Showing posts with label Outcasts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Outcasts. Show all posts

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. 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Ripples of Fate Preview: Paker Barrows

I’m gonna be honest with you: I thought I had written this already. I remember doing the research, hunting down the links and what-not. I guess I just didn’t write the damned thing. Anyways, let’s take a look at this week’s preview: Parker Barrows.
With a name that alludes to some historical bandits (who would have been children in the current time-frame of Malifaux, so probably not a direct link,) Parker is an Outcast master who seems to reverse the trend of the faction to get progressively weirder and weirder over time. He appears to be a living human being, not someone possessed by a tyrant, a spirit of vengeance, or an old necromancer who is progressively dying and resurrecting repeatedly every, just a Bandit (his new trait, as has been the trend in Ripples of Fate.) In a way I’m a little bummed by this, as I don’t play Outcasts but really like the Wild West tropes of Malifaux, so Parker is sort of tempting in that regard.

Also, the sculpt render looks badass.

One presumes he’ll be a ranged master, as he is dual-wielding pistols in his art. 14 wounds is a pretty hefty chunk, but Defense and Willpower 6 and no other defensive abilities (that we know of, anyway) means Parker will probably not want to get up close and personal very often (gee, where will Outcasts come up with some melee threats to throw in with him?) He draws cards when he or another bandit kills people within 6” of him (you cycle a card if it’s not a bandit that does the killing.) Cache of 4 is a welcome change for Outcast masters, I’m sure, and he can generate more Soulstones in response to his discarding Upgrades he attached to himself. Oathkeeper? Sure, why not make that better. And, one could guess this means he’ll be cycling upgrades in a McCabe or Ophelia-ish way during the game itself to make more use of this. I think the most interesting part of the front of his card is A Fistful of Scrip (awesome ability name) which lets him discard up to 4 cards and replace enemy scheme markers with friendly ones around 4” of him. That is neat. Good luck getting Convict Labor or Detonate the Charges when Parker is around, and it fills in what can be a weakness for the Outcast faction in scheme marker focused games.

I dig the idea of a crew of bandits that steal your stuff during the game. I’ll probably not end up playing Parker much, but that’s more a result of my not having Outcasts than anything else. It also continues a trend of “Here’s something different” that we’ve seen with all the masters so far. Let’s look forward to seeing where this goes in the future for the Guild and Gremlins. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016


I had a few different topics I wanted to wander through that didn’t necessarily have the weight of a full-length post behind them, so I decided to lump some things together. The first subject comes from the Adepticon tournament having completed the previous weekend. The winner of the tournament put together a massive post (linked here) that explains his run-up to the victory and his general strategy in the tournament. He also puts out a call-to-action that Wyrd needs to take a look at the strategy he employed in his crew and do something about it, or this will be a problem for them in tournaments going forward.
Now, what does this crew do that is so powerful? It’s really just about using the ability to take the actions of Malifaux rats individually, then combine them into a rat king, then break down the rat king into a rat catcher and a rat. This chews up basically all of the actions of the opponent’s crews, letting you see what they’re doing and setting up the next phase, wherein Nix gives that remaining rat Haunting Memories to give it reactivate and then sacrifice it at the end of activation two, at which point Killjoy will be summoned. Typically, the result of this is that you have KJ in your deployment zone or attacking your critical models unopposed (because you’re in all likelihood activated out at this point, remember) while the rest of the Outcast crew moves to support him, typically in the form of some other critical alpha strike. The player in question would either slingshot the Victorias across the board, a move which has always been around but was very risky in the early turns because it typically left them exposed and vulnerable to counterattack, or used Leviticus and Ashes and Dust to cross quickly and cause disruptions. I think the cleanest example of this going the way it should comes from his battle report in the first round against Dan Johnsons of Before We Begin, where Nicodem starts the turn doing Nicodem things, and then gets killed at the end of turn 1. The phrase “I then killed the rest of his crew” coming in turns 2-3 against Resurrectionists isn’t something you see very often, and underscores the potential power of this setup.
Now, does this need to be shut down? Probably, but not for the reasons you’re thinking. I’m like you. The first time I heard about this I was thinking it was too strong and needed to be nerfed for competitive balance reasons, and maybe that’s true. If you go talk to Joel Henry (as I briefly did on Twitter) he’ll inform you that a ranged caster like a Sonnia or Rasputina can mess up the rat engine and that Pandora simply wrecks this crew. Ok, I don’t know enough to say whether that’s true, but even the person running the crew pointed out that an opposing Outcast crew built to deny charges can cause him trouble as well, so the combination of models is not unbeatable (as we all know nine belles and Leviticus is.) But why then do I think it needs to be nerfed?
The first is that this isn’t the game working as intended. Stalling through the first parts of the game to avoid the back-and-forth nature of the activations followed by a burst combo that knocks your opponent out and leaves them unable to respond are very anti-Malifaux. It’s not fun to play, and it’s really not fun to play against. Also, if the combo falls apart early and the crew gets overextended, you can find yourself in the opposite situation where now the matchup is slanted hard in the other direction and will likely be not a particularly fun game for either player. Is a boring crew enough to warrant an errata? Well, if you were around for M1E and were conscious of tournaments after the second book came out, you can probably recall not seeing Hamelin very often. Hamelin could do this sort of activation control every turn of the game (rather than just early) and was widely considered to be a negative play experience for this reason and was (rightly) shunned by the majority of the Malifaux world. Combine that with not being able to play even close to the whole game in a timed environment against an opponent that was running a Hamelin list, and it was a terrible option for a tournament that was largely ignored. This example doesn’t apply exactly to this situation, as running over time could often be as costly for the person playing the crew as their opponent, but it gets the point across that NO ONE WANTS TO PLAY AGAINST THIS, and often people don’t even want to use it either.
The other problem allows me to hearken back to one of the first gaming “this is unbalanced, we need to do something” situations I can remember: the Black Summer.

