Sunday, September 22, 2019

How to Play Zoraida - by 2019 Gencon Tyrant Rob Perry

Hobby Happenings-It’s been a little quiet on the Malifaux front recently for me, as I wasn’t able to attend a tournament in Des Moines due to family obligations and a change in Phiasco’s work schedule has prevented us from getting in any games online. I have done a bit of hobby work, however, mainly focused around members of the monk keyword. My Shenlong, Sensei Yu, 2 Peasants, a High River Monk, and a Charm Warder are now table ready, with a second charm warder part way there. They’re all very excited to introduce themselves to Brian Spence’s Leveticus crew.

Media Musings: As mentioned, I thought I’d include this segment to introduce some things from the media I’ve consumed that remind me of Malifaux. In this case, I’ll point you to the series that Last Podcast on the Left are currently doing taking a look at the founding of the Mormon religion. It’s not safe for work, and if you are a Mormon it could potentially (ok, likely. Depends on your ability to separate your faith from some of the slightly shady characters who brought it into the world) be offensive, but it will help you to get into the right headset of the Hucksters and general Wastrel-y ness of McCabe’s bunch of rogues. Jo Smith was essentially a grave-robbing con man, after all, who spent his early life as a participant in a large social movement to loot native American burial mounds, and who seemed to have written the Book of Mormon essentially as a last-ditch commercial effort to keep his family’s farm from going under. He also had magical relics (a magic knife, seeing stones, golden plates, etc.) and a loose relationship with the truth that ultimately led to world-changing consequences (lest we forget, the whole “Burning Man” thing going on Earthside is more or less McCabe’s fault. At least it can be argued that Smith’s hucksterism led to a religion that has arguably brought more good into the world than bad overall.)

Now on with the main event, wherein I ask Rob Perry, winner of Wyrd’s 2019 Gencon Tyrant Tournament “How do you do that voodoo that you do so well?”


Come give Nana a kiss, deary.

Crew Questionnaire

“Typical” Crew List


How Does the Crew Work? (Brief, one paragraph discussion of how the crew plays on the tabletop. What does the keyword ability(ies) add to the strategy?)

Positioning! Mama Z is a beast at controlling positioning on the board. Her list is chock-full of butterfly jump to give melee opponents fits. This forces decisions that your opponent is not used to dealing with. On top of that, Her Obey action is the best in the game. How close does my opponent keep his beater to a key model? Can I use that against him, and do some disruptive damage? Or should I just grab a model and run it in the opposite direction of where my opponent wants it?

How Has the Master/Crew Changed Since M2E?
N/A didn’t play 2e  

Editor’s Note: Zoraida through most of 2E was an “ok” obey master with some gimmicky lists that could be effective in the right circumstances (IE piling up massive amounts of burning on the voodoo doll, Obeying across the board, throwing the voodoo doll off of buildings to kill the opponent with falling damage, etc.) Towards the end of the edition, she got a boost with the last round of errata to let her force a charge with Obey, but still never seemed to take off the way people hoped. Now her keyword models have Penetrating Stench and a large amount of Stealth for some atypical defensive tech. She can draw Line of Sight and range from Swampfiends within 12” of her, which helps extend her range. You can’t channel as much damage through the Doll anymore, which limits its versatility somewhat. But probably the biggest thing here in the early days of M3E are how much the current scenarios play into her strengths. Obeying an enemy model to pick up their own explosives marker or drop it in the enemy’s half of the board, or messing up the Corrupted Idol placement, can be absolutely crippling to some crews.

Who are the Key Pieces in the Keyword, and What Are Their Roles?
 McTavish & The First Mate
            Both of these model are super deadly and have so many toolbox abilities. 
            McTavish is model crazy threat range beater, and TFM is my disrupter.

Rate the Keyword on the Following Criteria from 0-14 (feel free to comment if necessary)

-Killing Power

Ed: The brunt of the killing power rests with McTavish and The First Mate in this crew. McT is a rare combination of effective ranged and melee beater in one. TFM is less of a natural beater, but his maneuverability lets him get to where you need him quickly to pick off somewhat softer targets. And don’t forget the fact that you can use Zoraida to hijack the opponent’s heavy hitters and Obey them to lay some hurt for you!


Ed: The preponderance of Stealth, Stench, and/or Butterfly Jump in the crew makes them extremely obnoxious to kill off. That said, they’re still Neverborn at their heart (even if the Silurids are Bayou exclusively now) so they’re still somewhat brittle. Be careful!


Ed: I mean, they’ve got Silurids in there. And a henchman Silurid. Leap for a low card that you can rely on every turn, plus Stealth, plus Butterfly Jump means your frog-men are going to be easily completing objectives without much in the way of molestation from the enemy crew. That would be enough, but then you’ve got Zoraida’s Obey on top of it, giving you a rare ability to support your own scheming and deny your opponent’s in the same package.  

