|Judge me next, boss mommy.
|Judge me next, boss mommy.
I’ve been looking at Guild more, recently. If nothing else, they’re considered to be on the lower end of the totem pole power wise, so at least I won’t be coming in last while playing broken crews. Moreover, if there’s a definitive hole in my swing when it comes to general Malifaux play, it’s in the killing/combat part of the game. I don’t have a good feel for what it takes to kill a particular model in any situation, so I need to practice that. And the Guild are combat focused, so that seems like a good place to start.
Speaking of starting, I thought I would start by looking back to where I started in Malifaux, with Perdita and the Family crew. Her new title, Nephilim Hunter, gives her the ability to summon the low cost Ortega minions. Normally this wouldn’t be something to get excited over, as the Pistoleros are, well, not great. That’s being generous, frankly. The summoning upgrade she attaches gives them a +1 to their duels when they’re within 2” of another family model, which lets them reach the lofty heights of “average”. They’re not good models at all, and like many people in the Malifaux community, I wrote this new Perdita off the first time I saw it. Something stuck with me, though. I’ve always wanted to play the Ortegas. They were the first crew I ever bought. The family of gunslinging monster hunters is very cool thematically, and I wanted to get them back out. So I kept thinking about it, turning it over in my head, until it finally clicked for me.
I was sitting in the bleachers at my step-daughter’s volleyball game, waiting for them to warm up, when I read and saw that they get to add in a suit to their duels also. Huh, so that meant they had built in triggers. That might be cool, so let’s look at the triggers. Which is, of course, when I realized that the triggers on the Pistoleros’ attacks, Grudge, puts out Adversary: Family. Now that was interesting. Some cheap, disposable models to throw adversary at the enemy (or at least force some cheating to create hand pressure). Plus, the Family can be pretty squishy, so adding some more ablative wounds to screen and protect the important ones is a good thing. The summoning upgrades feel like a little bit of a double edged blessing, and I’m going to have to do some fiddling to understand the best way to employ them. They’re unique, so you have to put them in the right places at the right time. Ironically, if you have one whose effect when they come into play (removing scheme markers, ending a condition, etc.) are particularly useful, the smart thing for an opponent to do would be to leave the Pistolero alive so you can’t resummon it. That’s a little bit funky and I’ll have to see it in action before I know if it’s a real problem or just one I’ve made up in my head. And they always have Reckles to get a cheap, Fast model. So there’s potential there. I’m guessing you might get them up to grow into a Monster Hunter maybe once in five games at best, so I won’t be counting on that, but if you can get one their stat lines will be pretty impressive with the built in +1s.
Dita herself shifts gears from killer to leader in this incarnation. The 6” bubble the Ortegas usually want to sit in will have her stationed in the middle to take the most of her Head of the Ortegas ability. Man of the clan have the “Ortega Family Values” trigger on one or more of their attacks, allowing another family member to either draw a card or concentrate. Dita changes this from a choice to getting both bonuses. Moreover, every Ortega has A Por El, which lets you discard a card to let a lower cost Ortega take an action out of turn. If that is a concentrate action and you’re within 6” or Perdita, that’s another card drawn. That’s potentially a lot of card cycling, and I’m very intrigued by that. I think that she’ll spend most of her AP summoning and doing her Trick Shot action to push models, hand out stunned to enemies, and trigger more Family Values. Her gun doesn’t have Critical Strike anymore, so you have just the 2/4/5 damage track of most Ortegas, which isn’t impressive but will do in a pinch. And she’s got a 12” pulse that doesn’t require LoS to hand out shielded, again helping to shore up some of the squishiness. Likely she and Francisco will have Lead Lined Coat (though I’m curious to see if it would be better elsewhere, since she won’t be needing to be in the thick of it) so they’ll be pretty resilient.
