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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Malifaux: Sue WIP, Henchman Hardcore Ideas and X Wing

Hello all...

So over the weekend I started progress on Sue for Malifaux, the pic shows where I'm currently at. I forgot to take a picture of the back, but it's not all that different from what you see so far. 

I debated over how I was going to approach his clothing. He's a Johnny Cash reference so I definitely wanted to keep him as The Man In Black, but black is such a difficult color for me and his model has so many fold that have proven difficult for me in the past to paint successfully with an airbrush. I debated whether I should have black highlighted with blue or purple so create a different kind of black, but decided that doing so may take away having it look like black if that makes sense. So I decided to stay with my tried and true combination of Sombre and Wolf Grey.

I basecoated the model black. My first layer was 50/50 Black/Sombre Grey, then highlighted with Sombre Grey and hit it with Wolf Grey for the shoulders and hat to draw attention and give the lighting a bit of drama. 

For the guitar, pistol and leg armor I did my usual NMM recipe of Black/Cold Grey/White.

The whole model got blacklining treatment, then I edge highlighted the guitar, pistol and legs. That's where I decided to call it a night. I'll have to highlight the clothing and jacket, paint the skin and hair, and finish with the base. The last step will be to airbrush the flames, which I'm planning on using Scorpion Green, and that is a step I'm fearful of, as I don't want to ruin my work with the guitar. So far I'm pretty pleased with how it's going, I think I've finally gotten down how to airbrush large folds and keeping it relatively close to black.

So the reason why I'm working on this particular model is because I will be using him in a Henchman Hardcore tournament this Saturday. It's a really fun format, and we're hosting one for the players to get prepared for GenCon's HH tournament. If you're not familiar with the format it's simple: It's a 20ss fixed list tournament, you have to have exactly four models, and you can't use leftover soulstones to increase your cache. The Strategy is Turf War with Close Deployment and the only scheme is Assassinate. Also, summoning or any abilities with summoning in them, are not used and the round is 30 minutes.

Sue is a really good model overall for the game, and may seem even better suited for this format. He's slightly pricey at 8ss but you get a ton of value for the price. He's very similar to a Convict Gunslinger, being that he has a pair of pistols with a built in positive flip for attacks and is Relentless. His walk is the same at 4 and can use the pistols in melee with a range of 2.

So what does the extra stone give you? Hard to Kill, for one. That's always a great ability to have and helps increase his staying power by an extra attack most of the time. He has an ability called Hurt which lets you draw a card at the end of the activation for one damage. He's got Critical Strike as a trigger with a built in Ram, so his minimum damage is 3 - that's a ton of damage and a flipped/cheated Ram makes the minimum damage 4. He has two (0) actions that are great against a lot of models. The first is The Man In Black, giving anyone a negative flip to Ca actions targeting him and models within 3. This can prove invaluable against the right models and is a good way to deny damage and AP. His other (0) action seems to be the main reason to take him in this tournament. Ring Of Fire makes it where any enemy model ending their activation within 3 will suffer Burning 2, and with his trigger Rising Higher increases that to Burning 3. This is killer in HH format, as everyone is going to be in the center of the board for a slugfest. If I constantly activate him first and use Ring of Fire while engaging a model that's a ton of damage coming from him with his pistols, and is a great deterrent for models that want to charge.

The are a few downsides to him when compared to the Convict, although none that keep him from being a solid choice. His Sh stat is one lower than the Convict. The Convict has Rapid Fire, which would be amazing for Sue, and triggers that Slow or give another attack, which is awesome when it happens for most of your Rapid Fire shots. The other benefits for the Convict don't come up too often, like his Bulletproof 1 and Defensive Trigger. The Convict also has a lower defense, which is why the trigger isn't that great especially since it's not built in. Overall it's worth the trade and additional stone, as Hard to Kill, higher damage and versatile Auras more than make up for any shortcomings. In bigger games Sue is also able to get rid of Corpse and Scrap markers, which can be invaluable. If he's ever in a matchup against Lynch and the Hungering Darkness then his other Pistol trigger would be hilarious, as it forces totems to discard two stones or die outright!

Henchman Hardcore List

So I've only played one HH game, and it was a bit of a silly list to use Pride for once. As expected he wasn't good at all, even in a format that forces everyone to be in his aura. I thought that it may be decent as it has a lot of manipulation for Cheating and discarding, but it really isn't at all and can even hurt me if I'm not careful.

I did find that Hannah is a great leader for the format, and Johan is a great followup model as her slow speed isn't a factor in these games.

So this is the list I plan on taking to the tourney:
  • Hannah
    • Survivalist
  • Sue
  • Johan
  • Big Jake
Hannah is great for this format. Counterspell helps with denial, her Freikorps suit denies blasts on her as well as auras like Black Blood along with Armor 1 to help survive. Her Nether Flux will be put to great use as a 4 inch aura that removes suits from everything is crucial. In my test game against 3 Flesh Constructs and Sebastian it helped deny getting tons of poison counters. When there's such a tiny amount of Soul Stone use in game (you only get your cache) it really forces opponents to choose between damage prevention or getting crucial suits to attacks, and this is going to affect anyone that gets remotely near my crew, which is always going to happen. Giving her Survivalist helps her stick around that much more, and the damage denial will make models have to earn their Assassinate points. Her ability to copy Ca actions may help depending on the enemy models, but I can always copy Johan's Rebel Yell with it as a (0) action to get rid of conditions without losing AP as long as I have a Ram. A 3 inch melee range doesn't hurt, along with its possibility to force a Horror Duel which can be crucial at the right moment. Gaining an extra Control Card at the beginning of the turn is amazing, as in these small games you won't normally go through your deck nearly as much so every card counts. In linchpin moments you can spend a stone to cycle two cards and have a great hand for the round. The debate is whether you anticipate needing better cards or damage prevention that round.

