Random Thoughts - The New Malifaux Masters

A few days ago, Wyrd released further details on the new Masters and crews being released at Gencon in a few weeks to go with the new book, Ripples of Fate. I had a few things bumping around my head about the way the new Masters seem to operate, their crew boxes, and a few other things that have struck me.

So first of all, if you want to see the run of crew boxes including model renders, they are viewable HERE. I'd post photos here, but I'm not too sure how that sits with use of Wyrd IP, so I'll just play safe and leave it. I'll link to each of the Masters as they listed as well, so if you want to see their cards, Wyrd's tactica and so on, click the Master name, and you'll get taken there. I'll run through my initial thoughts on them, why I'd be worried about facing them, and why I'd be interested in playing them.

The Guild - Nellie Cochrane

What Do They Do? Nellie's theme seems to be the Evidence condition, something (and possibly others) build up during a turn, which ends at the end of the turn to drop a Scheme Counter, or it can be used for some triggers. At first it seems simple. Then as you read the rules it becomes obvious that the theme is using Scheme Counters (From both sides) to get bonuses, mess with your opponent, and generally just get up to no good. The more you read, the more obvious it becomes that she as a lot of use for Scheme Counters, and messing with activations, moving people around, and generally causing chaos near counters. 

Am I Scared? This is just first impressions, but I suspect that in the hands of a good player, this crew could cause some headaches for other players, especially early on before people have figured out counters to their plans. The combination of Scheme Counter usage, as well as enemy disruption makes me think of her as a combination of Pandora and Colette. And in some ways she also seems like a good Guild counter to those two Masters, which is kind of interesting. 

Am I Excited? I'm definitely interested in this crew, but possibly for the wrong reasons. Playing McMourning lately has changed my play style to use Scheme Counters more, so I'm interested to see how another Master would use them. As bad as it sounds, I do like getting the grand disruption of an enemy plan at a crucial point in this game, and I think she could do it. I get the feeling me playing this crew would be looking for the over the top combo with her, just to do the 'signature attack', and I'd probably end up ignoring schemes in my first few games to figure out how to do that. 

Resurrectionists - Reva

What Do They Do? A mounted master with the ability to cast through Corpse Markers, with Shieldbearers, and a renegade Guild Exorcist. The more expansions that come out for Malifaux, the more it becomes obvious the Guild does not have good staff retention. Anyway, Reva has a lot of use for Corpse Markers, not so much for summoning but attacking through, discarding to enhance something, and turning them to Schemes, as well as other tricks. This crew appears to play defensively, and I'm guessing the Shieldbearers have some kind of bodyguard ability to take damage of Reva, while her Henchman does some damage and Reva hits from a distance. She seems to be themed as a mix of Rasputina's "Attack through my allies" skill with Nicodem's "I love corpses!" theme. 

Am I Scared? Honestly, I'm pretty eager to go up against her! She has some pretty cool sounding abilities, and I want to see someone really come to grips with her. I'm guessing that a defensive play is a theme for this crew, and if they turtle up it could be hard to achieve a few schemes against her. I am concerned that I bunch up my models, and one Corpse appearing in the middle of the group could mean that another appears soon, so they have to scatter. She seems like a heavy hitter, but Malifaux isn't a game about brute force overpowering your opponent, so it doesn't make her overly feared, but I'm cautious for now. 

Am I Excited? Yes! I really want to play this crew as well as face them! I know for a fact that I'd want to try her with Anna Lovelace, with her ability to summon Mindless Zombies to act as more anchors for her. I'd love to see how Reva interacts with the 1st book upgrade that lets you turn Corpse Counters into Mindless Zombies, which also count as Corpse Counters later in the game. I'm really curious to know the difference between Corpse Candles and Mindless Zombies to see if there are situations where one might be more useful than the other. I'm honestly keen to see this crew in action, both in terms of the models themselves, and the play style.

Neverborn - Titania

What Do They Do? Titania is an Undead Fae Neverborn. Resilient, with an aura that cautions opponents from placing counters near her in case they take damage. This release has seen a lot of Scheme Marker uses, and I do like that there is more variety coming into that part of the game. She seems like a Neverborn counter to crews that drop counters a lot, but with a backstory of wanting to reclaim Malifaux, I like that it comes across in her play style (This is not your turf). She also has an upgrade that coverts Corpse and Scrap Counters, so at the right time, that could turn a game and leave an opponent without a lot of resources. 

Am I Scared? Am I mainly scared with how this will affect the Neverborn in the story already, as opposed to the play style. The fact that she is Undead means there are already some interesting counters and combos with her that other crews can used, so while I think she will be impressive on a table, I don't think she is overpowered to the point of having to worry. 

Am I Excited? Yeah, but not as much as some of the others. I'm interested to see what the Fae title brings with it, in terms of combos and new models. I want to see her take on some like Ramos, Colette or Nicodem; someone who uses a lot of counters where she can flip the table back and forth. Heck, Masters like Nicodem and possibly Reva have a big interest in mobile corpse counters, so turning them at the right point in the game could potentially turn a game into an out-activation match!

Arcanists - Sandeep Desai

What Do They Do? Sandeep is a bit of a strange case in how he works. At first glance, he has some decent attacks, and a bunch of useful Actions, but he doesn't seem to be a 'Counter Master' or 'Damage Master' the way some others appear at first. But then you notice his crew can use a lot of his Actions, and in the right situation Sandeep can then activate out of turn. Which means that he and his crew can potentially do whatever they feel like every tun of the game. In the right circumstances, he could get 4 different (1) actions used out of his turn, so he can pretty much be Obeyed by his own crew, which is pretty cool. The box also comes with Poison Gamin, a Gamin I wasn't expecting, and it appears he can summon Gamin of his choice with an upgrade. So he can summon, and damage, and move around. Oh, and the other thing? He's the Academic Master we've been expecting, so he can get an upgrade to hire things like Sanctioned Spellcaster, Transmortis, and Oxfordian Mages into his crew for variety. I wouldn't be surprised to find one or two more Academics in the new books as well for him to play with.

