Sunday, December 25, 2011

Santiago Ortega Overview and Tactics

The eldest of the Ortega clan Santiago is a hot headed gunslinger who would rather shoot first then shoot some more rather than ask questions. Though the other members of his family may specialize in all forms of combat be it dueling, sniping or demolition. Santiago prefers to end all arguments with a bullet or two from his trusty peacebringers. Despite his hot headed nature no Guild agent will argue with Santiago's method of getting results.

When first looking at Santiago's stat line you notice his abilities almost make him identical to the Convict Gunslinger. Though initially he may seem "worse" due to his lower starting Cb of 5 and his average stats for a 7ss character his abilities make him a frightening proposition for your enemies to face.

Bulletproof 1:
This ability means that whenever Santiago takes damage from a ranged strike (gun icon) he gains armor 1, which reduces the damage by one to a minimum of one damage. Though this particular ability may not pop up as often unless you are facing another Guild player, any ability which mitigates damage is worth looking into.

Companion (Family):
The Companion ability allows models with the same key word (in this case Family) to activate simultaneously if they are within 6" of each other. Mind you that you can "chain" the Companion ability off other models so not everyone has to be within that initial 6". So if you space out your Family members you can cover a wide area to cover all your bases, it should also be noted that you DO NOT need line of sight to activate this ability.

If there are any groupings of models that can alpha strike it is the Ortega family, all of their members (minus the Latigos) can chain companion and activate all at once or in small strike force. This ability is extremely useful because it will allow you to activate two or more models on your activation before your enemy can react. This can lead to a lot of dead models quickly, the trick is not to overextend yourself and use this ability wisely. Otherwise you will be out activated and eliminated without a proper response.

Hard to Kill:
As long as Santiago has 2 or more wounds he cannot be killed by damage, instead it would reduce him to 1 wound and must be damaged again to die. It is important to note if Santiago takes wounds either by a spell or ability Hard to Kill will NOT activate and save his life. Also if he is "killed" via an effect Hard to Kill will also not help.

With that said this ability is great if your opponent does not have the resources to land an extra strike against Santiago. That one extra turn to live or that one extra activation it will cause your opponent to lose is always a life saver either to the rest of your models or for Santiago himself.

"Is That All You Got?!":
While Santiago is at 4 or less his wounds his Peacebringer strikes gain +2cb and an additional damage flip. This is the sole reason why some Guild players will purposely damage their own Santiago in order to get this massive bonus.

This is one of the abilities that makes Santiago different from the Convict Gunslinger, making him not only more accurate but also jumping up his damage potential. Along with "Wade In" this ability encourages a player to use Santiago aggressively and into the thickest of fights.

Whenever Santiago is targeted by a duel and he is the defender he automatically gets +2 Wp, which is interesting because it does not state ONLY in duels that use his Wp. Now this may seem like something trivial but you never know when you may need this.

If an opponent manages to get past Santiago's boosted 8 Wp it usually means they had to burn a high card to even compete. Since most Wp duels tend to be spells that means they will have to "play their hand" before you decide if you will cheat high or not.

Weapon, Peacebringer: Paired.
Not much to say here Santiago's weapons of choice are paired and come with a decent damage spread without applying any triggers.

Wade In:
While Santiago has 4 or less wounds remaining he gets an extra walk action in his activation. This is another effect that encourages Santiago to stay wounded during a battle, giving him an extra walk makes him extremely mobile as he gets into position.

I have even used this ability to attempt to "walk" out of combat after all if you fail it is a free effect. If you happen to succeed you can re-position Santiago to get a better fire lane, use Rapid Fire or Leadstorm.

Rapid Fire [Peacebringer]:
Discard a card and make three ranged strikes actions against a single target with your Peacebringers. Mind you this ability takes (2) actions to activate so you must either be in place before hand or have the target wander into range of your guns.

If you happen to have "Wade In" active you can simply make the free walk into range and proceed to send the target to the grave. With paired weapons there is not much that can escape Santiago's ranged strikes for long. On average you will get two very reliable hits on an enemy you may not even get to fire all three ranged strikes, but as long as you get rid of your target that is all that matters.

Critical Strike:
Whenever Santiago hits his target with his Peacebringers he gets an extra +1 Dg per Ram suited card in the total. Mind you that Santiago comes with a built in Rams suit on his Peacebringers so if he decides to use this trigger his minimum damage output is 3/4/6 on his weapon. If you actually manage to HIT with a Rams suited card the damage gets +2 making it a 4/5/7 damage flip.

Trigger Happy:
If you hit your enemy with a Masks suited card, after damaging your opponent automatically make a Peacebringer strike against the same model. This does not count as one of your ranged strikes so in essence it is a "free" attack. Also note that this ability can keep triggering as long as you hit with a Masks suited card.

One of my favorite triggers in the game the ability to continually whittle down your opponent even if it is minimum damage is nothing to scoff at. I will even purposely cheat "down" in order to make use of the Masks suited card for Trigger Happy to go off.

Shrug Off:
End one effect or remove a counter that is not a wound or something carried by this model per Rams suit in the total. This is only 0 action available to Santiago in addition unless you are attempting to mill your deck of low cards that may be coming you need at least a 6+ of Rams in order for this spell to go off.

This ability doesn't get much use but it is one of the few spells that is exclusive to Guild/Family members. If Santiago becomes target of a negative spell effect this is a great way to scrub it off.

Just A Flesh Wound:
Needing at least an 8+ Rams suited card Santiago can make a healing flip, this spell is great when Santiago is facing imminent death. Or when he is down to 1 wound he can make a healing flip in order to have Hard to Kill be active again.

If i decide to use this ability it is usually when Santiago is heavily wounded, I make sure to take my free walk via Wade In. Make a strike (if I fear i may lose the benefits of Is that All You Got?!) then cast this spell to heal Santiago.

This spell takes 2 actions and at least an 10+ of any suit to go off, it is considered a Ranged Strike spell so you cannot cast this if Santiago is engaged in combat. When it is cast all models within a pulse of 6" must test against their defense against the total or take 4 damage.

Another good option to use your Wade In by getting into the middle of enemy lines (but not engaged in melee) unleash this spell and watch your enemy either burn his entire hand or watch his guys take damage. Note since this is indiscriminate if any of YOUR models are in range they will also get hurt by this attack.

But the best thing about this spell is that because it is considered a Pulse it can go through walls and it can also go infinitely upward. So if you have an enemy who thinks he is safe behind a building or in terrain he is wrong. Also because it does not specifically "target" a model they will not gain the benefit of cover nor will you be at a negative when casting this spell. Though you may still have to randomize when that Pulse hits combat with multiple models (haven't cleared this up yet).

With that my review of Santiago and his abilities are done, I always refer to him as a Convict Gunslinger Plus. His damage output is higher due to Critical Strike but he also has a few tricks that make him distinctive and worthwhile addition to the force. When I play with Santiago sometimes I even bring out the Convict Gunslinger for back up. Though they are fishing for the same suited cards when going for Trigger Happy. I noticed that I tend to cycle through my deck so quickly that they manage to pop up again in the same turn.

The only place that the Convict Gunslinger has Santiago beat is when engaged in melee, if Santiago has a weakness it is if an enemy locks him up in melee. With a measly 3cb on his Peacebringer Blade you do not want him getting stuck in combat with anything remotely good at melee.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fresh to death. Tournament/Learning Experience with Nicodem

The sound of a lullaby was on the lips of the two "children" as they approached the well giggling and playing catch with the head of a villager. Pandora strode through her sorrows who spun around her and her cohorts like wisps of wind through fog. Their minds intent on finding more villagers to slaughter and to poison their water source and be rid of them once and for all.

Nicodem viewed the oncoming neverborn through the eyes of his trusty vulture who squawked their arrival before flying out to his master. The two villagers who accompanied Nicodem looked uneasily over their shoulders at their company. The night had obscured any details from his undead minions making the villagers suspicious about Nicodem's intentions but couldn't quite put their fingers on why. After all who was going to ask why this representative from the guild came to dig up the bodies of the dead to take them back to the morgue...

The mission was "poison the well" attacker has 4 crates they must use a 1 interact in order to "drop" poison into a well. Defender must make sure that happens scoring +1vp for every crate NOT in the well. Seeing as Nicodem is not quite the most mobile of masters I decided to defend the well.