I don’t know if it’s actually any good or not, but having a tailored hand and some resilience seems like it would go a long way with this crew. Phiasco and I set up a game and played through turn one, and I drew/cycled about a dozen cards. I already have some parts of it where I think I can do better next time. There may be something there, and I’m tentatively optimistic. I’ll keep you updated with how it goes.
|76 zombies led the big parade, with 110 crooligans close at hand...
|Yeeeaahh, I'm gonna need you to build some more pylons.
|Rosie the Riveter ain't got shit on her.
|Don't you dare close your eyes. Because they'll stab you.
In lieu of some actual written content, I thought I'd share with you some pictures of my collection and some painting I've been doing recently. I have some half-baked thoughts on the title system that I'll muse on next weekend, but for now...pictures of half-competently painted models?
I set up a kind of diorama with all my models in a storage space, along with some terrain. They look like this. You can't really tell what they all are and it isn't terribly well lit but, well, there they are.
Of course, there's some more space to fill, but this is a fairly good representation of my collection so far.
Zooming in, here are a few things I painted recently. I'm working towards a Frontier keyword crew, so here's some shots of my Sandworm and a rough Rider.
I wanted to do the Rough Rider with some native warpaint on it. Hopefully it's not based on real patterns rather than movie garbage, but it's tough to sort the two out online. And of course I needed to do a Sandworm. You know, for reasons. The color is alright. The seams aren't. I've really gotta learn some greenstuff skills to patch those things in the future.
I also did these two Kentauroi when I thought I was going to give McMourning a try. I mostly wanted to try out GW's contrast paints. Results are...ok. They're a good way to quickly get some paint on something.
And last, just a shot of my pride and joy. Probably the best mini I've ever painted.
It's not a new model. I just like how it turned out.
Reveal season is continuing apace faster than I’m following along with them. Wyrd has done a really cool thing by integrating all the content creators in the process this time (and I’m really kicking myself for letting the blog lapse, as it would have been cool to participate). You can see what masters and models have been revealed here, which saves me the burden of having to comment on them all. Win/win. Potentially more importantly we’ve learned what product is coming at Gencon and what may be triggering some of these new faces our masters will be showing us in the future. The reason, quite simply, is that Malifaux is on fire.
|Such a rad cover design.
Well, maybe not literally, though one master from each of the factions may now have an active desire to change that fact. The Burning Man is coming back, you see, and some members of the Malifaux cast of characters are feeling a bit, hmm, let’s say inspired by his incendiary presence. Nellie Cochrane starts using her propaganda to inspire chaos rather than control. Reva is…well she’s still pretty much a crazy cult leader, but now she’s traded her horse for more burning focus. Kaeris trades her metal wings in for some straight up flames. Parker Barrows appears to be Undead and animated by flames, which is pretty rad. Misaki is fractured, which means…well I’m not sure. She looks older in the picture, I guess. No obvious burning going on there. Maxine’s luck in Malifaux has apparently not changed, as she looks to be pretty mad now and has the keyword Monomaniacal. Euripides looks potentially even more violent. And Ulix is riding a flaming pig steed. It’ll be interesting to see these things in play, but I’m already absolutely in love with this idea thematically. The only way it would be cooler would be if they seceded from their old factions and formed a new one together, but that would be pretty tough to do from a game stand-point. From my perspective, I’m excited about the return of the “Some kind of big event happened in Malifaux, here’s how all our characters are dealing with it” storytelling style of the good old days. You remember don’t you? Back when a meteor fell out of the sky and gave everybody avatar powers? Ah, good times. Good times. It’s one of the most defining characteristics of this game (lore driving mechanics) and a very welcome return. Also, kudos to not going the obvious route and having Sonnia Criid inspired by the Burning Man since, you know, she’s already into fire and stuff. Then again, the BM (ooo, that’s an unfortunate acronym) is at least 50% Cherufe, who already possessed her once. Maybe this is an awkward ex situation? Or maybe Sonnia’s busy on earth and, for once, not in the wrong place at the right time?
