Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Wastrel Overview and Tactics

One always assumes that with wealth and good breeding that only paragons of justice and virtue are born..If that were only true then the sons of the wealthy would not end up in such a place as Malifaux. Whether it was to escape persecution Earth side or simply the pleasures on the other side of the breach fail to suffice. One way or another these black sheep of  the wealthy make their wake to Malifaux and look for ways to cause trouble. Though the Guild doesn't officially recognize these Wastrels as officers of the Guild.. there are times when their certain set of skills could be used..

Welcome to the Wastrels the gentlemen thugs of  Malifaux! Even before the book was released I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of these minions. Though at first when the art was spoiled I thought these would fall under the Arcanist branch I was overjoyed upon opening the book and finding these guys under the Guild's umbrella of operatives! With that said lets see just what us Guild players got...


Dual Faction: (Guild/Ten Thunders)
This is another model  that may be hired  by Ten Thunders masters which does in fact include Lucas McCab as one of the five choices available. There is a great amount of choice if you decide to go the Ten Thunders route since you can "splash" 1-2 minions from every faction. As I have said before not too familiar with all the combinations of Ten Thunders but it does add great versatility.

Aniomosity (Zoraida):

Usually models with WP 4 or lower may be hired by Zoraida, but not these guys! With this ability these models may not be hired if she is leading a crew.

While the Wastrel is under the effects of Harmless it gets +2 Dg to it's Damage Flip. This is quite a good boost considering how low the damage output of his Gang Weapons are at 1/2/3. But don't let straight damage be the judging point of this model there is more to be seen!

For each Wastrel in your crew you may pick one of the following options, it is considered printed onto their card from that point. You cannot have any duplicates of same Castoffs ability, here are the following choices:
-Earth's Elixir-
It is a 0 action that can only be used once an encounter, but once activated the Wastrel cannot be brought down below 1 wound. This is a great ability to throw a Wastrel onto an objective and have him activate this ability so he cannot be killed. Mind you  that he could STILL be Sacrificed but just about every other form of damage going his way he can simply shrug off.
-Petrified Feather-
A great ability when you have to zoom across the field to jump on an objective or avoid an enemy, once per encounter as an (All) action this model can be placed anywhere within 18" it can legally be placed. Since it is a Place effect you do not have to worry about Disengaging Strikes or any of that jazz. Also something to keep in mind is that even if you are Slow you can still use an All action.
-Soulstone Bullet-
Once per encounter before inflicting damage with Small Handgun replace the 1/3/4 damage stat to 3/4 with a blast/6 with a blast and it is Magical damage. Another one use ability it is good to remember that it is before Damage especially with only a Cb of 4 with Small Handgun you can use the ability when it seems most dire or useful.
-Strange Metal Blade-
The only Castoffs ability that is not 'one use' it replaces the Gang Weapons damage of 1/2/3 with 1/3 + Slow/4 + Paralyzed and the weapon is Magical. Not only do you receive a significant damage boost but the effects you gain on the weapon are great for a 4ss minion to have around. Remember that you still have access to 'Critical Strike' on your Gang Weapons making it quite a nice choice to take.

Enemy models targeting this minion with an attack must win a WP>12 Duel or the action fails, unless the model with Harmless performs any action other than Walk or Pass. Ruthless and Terrifying models ignore Harmless.

With only a Defense of 4 and no other defensive buffs Harmless is a great way for your Wastrels to get into position especially against models with low WP. Even against models with relatively nice WP this Harmless ability isn't a total waste because it will force your opponent to burn a card on top of their deck. The amount of times I have seen a high card get wasted on random flips is staggering.

This model ignores both Harmless and Pitiful when targeting enemy models. Quick and simple with only a WP of 4 you do not want your Wastrels to use that stat for Duels. Models like Kirai and Molly cannot rely on their Pitiful ability to cover them up once they unleash their tricks.


Gang Weapons: Paired

Small Handgun: Paired

Both weapons at a glance aren't too impressive till you notice that both weapons are actually Paired. Off the top of my head I cannot recall too many models with both Ranged and Melee paired weapons especially at this Soulstone cost. With a healthy dose of Castoffs and/or Triggers these low Damage output weapons become all the more menacing...


