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.
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!
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.
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.
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.