With the article, we received another reveal of how all these models are going to be sold to us. After all, there are quite a few masters in Malifaux, and releasing a new package for each of them would be quite a lot of SKU bloat for stores, something that Wyrd specifically was trying to avoid with M3E. The reason for this may not be obvious to folks who don’t have a background in store operations or supply chains, but every piece of inventory you keep on a shelf is an opportunity cost the store incurs for the entire time its there. Modern retail is built on the idea of “just-in-time” supply lines (for better or worse) and, to maximize profit, its best for a game store to avoid taking up shelf space with tons of items for the same game. And, frankly, we can all think of a model that we always find hanging on the shelf for years, costing the store owners money. So, Wyrd has an incentive to cut down the number of boxes they’re going to be putting out.
If you’ve been paying attention to the releases (you have, haven’t you?) you’ll notice each of the masters has a new model that shares a keyword with it and a different master. This is not a coincidence. The retail model for these is to sell a boxed set that contains 2 of the new masters as well as the new model they share. Now, this means you’ll have to buy a new master for a faction you potentially don’t play when you buy your new one. In some ways, this is a stroke of genius, because it lets you have a free sampling of this new faction which could maybe lead to players branching out, trying new factions, and eventually buying more models (which is of course the goal.) This does, however, lead to you paying for a model you potentially don’t want, which could leave a sour taste in some players’ mouths. I anticipate the trade forums and ebay lighting up with a lot of individual masters for sale in the weeks after each of these box sets comes out, but I think it’s a clever marketing move all the same. The individual bit sellers are going to make a killing.
As an example, Reva and Kaeris are going to be sold together in a boxed set called “Embrace the Ember” along with their new friend, Deacon Hillcrest, who we’re told is analogous to one of the Cult’s Doomseekers in ToS. I don’t know much about Kaeris so I won’t weigh in on her, but I’ll chat a bit about Reva. Since she’s got no horse, her move has dropped significantly to 5. In exchange, she’s gained a better ability to manipulate Burning. I know when I have played Reva, I’ve typically had only one of the corpse candles alive at any given point outside the first turn, as I’m usually blowing them up or using them for various purposes. Luminary Reva, on the other hand, can kill a Revenant model within 2” of her to reduce the damage of any attack on her to 0. That’s some serious damage reduction, and a good reason to keep at least one if not both near her at all times. She can heal or damage a model for 1 the first time they gain a point of burning during an activation. She has a free action to concentrate Burning from several models down to one single model, which I imagine will often be followed by her Immolate attack, which makes you reduce the burning from a model to 0 and then take damage for each point of burning taken off. Oh yeah, and if that kills you, her built in trigger lets you summon a Lampad out of them. And she can push a Pyre maker 4” and use a crow trigger to place two friendly models in B2B with it after the push. That would be cooler if it weren’t a trigger, but could provide some interesting mobility tricks to her and/or her crew. Also I guess the pyre markers do damage if they pass through someone during the push, but 2 damage after a failed TN 12 MV duel isn’t exactly what I’d call “reliable.”
Her new firebrand preacher (tehe) is a 7 stone enforcer who loves him some Burning, both having it and spreading it. Fittingly for a CotBM looney, he has a WP of 4 which makes him pretty vulnerable to attacks from that avenue and a DF of 5 which is nothing to write home about. He can offset this somewhat, however, through Manipulative, the Revenant ability to gain Shield along with Burning, and Blaze of Glory, the Wildfire keyword ability to trade points of Burning for positive flips. Dude’s gonna set up shop in a pyre marker and never leave, is what I’m saying. His melee attack (why are you in melee range of him, he’s standing in a bloody pyre marker?!?) and his ranged attacks do pretty forgettable damage, but give Burning to the target. Translocation ritual is a more utility oriented attack action that lets him teleport people to within 1” of a pyre marker and within 6” of where they start (some of that classic Cult flavor). And he has a self-heal that, you guessed it, gives him Burning. Oh, right, and enemy models can’t reduce their Burning value within 6” of him.
