So yesterday I had my weekly Malifaux meet up at the unrivaled Montag's games for some practice. Earlier in the day I realized that I had long ago bought the Brotherhood of the Rat and Hamelin boxes, nearly $100 of models, and hadn't once played a game with him. I decided to rectify this that day and made a Hamelin list and was quite pleasantly surprised at how good he is!
So to start off with a new crew I generally take a good long look at the Master's card and upgrades to become familiar with his abilities. I then take a look at their thematic models to see the validity in their synergies, after that I ask myself if any out-of-theme models could benefit from the unique abilities of the Master to potentially tap into unorthodox combos and maybe fill in gaps of the play style. When I've done all that thinking I generally make a very fast and loose list of ideas I've had and see how they fit within a list - this is also the step that I discover that I can't possibly fit all the things I want in the list. Lastly, and rarely I add, I'll check up online in forums and blogs to find what people have made for their lists and compare mine with theirs. I usually do so to ask myself if others have seen something I haven't, if I see something others don't, or if the list practically builds itself and I haven't discovered anything new about them.
These are all the steps I took before heading out to play and the results honestly surprised me.
So I've read Hamelin's cards and his respective models plenty of times before. I actually had thought of running them prior to Adepticon's explosion over the Rat/Joy lists, primarily because using the rat engine to out-activate your opponent can be powerful in lists like Viktorias.
Shortly after Adepticon Wyrd's awareness of the community's complaints increased and speedily updated their FAQs to nerf the hell out of the rat engine, making its use strictly confined to Hamelin himself. I personally saw this as a disservice, as any competent player can put a wrench in the rat engine easily enough and should encourage players to think outside the box to resolve their on-table issues with the crew. I'm a huge proponent of going against the meta for games for a few reasons, and I've been relatively successful because of it. Having such an effective list being out there for the world to utilize can actually be a big weakness for players who use it - everyone is prepared for it, you're not reinventing the wheel, and everyone has the opportunity to develop counters. If you develop an odd list that works then the chances of someone being prepared for it are significantly less, and this can throw off veteran gamers who expect a list to work a certain way when you've tipped that on its side. I found this especially true in Warmachine, but I'm getting off the point.
Here are my thoughts on Hamelin, his crews, and his synergies before I put theory to practice.
NOTE: Before going into the gritty little details I'd like to bring up the Blighted condition. This condition does absolutely nothing on its own. It does however remain on the model after the turn is done and increases by 1 every turn, so a model with Blighted 1 gains another up to Blighted 2 at the end of the turn. This condition plays into what Hamelin and his crew can do to targets who have this condition, and the higher the number the more devastating the ability can be.
The man himself, the Sewer Slayer, Hamelin!
So I'll keep this in the same vein as my previous strategy entries and discuss the card abilities and thoughts as they appear.
First up are his notable stats. Defense 5 his expected for a guy who isn't a beatsick, and his WP is 7 which is excellent for when you need it. Twelve wounds is also expected but what stands out is his short charge range, definitely signifying to me that he's probably not going to be imitating Whirlwind any time soon.
His first ability is Voracious Rats, which lets you summon rats when an enemy of model with the Blight condition die within 6" of him. This is great for the most part, it's free models so there's no complaining. This seems to be an important one to try to remember in game, and it will probably become second nature after a few of them. This is especially useful against crews who bunch up for auras and such, like Ulix or Molly. This is one of the better ways to feed your rat engine as well as gain easy activations. You don't have to worry about these summons in Strats like Collect the Bounty as they are peons, unlike Leveticus when he summons Abominations.
Nihilism is a very powerful ability that lets you decide what conditions you gain at all times. This includes being tagged for a scheme, burning, slow, paralyzed, everything. Super easy to forget this in game when you're making Terrifying tests! Go ahead and let them fail, just choose not to gain the condition.
His last ability on the front of the card is Lure of Emptiness, and it's key to his rate of survival. Any time he would be killed you can sacrifice one of his totems within close range. Not only do you not get killed, you heal 4 damage! This can truly be devastating, and if you use it to the proper effect you can make him extremely hard to kill along with his upgrades - more on that later.