Format of tournament: Accumulation
Limits: Fixed master, 13/25ss MUST come from the master's starter box.
Pandora 7ss
Babe Kade
Sorrow x3
Schemes: Hold Out and Kill Protege (Punk Zombie)


Nicodem 3ss
Desperate Mercenaries x2
Crooked Man
Punk Zombie x3
Schemes: Grudge (Baby Kade) and Frame For Murder (Crooked Man)

Whispers were carried through the air making both of the villagers nervous but to Nicodem they merely proved an annoyance as he scanned the horizon. As if on cue Pandora and her woes came strolling into view, their eyes showing a mixture of surprise and hate for the ressurectionist master. With a shriek the sorrows whirled around their wards working their foul magics on the minds of their enemies.

Both of the villagers angered by the sight of the neverborn charged recklessly towards them firing their pistols as they went. But soon that impetuous charge turned into a rout as one of the villagers ran away crying, blood pouring from her eyes and mouth. The second villager met a more grisly end at the hands of the child killer Baby Kade who even now was carving his initials in the dying villager to mark his kill.

With the simple orders of protect the well at all costs the punk zombies cordoned an avenue of attack for the neverborn. The Nippon born zombies began cutting into their flesh carving ancient rituals of power that sent the sorrows away in a gasp never to be seen again. Without their sorrows for once the malifaux natives looked unsure about the outcome of battle but they still had fight left in them.

Pandora and her woes redoubled their efforts, focusing her power in a single mental blast the last villager was filled with self loathing slitting her own throat and falling to the ground quite dead. Next the rotting miner was targeted by Pandora who dispelled the magics binding him to Nicodem's will, making him collapse in a ruined heap of rotten flesh and broken bones. Candy on the other hand was less successful, she was more focused on lugging around the crate full of poison rather than focusing on her foul magics.

With no witnesses around Nicodem casually waved his hand and the dead female villager rose to her feet like a marionette being pulled up by the strings. With a whisper from her master the freshly risen villager opened her mouth and a voice poured out "come here child it's mama... come here". For a moment candy fell for a spell and walked towards the female believing her to be a long lost mother she never knew. Dropping her crate to run faster candy went arms wide open towards the women not noticing an old mine shaft candy went head first into the ditch making a bloody mess of her porcelain face. If she regretted the decision it will never be known as a swift katana strike from a zombie sent what was left of her down the mine shaft in pieces.

Baby kade plotted his next move in a small copse of trees readying his butcher's knife he hid in his teddy bear. What he did not notice was the ground behind him belch forward an undead monstrosity made up of several human corpses. Soon the looming form of the flesh construct was over the kade's shoulder who slowly turned around. Putting his knife away quickly baby kade looked like a misplaced child "are you my daddy?" the killer said with practiced eased. For a moment the flesh construct stood still glancing down at this small misplaced child on the battlefield. With unnatural speed the behemoth swung his meat hook and caught kade right underneath the chin in one swift movement. A grin still on his face the flesh construct dragged the twitching corpse of the infamous baby kade along the ground looking for fresh prey.

With all her minions dead and their essence being used to fuel more of the ressurectionist's magics Pandora vowed revenge and vanished in into a green mist. Nicodem allowed himself a rare smile as he reached into his coat and retrieved his pocket clock.. "right on time..." he said to no one in particular as his minions gathered the dead and loaded them into the wagon.

Ressurs 8 vs Neverborn 0

I always worry when going against Pandora especially on how mobile she can be as she is sending my minions running for the hills. Winning the choice whether to be attacker or defender was a big deal as I could sit and camp around the well forcing 3 non insignificant models to come towards me. Pandora lacked her mobility because her pushes would of made her drop the crate she was carrying. Because she is such a "damage dealer" there were turns where she couldn't move far without lowering her offensive power.

On Nicodem Rigor Mortis is worth it's weight in gold, I cast it only once or twice in this game but it has proved useful in pinning a model and denying my opponent an activation. As the game grinds on I can usually out activate my opponent and see what they are doing way before I decide to commit my forces. Being a master of undead reanimator is a great spell since I can craft my crew pending on what I need at the moment. It will always give me the right tools for the job all I need is corpse counters and Nicodem is set.

Did I mention how much I love punk zombies? With bolster undead up paired katanas hit at cb 9! With a very good damage spread of 2/4/5 it is relatively easy to get the rot trigger off and do moderate damage. Though I have always used "Slice and Dice" to great effect my new favorite spell is "Self Mutilate". It gives the Punk Zombie a relatively far range and since it does wounds it bypasses armor the enemy may possess.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Nino Ortega Overview and Tactics

The youngest family member of Ortega clan is Nino (pronounced knee-nyo) Ortega feared for his infamous Repeating Rifle and his sharp eye. It is said whatever is in Nino's telescopic sights has mere seconds to immediately regret that decision. Nino is the premier hunter and sniper of Guild, wherever you see Guild presence you will see (or maybe you won't) Nino Ortega in a good field of fire covering his employers.

Nino is one of the few staple models that just about every Guild player has owned one way or another. His abilities craft him to be one long range killer whether it is through one deadly shot or a fusillade of bullets as he goes trigger happy on an enemy. This is all balanced by any enemy that gets near Nino will usually carve him up like a Thanksgiving turkey, so remember folks guard your Ninos! (see what I did there).

Looking over the stat card nothing jumps at you that would really catch your eye about a 7 soul stone model. His wounds are about average with like models of his soul stone cost but after moving onto his combat stats you notice the following: first a very pitiful Rifle Butt attack, if you EVER have to use this you are in real trouble! But then you notice his very impressive Repeating Rifle. With a stock CB of 7 a decent damage spread of 2/3/5 and it's long range of 16" you can understand why Nino is seen as a very potent long range threat.

Companion (Family):
As with most Family members Nino comes equipped with Companion (Family) this ability just like all other Companion abilities lets you activate models simultaneously. Where this ability differs rather why it is so powerful in the hands of the Ortega Family is because all of their Unique members have this ability. Which means most if not ALL of your force can activate performing the famed "alpha strike" against the enemy, if you so choose.

The hardest part about this ability for most people is gauging WHEN is the right time to unleash the fury of the Ortega Family on an enemy. At first some people tend to use all of their Ortegas at the same time, the problem is a double sided blade. On one hand you get free reign when attacking your enemies models. On the flip side once you are done with activations your opponent can dictate the flow of battle if you did not effectively cripple them.

This ability lets Nino "see" 6" into obscuring terrain features in addition he ignores the negative flip for firing into said terrain. It is quite a useful ability especially since his Repeating Rifle has an enormous range of 16". There are few places the enemy can hide from Nino with this ability though he still needs to worry about Blocking terrain or Obscuring Effects it does narrow down what he has to worry about when compared to other models.

Being a sniper means sometimes you must traverse difficult ground in order to get the best fields of fire. Thankfully with Scout Nino does not take any penalties for doing so, though he still take a movement penalty when Climbing he can traverse bogs and forests without a care in the world as he gets into position to lend some supporting fire.

Whenever Nino is a defender in a duel he automatically gains +2 WP, this ability is better than what the Death Marshals receive simply because it applies to ANY duel as long as Nino is defending. This is a staple on most of the Ortega Family members and for good reason, when facing Neverborn who use a lot of WP tricks it pays off to learn a thing or two.

Even if you aren't facing Neverborn there are a few crews that rely on WP spells in order to do work, with this ability you force your opponent to cheat high and/or burn a soul stone in order to make sure there is no way Nino can compete. Against most minions though they will probably not try and target Nino with many WP duels seeing as his Df is a lot lower. Though this will in no way effect the game at all the way it is written it can honestly be ANY duel even if it does not require you to use your WP trait.


If you manage to hit an enemy with a Crows suited card your opponent has two choices he can either discard 2 cards or soul stones (if the model has the use soul stone ability), if he does not the targeted model dies! This is a great Trigger to have namely because off the top of my head there are very few models with a "kill" ability and most of those are melee oriented. While Nino is still on the table the enemy is sure to always keep two cards in his hand to prevent this ability. Even if the enemy has the cards to throw away to prevent his model from dying you limit his options for later in the turn.

Because of Nino's high CB stat with his Repeating Rifle between this trigger and Trigger Happy having the right suited cards will always keep your opponent guessing. Even if it is not a high card due to Nino's CB just about ANY suited card will ensure a hit from the get go. Also it has been clarified with "kill" effects even if a model heals via "Slow to Die" or another like ability it would not matter due to the "kill" effect.

Trigger Happy:
When you hit an enemy with a Masks suited card, after damaging the defender Nino automatically makes another Repeating Rifle strike against the same target.This is the one of the reasons I keep around a Mask suited card in my hand even if it isn't that high. In most cases due to Nino's high CB on his Repeating Rifle your enemy will usually have to cheat first. After he is done cheating even if you are a negative for damage cheat with a mask to get "Trigger Happy" off, because two strikes at minimum of 2 damage a piece is better than one spotty shot.