I think Deacon is maybe not that necessary for Kaeris and her crew (who I don’t think really struggle to put out Burning), is going to be a utility player for classic Reva, but will be absolutely required for Luminary Reva. One of the oddities of the Revenant keyword is that it interacts with Burning but doesn’t have many ways to directly put it on the enemy. Deacon fixes that, which is why it’s troubling that he seems a bit fragile at first blush. I always have a hard time parsing out how effective defensive tech will be, so I’ll have to see him on the tabletop to know if he’s going to stick around for the game. You can, of course, dedicate a Shieldbearer to protect him, but that’s now 13 stones you’ve dedicated to spreading Burning around the crew, which may not be the most efficient thing ever. Of course, later on Reva may have some summoned Lampads to take over the job, so it may be alright if he burns out early. New Reva is interesting to me. She’s perhaps a bit more suited to defensive games than her mounted version since she loses so much speed. At first blush I like the classic version a bit more, but I do like the idea of spreading more and more flame around the battlefield. With all the movement tricks these new masters have, restricting that movement with pyre markers may be quite useful. Also, I’m itchy to paint that lamp in her hand with some green flame (points at the banner at the top of the blog.)
And for those keeping count, that’s 19 uses of the words Burn or Burning in the article. Hot girl summer, indeed.
We continue with our trip through the new title system taking a look at a couple of new nocturnal themed masters (who, again, were summoners who now don’t really summon).
And yes, I know titling my post about Dreamer with a line from Enter Sandman is hacky. You know what? I don’t need your negativity. It’s the 30 year anniversary of the Black Album this year, so shut up internal monologue critic.
Dreamer has been one of the masters who changed the most from original concept to final execution. Anybody else remember the 1e version that started with the whole crew buried and only Dreamer on the board? I do! In M2E he transitioned to being a summoner, and after M3E he added an element of clockwork orange street hooligan. Don’t judge him, if fish monsters suddenly fell out of the sky in your hometown and started eating your neighbors and your dad, you’d probably have some trauma to deal with as well. He’s gone from mythical figure to enforcer of the Neverborn after the coup that supplanted Lillith, and Nytmare (his Tyrant buddy) has also started branching out to invading and influencing the conflict on Earth (I see you, Sandmen.) So they’ve come a long way together, but Dreamer is now learning that sometimes that has a cost…
The OG Dreamer is a standard summoner in the early M3E tradition (IE cost 10M+ the value of the minion(s). It's worth keeping in mind that he is one of the few allowed to summon multiple models with his action, which isn’t nothing). His summoning upgrade gives the model Stunned and Buries it, but doesn’t impose any damage or other negative consequences on it. While buried, these summoned models are able to Unbury adjacent to an enemy model that fails a WP duel, a nice bit of flavor that also lets your summons appear theoretically anywhere an enemy model is sitting on the board. Beyond that, he can support his new nightmare friends by a free action to hand out Shielded and a small push to models in an aura around him and can apply Adversary to an enemy model and Focused to a friendly model at ranged, ensuring that a bad time is likely about to be had in that vicinity (also potentially triggering a model to Unbury, given that it attacks WP.) The front of his card consists primarily of defensive tech, as Dreamer is Incorporeal, blocks free actions, can pass attacks off on nearby nightmares, and also has Serene Countenance. His defensive stats are ok but not great, and he has only 7 wounds, so this makes sense, as he would be very brittle without all those abilities. His only other ability is Vivid Nightmares, which makes no sense if all you look at is his card. It forces you to select half of the cards you’ve removed from the game and put them into his discard pile during the Start phase. That wouldn’t make much sense unless you pair it with the Nightmare keyword ability, Lucid Dreams, as this allows any of the other Nightmare models to spend their Free action to reveal 3 cards from the top of the deck, pick one to remove from the game, and discard the other 2. In doing so, the crew gains the ability to stack their deck or set things up for Stitched Together shenanigans. Assuming you aren’t doing the latter, you’ll probably favor taking low cards out to stack the overall probability of having good flips.
