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.

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