Sunday, July 1, 2012

Lucius, Governor's Secretary Overview and Tactics

In Malifaux there are many things to fear, from the rampaging Neverborn to the undead constructs raised from the grave by the Ressurectionists. But no single human being is as feared as much as Lucius, with his porcelain mask he is the voice of authority in Malifaux. No one doubts his terrible power as with a simple word or gesture he can make any opposition mysteriously disappear. Behind every transaction and deal that the Guild make Lucius personally oversees the details with meticulous planning and deadly efficiency.

Today we talk about one of my favorite models the ever intimidating Lucius, though some people see him as something of a "pencil pusher" Lucius is actually quite the killer. He lives up to his back story by having his minions do all the dirty work as he pulls strings from the shadows. All fear the mysterious man behind the mask, time to find out what's behind it!

Looking over Lucius' statistics he doesn't seem all that impressive as either a Leader or  Henchmen (the latter being 10 soul stones) with most of his stats roaming around the 6 area Lucius almost looks lack luster. Do not be fooled by the raw printed statistics, after you keep reading his card you will see that Lucius actually fills out his card quite nicely with a plethora of abilities/actions/spells/etc.


Advanced Planning:
Any Crew containing Lucius that used a Soul Stone to reflip a Strategy gains one Soul Stone into its Soul Stone Cache. It should be noted that this ability cannot be used when doing a Shared Strategy but otherwise this is quite a good ability. now most players probably would not even dare to waste a stone to reflip a mission. But if you plan to take Lucius you have nothing to worry about as it will come back towards your Soul Stone Cache when you are done building your crew.

Have a mission you aren't particularly strong at? You can reflip the Strategy giving you a better chance to accomplish objectives. As I have said before I do not believe I have seen many people sacrificing a Soul Stone in order to reflip strategies even when they WOULD want to. So the fact that you can do it for "free" should not be something overlooked.

Highest Authority:
Any Strikes or Casts targeting Lucius receive a negative to Attack and Casting Flips. An excellent ability that will help Lucius keep relatively safe even with his low base Defense. In most cases Lucius just has to watch out for enemies who have Paired weapons. As most other enemies will generally be at a disadvantage it doesn't matter how high their Cb or Ca are since they will be at a negative they will not be able to cheat, while Lucius can easily avoid any incoming attention.

Yes a model can get around this by Focusing or Channeling but I have found in most cases if they attempt to do this they are usually  giving up movement so will tend to find other methods to deal with Lucius. Though this makes Lucius pretty hard to target for most models do not think he is above enemy reproach. If you want him to be near bullet proof just hide him behind some terrain where even Focused/Paired weapons will have trouble dealing with him.

Secret Service:
While a friendly Elite Division or Guardsmen model is within 2" of Lucius he  gains a +2 to his Defense, making him a respectable 6. Mixed with 'Highest Authority' this ability makes Lucius pretty hard for most minions and even some master to take out quickly without allocating a good amount of resources. Where as some abilities vary pending on situation this ability is almost always the recommended path to be taken.

The reasoning behind having either an Elite Division or Guardsmen model near Lucius is because Lucius himself is more of a crew buffer.While his damage output is actually quite mediocre it is his ability to command others to be more effective that makes him great. By having a model near by it creates a very effective bodyguard even out of the humble Guild Guardsman.

Slow to Die:
When this model is killed it may immediately take a 1 action before it is removed from the table, if the model manages to gain at least 1 Wound back it stays alive and is not removed from the table. This is an amazing ability on a minion but when given  to a model capable of Use Soul Stone it becomes even better. Since regardless of how many Wounds Lucius takes he can simply absorb the damage and burn a Soul Stone to make a Healing Flip for his 1 action. As long as it is not a Black Joker he stays around for some more!

It should be noted that "Kill" effects will still put you in the ground permanently so if you are going to burn a stone to avoid getting hit make sure it is to avoid a "Kill" effect. Though few models actually have such an effect it is a good heads up to remember such things. How many games have been lost due to not paying attention to details?

Special Forces Leader (Elite Division):
Not a real ability per se just crew hiring limitations for Lucius, simply put crews led by Lucius can only be compromised with models with the following keywords: Elite Division, Guardsmen and/or Totems.This only comes into play when you have Lucius lead a crew, personally that is the ONLY way I run Lucius. Yes he can "sling shot" Masters or powerful Minions into combat but for me I enjoy using him as a Leader of a crew.