Am I Scared? Yes! At first glance he didn't seem much of a threat, and I thought he was going to be a support Master for the rest of his crew. But it turns out he is really flexible, and can adapt turn to turn! Dealing with Sandeep I suspect will take a lot of planning and careful work, as he can possibly get out of a lot of situations. 

Am I Excited? Honestly, I haven't dabbled with Arcanists much, but Sandeep is going to fix that for me. I love the look of his model, and I don't think we have seen a 40mm base Master yet, especially one of a 30mm base without a mount. I like finding out new things in games, and can imagine that Sandeep is a tricky Master to play with an against, but also gives a lot of options during game as well to keep both players guess on what happens next. 

Outcasts - Parker Barrows

What Do They Do? Parker is a Bandit (Expect that to turn up on a bunch of cards then), which seems to have some card manipulation, soulstone manipulation, and counter manipulation. He also messes with his upgrades by discarding them and reattaching them for bonuses. It's tempting to say that he's another Scheme Counter Master, but he does work differently to the others, and doesn't seem to focus a great deal on it. But discarding someone's carefully laid Spring the Trap Markers to get an upgrade could be a great may to turn the game!

Am I Scared? Almost. I know someone already eyeing him off, and while that player hasn't played Malifaux a great deal, he's no slouch to tactics and understanding rules. But I honestly underestimate the 'plain humans that trained a bit' characters in this game, so that will be a weakness for me, just like dealing with people like Von Schill. I'd have to see him in action to get a read on how people play him, but I think it's good that we again get another Master that has multiple play styles and doesn't rely on just one tactic. 

Am I Excited? Like I said, I tend to underestimate the human groups in any game that has magic, monsters, and other fantasy elements. This goes for things like DnD and Warhammer as well. I don't think the crew looks bad, it's just other things appeal to me more in this wave, which I don't view as a negative thing for the crew, just a personal choice. 

Ten Thunders - Asami Tanaka

What Do They Do? Asami is the Ten Thunders Oni Master people suspected we were going to get, so no huge surprise there. I wasn't expecting her to be a summoner though, even after seeing the front of her card. And while she does summon in a similar manner to others (Name a model, get  a certain value and suit combo to summon), the Flicker Condition she gives them limits there time on the table, which is an interesting twist for a summoner. There are ways to increase the condition, and I have no doubt that by the end of Gencon someone will have found a way to summon multiple Oni that can last to the end of the game, but it definitely adds a bit more fun and variety to just "I summon a shop-worn version of that minion". I also like the idea that these are temporary Oni, that disappear from site after a while. It has a cool visual.

Am I Scared? Asami I suspect will be a threat, but from what we have seen so far, she seems fairly balanced. Her synergy with Oni models, especially letting them charge as a (1) action, and the combination of so many hard hitting Oni will make her a scary opponent when you have board clearing schemes, but I suspect she will be a Master that higher level players can do very well with, but other players might have a bit of a learning curve to get the hang of her summoning, timing, and when to provide cheap charges. 

Am I Excited? Yes! I like the new summoning mechanic, as it means the Oni, different creatures to what we usually see summoned, are being summoned in a different manner with different restrictions. It also adds an interesting element to models outside of the faction as well, namely condition removers. A Witchling Stalker or even an opponent Low River Monk is able to hit an Oni and remove the Flicker condition, potentially before it has had a chance to activate! Potentially this master is going to make other players use different troops and consider other tactics, which I really like seeing in Malifaux. 

Gremlins - Zipp

What Do They Do? Zipp is a really fast Gremlin with a rocketpack and lightning gun, and can bring a airship in that drops pianos on people. Does he have your attention yet? As opposed to the Masters that were shown earlier, he doesn't mess much with Counters or rely on them, an in fact has Insignificant, so probably couldn't try something like that even if he wanted to! Zipp's role on the board seems to be disruption of your opponent, getting among them quickly and stopping them from doing anything. 

Am I Scared? Not much. He's got a few cool tricks, and is pretty mobile, but I get the impression once something gets to him and locks him in place (Even if they have to do something weird to stop his defence triggers) then his crew loses a lot of movement tricks, and your crew gets freed up to interact. Having said that, we still don't know what the rest of the crew does. For all we know they all spin around the table moving each other like a cup and ball trick, and everyone stops people interacting!

Am I Excited? For Zipp, yes! And it's not that I see him as super-powerful and therefore my new go to "I want to win" Master, but rather as Master that is going to force me to play differently. I often fall back on my Master to achieve schemes and interacts in order to earn VP, and it feels like a waste in a lot of cases. Zipp doesn't have that option, so I think he's a great model to break me out of what could become a bad habit. 

Final Thoughts

I really like the new Masters, and I'm interested to see what they bring to the table. At first I was a bit cautious we were going to get a book of Masters that focused on Scheme Counters in different ways, but that was quickly put to rest. The new models look great, and there are multiple models that I want to paint up, even if I don't have an option to  use them just yet. And other Masters are getting me interested in using models that I wouldn't normally use or get a chance to seriously try. All in all, I'm looking forward to the release of Ripples of Fate. 


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