New Dreamer is having some trouble getting restful sleep (getting older is tough, kiddo, let me tell you) and is titled “Insomniac”. His new rules for this iteration are…odd. He’s actually slightly more vulnerable despite going up to 10 wounds, as he isn’t incorporeal anymore and isn’t Protected. On the other hand, any time there’s 5 cards removed from the game you can bury him and swap his control hand with those buried cards (meaning you now want to remove high cards with Lucid Dreaming instead). You then start discarding 2 cards that have been removed from the game at the start of every friendly activation until there are no more cards removed, at which point he unburies within 2” of any nightmare. This potentially gives him some significant mobility, since I think the optimum way to play him will be similar to how one runs Zoraida, ie cheating far more aggressively than you would in other crews until your hand is empty, then swapping the dreck you have left for the (presumably) good cards you’ve been removing via Lucid Dreams. I assume you can pull off the bury every turn in this manner and swap your hand out while doing it, which is pretty solid. The back of his card doesn’t immediately inspire me, however. A 10” Slow and Adversary is pretty good, but it only does damage on a trigger and even then, it isn’t very much. Peer Into Dreams is an attack Wyrd highlighted in the reveal, and it is very unique in that there aren’t mechanisms to remove cards out of your opponent’s deck from the game elsewhere in Malifaux. I’m suspicious, however, that this is going to be more a “feels bad” for the opponent than something that causes actual damage in the game. It’s stat 5 versus WP, which is mediocre. A 10” range is decent, but still probably leaves Dreamer vulnerable to counterattack unless you can get him buried. And it doesn’t do anything that can score you VPs directly. The trigger abilities are potentially stronger, letting you remove the card from the opponent’s hand or allowing you to summon Lord Chompy Bits next to the target. The summon requires you to target a non-minion, though, which increases the likelihood the action will fail. I think it’s one of those abilities that jumps out at you when you see it, but will hose you if you try to build your gameplan around it. Lead Nightmares lets you push a model 3” and has an odd sort of trigger to let you Bury-Hop your model onto an enemy within 2” at the end of the move. It is potentially disruptive and could help you hide a model, but you’re letting your opponent control when your model unburies, which always makes me unhappy. And Waking Nightmare is a 4” scheme marker drop as a bonus action. Good, but not a reason to play this model.
I’m gonna be honest, I don’t get Insomniac Dreamer. It’s going to be hard for the opponent to pin his crew down, and the potential to blink in and out will help to offset how fragile the rest of his Keyword can be. I don’t feel like Peer Into Dreams is going to work as well as people want it to work, or at least not as consistently, and outside of that he’s a good support master but not great. Put that up against the previous Summoning iteration and, well, let’s just say I have a strong feeling which will be on tables more frequently. I could be wrong, and likely am. But if you’ll pardon the pun, I think it’s safe to sleep on this master.
Von Schtook is another master who has felt the nerf bat’s sting, particularly recently. Well, his Undergraduates may have gotten it worse than him, but what’re you gonna do? The life of an academic certainly has its challenges. Apparently Anna Lovelace’s influence has inspired the good Professor to come up out of the sewer from time to time and indulge his hobby…which is astronomy? Weird, but I guess it takes all kinds to run the world. Or reanimate it. Whatever, let’s just get on to the reviews.