-Card Manipulation

Ed: Reading the cards on Zoraida lets you set up the next duel in advance every time the opponent cheats fate within her LoS, which is very strong. Her threads of Fate free action allows you to play recklessly with your hand, safe in the knowledge that you’ll be able to discard the junk and redraw back to 6 whenever you need to do so, while potentially forcing your opponent to discard something they’d rather keep at the same time.

Which Keyword Models (Outside of the Master) Are The MVP and the LVP?
            MVP McTavish – simply won me sooo many games
            LVP Swamp Gator – He’s literally there to 1st turn disrupt, draw fire, just annoy my           opponent

Ed: Since he's a model that comes in the boxed set, I asked Rob about Bad Juju, and his thoughts fall in the same lane as mine. For a 9 point tanky-beater, Df 3 is simply unacceptable. No amount of Hard to Wound, Regeneration, or the Demise ability will save him. Just not worth the points, which is a crying shame for fans of the model and/or Swamp Thing. 

Are There Versatile Models and/or Upgrades You Take Routinely and, if so, why?
            Inhuman Reflexes – MORE BUTTERFLY JUMP

What was the biggest thing you learned after mastering this crew that you didn’t know when you started learning it?
            The power of Inhuman Reflexes on McTavish, make my murder machine more     survivable or get him closer to his prey.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

How to Play: Lucas Mccabe Relic Hunter by guest bloggist....Me!

Hobby Update: I’ve been working to expand my pool of 10T models, so I’ve been building a lot of stuff recently. Namely, I put together the Born Every Minute boxed set, some Charm Warders, and some odd Yan Lo bits and bobs. I’m pleased to announce that I have joined the Yan Lo’s beard club, having put it in place without issue. Of course, I then lost the bow off of the back of Chiaki’s head, so maybe I shouldn’t brag too much…

Additionally, I’ve basecoated some monks for the Shenlong crew, and got the master up to tabletop level (aka, about as good as I can do.) I discovered my one Wandering River Monk is not attached to his leg, and the base is missing also, so that sucks balls. For the time being, they’re probably an anti-Outcasts pick more than anything else.

Malifaux in the Media: If you have Spotify, there is an amazing playlist called “Southern Gothic” you can find by following the link. If you’re looking to get a mix of that deep-south, spooky, romantic music to put you in the headspace of the Bayou or the Badlands, there’s a lot of good stuff to be found there. Check it out!


I've really liked McCabe since the testing of M3E, and he's actually a big part of what flipped me to 10T at the end of 2nd Edition as well. He's just always been such a flexible, fast master who can switch from point-guard to shooter in a blink. On the other hand, he's not in the Guild anymore and some of his mechanics are very different, so how's he doing in 3rd? Well, if you listen to Malifaux podcasts of any variety, you probably know the answer is "very well." But let's dig in a bit deeper, and take a closer look at how to play 

Lucas McCabe Relic Hunter

How Does the Crew Work? 

            McCabe and the Wastrels are a very mobile crew who excel in objective based missions like Plant Explosives or Cursed Idols. McCabe himself dishes out a frankly ridiculous number of passive TN duels to avoid damage as he tramples his way through melee combat, due to his Make Way ability and the built in Rear Up trigger on his melee attack. As such, his relatively low damage track on melee attacks can be a bit misleading, as any attack has the potential to do 4 extra damage from the two duels the opponent faces. Perhaps more importantly, this can serve as hand pressure to force cards into play. Keeping him at range isn’t much better, as his net gun has the ability to spread Slow and Staggered with blasts. A very viable opening gambit in games, depending on how the opponent sets up, is to blast McCabe forward and throw a wrench in the gears of the opponent’s crew before they have a chance to get rolling. Part of what helps with that is the free “Ride With Me” action that allows him to push 5” and bring a model of sz 2 or less along with him.  
            The gimmick of the Wastrel keyword (well, other than getting focus when everybody but McCabe takes a walk and drawing a card if they start their activation next to a corpse or scrap marker) are the artifacts. There are 3 of them: the sword, the mirror, and the mask. You get one when McCabe or Luna performs a specific looting action that discards a corpse or scrap marker. Once you have them, they add bonuses to the model who is carrying them and gives them a Free action to toss it to another Minion or Wastrel (McCabe can do it with a built in trigger on the action.) The blade lets you ignore defense tech, per usual. The others provide a pair of utility abilities to leech health out of nearby models or draw some extra cards, but the most important part of the Artifact upgrades is the fact that they give a model Fast when they attach. As such, a standard set-up involves the crew standing in a cluster near a scrap marker provided by Luna’s action to generate one and/or the trigger on the Hucksters’ false claims. You get to draw cards from the scrap marker, then Luna turns the scrap into an Artifact and tosses it to one of the other Wastrels (or minions) to give them fast. Then, when they activate, they pass it along to another one, and then another, and so on and so forth. Ideally, you would be able to hand out fast to the whole crew in this way, but more likely you’ll have to peel off and start moving to counter the opponent before you get it done (for instance, sending McCabe off to go shoot nets.) Either way, the keyword has tons of early speed, mobility, and a dash of card draw.

