps type model on the front of the card with relatively standard attacks on the back, the most interesting thing about the Freikorps Engineer is his ability to alter armor from targets. As a 0 action, they can increase the armor value of friendly models, with a couple of interesting triggers to add Rams to the friendly model’s attacks (only Outcast models for this one) or a Light Distorting Device which gives all non-melee attacks a – flip to hit. Additionally, a trigger on the melee attack lets the librarian reduce the target’s defense.

Prospector-6ss minion. This is an interesting minion. First of all, the Prospector’s “Spend Soulstone to Make Soulstone” refunds you a soulstone at the beginning of the game after your crew deploys, which is nice. Additionally, every time they discard an enemy scheme marker with an interact action, you get to add another stone (though this feels like the ability actually reads “enemy will not use soulstones near the prospector.”) If you don’t want to earn a soulstone for ditching a marker (for some reason) or want to stand back a bit from the one you’re discarding, there’s “Appraise” which discards a scheme marker and then makes you discard a card, draw a card, or nothing based on the result of a card flip. There’s a kind of Rg. 8 Lure spell called “I’ve struck soulstone” that has the bonus of letting you drop a friendly scheme marker. And finally, the tactical action with the groan worthy name “I’m just talking about shafts” turns the lure into an attack, because any enemy model that moves within 6” of the prospector and ends a move or push within base contact of a friendly scheme marker takes some damage. An odd little guy without a ton of offensive power, but the scheme marker manipulation and soulstone refund makes him interesting. And he’s a merc, so any crew can hire him. Could be silly with Collette, maybe.

Talos-8ss enforcer. A new toy for the Void crew, Talos seems to be some kind of construct/furnace that buries people and burns them up for his own benefit. It can heal itself for the number of wounds a model has when he buries them, but takes half those wounds as damage if the creature unburies. He does the burying with “Into the Furnace,” a Rg 2 attack resisted by WP which buries a nonleader model. His melee attack gains an inch of range while something is buried, and he can burn up a buried model for 2 points (take that, stupid Malifaux Raptors). Finally, he has a 0 action to force enemy models within aura 3 of him to make a Horror check versus a TN of 10+the number of enemy models which are buried. Seems like an ok beater (anything with a minimum 3 damage melee attack usually qualifies) though he has a lot of competition for his slot in non-Tara crews. The buffs from having models buried might make him better with his sub-faction than as a generalist.

Marlena Webster-8ss Enforcer. The orphan from the Divergent Paths event is apparently a Teddy and Orphan together in the same model, now. They can charge an enemy that drops a scheme marker near them, hitting with protector claws that do decent damage. It has a Squeel-esque mask trigger to push away from things that hit them, with the added benefit of smacking the attacker for 2 points of damage. There’s a vaguely nasty ranged attack that ignores hard to kill and wound and, with a trigger, can prevent healing for the rest of the turn. It can discard scrap markers to summon wicked dolls, which is interesting but probably not that useful, and most importantly can use a 0 action called “Soul Tether.” You make a Cast to beat a TN10 targeting a friendly leader. The amount by which you exceed the TN becomes the value for the “Tethered” condition and, if that leader is killed, they are immediately healed back to life for the value of the condition and Marlena takes the same amount as damage. The condition then falls off. Ostensibly this is designed to be thematic with Leviticus, but I could see using it on, say, Victoria before launching her up the board as a sort of insurance policy or wound buffer. I think she’ll see play, though again, the mid-high point enforcer space is crowded for Outcasts.

The Midnight Stalker-8SS Enforcer. From a thematic standpoint, I love the idea of another serial killer in Malifaux, especially one that has a massive inferiority complex towards Seamus. His front of card has an interesting balance of abilities that will make choosing when to activate him key, as models get a double negative flip to target him before he’s activated for the turn, but his respect for the art ability makes it so he can only attack models that haven’t activated yet. At the beginning of his turn he is reborn, healing all the damage he’s taken and placing within 8”. He gets fast if he’s on the opponent’s side of the board, which is new and different, and ignores intervening models when moving. His melee attack is a pretty standard ml 5 2/3/5 sword with critical strike, but he can use a 1 ap action to give himself a ram for every model with which he is engaged. And, finally, if he’s dealt damage that turn, he can force anyone trying to charge him to pass a TN14 Wp duel or the action fails. My first impression is that this model is fun and characterful, but possibly not that competitively viable due to the less than inspiring attack (the crit strike ability is nice, but swapping 2 attacks for one attack with more critical damage isn’t going to make a huge difference, imo.)  