Critical Strike (Gang Weapons):

If you hit with a Rams suited card you gain +1 Damage to your Gang Weapons bumping it from a 1/2/3 to a 2/3/4. Not too shabby especially when you have a Paired Cb 5 weapon it shouldn't be too hard to hit your opponent. It is more of a bonus especially if you couple it with the Castoffs ability of Stangemetal Blade which would become 2/4 + slow/5 + Paralyzed.

Reload...Twice (Small Handgun):
Quite an odd Trigger that requires you hit your target with a Crows suited card, replace the damage of Small Handgun from 1/3/4 to 3/6/8! It is quite a punch indeed doubles your damage but at a great cost. After the attack is resolved this Wastrel ends it's activation and gains Paralyzed. This is Trigger is based highly on the situation, if you can knock out an important model then sure why not go for broke. I see this Trigger most often being used the second action that the Wastrel has just to add a little bit more to damage before you go useless or die the next turn. 


Secret Passages:
This model can be placed 8" if no enemy can draw Line of Sight when this model performs this action and the Wastrel is not engaged in Melee. This action does not end Harmless on the Wastrel. A very nice ability to get about the battlefield even if you only perform this ability once a turn you effectively double the Walk of the Wastrel. In addition since it is a Place effect you can essentially phase through walls and into terrain.

Jumping from cover to cover through Line of Sight blocking terrain means that your Wastrel can travel a max of 16" a turn. Have to check if I am correct on this but though you cannot be Engaged or in Line of Sight to the enemy when you start this action. It does not say you cannot end your action in any of the above. Good for pouncing on enemies or getting to their objectives while staying relatively safe.

In my book it is another fine low cost model available to Guild, though the Wastrels do not follow the typical high damage straight forward tactics approach that Guild usually take... that is actually a good thing. The Wastrels have a few neat tricks that Guild didn't have access to in the past, having mobile tricksters that meld well with their respective Master is quite nice indeed.

My only real complaint is that they are not "Guardsmen" but that is only because I wanted the run them with Lucius for the "Dapper Gentlemen Crew". All jokes aside I think just about any Master barring Hoffman can get some good use out of these guys. In theory being faster than even the mighty Warden and only being slightly cheaper. Again with Dual Faction I have not looked to see what crossover ability they may have with the other Masters but as always versatility and options are always a good  thing in my book! Till then folks!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Clockwork Trap Overview and Tactics

Deep in the laboratories of the Guild, scientists work tirelessly coming up with new equipment for Guild officers to bring to the field. What started off as a simple trap spawned into something bigger as the scientists pushed the limit of their ingenuity. This in turn has spawned their very latest... the Clockwork Trap! Stalking its prey as it slithers across the battlefield before it finally attacks and latches onto its victim incapacitating them!

Hello folks and welcome to another article I know that I have been away for quite some time but summer time is usually the busiest with conventions and what not going on. When I got back it took some time to detox and during that time I looked over the new Storm of Shadows book by Malifaux. I figured that I should write an article that highlights one of the new Guild minions. So here is my small review of the model by reading the rules. I haven't been able to proxy it in a game yet but I figured here are a few ideas that first came to me while reading the entry over.


Dual Faction: (Guild/Ten Thunders)
Not a real ability but it allows both Guild and Ten Thunders factions to hire this model into their crews. Which crew this model can get hired into is HUGE and  the amount of combinations that can be done I haven't checked up on fully. So most of my following observations come from a Guild standpoint.

This ability lets the Clockwork trap get into a good position by ignoring Severe and Climbable terrain penalties in addition it treats all vertical surfaces as climbable. With a very average walk of 4 this really helps the clock work trap get the most out of it's movement.

Evasive +2:
When hit by a blast marker the Clockwork Trap will receive Armor 2 against the damage, quite nifty considering that the trap only has 3 Wounds. Along with the Tiny ability it makes the Clockwork Trap just a little bit more survivable against most ranged threats.

From the Shadows:
Allows the Clockwork Trap to be deployed after all miniatures have been placed, must be in cover and at least 12" away from an enemy and an objective from a Strategy and/or Scheme. In addition this model cannot be targeted by Ranged Strikes or be target of a Charge unless it takes an action other than Pass.

Great ability that lets you counter deploy your enemy where you think you may be your weakest, Clockwork Trap is great at area denial. This ability compliments what the miniature is supposed to do, it can sit in terrain waiting for an enemy or reinforcements to come.

Enemy models targeting this minion must first win a WP>12 Duel or the action immediately ends, they may ignore Harmless if they are Terrifying or Ruthless. Harmless ends if this minion performs an action other than Move or Pass.