Trying to compete with original Von Schtook is gonna be an uphill fight, as I think he’s one of the better all-around masters in the game even after the last Errata. Plus he looks like he’d be played by current day Mark Hamill, which is worth a lot of points in my book. Front of card he has an ability to shut off upgrades on enemy models within 6” of him, which is already pretty good. He has a built in trigger to reduce damage he takes on attacks when the opponent doesn’t declare a trigger. He can scheme off of his crew killing enemy models with 10” of him. He can’t be stunned. All pretty solid. His Gruesome Lecture attack does “ok” damage, but more importantly gives you the potential to hand out Injured with a Blast (though at least they took the blast off of his weak damage to reduce the abuse somewhat.) Administrative Review gives him some offensive and/or defensive condition removal. His Peer Review is a unique summoning mechanic wherein he attaches an upgrade to a friendly model which allows them to summon a new minion of equal or lesser cost when they kill an enemy. It's funky in practice and can feel at times like a "win more" ability, but he can spread the upgrades out over the course of the game and potentially get a nice bonus to doing what the crew wants to do anyways, kill enemy models. He can do some more scheming with Grade Assignment. Really, other than not being terribly mobile, he’s good at most things you want a master to do in Malifaux.
Stargazer Von Schtook still has a lot of crew enhancement paired with some damage and negative conditions, but in a somewhat different toolbox. He picked up Hard to Wound somewhere along the line (I guess you spend enough time around dead folks and it’s bound to happen eventually.) Head in the Clouds is a deceptively important ability, as the Resurrectionist faction tends to have pretty low willpower across the board, so imposing a – on attacks that target WP in an aura around him could be huge in certain match-ups. His Lessons Learned ability is interesting and unique as well, as it grants a + to all duels in a model’s activation after it fails a duel. This suggests to me intentionally cheating down some kind of throw-away free action with a TN to give yourself a + to all your attacks in a turn, which is interesting. He’s still got the keyword ability so crazy card drawing is possible, though his attacks don’t have the multiple built-in suits anymore to truly enable it. Speaking of attacks, one of them involves a zombie with a telescope in place of its head. So, that’s a thing. I've got to question whether that’s really an effective mount for a telescope. Sure, it has mobility advantages, but you need them to be steady to bring things into proper focus…you know what? I’m off topic. The 1/3/4 damage spread + stunned is fairly meh, but if you target someone who is already stunned it ratchets up to 3/5/6. That’s pretty nasty. There’s also a fairly amusing trigger called Protect Me that summons a Mindless Zombie into b2b with the target of the attack and makes it so no enemy attack actions can target Von Schtook until the MZ is killed. He can make enemy models insignificant as a Free Action, which is potentially quite strong. And then there’s the actual Astronomy bits. His Study of Anatomy attack lets him resolve a number of different effects on targets based on their creature type, ranging from condition removal to damage to healing. It’s very situational, which would normally be a problem except for the ability I skipped on the front of his card, Shade of Delios, which allows friendly Transmortis models to treat enemies within 3” of a scheme marker as having any traits they want. How do we get the scheme markers into place you say? Why, by using his Light of Illios attack action, that lets him drop a scheme marker within 6” of him that triggers a Shockwave which can potentially hurt enemies (though it only requires a TN 11 WP duel, so don’t count on it) and heal friendly models. The combination of these two abilities (named for Malifaux’s 2 moons btw #loreflex) mean that Von Schtook’s Study of Anatomy ability can actually do any of the options listed, which gives a lot of flexibility and is generally cool and good. Plus Delios lets the Students to pretend that they killed the right type of model to trigger their specific abilities, which is gravy. Not necessary per say, but who doesn’t like a little gravy from time to time?
I like Stargazer Von Schtook, and I like the OG version too. I honestly don’t know which is better in what situations, though, as they’re both kind of generalists. OG is better at range, where Stargazer can potentially do some damage up close, I guess. The Injured blasts were pretty sweet, but now that he doesn’t blast on weak not quite as devastating as they used to be. I don’t know. This may come down to personal preference/playstyle. Stargazer feels pretty viable, though, so I’ll expect to see him get some run, as the whole Transmortis keyword is just so good that it may not really matter who is leading them.