One of the usual tricks that I pull on my opponents is attempting to draw out his cards in order to limit his future options or set up "my shot". This requires that you have two mid cards one of the Crows suit and another of the Masks suit. In a duel where you have to cheat first make sure you cheat with the Mask suited card in order to make your opponent think you want to get Trigger Happy off. Usually this will lead to your opponent cheating with a much higher card just to ensure that you will not get it off. Now with your second action you follow up by cheating with the Crows suited card in your hand. This means on average your opponent discards/uses a total of three cards in order to avoid getting killed or he is done for because he doesn't have enough cards to discard to ignore the kill effect.

In My Sights:
Needing an 8+ of any suit this spell can be cast against a target in it's range without a resist flip, it gives your Repeating Rifle strikes +2 Cb. Making his already formidable 7 Cb to an astounding 9 Cb, in most cases this number will be so high that most minions (and some masters) will not be able to dodge the attack without the use of high cards. If you are not casting this Spell on your target EVERY turn something must be going wrong or you cast his other 0 spells for good reason.

Shrug Off:
Needing a 6+ of any suit Nino can discard a counter or an effect on himself, if you use a Ram suited card you can discard/end two counters or effects. This Spell does not get used often unless the situation demands it, most often you will be casting "In My Sights" or "Where'd He Go?!" before this spell even gets considered. That does not mean this Spell is useless, far from it actually. Rather this Spell can do some very interesting things to help Nino in the long run, namely remove insignificant or knock off any other type of ill effects.

Where'd He Go?!
This Spell can be used to help Nino get out of trouble should the enemy come knocking at his door step... and trust me they will! Needing an 8+ of Masks this allows Nino to leave melee without fear of being locked down or worse attacked when disengaging from close combat. It should be noted that this Spell lasts until the end of Nino's NEXT activation so just in case the enemy tries to lock you down simply walk out from combat cast "In My Sights" and shoot the attacker in the face.

In closing Nino is one of my favorite minions to use, when I need some ranged support Nino Ortega is always on the top of the list. His ability to cover large areas of the board make the enemy think twice about charging straight into the teeth of the Guild gun line. Even if you are not planning to take him with any other Family members he is still a solid choice. Now if you DO happen to take him with Family his alpha strike capabilities increase and that is never a bad thing to have when you need it.

As always feel free to leave comments and criticisms so that I can update anything that I may have missed or that has been cleared up on the boards. I am also working on a small report for a tournament I went to over the weekend. Updates hopefully within a week!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Guild Austringer Overview and Tactics

The enemies of the Guild think they can hide from the long arm of the law, but they are wrong. For those that seek refuge in the shadows or foul magics they will be brought to justice either through sword, bullet or bayou raptor. Who knew that a hunting Raptor could flourish in the Malifaux environment as much as he does.

Guild Austringers are one of my favorite minions to play with, I will admit that when I first saw the stats for the model I wasn't that impressed looking at the damage being 1/3/4. But as time went on I noticed the whole sled full of abilities they bring to the table and the different type of Ranged Strikes they bring to Guild.

Looking over the Guild Austringer card all his stats look pretty basic for a 5 soul stone model but there are two things which stick out the most. With both a Willpower and Combat value of 7 it makes it one of the highest stats for such a low cost model. Though his damage output isn't great you will see that his opponents most often have to cheat first regardless of what the Austringer flips. This consistency means that even if it is a wound at a time the Austringer WILL get the job done one way or another.

In addition a Willpower of 7 is nothing to be scoffed out, there are many factions out there that focus solely on Willpower duels to do their dirty work. With a Willpower of 7 means most tests can be passed with a flip of a 5 or a 6. If you happen to have a Governors Proxy around this Willpower goes through the roof with a 9! Out of all the minions available to Guild the Austringer has the easiest time passing Morale/Willpower duels due to his natural high stat.

Bayou Raptor:
This ability gives the Austringer a bonus to attack and damage flips when you are facing Gremlins or Silurids. Pending on your local store this ability may or may not be useful at all I see it as more of a bonus more than anything. But when you do get to use this ability it makes the Austringer THAT much more useful.

This weapon can ignore cover modifiers and line of sight. This is the Austringer's "bread and butter" as they call it. No matter where your opponent tries to hide they will not gain ANY benefit from it. If you are within 12" there is no way to hide from his attacks because it ignores modifiers the Austringer does not take the penalty for shooting into obscuring terrain OR obscuring effects.

Think of this ability as "hunter plus" except better since it's bonus does is not strictly against enemies hiding in obscuring terrain. With this weapon you can can attack models that are in obscuring effects also, this ability is so rare you can count the amount of models that have it on one hand. You can safely park the Austringer behind a wall or building that makes the enemy have to take detours to get to him, all the while you can spam out those Raptor strikes.

Critical Strike [Raptor]:
This trigger gives the Austringer +1 DG when he hits with a Rams suited card. Though he does not have a Rams suit on his Raptor this ability actually comes up fairly often. With the incredibly high CB of 7 even low Ram suited cards means you have a chance to get this off consistently. With Critical Strike you make his Raptor strikes a little bit beefier to a 2/4/5 damage flip.

When you hit with a Mask suited card you can trigger this ability, instead of doing damage you put the opponents top three cards from his discard pile onto the top of their deck in any order. This of course is one of those triggers that depends heavily on the situation. If your opponent has been tossing out low cards this puts them back into his deck forcing him to cheat when it may become important.

I have to admit when I first saw this ability I did not think much of it, yes it does have its uses though limited. If your opponent is out of cards you can set up a nasty strike by having the Austringer get his Distract trigger before another minion or even your master finishes the job. It does no damage but with some proper planning it can be used to give you a slight edge especially when there is a black joker in your opponents discard pile.

If you want to be especially devious you can attack your own models purely to fetch some good cards out of your discard pile. Since it does no damage just make sure you have a Mask suit card in your hand. Cheat to get the trigger off against any of your models all the good cards you cheated with can go right on top of your deck. Next you "Deliver Orders" and make the model use up cards. Talk about recycling!

Quick Retreat:
If you are in an enemy's melee range you can use this action in order to be pushed up to 4" in any direction. The Austringer is through and through a model that wants to make as many ranged strikes as possible. How would the enemy stop it from shooting? Hope to tie it up in combat... Thanks to this ability you never have to worry about your Austringer getting bogged down in combat. Sure it will eat up one of his actions but seeing as he only has Bash for melee damage it's not much of a loss.

How can you not heap praise on this ability is beyond me, there is no negative to doing this. Even if you do not plan to attack once you get out of combat you can merely just walk away and go about your business. If you have other models that want to engage the enemy in melee or with ranged strikes this frees up the Austringer to do as he pleases.

Hunting Raptor:
As a (2) action the Austringer can make a Raptor Strike with a range of 18", making it one of the longest Ranged weapons in the game. Need to find how far your enemy is? Use this to start gauging where to set up your gun line. Yes this may not be used as much later in the game in the first turn or two it is great even if it only does a wound to the enemy.

If you happen to run two Austringers you can use one to "range" the enemy to see if the other will be able to use his actions to make double strikes on the enemy. Since it benefits from just about all the abilities that effect his regular Raptor strikes there is not negative to this ability, failing that an enemy gives you slow or you used Quick Retreat.

Deliver Orders:
Target a friendly model within 24" on a 6+ of any suit you can activate the model right after the Austringer finishes his activation. This makes the Austringer lend to the Alpha Strike that Guild tend to have by activating model after model before the enemy can react. Seeing as this is the Austringers ONLY 0 ability you cannot go wrong with this spell at all. Mix that with the range of the spell that CANNOT be beat by anything in the game, you have VERY far reach with it.

If you want to be extra mean and you run two Austringers you can Issue Orders to the next Austringer followed by Issue Orders to a third model to finish off anything you started before it could retaliate. Sometimes I will Issue Orders to any model to mill my own deck, this will make your opponent think you have a "big plan" for the model. You can even bluff your opponent and say "damn don't have the cards to cheat hope I flip high". Remember folks when it comes to cards its not what you have its what your opponent THINKS you have.

In closing the Austringer is one of the best psychological and reliable weapons in the Guild arsenal. If you hide an Austringer or two in a building that your opponent must get past they will constantly be attacked by something they cannot easily get to. Even if it is a wound at a time it is demoralizing to the enemy when they are "fighting" something there is no clear way to harm.

Fresh to the grave...