Asura Roten-8SS Henchman. A henchman with roots in the Through the Breach module A Night in Rottenburg, Asura is an interesting addition to the faction. She has a Sandeep-esque ability to hand out her melee attacks to undead models within 12” of her. She places a Quarantine Marker within 12” of her at the beginning of her activations, which boost the damage of the aforementioned melee attacks or can be used to summon a Mindless Zombie with a 0 action. These markers force enemy models that activate within 3” to pass a TN14 WP duel or take a point of damage. Finally, she can eat corpse markers within 3 of her to heal 2 per corpse. Probably the most interesting ability is the Grasping Hands, which reduce the target’s Df, Wk, and Cg by 1 point per instance of the condition. Seems she’s built to interact with mindless zombies and other less than stellar minions, handing out her melee attacks to either drag the enemy’s models to a halt or grind them down with her attacks. Could be interesting with a crew that has Mwahahaha or lots of smaller minions, like maybe an alternate spammy version of Nicodem maybe.

Kentauroi-8SS Minion. This is an interesting model apparently based on Centaurs (though, considering Ressers are involved, I have a suspicion the man and horse halves didn’t necessarily START attached to each other.) They have an ability to taxi models around ala Gracie or Iron Skeeters, so that’s automatically interesting. The model seems to be built around transporting models and then charging, as its lance attacks do the most damage on the charge and they can use a 0 action to let them charge when engaged, so long as the target is different than the one with which they are currently engaged. After the charge, their loose stitches causes them to take 2 damage and drop a corpse marker in base to base contact. The centaur can use its 0 action to pick up the corpse marker and heal the damage, or you can leave it for summoning or as an attack point for Reva. I think these will find a place in many crews.

Bone Pile-6ss Minion. This model seems best used as a higher point scheme runner. They take one point less damage from enemy attacks, reduce enemy damage flips with a negative flip, and are immune to all conditions that are non-scheme or non-slow. With a 2ap action, they can bury themselves and unbury at the end of the turn from a corpse counter somewhere on the board, which they can then discard to heal 2 damage. At the start of their activation they choose from a trio of buffs: One which increases their movement, one that grants a plus flip to their attacks, and one that makes the bone pile count as two models for the purpose of schemes and strategies. Their attacks are somewhat middling, so you’ll probably want to pick from the first or last option and use these guys to take care of some schemes.

Gravedigger-7ss Enforcer. An interesting utility piece, the Gravedigger’s job is to grab corpse markers and move them around the board. This is reflected by a condition, Corpsebarrow, which goes up by 1 for every corpse marker this thing discards with its varied abilities. The Gravedigger pushes to corpse markers that other models drop within 6” of it and discards them, giving it the condition. Additionally, the Gravedigger can use a 0 to discard a corpse marker within 2” to increase the condition as well. What do these markers do? Well, a model can target the Gravedigger like they’re a corpse marker, reducing the condition by one for each marker that would be discarded for an ability like summoning. Secondly, the Gravedigger can discard markers to fuel the damage on its attacks. There’s a little risk in doing this, as a model that can remove conditions gets rid of your corpse markers, but if the Gravedigger dies it drops corpse markers equal to its Corpsebarrow condition in base to base, so at least you won’t lose corpses that way. Finally, assuming any corpse markers are left on the board, the Gravedigger can make them count as friendly Scheme Markers with a 0. And, if none of that does anything for you, the Gravedigger can push enemy models around for a wheelbarrow ride and potentially slam them into terrain for some damage. I think the utility will have a place in many crews.

Little Gasser-4ss minion. An undead gremlin? Ok. Apparently it’s a gremlin’s corpse inflated with poison gas? ………..ok……… It moves over terrain and pushes an extra inch when something pushes it, and puts the Poison condition on any models within 2” of it at the end of its activation. It can do an AoE pulse forcing non-gremlins to pass a TN 15 WP duel or suffer damage as a 0 and then, with a trigger, push some more. Finally, it has a not impressive melee attack with the infect trigger, or a different trigger that, in the unlikely event the Gasser kills something (maybe you left a weak model on one wound for it to finish off,) makes it count as having been killed by the poison condition rather than by the Gasser. Potentially useful with McMourning describes that trigger and, potentially, this model in general.

Lampad-7ss Enforcer. Based on Nymph companions of the Greek goddess of witchcraft (two greek mythology things in Book 5 ressers? is this a theme?), this critter is based around burning. All of their attacks give burning. They have a ranged attack with blasts, all of which spreads more burning. Any model that ends their activation within 3” of them gets, you guessed it, burning. And they can even use their 0 action to float 6” and give burning to any model they pass through during the move. But why all the burning? Well, because any model which dies from Burning damage within 10” of them lets the Lampad summon a new Lampad in base to base for the cost of a card from your hand. Pretty good, but I’m always a little leery of something like this because it asks a lot of the model playing it and also relies on the opponent not taking steps to stop you (burning can always be reduced at the cost of their AP, remember, to say nothing of good old fashioned condition removal). I think the damage part is good, and the summoning should be considered a bonus. Getting a full-powered Lampad for one card is a pretty good deal, but it’s going to be tricky to pull off.