Now onto his attacks. His melee attack is valued at 6 with a built in crow and a sad little damage track of 1/2/4. His triggers are all crows so they're all built in, which is good enough. The first trigger Taint gives the Blighted condition equal to the number of crows in the duel, which can be very good for you if you happen to become engaged with a target that needs to die. The other trigger Black Death forces the target to suffer damage equal to his blighted condition to a max of 3. This brings his damage track to a much more impressive minimum damage of 4. With these factored in it looks like his melee attack is a good option to have, but it requires a lot of set up prior to the attack for it to be seen as a very good option. At minimum you'd want to use this on someone with at least Blighted 2 or higher to make it most effective, but with a short melee range and lackluster damage track you may want to hold off on using this as a main weapon. If you wanted to use a melee master Hamelin is definitely not the most efficient choice for this.
His second attack is Pipes which is a long ranged attack with a value of 6 with a built in crow. This attack is like the Rotten Belle's Lure, although if the target is Blighted he'd walk forward even further. The built in trigger gives the attack a low damage track of 1/2/3, which is a great addition as when it's needed it's nice to add that damage - one that is a straight flip. It should be noted that this attack uses the Gun Icon, so it randomizes when used in engagements, and it resists Df.
His last attack is Bleeding Disease, a range 12 casting attack of 6 with a built in crow. It has a target number of 10(Crow) and resists WP, something that gives Hamelin a great deal of flexibility. I usually try to make sure that at least one element of my list is able to attack WP, it's less common and can be a great way to work around most defensive triggers. This attack deals damage equal to the number of Blight on a target. Now this is the standout attack. If you are able to get Blighted out on a target on turn one, that means on turn 5 this attack is doing 5 damage - and that's only if you're not adding even more blight on them. This attack can absolutely melt something, the trick would seem to be to make sure you stack on Blight as often and as early as possible to maximize the effect, and to concentrate on models like Johan that can remove conditions. This also means that you're probably not going to become a killing machine until mid to late game, so you need something to get the condition going fast or something to distract the enemy crew until the blight becomes big enough.
Looking at these attacks show that he has elements of control as a key play ability. His Bleeding Disease attack is the most flexible - you can use it in melee or at long range and it doesn't randomize. Ca 6 is good and it resists Wp, which tends to have less defensive triggers than Df. It also doesn't have a damage ceiling - if you have blighted 10 for some insane reason then the attack does 10 damage. His melee attack has a limit on the damage, and Pipes has a small damage output but is designed for control more so than damage.
Lastly he has his tactical action, Lure Malifaux Citizen, a (0) action that summons his totem in base contact. It needs an 8 to go off and doesn't have any suits built in for his trigger. If you do manage to get the trigger with a card and stone he can take the action again, summoning two of his totems. A very good (0) ability and one that I'd probably use every turn.
First up is Plague. This gives him Virulent, which prevents the Blighted condition from being removed with 6". This is a really good ability to have as Blighted is his main mechanic he needs to function well, and it will frustrate the hell out of people who thought they had a way of removing it. The upgrade also gives triggers to his Pipes action, one that increases the Blight condition and the other that forces models to gain a condition that prevents Interact actions without discarding two cards. Both are built in, the first one is really useful for getting Blight going as it has a long reach as well as brings the target closer. The main reason to get this upgrade is to prevent Blight from being removed, and the area is pretty wide - accounting for diameter it's a third of the table length.
Next is The Piper. It gives Irresistible Dance which prevents charges ending within 6". This is absolutely bonkers. Stopping charges against not only Hamelin but all other models in a wide area around him is just insane. It's what I'd consider an auto include.
It also gives the Obey action at a high Ca value of 7 against Wp with a TN of 14, so you'd need a 7 or higher to pass. 12" range is good and the flexibility of Obey actions is something you should always factor into your decision making. Using Obey actions efficiently could be a whole other entry, so I'll just leave it at that.
Tools of the Tyrant is an upgrade that mostly concentrates on bumping up the melee attack. It gives the attack triggers that heal him or putting more blight on a model nearby. Interesting, but not enough to convince me that his melee attack is worthwhile. It also adds Face the Inevitable, which forces models within 6" to discard a card to perform an interact action. This could be interesting stacking with the Plague's ability that discards two cards for Interact actions, but this leads to a lot of moving parts for an action you're not certain will take place. This upgrade left me unimpressed, his melee attack doesn't get significantly better and the aura is not worth the price or slot of an upgrade.