Johan(a) is great for her points. She has her Rebel Yell to get rid of conditions (may only use this if Hannah is Paralyzed as it's more efficient for her to use it), has Hard to Kill, and Flurry with a Ml6 minimum 3 damage attack - that gets two positive flips on Constructs (...and Tyrants...). Our Meta is really big on Constructs, so I can see her getting a ton of mileage. She, like Hannah, also has a 3 inch melee range. If there's anything vulnerable to one of those two in melee then it's double the force. Her heal will be situational, as it's both her AP and is 1/2/3 that can't be cheated. If she's on her last wound from Hard to Kill it may be worth it, but I'd need a high card to avoid being killed the next turn. Most of the time hitting will be a better option than a more than likely 1 heal.

Big Jake is in there for a few reasons. The main reason is that he counts as two models for the purposes of Turf War, which is huge in a 4 model crew game like HH. He can be the only one in the 6 inch area and I score a point for the Strategy. He's also got a melee trigger that pushes models 3 inches with a follow up, so in the rare case that enemies are at the edge of the Turf aura he can push them out while staying in the bubble. This is more situational but useful nonetheless. A potentially huge bonus is that when he dies he has a chance to come back at the end of turn 5 so long as there's a friendly model. With Hannah's staying power there's a good chance, and all three of my remaining crew members each have Hard to Kill with their combos and damage being a good deterrent for charges. Lastly he has a short ranged attack, this can be used while avoiding models if necessary, or rather when he can't get a good swing in.

The overall strategy of the crew is stacking damage while denying abilities. The first activation each turn should be Sue to maximize damage through Ring of Fire (as models receive burning only if they end their activation within 3, so it doesn't affect models already activated), or deny Ca actions with The Man in Black. He can pop 1-2 shots at minimum 3-4 damage to soften up targets, or charge them if necessary to ensure maximum burning. Hannah will need to stay with Sue for protection as well as bait models into Sue's aura - it will be hard to avoid needing to get close to Sue if most if not all my crew is right next to him. If Sue went first and isn't engaged she can block off LOS/charge lanes with her large base while denying suits needed for Ca abilities. Her entire cache will most likely be reserved for damage prevention to keep away VP from assassinate, all the while her melee reach of 3 can really reach out and touch someone. Big Jake and Johan can activate interchangeably, depending on what is needed and what the board state looks like. If she needs to finish off models she can activate last so she'll know the best position for assistance. If she's needed to remove conditions like poison to prevent Expunge she can activate sooner to deny damage. Big Jake will be the last on the priority list unless he really needs to play keep away or push activated models. His initial death isn't much for concern as long as he can come back on Turn 5. As long as I can keep my 3 main models in the Turf War for 4 turns I should be able to get full VP for the Strategy, Attrition can usually net my VP for Assassination as the Burning 2/3 will start to take its toll, especially with two models having minimum damage 3.

My original thoughts for a list were Rusty Alyce as a leader with Survivalist, Sue, Convict Gunslinger and Johan. The idea of denying charges to the entire crew while shooting the crap out of everything from a Rapid Firing Rusty and Convict, with Sue's nasty damage, and Johan's as a melee backup, seemed very nice. I'd still have 3 Hard to Kill models, with more of an emphasis on melee denial and shooting damage. Anything with sufficient armor or Bulletproof would stop it cold though, and although H2K is great it won't stop a melee beast. It seemed like my Hannah list was more versatile and concentrated on the Strat/Scheme. However, even with Bulletproof 2/3 from models like Snow Storm it still can potentially do a lot of damage. If all triggers were hit, 3 attacks from Rusty and 3 from Convict along with 2 from Sue all doing 1 damage is still 8 damage, but it's not nearly as much as you can do with melee against it - one Flurry from Johan is 9 damage, and she'd get two positives against constructs like a Flesh Construct.

My current list seems like a solid list. I know I'll be facing a few Resser crews, an Arcanist crew, maybe a Neverborn crew, and definitely a Gremlin crew. The Resser ones I've seen are pretty nasty backed by some shrewd players, but it's not much I don't have a grasp on. In my practice game I had a much worse list and held my own for a tie. There's a chance he may not take that crew after seeing what I'll probably bring, but I'll be ready for it if he does. The Arcanist one I saw is pretty scary, as it has Snow Storm, Ice Gamin and an Ice Golem which seems nasty together. The Gremlin crew has some pushing shenanigans which can be a headache for me.

X Wing

In other news I played my first game of X Wing on Saturday with my buddy Derrick. I have a small Imperial force, consisting of 4 Tie Fighters, a Tie Advance, Phantom and Inquisitor. It's a pretty fun game, and definitely a different learning curve. Almost every game I kept bumping into my own ships over and over and over again, even at times where no enemy ships were around. Movement is a pretty big strategy in the game and it's a hard one for me to wrap my head around.

I definitely found that I like the Phantom as it fits my play style. I don't think I'm quite ready for a swarm style of force, as keeping even three ships coordinated is a lot for me to think about as a newcomer. I'll keep playing using elite style groups consisting of 3-4 ships until I get the hang of the game.

That's all for now!