As of the posting of this article the minion pool includes: Guild Guardsmen, Guild Hounds, Ryle, Lawyers, Guild Captains, Austringers, Wardens and various totems. Though with the new book being released a little over a month away I eagerly await to see what other goodies Lucius may get.

Terrifying 12:
Whenever a Living Model without Terrifying activates, moves through, or ends an action within Lucius' melee range or when declaring a Charge against Lucius they must win a Morale Duel of 12 or immediately fall back. Another defensive ability that Lucius possesses if he ever is locked in melee with an enemy even if they have a high Will Power stat do not forget this ability. Yes they may easily pass the test but the more you mill an enemy's deck the better the chances.

For a second imagine an enemy laughing that they "JUST" have to pass this low Terrifying duel and they flip a Red Joker for the test. That WOULD have been a Red Joker on the attack if it were not for Terrifying! Also what if they flip a really low card? The opponent will have to cheat using one of the cards in their hand they were saving for something they hoped would of been a better situation. If ever an opponent flips a Black Joker for such a test they will be fuming, what would of been a regular miss turns into their model forfeiting their action and running away!


Governor's Authority:
When Lucius must absolutely dirty his hands in a scrap he has this nifty trigger. When he hits a model with a Rams suited card the defender may not target Lucius with ANY attacks. Adding to his survival skills all Lucius has to do is HIT the enemy regardless if damage is caused or not and the enemy will just have to sit there and hope another model is in melee range to use actions on.

With his Cb 6 aiming for this trigger is not a terribly bad idea when you are in a pinch, though I have said that Lucius does better commanding other models it doesn't mean he can't hold his own in combat. This trigger effectively "pins" a model in place with Lucius unless there is a model in range all they can do is either sit there and hop it doesn't happen again OR try and break away combat from Lucius.


Casting Expert (+1)::
This gives Lucius an extra action which can only be used for Casting a Spell, not too shabby considering that Lucius has three (1) spells that can be cast. More often than not this spell will "Issue Command" but do not completely discount his other spells...

Advanced Training:
A (0) action that gives all friendly Elite Division or Guardsmen +2cb till the end of Lucius' activation. Though at first glance this ability seems quite prohibitive take a moment to let it sink in. This action is used exclusively with "Issue Command" to make even the humble Guild Guardsman a very skilled swordsmen or gun slinger. When this bonus is applied to something like a Guild Guard Captain or an Austringer this action is VERY nasty as it would create extremely accurate attacks from your minions.

I tend to use this action second turn on unless I want to keep re positioning my crew via "Reinforcements", the +2cb is a huge bonus especially since it can come into use up to three times a turn (by casting "Issue Command" three times) which makes it quite devastating. When this bonus is applied to an Austringer this boosts up their strikes to Cb 9 even some Masters will have difficulty avoiding an attack! While Minions more often than not can only hope to close the gap so the attack doesn't do too much damage.

Ruthless Leadership:
By sacrificing a friendly Elite Division or Guardsman model within 2" Lucius gains Reactivate, this action can only be used once per turn. When it comes to Lucius he has three very viable (0) actions as you will see, with this action  he gains Reactivate which is quite a powerful effect to have. With Reactivate you can have Lucius dash off with some treasure, interact with terrain or simply continue supporting his crew.

Targets for "Ruthless Leadership" tend to be models that have already activated or are already on the chopping block because of being paralyzed, poisoned or simply low on wounds. In the closing stages of the game where an enemy may have activated all their models having Lucius activate again is never a bad thing especially when it means you can "Issue Command" an additional 3 times a turn.


Needing a 7+ of any suit this 18" range spell places a friendly model from the deployment zone to within 4" of Lucius. A very nifty spell that can make even your slow movers one of the fastest models in the game, this spell in particular is why most players include Lucius into their crew. You double Walk Lucius cast Reinforcements and if the model happens to be Guardsman or Elite Division you can even "Issue Command" on them for some extra shenanigans.

The subtle power of this spell is that because it does not "target" a model you can slingshot models like Ryle or even the Lawyer without any negative effects. Also it is a "Place" effect so you can put a model into/onto a building, out of line of sight, etc. Do not think this is JUST a turn 1-2 spell.if one of your models is running away from the enemy run to your deployment zone and simply have Lucius teleport them out from harms way.