It is no secret that I am tremendous fan of anything zombie, I even collect random zombie miniatures JUST because. When we first started playing Malifaux I let everyone pick their factions first just to get them into the game. Hey it worked! Even though I "settled" for Guild which is one of the more interesting factions for me to play since it is a play style different to what i'm used to (close combat junkie). I have always been interested in the master of zombies Nicodem, when the Dead Justice box was revealed as Wyrd's Nightmare Edition for Gen Con everything fell into place.

My brilliant plan was to use the Dead Justice box as both Ressurectionists and Guild with a few models switched here and there I would have a workable crew. Along with the Nicodem box I would have a nice foot in the door for a Ressur crew. Just an odd purchase here and there and a gaggle of Mindless Zombies and I would be all set!

Fast forward a bit after heavy promoting of Malifaux with the rest of my crew it finally caught in a big way at our local game store. So much so that somebody in our crew who recently received Henchman status is throwing a "starter box" tourney for Malifaux. The rules are fixed master with at least 13 soul stones coming solely from the box in order to make it a challenge to veterans and keep it relatively scaled for the newer people.

So far I have only had two practice games with Nicodem both games were won/lost based solely on the "special event" that happened. But aside from that I am using my knowledge of the game more than the models abilities themselves. This weekend I should be able to get a few more games in to practice for the tournament.

Now to get down to business the tournament is set for October 22nd about two weeks time from now my initial painting schedule includes 11 models plus any "extra" models that I can summon. So I am roughly looking at about 20 or so models, can it be done? I hope so! WIP shots as well as other articles and pictures are soon to follow stay tuned.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Samael Hopkins Overview and Tactics

Samael Hopkins is the right hand man of Sonnia Criid and her witch hunters, tracking down rogue magic users and bringing them to justice. Where ever the enemies of the Guild hide they cannot hide for long as Samael Hopkins is on their trail. Seen as some what of a glass hammer Samael is a powerful piece to the Guild arsenal but fragile under the prolonged attentions from the enemy.

Looking over Samael's profile there is nothing in his base stats that would suggest or signify his soul stone cost. All of his stats are average when compared 4-5 soul stone model, the only real thing of note are his weapons weighing both in at cb 6 and his 9 wounds. Just comparing numbers this is where the "glass" part of the hammer is defined.

For such a high soul stone cost model his Defense of 4 means just about every model in the game has good odds at hitting Samael. Coupled with lack of Armor or any other defensive buff means that Samael when not IF Samael gets hit he is going to be hurting. Another lack luster stat for a model of his cost is his paltry Willpower 5, means you may not want to face any Neverborn players or someone slinging the Obey spell.

Arcane Hunter:
This ability gives Samael +2 CB and +1 Dg to any model he attacks with CA 6 or more. Most 6-8 soul stone minions and even a few masters have at least a CA of 6 so are very scared to be in Samael's iron sights. When targeting said models he becomes CB 8, now just about every spell caster in the game is not known for their high Defense. So when you attack with a CB of 8 unless they have some sort of trick protecting them you are almost guaranteed to hit.

Do no underestimate the the +1 dg either seeing as the minimum damage with this ability and his base Colt .45 damage is going to be 4. Again if you are hitting a spell caster they do not tend to have a lot of wounds when compared to other like models. So when you hit, it is going to shave off a third to half of their life in one go.

When hunting down your prey what better ability to have than "Hunter", this gives you the ability to ignore cover penalties when targeting an enemy in obscuring terrain. On top of this you can also see an additional 3" (total of 6") into obscuring terrain. Perfect for when an enemy is attempting to hide in terrain from Samael.

Though I wouldn't recommend it seeing as Samaels shooting potential is higher than his melee potential but he can also see into obscuring terrain and charge his target. Like I said I would not recommend this BUT it should be noted that you can do this so it's always an option should the need be dire.

With this ability Samael is able to ignore severe terrain penalties when moving through terrain. Coupled with the above ability it gives you plenty of options when hunting down models or keeping out of line of sight of an enemy till you are ready to strike. This ability is pretty straight forward there are no "tricks' behind it, but it is a very useful ability when playing in most environments.

Weapon, Huntin' Tools:
When an enemy is wounded by this weapon they will recieve a -2 Walk until the start closing phase. Honestly this ability just doesn't seem to have much use, if you are in combat which isn't a great idea in most instances. The chances of an enemy walking away aren't very high, even if the enemy isn't proficient in melee they don't need to be. They can just wail on Samael and force a few wounds of opportunity on him.

The only good thing about this ability is that it is NOT a trigger so it's a "free" weapon ability that doesn't interfere with any other choices. If the enemy for some reason wants to walk out of combat they will be doing it with -2 Wk. But seeing as they may be held in combat by Samael's Cb of 6 I rather just attack him against his Df of 4...

Rapid Fire [Colt .45]:
For the cost of a discarded card you are able to make three separate Ranged Strikes against the same target. Some people may see this as overkill but it virtually guarantees anything that is fired upon will probably not get back up.. or at the very least will be very hurt and will have to limp away or get finished off by another Guild minion.

With Samael's CB of 6 he shouldn't have a problem hitting most targets with some average flips on his duels. At the very least because he shoots 3 separate times the odds should play in your favor either forcing your opponent to burn high cards to cheat and avoid getting hit, or eventually your deck giving you a high card.

Critical Strike: Huntin' Tools
On the rare occasion that Samael finds himself in a tight spot fending for his life, he always has his trusty Huntin' Tools. Since it is already a Ghosted Suit Samael gets +1 Dmg to all his melee strikes with Huntin' Tools. If he manages to hit with a Ram suited card his minimum damage hops up to a respectable 4 Dmg.

The only "bad" thing about Critical Strike is that usually you see this ability on models that tend to focus more in melee than in shooting. On Samael it is sort of an oddity because you do not want Samael in combat where he is at his weakest. When all is said and done this ability will be used mostly on the defensive unless you are desperate and it all comes down to Samael. On the plus side Arcane Hunter will also work in melee so if anything good can be salvaged of the situation it does give incentive to actually fight when trapped in melee rather than try and run away.

Drain Magic:
After you hit an enemy with a Huntin' Tools strike with a Crows suited card, the controller of the model must discard 1 card. There are times when an ability does not have to do damage in order to be effective, yes it would depend on the situation but it is a nifty option to have up your sleeve.

Again I repeat though melee is not Samael's forte he isn't totally defenseless in a fight, he just better eliminate his opponent before they take a swing at him. This ability reduces an opponents options and anything that limits your opponent be it area denial through card control is a good thing for you.

After you damage a defender with your Colt .45 and it was with a Mask suited card, another defender within 3" takes a 1/2/4 flip. Always a good thing to remember since it is Samael's only trigger for his Colt .45, with the advent of a few lists with tend to group exclusively this trigger isn't half bad even if it's purpose is only to spread damage out among models.

On a side note looking at the V2 card I am not sure if all flips are considered damage flips or not, I have to check the other cards that are currently in print that have "like" abilities. But it does not say it is a "damage flip" so I take it that the enemy does not get "hard to wound". Again I am unsure if this was cleared up, but it is worth asking.

Flaming Bullets:
This is Samael's one and only 0 action/spell and one of his most necessary if he decides (why wouldn't he?) to use his Colt .45 for ranged strikes. On a 9+ of any suit it gives Samael +2 Dg when using ranged strikes until his next activation. When this spell is successfully cast it means that Samael's Colt .45 strikes do a minimum of 5 Dg.

You keep a 9+ in your hand solely for this spell and an additional card to discard for Rapid Fire, no model can withstand three Ranged Strikes with the minimum damage output of 15 if all three hit. If you target a model with Ca of 6 or better your Cb becomes 8 and your damage output with this spell becomes 6/7/8.

Flaming Bullets is the spell that defines the "hammer" part we were talking about earlier, with this spell the damage hits ridiculous levels in worst case scenarios. Now if you actually have the right cards and you can modify your damage flips the damage can one shot most enemy minions without Armor.

You need at least a 5+ Crows suited card in order to pull this spell off, it goes against Willpower and will force your opponent to discard 1 card when taking a Walk or Charge action till the end of the game. Alternatively your opponent can discard 2 cards in order to make this effect go away and cancel Arrest. This is one of those specific situation spells that I am not too convinced if it is worth using a high Crows suited card in order to pull off.

Yes you can make your opponent discard a card to make a move, but usually they only need to move once to be within striking distance when using Ranged Strikes. A melee oriented model would charge straight at Samael and only have to discard 1 card. Your opponent may play off to your gamble and discard 2 cards to end Arrest but it is unlikely it will be two "good" cards unless this is cast late in the round.

