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.