How Has the Crew/Keyword Changed Since M2E?

            Trinkets (or Artifacts, as they're now known) are much less of a “focus” of the Wastrel crew than M2E. They’re good, and the Fast they give out is very clutch, but honestly you’ll probably be doing most of the artifact stuff turn 1 and only infrequently after that, as opposed to the standard Black Flash-Sword shenanigans of the prior edition. Additionally, he’s not in the Guild anymore, and a lot of what will eventually be a part of his hiring pool is going to be in the forthcoming Explorer’s faction. As such, McCabe leans a lot on versatile models. Thankfully, Ten Thunders have a lot of good options.  

Who are the Key Pieces in the Keyword, and What Are Their Roles?

            The rest of the keyword varies from model to model. The new boxed set, One Born Every Minute, has the most bang per buck of the crew in general. The new Henchman Desper Laraux and the new minions, Hucksters, are insanely mobile. Additionally, the Hucksters have the “False Claim” action, allowing them to drop a pair of scheme markers (or a scheme marker and a scrap marker) for 1 AP, making them one of the most viable ways to complete schemes like Harness Ley Lines or Search the Ruins that require dumping lots of markers in one place. Between those models and McCabe’s personal mobility, scheme running is a snap for the Wastrels. The Ruffians are…forgettable, but as cheap models go they have some interesting mobility tricks themselves with Chain Gang, and if nothing else they can throw down scheme markers to be removed for False Claim.

Rate the Keyword on the Following Criteria from 0-14 (feel free to comment if necessary)


-Killing Power (8, MODERATE)

              McCabe can do a surprising amount of damage with his ride through shenanigans, but he struggles against Armor and is much better at spreading damage around than he is taking on individual hard targets. Sidir Alchibal is a reasonably good beater with Ruthless and a good ranged attack, and his Blow it to Hell can clear Ice Pillars or Titania’s terrain markers, but for the most part they’re going to rely on Versatile models for killing.

-Survivability (8, MODERATE)

            The main defensive strength of Hucksters and Desper are simply not being anywhere the enemy can get at them. McCabe is a big sack of wounds to cut through, though he’s vulnerable to enemy models that negate his demise ability. If you’re really worried about beefing McCabe up, you can give him the Phantasmal Mask for a little healing or buy Silent Protector, which effectively gives McCabe 3 Hard to Kill thresholds (1 before the horse dies, one when the horse dies, then one for Dismounted McCabe.

-Scheming/Manueverability (14, Red Joker)

            I struggle to think of crews that do this better. Harness Ley Lines is avoided by many top players due to the AP costs/difficulty in spreading the markers around. With a little help, a Huckster can do this on its own in one activation. I’ve wanted to play Seamus ever since he gained Back Alley/Secret Passages, and having scheme runners who can do that for you is just as tasty. Desper is even more mobility, and McCabe can be wherever you need him to be. So, so good.

-Card Manipulation (5 out 14)

            There’s only really two forms of this in keyword: standing next to corpse/scrap and the Faded Mirror’s drawing one card per turn. The former takes some set up and is only really reliable turn 1. The latter requires you to have fewer cards than the opponent and, let’s face it, it’s just one card.

Which Keyword Models (Outside of the Master) Are The MVP and the LVP?

             It’s gotta be Hucksters. They’re game changers. They’re one of the models I think are worth the +1 out of keyword cost. They’re game changers.
            Ruffians, on the other hand, are not good. Chain Gang has some potential as a mobility action, but the crew already has better versions of that. Otherwise they’re squishy, don’t hit that hard, and don’t offer anything interesting for schemes or killing. Being Ruthless might make them situationally interesting, but overall I’m not going to be using them much (and that’s unfortunate, as I like their sculpts a lot.

Are There Versatile Models and/or Upgrades You Take Routinely?

            Anything that is a Minion has potential to be boosted by working with McCabe. The Dawn Serpent is a popular expensive minion beater that can get scary with some artifacts to boost him up. I have a favorite build where I pair Sidir with a Samurai to create a nasty firebase (it’s expensive and maybe not that optimal, but it pleases me and the Samurai can get Focused as a Free Action to benefit from Know the Warrior.) One popular crew I’ve seen mentioned a couple of times is the 2 Dragon list where you bring the Shadow Emissary and the Dawn Serpent, as the Emissary is just a very good all-around model and can compensate for some of the crew’s card deficiencies with its Free Action. Additionally, I haven’t had a chance to try her out personally, but I love the idea of including the Versatile Minako Rei and using the crew’s ability to generate scrap to summon Katashiro for some more disposable scheme running/booting Corrupted Idols upfield.