Is a short ranged spell that needs a minimum of a 9+ Crows suit to cast and it goes against Defense. If the model fails to resist you place a 50mm marker touching the defending models base, until the model wins a Cb>15 Duel at the start of it's activation it may not move or be moved out of base contact with the marker.

Like Arrest this spell doesn't seem that useful at a glance but as always one should not disregard things at first sight. Being able to ground a low Defense model with a Cb of just 4-5 means the opponent is going to have to waste a high card just to get them out being Snared. Again it is one of those spells that is going to depend heavily on play style and if you are willing to risk very specific cards in order to get this off and ground your opponent.

Looking over the ability from a different perspective there may be an occasion where you would want to Snare your own models. Now hear me out there are a couple of minions you may want from being Lured away from their positions. Namely models who are good with Ranged Strikes yes this seems some what a desperate tactic but at the same time pending on the list you are facing it may seem like a viable option. Do not want to be Lured while Staking a Claim or holding an important position on the board? Get Snared to the spot and just prepare for what may come your way.

With that I know fully completed the Witch Hunters Guild box, as always I am sure that I probably missed something or need something clarified feel free to comment and correct me. The whole reason that I do these articles is to help out the community who seem to think Guild as a "simple" faction. The articles I present is to help enrich the older Guild players with a fresh look on tactics, or give a rundown for the newer players who are unaware of certain rules interactions.

Not sure which Overview and Tactics I will do next as always I am open to suggestions, if you have any questions feel free to ask them I am always available through one form of media or another. Till then folks have a great weekend!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Witchling Stalkers Overview and Tactics

The Witchling Stalker the ever vigilant foot soldiers of the Guild, once they were illegal magic users who were brought to justice. Their sentence was a life of servitude hunting down their own kind where ever they may be. The Witchling Stalker is one of the most versatile minions that the Guild has to offer due to a combination of it's abilities.

A quick look at the Witchling Stalkers stat card reveals that he is about average with most four soul stone models when looking at straight numbers. The only really big departure would be the CA and DF of the model at 5, while it may not seem like much you always have to remember that even if you are losing 1 point difference in totals can make or break certain weapons by causing negative flips to damage.

The Witchling Stalker comes equipped with both a melee and ranged weapon making them useful in any occasion. Truth be told Witchling Stalkers tend to roam the field to hunt down their targets and lock them in combat where they excel. They are excellent either alone or in packs as they torpedo towards the enemy causing as much damage as possible before hopefully exploding.

Though the Witchling isn't very proficient with their pistol it doesn't mean they are absolute rubbish either. With this ability they can see 6" into and within obscuring terrain, in addition they ignore the penalties for shooting into such terrain.

But do not think that this ability is ONLY for shooting, remember that you have to be able to SEE your target in order to charge them. This ability allows you to see 6" into terrain so you could charge a target who is hanging back believing they are safe.

Immolating Demise:
If you are going out, why not go out with a bang? This is a pulse that does 2 damage to everything within 2". This is a pretty straight forward ability your Witchling Stalker should be near or in combat causing as much damage as possible. This makes your enemy hesitate slightly about engaging the Witchling Stalker knowing that if they kill them it will be a hollow victory.

The great thing about pulses is how indiscriminate they are in the mayhem they cause, they can ignore attacking a defender directly and taking such tests. You can run them into swirling combats and watch as they chain explode of each other hurting everything in range. Harmless? Pitiful? Expose Fears? No need to worry since you aren't targeting them there is no need to test and it just becomes straight damage.

It needs to be said that Immolating Demise is useless against Bearskin and Friekorps armor along with a few odd minions here and there. But for the most part just think of this ability as a useful little ability that can be handy in a pinch and you will do fine. Always remember that this ability is just as deadly to you as your enemy so give your Witchiling Stalkers some room to operate when they are low on wounds.

Magic Resistant 2
This ability gives the Witchling Armor +2 against spells and spell effects that cause damage, this usually comes in the form of Arcanists but there are a few models here and there do have direct damage spells.

Remember that spells that cause Wounds will still get through Magic Resistant only because Wounds are different from Damage. I tend to use this ability to mitigate damage when casting Sonnia's Flame Burst into a combat that the Witchling Stalker is involved in. Safe in the knowledge that if I manage to actually hit my own Witchling Stalker he will survive the blasts (most times). All else fails you can be assured he will be down to 1 wound left and you can freely fire into combat after the Witchling Stalker activated, just to force him to Immolating Demise and hurt his enemies further.

This ability allows this minion to ignore severe movement penalties, this ability shines in the example above with Hunter. If you can see your enemy through severe/obscuring terrain you can charge with no problem of slowing down.

I am a big fan of options in any situation, so if you have models that are more mobile or can take a short cut through severe terrain that is a great thing to have. Not many models in the Guild crew have the ability to ignore severe terrain penalties when moving and STILL be a combat effective model.

Weapon,Shattered Runed Blade
Magical, everything after this comes second to this ability in my eyes. With the advent of spirits into the world of Malifaux having a magical weapon is the be all and end all when facing such minions. The ability to do full damage from your weapon that already has an impressive damage profile due to Critical Strike means you can send Spirits packing back to where they came from compliments of the Shattered Runed Blade stamped across their heads.

For the sake of a complete review of the weapon it also has the ability to curb some spell casting abilities. Anyone hit by this weapon must discard a card before claiming a target of their spell, I believe this does not effect spells that do NOT have a target. This effect lasts until the end of their NEXT activation, so the ability will go onto the next turn if they have already activated. But hey when all else fails... it's already a magical weapon and what more can you ask for?

Disrupt Magic
The only (0) action that is available to the Witchlings, it is something that always keep in mind. Since it IS your only 0 ability I would get into the habit of activating this even if you do not think you will be in range of any enemy spells. The reasoning behind this is because it will get you into the habit of doing it often and hopefully never forgetting to use this ability when it might actually matter.

Another good reason to keep activating this action is you never know when you may be pushed, pulled, moved or placed close to an enemy. This could be via a Lure or another like ability, if the enemy brings you close to their lines via a spell they are going to have a harder time trying to cast the spell as long as the Witchling Stalker is alive.

Critical Strike
As always one of the trade mark abilities of the Guild, it is all about damage where the Witchling Stalker is at his deadliest... melee range. Making his average weapon damage of 2/3/5 instantly into a whopping 3/4/6! If you are lucky enough to "hit" with Rams suited card the damage jumps to an astounding 4/5/7.

With a relatively high CB on the Shattered Runed Blade you should not have many problems hitting most opponents on a straight or initial flip. Giving you the slight edge and possibly making them cheat first reducing their options for later on in the turn.

Drain Magic
This trigger goes off when you hit on a Crows suit, it makes your opponent discard a card from their hand. Though this doesn't seem as outright devastating as Critical Strike that doesn't mean this ability is useless. There are certain situations where doing damage is secondary to draining out your opponents hand. Some may even cheat JUST not to get hit and discard the card simply out of spite, but hey this plays to your advantage.

For example lets say you are facing good old Jack Daw, well first off all you have a magical weapon so you are able to "wound" him. Even if you do "wound" him he can discard to stay alive.. well think about when just about EVERY hit he is discarding two cards just to keep Jack Daw alive? Soon that 10 soul stone model becomes a liability for your opponent where he thought it was a power piece.

Reducing an enemies hand size means they have less options, even if they toss "garbage" cards think about a Witchling Stalker attacking someone solely to make them discard cards. Your enemy will laugh throwing out those cards thinking he is safe. Now apply his lack of hand with abilities such as Nino's Head Shot or the Executioner's Decapitate where the opponent must discard 2 cards/soul stones or instantly die? Mind you it has been clarified that even if the enemy tries to heal via Slow To Die and burning a soul stone it will do nothing and he will STILL die.

Reflect Magic
When this model is targeted with a spell that uses WP or DF if you manage to successfully resist with a Tomes suit you automatically toss the spell back at your opponent. While it is neat to get off every now and then it's not something that is reliable as most models that can cast spells either have a really high CA or use soul stones to make sure it is beyond your reach to beat the total.

This trigger is a neat little bonus if you actually do manage to have the cards and the circumstances are right. Just not something I would hinge a battle plan on unless it was absolutely necessary or you get lucky and manage to get the right card on the initial flip.

Dispel Magic
At first glance this spell doesn't seem all that attractive because as a new player you may not fully know what is considered an "effect". Hell most gamers still do not fully comprehend what is considered an effect (myself included). But I have found a very good use for the spell pending on your local meta game.