Another nice little defensive buff for the Clockwork Trap though some would reason if someone wants the Trap dead that it will die one way or another...but who wants to overkill a 2ss model?

Immune to Influence:
A staple on quite a few constructs this makes the model immune to any Will Power Duels while it is the defender. Nice little ability means your model cannot be manipulated whether its due to movement or control shenanigans.

Ranged Strikes and Ranged Spells suffer a Negative fate flip when targeting this model, in addition this model does not block Line of Sight to other models. Another great defensive buff if this model is in cover even Paired weapons will not hit this model reliably.

Coupled with a nice Defense of 6 anybody targeting this minion with Ranged Strikes is going to have a hard time drawing a bead with their guns! If they want to waste the resources to eliminate this minion then it is already doing its job.

Top Secret:
This increases the rarity of the Clockwork Trap from Rare 3 to Rare 6 when the crew includes either McCabe and/or Guild Trappers. Not much else to this talent not quite sure why you would need 6 in a regular game but at 2ss a pop it is not out of  the realm of possibility.

If this model Flips a  Black Joker for a starting Duel he produces a Pulse 2 for 2 Damage and is then Sacrificed. Shouldn't come up too often but I can see how some people hate losing models on a "random" flip, if it's any consolation it is only 2ss AND it gets sacrificed so no counters for any Scavengers!


Trapping Jaw:
Models who are hit by this weapon cannot attempt to disengage unless the Clockwork Trap either moves or is removed from the game. Traps... well TRAP models it will make them immobile unless they either kill the trap by wasting AP or have Push or Placement effects.


After an enemy misses the Clockwork Trap with a Melee Strike if you have cheated with a Mask suited card you may immediately push the Clockwork Trap 3" ignoring terrain. Quite nifty to get you out of a tight spot if you face something you may not be able to handle. Since it does not say directly away and because the ability does not say it has to leave melee range of any models you can in theory tie up an nearby enemy models with this push.


(0) Clamp Down:
The first of three (0) abilities available to the Clockwork Trap, pick a model within 2" they must perform a Cb > Wk Duel. If the target loses the Duel it becomes Paralyzed and you must Sacrifice the Clockwork Trap. If the Clockwork Trap was still benefiting from Harmless when it takes this action it gets a Positive Flip to this Duel.

Most models who have the ability to Paralyze either are Masters or expensive Minions, so when you can have a cheap model that has access to Paralyze it is a GREAT thing. Sure it comes at the price of the Clockwork Trap's life but when you tie up or deter an enemy this action is worth its cost many times over.

(0) Primed:
With this action the Clockwork Trap may make the "Clamp Down" action when an enemy model comes within 2" of this minion, in addition this does not end Harmless. A simple set up ability that is very rare in Malifaux and that is the ability to essentially interrupt a model's action while they are activated.

With this action you can simply set it and forget it, watch the enemy either try and run through the traps or they will have to take a detour around your Clockwork Trap. In addition because it is not a strike per se you can even catch models who have Flight or Float!


(0) Dug In:
A relatively tough spell for the Clockwork Trap  to pull off, needing a 9+ of any suit this spell will give the Clockwork Trap +3 Armor until it moves. Not a bad use of a (0) action will give the Clockwork Trap a slight measure of protection when the inevitable close combat begins. With a high defense of 6 you can close to gap and almost always ensure a negative flip when being attacked. So having +3 Armor will usually degrade most melee attacks to 1 damage.

Though I would prefer to use the "Primed" action wherever possible Dug In is not a bad action at all in case you want to tie an enemy or even multiple enemeis. Armoring up can sitting in combat preventing enemies from leaving is a perfectly viable strategy.

Off the top of my head I cannot recall many models (especially those in Guild) that specialize in area denial so the Clockwork Trap is quite a treat. Of course Hoffman always loves new/cheap constructs to put into his list I can see him using these to actually out activate an enemy.. as well as other neat tricks. Regular Guild crews can also benefit from slowing down the enemy by having a trap or two lay in wait till the enemy is forced to run into them.

As far as being Dual Faction the Clockwork Trap also has lots of potential in Mei Feng's crew where she can use  them to "bounce" off of with her  Railwalker spell. But of course as I have mentioned in the beginning of  the article this is all "Theoryfaux" as I have not been able to test this minion out. Feel free to comment below with any ideas you have thought up for this minion or if I should edit some of the article. Till then folks!