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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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".
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.
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!