You only need a 7 or better of any suit to cast this spell on any friendly model even models that are Immune To Influence since it targets DF. Effects have been generally termed as anything that is put on a model that it did not start with. How does this become practical application? Well imagine you are facing a Hamelin player and he is going "Insignificant" happy on your models. All you have to do is cast this spell and no more being Insignificant you can now strike at Hamelin and his crew without incident. Or at the very least you gain a turn where your other models can do some damage or roam about the board.

You can also make certain models discard Body Part, Blood, Eye or Scrap counters with this spell, may not seem like a good thing to do but when you consider some Master or certain Minions require those counters to operate it may be a viable strategy. Also I believe since Tokens are considered "ongoing effects" you MAY be able to take off Blight, Burning and Poison counters, which increases the spells uses.

With that it completes my review of Witchling Stalkers i'm sure that I may have missed something or that there could be a correction here or there. Feel free to add your comments/criticisms or your own thoughts of what you think the Witchling Stalkers can do. I hope to post something new at least once every 8 days if not sooner. I have a pile of painted miniatures that still need to be photographed, but with classes starting I may not get the opportunity.

As always, stay classy everyone.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sonnia Cridd Overview and Tactics

Decided to write a tactics article on Sonnia Cridd one of my favorite Guild masters for Malifaux, the epitome of a fiery inquisitor chasing down magic users and giving them a dose of Guild justice. Sonnia is tasked with hunting down the illegal use of magic, in particular she has quite a grudge against the Arcanist faction. Because of this she has a leg up when facing the Arcanist faction, but as I will explain in this article that isn't the only faction she is good against.

Taking a look at her stat the two stats that stick out the most are her Willpower and Casting at 7. Seeing as she is a casting master and uses willpower to resist most spells these are both good starting stats. An average walk, defense and wounds round out the rest she isn't the most vulnerable of spell casters but she is close.

At a glance her weapons do not seem all that impressive for doing lots of damage but that's fine she has some nifty triggers/abilities that help her to a degree. It should also be noted that her runed blade has a 2" reach which I have found to be quite nifty. You can stay out of most opponents melee range forcing them to either leave combat or move closer to get an attack in, either way you are winning because they have to dump an AP.

Advanced Counterspell:
So far I believe Sonnia is the only model with this ability, which states if ANY model or Sonnia is targeted by a spell you may discard a Tomes suit or any 2 cards in order to negate the spell before it is even cast. Since it could be any model within 3" you can even do this to enemy models, why? do I hear you ask? Because enemy models tend to have certain spells that augment either their own or another models abilities.

An example would be Nino's "in my sights" spell that gives him +2cb, a Belle/Lilitu trying to cast "Lure". The spell that is not as obvious would be a Freikorps Librarian trying to heal itself while on "slow to die". Of course like any discard effects you want to be sure not to throw away cards recklessly JUST because you can. You have to measure if the enemy spell is worth stopping right now or worth taking a chance over and attempt to resist.

Dispelling TOO many spells means your control hand/options are very limited, even if you have a horrible hand there is no reason to "tell" your opponent about it by chucking cards left and right. Also if your opponent has any "discard or kill" effects I usually stick to being conservative with my counter spell.

Magic Resistant 2:
This ability doesn't get used often seeing as most people are scared Sonnia will just counter spell anything thrown near here. But it is nifty to have in case you want to "weather" the storm of random spells doing damage to her, armor 2 versus magical attacks is always a good thing in my book.

Magic Seeker:
To my knowledge there are no minions with a CA of 7 or more, so this ability will default to going against other faction's leaders. What it does is allow you target models with CA of 7 or more without needs line of sight. This ability will probably not come in too often but it is always worth remembering. Because the more options you have available to you the better your chances of winning.

Weapon, Runed Blade:
With the rise of spirits that started in the "Rise of Powers" book it is a great thing to have a magical weapon such as the runed blade. But that is no the only bonus when attacking models with a CA of 6 or more you gain a positive flip to your attack. Any model wounded by this weapon regardless of their respective CA cannot cast spells till the end of the turn. Seeing as most models have AT LEAST one spell worth casting it is good to remember if you hit someone with this weapon they will not be able to utilize it.

Casting Expert:
Standard action that gives Sonnia an extra AP that can only be used for casting. I use this ability even if I do not have any cards that can cast a spell. Simply to cycle through my deck on occasion the spell goes off and actually causes damage or does something useful so it's worth using even if it is to throw up a random flame wall the first turn or two.

Confiscated Lore:
Discard a soul stone in order to gain Tomes to your casting and a +1 while you are at it, making your CA stat an 8. Great for turns when you are standing still and you are preparing to unleash a torrent of spells. Just about any card will cast your spells with this action, though it is always good to have a few high cards in order to widen to gap and gain positive flips (flame burst i'm looking at you).

Nullify Magic:
If you are surrounded by enemy spell casters this isn't a bad ability, but in all honesty it is better to go out in a blaze of glory/spell casting rather than go on the defensive. It isn't a bad action by any means but when it is in competition with Confiscated Lore and Inferno it usually means you will rarely if ever use this. Besides your loyal Witchling Stalkers ALSO have this ability, though not at double negative flips just one negative flip is good enough to stop most spell casting in its tracks.

Explosive Burst:
You will automatically get this trigger if you manage to cast the spell, the only thing you have to do is make sure to case at least moderate damage. Since you need to cause blast damage in order to use this trigger. What it does is lets you place the additional blast markers up to 2" away from the initial blast giving you a wider spread than usual. This means that Sonnia can carpet bomb a wider area than most and can effect more models which is ALWAYS a good thing since only a portion of the enemy model's base needs to be contacted in order to take damage.

Absorb Magic:
When using your runed blade this trigger automatically goes off, all you have to do it hit and your opponent must discard a card and an additional card if you manage to hit with a Ram suited card. In addition Sonnia draws a card and heals one wound, making it worth cheating a card to draw a new one at the very least. Though you only heal one wound never think it does not add up over time, it may just save you and at the very least you won't have to worry about "Black Blood" from any Nephilim.

You will need to hit with a Tomes suit in order to make use of this trigger, in addition it can ONLY be used against constructs but that's not bad considering you can kill them in a single hit. This trigger can be used with both your runed blade and pistol making it versatile if nothing else, the enemy can avoid the kill effect by discarding cards. But either get your opponent when he has very few or no cards and I believe its worth burning a stone to get an add flip to your attack in order to kill any 8+ soul stone construct.

If you couple this with Absorb magic you can eat your opponents hand putting you in the perfect place to do some real damage to your opponents crew. Like I said before having options in a game means you have ways of winning. Depleting your enemies control hands means they have less options when it may matter and can be catastrophic.

Reflect Magic:
To further augment Sonnia's anti magic scheme there is this trigger which goes against your Willpower and/or Defense. If you manage to resist a spell with a Tomes suited card, the spell is cast on the attacker instead of Sonnia. This is almost as effective as a counter spell pending on what type of spell is being flung at her. It is quite funny if something tries to "lure" you and instead they make their way towards you and YOU strike them causing them damage and they can no longer cast.

One of my favorite spells this spell does so much for Sonnia, do you want the enemy to avoid an objective you are standing on? Are you sending Sonnia into a group of enemies for maximum damage when she dies? Are you trying to bring about your Avatar? Or if she is away from friendly models cast it for the fun of it in case your enemy is thinking about drawing you in close or going to you. Nothing like a solid deterrent to keep the enemy second guessing himself if he has a melee oriented force.

When Sonnia is down to 1-2 wounds left I just cast Inferno and wade into combat where her 2" runed blade reach locks down models. Most models will not dare to hit her when she has inferno up and if they try and leave you can always keep them in combat wasting their AP. If you are out of stones and very desperate to do tons of damage all you have to do is cast Inferno and walk Sonnia into the midst of a clump of enemies. Proceed to fire into combat (if Sonnia is in melee) or at Sonnia to make her die and cause 6 damage to everything within 3".

Flame Burst:
A fairly straight forward ranged spell that causes plenty of blasts, as mentioned above when you trigger Explosive Burst you can cover a large area! I would be tempted to burn a soul stone for the additional flip simply to make the total higher and thus more likely being able to cheat damage.

I tend to throw this spell into a combat where I send my Witchling Stalkers, mainly because if it hits a Witchling I can cheat their defense down creating a larger gap for success. If I actually manage to hit the enemy it is business as usual, don't be afraid to hit your own witchling stalker. After all if you damage them enough to kill them they will explode and cause more damage to your enemy. If you aren't looking to kill them and they are down to 1 wound, you can always cast Violation of Magic and create a brand new one.