In a mission like " Deliver the Message" after the opponent activates his master and there is no immediate danger simply walk up Lucius and cast this spell to put the minion within range. In some cases it is easier to walk one of your minions to your deployment zone to have Lucius re position them further along the board or onto an objective.

Guild Intelligence:
Next up we have Guild Intelligence needing a 6+ to cast this spell allows you to draw a card then discard a control card. This spell is relatively easy to cast and should you have nothing that needs Lucius' immediate attention it is a good spell. Any time you have the potential to cycle through your deck and weed out the low cards is a good thing in my book.

Even if you cycle into a weak card never discount that the card  COULD of been a failed defense/resist flip, yes it may stay in your hand but when you discard it next turn that is a turn free of one weaker card out of your deck.

Hidden Sniper:
An interesting spell that requires a minimum of 5+ Rams suited card to be cast, it is spell that targets Defense and has a nice range of 16". It's damage output is not that impressive at a 1/2/4 but it should be noted that this spell is not considered a Ranged Spell so it can be cast to/from melee without penalty. In addition Lucius himself does not need Line of Sight, in fact this spell can target any model within range of the spell that any friendly Elite Division can see.

I have  not personally used  this spell much the relatively weak damage probably will not make a big dent in an enemy barring a lucky severe or red joker card on damage. But if an enemy is camped in some terrain or you are facing a pesky Spirit I can see where this can come into play. Though Lucius has better spells and actions to do in the right circumstances this particular spell can be useful..

Issue Command:
The spell that defines Lucius as a crew buffer Issue Command needs an 8+ of any suit to go off, it allows a friendly Elite Division or Guardsman to immediately make a melee or ranged strike action or it can take a walk action. With a healthy range of 12" Lucius can stay behind his minions a good distance while commanding them to carry out his orders.

As has been mentioned in "Advanced Training" this spell can effectively double (or more) a minions actions and make them quite dangerous. Just when an enemy thinks they may be safe you can spam attacks and even some of the better defense minions will break a sweat as they burn through their deck or hand trying to defend themselves. The most popular use of this spell is to make an Austringer attack even more! with an already deadly Cb 7 even without "Advanced Training" the enemy will be hard pressed to avoid attacks.

In missions where movement can mean victory or defeat simply make a model keep taking Walk actions, just make sure to keep them in range of Issue Command until Lucius uses his last AP. Being able to move just about anywhere, focus fire and other tricks ANY time after their activation or even before is a huge boon. It will keep an enemy guessing unless they completely eliminate a minion they will have to second guess some of their plans if Lucius did not yet activate.

My preferred totem of Lucius when he is leading a crew is the Governor's Proxy this is for a handful of reasons. The main reason is that the Totem comes with a ghosted Rams suit for his Ca so he can ALSO cast Issue command but needing a 9+ instead. Sure it he can only cast it an additional time but when a 2 Soul Stone totem can give a higher Soul Stone model another action it is a thing of beauty.

Now I have to chime in that all the times I have played Lucius he has always been leading the crew so I cannot comment on the greater use of him when taken in addition to a master. It is a rare thing when Lucius actually stays dead at the end of the game, between having some great defensive buffs and other models putting out damage output the enemy either forgets about him or over commits.

The speed that Lucius provides means that he can really get his crew where they need to be, so in objective missions you can easily get about the battlefield and pick where you want the fight to be. Much to his background story and character Lucius does plan things meticulously and see that every cog in the Guild machine does it's part. Playing Lucius as a leader for a crew is a different experience because all of the current Guild masters can do some damage in one way or another where as Lucius lets others do the work for him.

If Lucius has a glaring weakness it is that if all his minions are dead most of Lucius' usefulness goes with them. He NEEDS his crew to do all the heavy lifting so unless you have a mission that either relies on staying alive or mobility you may be toast. If a master or powerful minion decides to go after him there is not much Lucius can do but stall or run away unless he is lucky. With that said Lucius is one of my main crew leaders (the other being Sonnia) and I always enjoy fielding his crew, it is a breath of fresh air and gives Guild players tons of tricks that were previously unavailable.


Lindh said...

Good writeup. Just a note on Hidden Sniper though. You can't use Guardsmen to draw LoS with it, only Elite Division.

Cerealkiller.. said...

Thanks for the spot, took a while to fix as I haven't been on the home computer in a few days.