Settle in close, kids. Grandpa’s going to tell you a story.

Way back in the late 1900’s, there was a Magic: The Gathering deck that used a card called Necropotence to trade your life for card advantage. This combination wasn’t game breaking like the rats are being argued to be, but what it did do was let you vastly outdraw your opponent and speed them down in an early phase of the game when there weren’t practical ways to stop it with a normal deck. Decks could beat Necropotence, but they had to be specific decks like Turbo Stasis that could lock them down and keep them under control (which, ironically, is more like the rats, but I digress.) And that created the situation in the 1995 Magic: The Gathering known as The Black Summer, a period where to compete you had to either have the Necropotence deck or its counter, and nothing else could realistically win at the highest competitive levels.
Now, this isn’t quite that situation, but it has the potential to turn into that. I will be the first to admit that the Outcasts are one of the factions I know the least about, so I can’t comment from a position of authority whether this rat list is really The BestTM way to play them, but let’s say for the sake of argument that it is (the field at Adepticon appeared to think so, as most if not all of the top end players were running a form of it.) Now, let’s say the trend continues and competent Outcast players are all going to be running this because its objectively better than what else they could bring, AND you know that you have to tailor your list to beat it or it will just wreck you while leaving you no way to respond. You’ve brought, say, Hoffman because you like that list, but you know that a Victoria crew that gets to launch itself into you at the end of the first and can ignore the armor of your constructs will essentially leave you no chance to win. Are you now forced to change you crew around completely to give yourself a chance, say by switching to Sonnia to blast the rats and screw up the activations on the first turn? And if so, is that a good thing? To a degree, you do this every game when your opponent declares their faction (oh, they’re running Ressers? Better bring stuff with high minimum damage and willpower) so this isn’t a complete change. But, the difference is that bringing your standard crew rather than changing the list to react to your opponent against those Ressers means that you might have a somewhat tougher game and may have to work your way uphill to win the game. If you are unprepared for these rats, it appears you are most likely going to lose and be unable to stop it. That’s the difference here, and that’s where there’s reason for concern.
Again, this is not an unbeatable “win button.” Things can stop it, and not knowing what you’re doing while running it will still cause you to lose. However, the original poster made no bones about the fact that he doesn’t consider himself to be that good of a player, but the combination is too strong and needs to be addressed. I think something should probably be done, but I’ll let you draw your own conclusions. In any case, if your opponent is playing Outcasts, be aware that this exists and be ready. And, also, feel free to contribute to the discussion.


Second, I’m still thinking about things to do with the Wrath of Nature crew. Some models from outside the theme will be pretty helpful to include, I’m thinking, so I may have to loosen things up a bit. I think Mr. Graves could be pretty helpful in both phases of the game, largely due to his movement tricks. He could help with moving some models that aren’t that quick upfield early and then throw enemy models into the hazardous terrain later. It should be good times. And he’s a Nephilim, so why not work for Lillith? Also, Tuco might be useful to hold parts of the board away from the terrain ball, deploying with From The Shadows. Also, this would provide some ranged combat to a crew that effectively has none.
Here’s a picture or two of progress so far on painting and assembly.


Finally, there’s an announcement to make. My old buddy and Malifaux partner Jon has written a guest post for the blog to discuss his experience playing at Adepticon. I’ll be posting it soon. This opened up an idea for me to let others write for the blog from time to time as well. So, if you have something you’d like to get off your chest about Malifaux, can put a sentence together ledgibly, and want to see it published to literally dozens of readers, drop a line to and let me know. I’m happy to have you! 

Oh, and I finally put my order in to get my henchman "welcome package." It has a mystery box in it to give away if I can ever put a tournament together (ha ha.) But, the foil card they included for me was pretty nice...
It's like they packed it for me personally.