Flame Wall:
A nice spell that creates some nice mobile/dangerous cover for Sonnia and her minions, only needing a 6+ Tomes to cast. Flame Wall can be used to funnel enemy minions who do not have flight/float into a position of your choice. Mind you that they will have to go out of their way using up AP to get to there destination. As I said above in a pinch you can hide behind it in order to avoid/curb any ranged nastiness coming your way.

My only word of caution is be careful of any enemies that can push your models around, as they may be thrown into a Flame Wall and take damage. Conversely if YOU have any models that can push models around feel free to cast a Flame Wall near the enemy and throw them in for an extra 3 damage. If you are desperate to achieve "Eye for an Eye" scheme feel free to make your models walk back and forward through the Flame Wall.

Violation of Magic:
Sonnia's signature spell as a witch hunter, she finds magic users and turns them into her minions... no literally she does! With a relatively high cast of 17 Sonnia would need at least a 10+ of Tomes in order to even cast this spell. Forbidden Lore usually gets used the same turn that Sonnia is using Violation of Magic unless she has high Tomes or lots of soul stones to burn.

I tend to use this spell more on my own minions than on enemies unless they have a high CA, main reason is you do not have to worry about the resist duel. Since you can always cheat down or decide to "tie" the score between friendly models you can leave a 1 wound model into a fresh Witchling Stalker ready to do Sonnia's bidding. If you "recycle" your Witchling Stalkers they will do 2 damage to your enemy on their way out and when they come in will already be engaged with the enemy and ready for a strike.

Any minion who is down to one wound is a possible Witchiling in the making, even at minimum cast enemies with WP 5 or lower would have to spend some premium cards in order to avoid being turned. Also a nice thing about the spell is that it causes wounds not damage which is a big but subtle difference. Though you will do the same amount of wounds to a spirit, against other targets you can bypass armor and magical protection because it causes wounds NOT damage. Which is always a good thing to remember not only with this spell but in general.

Well that is all for now folks, if I made any mistakes feel free to correct me. If you have any ideas/tactics that I did not go over feel free to leave a comment. As always thank you for reading!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Strike Force: Lucius army list tactics

Being relatively new Lucius player I remember playing Lucius for the first time though my list was rather rubbish on second glance and even though I won my match I saw the great potential in Lucius. Here goes a leader that makes his crew run like a welled oiled machine but only BETTER, manipulating his crew to higher feats.

With that goal in mind I looked at his very short list of available minions at his disposable:
Ryle, Guild Guard, Guild Guard Captain, Austringer, Guild Hounds and the Lawyer. With the limited selection (at the time) I went with the following:

Guild Crew - 35 - Scrap

Lucius -- 4 Cache
Governor's Proxy [2ss]

Guild Austringer [5ss]
Guild Austringer [5ss]
Guild Guard [4ss]
Guild Guard [4ss]
Guild Guard Captain [7ss]
Ryle, Guild Pawn [8ss]

Lucius- you usually run up Lucius first turn and cast "Reinforcements" to move any model 4" in front of him. My two favorites are either the Captain (since he is slow) or the Austringer for positioning. "Advanced Training" to give all models in the 8" aura +2 cb, followed by an "Issue Command" on your Austringer makes it a healthy 9cb strike... Let that sink in.. how many non master models can dodge a 9cb strike BEFORE any flips?

With Lucius you should be get into a good position and start spamming out "Issue Command" as many times as possible. Hopefully to make strikes just so you get more mileage out of "Advanced Training", all else fails use it to get better positioning on an enemy by moving around your models who have not yet activated.

Governors Proxy- I use this model solely because its higher CA of 5 with suited ram, that means he casts Lucius' signature spell "Issue Command" on a 9+. An added bonus is the +2wp he gives friendly Guild models, yes it does come with a downside... Do not fail a morale duel while within line of sight of this model. Honestly I have only ever lost a total of one model due to this, smart positioning can largely avoid this. If you see a terrifying enemy and you do not want to waste high cards passing the duel, simply walk your proxy out of line of sight.

Austringers- I will admit when they first were introduced I looked at their damage spread and thought nothing of t hem... But after playing Guild for a while I noticed their other skills which make them worth their weight in gold. Their best skill is their attack which ignores line of sight AND cover... this is VERY big in a game like malifaux where more terrain is encouraged.

I can't hammer in the fact enough to cast "Issue Command" on the Austringers of all the models in your crew. Just hide them in a building that only has one entrance and start harassing enemy models. Regardless of actual damage caused your enemy will be so frustrated he will go out of his way JUST to get rid of them. Park them close to an objective where they cannot be attacked directly and the enemy HAS to go after them or lose his crew one way or another..

Did I mention how useful "Deliver Orders" is? It is a 24" set up for an alpha strike and it is the Austringers only 0 action so don't feel bad about using it just to "burn" a card. If it actually goes through you keep going with your momentum. I tend to "Deliver Orders" to another Austringer who is hiding in same room.

Guild Guard- Tend to be the fodder I send to actually get the objectives, one always stays next to Lucius so that he benefits from his "Secret Service" rule. Also the Guardsmen hit harder under "Issue Command/Advanced Training" in addition they have critical strike. Armor tends to keep them around longer annoying your opponent to no end.

Guild Guard Captain- he has companion (master) to even further your alpha strike if that is a valid option during the turn. I never actually use his pistol as most times I rather move/protect Lucius at all costs. He is actually pretty hand in a melee fight with "Hard to Wound:1" and armor he can withstand quite a few hits. In addition he has access to critical strike with a ghosted ram, which means when he hits the enemy with a ram suited card he will do minimum 4 damage.

He has two decent 0 actions, one of them lending the idea of alpha striking even more so and the other giving all friendly nearby Guild models a bonus to their morale duels. I tend to use his alpha strike set up more than I use the morale duels 0 action but that is more personal preference than anything else.

Ryle- the beast from the east... or from somewhere else equally imposing! Ryle has always been a great model to have, yes even if I cannot "Issue Command"! His gatling gun has made swiss cheese out of just about everything I point it at without even intending to kill the victim. I tend to "cheat down" just to tie things up and pull off the "fully automatic" trigger, which tends to work in my favor most times. His close combat abilities are nothing to be scoffed at, just because his ranged weapon is a great doesn't mean he can't hold his own in close combat. In fact his damage output in close combat is VERY high. If he catches an enemy with a ram suit card and hits them for severe damage, say hello to 8 damage.

"Socially Repressed" is a great movement ability for Ryle, need to escape combat? Attack enemies who thought they were safe from your gun? The applications for this ability are great, simply because its "closest living model". If you are facing undead or constructs just move one of YOUR models in a way where the push away is favorable to you. This ability gives Ryle a 28" threat range with his gatling gun.. yup you just did that.

This post will be edited heavily in the next coming weeks as I go even more depth of all the tricks you can do with Lucius and his minions. Till then good sirs.

last edited: 08/20/11

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A glance at the humble Guild Guard...

This is a response to someone on the Wyrd Miniatures forum for the game Malifaux asking on opinions of the minions in disposal of the Guild faction. Thought it was a fair assessment of the model and did not want it buried under a bunch of non helpful topics. So I decided to post it here on my blog, I am going to attempt to have a running series of thoughts on each model so stay tuned..

Cost- In the battle for 3-4 soul stone range of models the humble guardsmen has no abilities that stick out at first glance. But after playing almost exclusively with them in lists I noticed quite a few things...

Melee- Has a nice cb of 6 for his melee attack and has the ability to critical strike (the guild 'calling card' in my eyes). Though the damage output is about average for a model of his cost before critical strike at 2/3/4. On average he will have a +1-2 to hit his enemies so something must be said about being consistent.

Shooting- the pistol is on the barely average at cb 4, the trigger "halt" isn't all that great but is a nice bonus since its free due to ghosted suit. The real advantage of the guard pistol is the positive flip for damage. Meaning on a hit you will usually be at a neutral flip that you can cheat, at the worst will just be at just a negative 1 flip after hard to to wound.

Spells- Menace/Cordon I honestly don't use these that often, not that I don't think they are great spells rather I always find my Guard can do better things. With that said feel free to correct my theoryfaux.

Menace- the objective is to pin an enemy in place so they cannot engage you in hand to hand. Bonus you get a walk towards them but hopefully out of their melee range. The reality... unless you are picking on low WP models you are going to have to keep a high card in your hand. Risky at best it is still a gamble, never try on a master unless they have no cards/stones.

Cordon- a nice ability to keep non flying/floating models away from objectives or important models. At the very least it will make the lead guardsmen the first model he HAS to kill to get past/break up cordon. As a bonus it is not an opposed duel so you don't need to worry about what your opponent is holding for this spell.

Talents- Raise Alarm and Patrol again mind the theoryfaux as I do not generally use these abilities though I am always tempted to use Raise Alarm...

Raise Alarm- useful if you have a lead guardsmen that needs help and he isn't doing anything better. In theory you could catapult a guardsmen using Lucius' reinforcements spell then use this ability to give most of your crew a free 3" movement.

Patrol- it might as well ALSO be a an (all) action because the guardsmen do not have any 0 abilities. It doesn't seem as useful to me seeing as guild has plenty of other ways to gain companion without sacrificing actions. It can be useful but there are more effective ways of doing this so I usually do not use patrol.

Armor 1- at first armor 1 doesn't seem like much. But in reality this is the small but important difference when it comes to this model and his other 3-4ss buddies.The ability to take just 1 more hit or take some of the strongest (not insane) hits out there and still keep kickin' is great.

For example he gets slugged for 6 damage armor knocks one off so he is barely hanging in there ready for next round. This forces your opponent into some tough decisions. Does he want to take the strikes from the guild guard in order to activate something else first? OR is he going to waste an AP or more trying to clear out the threat of a model on it's last leg?

Either way its a win because it forces the opponent to rearrange the order of his operations. Since I main Sonnia having that 1 wound left means that the guild guard gets turned into Witchling Stalkers more than my enemies. Free models are always a good thing (not withstanding slaughter scheme) so it doubles versatility. In fact I always start with Guardsmen over Witchling Stalkers purely for this reason unless the board is covered in terrain in which Scout is king.

Verdict- a surprisingly versatile and survivable model, the Guild Guard is a staple in my crew regardless if I use Sonnia or Lucius. Whether he pulls duty as the front line against the terrors of Malifaux or as a sacrificial lamb the Guild Guard is not afraid (most times) of doing his duty.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Road to Power Gencon Tournament! Game 4

The fourth and final game of the tournament was in sight as I drew Yamizero from the Wyrd Boards. Really nice guy so I ask him if he would rather fight Sonnia or Lucius as I only had two masters on me. He said "whichever is fine" to which I responded "it's late and I don't feel like thinking I will play Lucius".

The mission was shared Contain Power

His list:
Lady Justice -- 8 Cache
Scales of Justice [2ss]
Lucius [10ss]
Death Marshal [4ss]
Death Marshal [4ss]
Death Marshal [4ss]
Judge [7ss]

his schemes were: bodyguard? and eye for an eye
I took: eye for an eye and something else I couldn't remember from the top of my head

Going into the game I know that Lady Justice is ALL types of beat stick and the Judge can also tear everything in my crew except for the Captain if he manages to get off "blades and bullets" on anyone.

There was a general advance on both sides I moved up an Austringer and tried to see the range between us with a "fake strike". See that I need an additional move which I believe either Governors Proxy or Lucius issue commands the Austringer to get closer so that his issue command strikes WOULD be in range. I believe I either softened up Judge or a random Death Marshal on my right flank.

Second turn I found perfect ranging for my Austringers between general AP/issue command I got lucky against the judge (I believe I got a red joker + severe/moderate) along with weakening a right most left Death Marshal. On the left Ryle was in charge of taking care of two Death Marshals.

Lady Justice makes the assassination run on Lucius even with my "highest authority" ability Lady Justice was consistently hitting Lucius due to his "sword style" and a few stones. I knew that attempting to dodge the attacks using soul stones would be a wash so I gambled that I could "slow to die/heal" Lucius. The gambling part came in because my deck was relatively thin and I still hadn't drawn the black joker. Luckily for me it worked out and Lucius survived the onslaught.

Forgot the order of things but I remember having the Guild Guard Captain hitting Lady Justice a few times bringing her to low life before Lucius took care of her himself when she ran out of stones. Ryle pulped one of the Death Marshals in hand to hand (red joker damage here) and shot the other one to death.

At this point around turn 5-6? he only had Lucius left who was holding up an Austringer and Guild Guard. I sent over Lucius to personally fight the imposter Lucius. Which was actually very hard to do seeing as "highest authority" kept most of my attacks missed and I was out of stones. But eventually the true Lucius prevailed it was at this point I noticed I had most of my crew.

Before I started slaughtering my crew Yami and I did some quick math and figured that all of my models could just slaughter each other to get "eye for an eye" so we shaved a few mins and said "I accomplished it". So in the end the the game scored 8-2 win for me, Yami getting points for ALSO taking eye for an eye.

All in all I think I did pretty well in this tournament, if it wasn't domination I probably would of scored "higher" due to getting a total of 26 or so scheme points with 2 wins 1 tie and 1 loss. I'd like to thank all my opponents for keeping things fast (finished all 6 turns in all but 1 game) and being very friendly. Met a lot of the people from the Wyrd boards so all in all a great experience. My only "complaint" was I had wished there were "terrain/table features" I feel it adds that little extra to every game.

With the tournament done I picked up Perdita and her totem just to see what they would play like. I have also realized that I would really like to start Ramos as I always thought he was a cool master but never had the chance to play with him. Guild will always be my "tournament" faction seeing as I have the most models for them but I also wanted a fun master to play with.

More pictures of randomness later this week, till then folks!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Road to Power Gencon Tournament! Game 3

Rolling into my third game the mission was Shared Supply Wagon, due to our table we asked the TO what would the Supply Wagon do. He said it would go around terrain and squeeze through the two very narrow doors to reach the center of the table. Looking at the set up of the table I knew I just had to take my Lucius list. With some much line of sight blocking terrain the Austringers would carry the day for me (even more so than usual).

I took my Lucius list that I took in the first match while my opponent took Neverborn.. Pandora to be exact:

Pandora -- 5 Cache
Primordial Magic [2ss]
Candy [8ss]
Coppelius [9ss]
Insidious Madness [4ss]
Sorrow [3ss]
Sorrow [3ss]
Sorrow [3ss]
Sorrow [3ss]

His schemes were: Kill Protege (Ryle) and Grudge (Guild Guard Captain)
my schemes: Hold Out and Raid?

Following the scheme that has been going on all tournament my hands were largely garbage except for a card. On the other hand because my hand was full of low cards my deck was chock full of great cards. Starting the match I knew of the nasty things that Pandora was fully capable of so taking a cue from all the anti-tactica on Pandora I started picking off her totems/sorrows first.

I caught an insanely great break when I moved Ryle to pull a flanking move. With my shooting expert I managed to tag Coppelius, cheating to a lower ram just to get my trigger off. It was tie so as I flipped the cards a red joker came up... needless to say it was a string of severe/moderate flips that finished Coppelius in one hit! Of course soon there after Candy, Pandora and a few Sorrows decided to play with Ryle and his two Guardsmen buddies... They didn't last very long under their less than tender caresses.

Towards turn 4 I remembered that I could attack the wagon, I proceeded to move up my Guild Guard Captain and attack it with multiple Issue Commands and his regular AP. By this point my opponent only had Candy and Pandora alive. While I still had both Austringers, Captain, Lucius and my totem. I soon took care of the Candy problem when Pandora decided to walk into the room and started doing damage to everyone via failed WP checks with the self mutilate spell.

Lucius went to have a friendly chat with Candy and put her to bed for good, used casting expert to run my Guard Captain away from Pandora. With that turn 6 rolled around and there was no way for Pandora to kill my Captain who was running as fast as his pudgy legs could take him. I believe maybe one of the Austringers died by this point, after I reminded my opponent that he could not hurt my wagon at all with just Pandora.

Match ended with an 8-2 victory for Lucius and his Austringers... uh I mean Guild!

Post Game Thoughts:
-Ryle it was more luck than anything else, getting the red joker for damage when I already triggered "fully automatic". That alone would of killed him but for that turn I used just about every severe on Coppelius... you know "just to be sure".
-Austringers + LOS block buildings = win. There was no real "tactic" here per se, I just moved my Austringers into the best position and pecked at his guys till they went away.
-Lucius for once actually got his gloves dirty and killed Candy with a red joker I believe. Yes it is a special moment seeing as Lucius usually doesn't attack things directly.
-My cards did great, like I said before the theme for this tournament was drawing MAYBE two cards of 10+ while the rest of my hand was garbage. Luckily for me all the right cards came out when I needed them to.
-Pandora + crew. I can see how Pandora is very nasty, the only real damage I sustained came from these two models and yes I feared them VERY much.