Sewer King allows you to hire Lost models like Baby Kade and Candy. I don't own these models, but I'm still not convinced they are necessary - although being able to hire a Crooligan is very, very tempting. They're great scheme runners, but during my list composition stage I decided they aren't needed when the requirement takes up an upgrade slot. The upgrade also gives another (0) action Useless Toy, where you can sacrifice friendly models to draw two cards and get a bonus effect on Stolen if they're the target. This is a great ability, especially when paired with models like Ashes and Dust who don't necessarily care about being sacrificed. However it takes up your precious (0) action, which I plan on using to summon, and you won't be sacrificing models like Ashes and Dust after turn two or so without relative safety.
Survivalist gets a mention here as it is one of the best upgrades to put on Hamelin. The combination of his Lure of Emptiness and Hard to Kill will be extremely frustrating for opponents. When he takes hits he first has to go down to one wound, then when he gets hit again he sacrifices a Stolen and heals 4 damage. This means he'd be back above Hard to Kill levels to do it all over again. A major road block and can make him extremely tough to eliminate. This upgrade is why I decided against Sewer King as it's too good to pass up.
So from what I saw I think his best option would be to concentrate on his Bleeding Disease attack, it's a consistent attack that gets better throughout the game. Minimum damage 3 attacks are highly sought after in this game, and Hamelin can do even better than that with this attack. It can be used at range or in engagement, and can be used to kill models in other engagements. If you have a stack of 4 blight or higher then the damage gets stupid over 3 AP, and this doesn't mention the fact that there isn't a damage flip so there's no possibility of a Black Joker screwing with the damage. All his other abilities are used to deny things like charges or condition removal, and he doesn't have to worry about spending his AP for summoning as it works on its own. His Pipes and Obey can be used to assist friendly models or move enemies to where you need them, using Obey for attacks should be situational as he'll most likely be better off just blowing up Blight.
His totem, the Stolen
So next up is his dedicated totem, the Stolen.
These guys are 2 stones and have only one hit point. Low stats, no charge, not surprising for a totem.
On the front of the card they have Diseased, they hand out blight within 3" to enemies beginning their activation close by. Handy, and when close in it's a nice little benefit they add.
Sickly is a way to help get rats summoned when they die as they count as blighted.
Horrible Realization is a nifty ability they can use when they die close by enemies, a relatively average Wp duel being failed can give Paralyzed to enemies in the pulse. Again, this is useful when close in as Hamelin can summon two of them and cause some real trouble when they die - something that will be discussed shortly.
Lastly they are insignificant, no surprise there.
On the back they have a crappy little melee attack, it's not worth going into deeply. It's an attack you will very rarely ever need to use, especially if the target has blighted as the other attack is much better for it.
They have Bleeding Disease, which is absolutely awesome for a totem. It's the same as Hamelin's except a lower Ca value of 4, but if the target has a ton of blight then it can definitely soak up a few precious cards or maybe even get through.
Lastly they have a tactical action in Inevitable Fate, it costs 2 AP and sacrifices the totem to summon two rats. This is a very useful little ability and helps keep the engine running smooth.
So how would I use these guys? Well first off their most consistent useful ability is Inevitable Fate. Being able to summon two rats is very useful, especially if Hamelin is able to get two Stolen summoned the same turn. Summoning two rats adds two models to the crew you didn't start off with, which is always an advantage, and adds two activations for control. If you're able to get another Stolen in the mix then that's four rats, which in turn start a whole new rat engine going. And this was mostly for free, you end up with either a free Rat King or a Ratcatcher and another Rat.
I plan on using Hamelin's stones to summon two Stolen every turn until about mid game, and when the resources are needed (summoning two Stolen requires the right card and a stone, so it can get intensive - not to mention making sure you have another 8 in hand) just summon one. When they are summoned they really only use their 1 AP to move forward, but if they're in range that could be two additional Bleeding Disease attacks. If the opposing crew has enough models in the mix nearby I may move them right into the crowd to sacrifice them, just to get in range for Horrible Realization. If they get killed then they also can summon a rat in base contact. Simply excellent.
It's important to be able to anticipate when you can see Hamelin possibly being attacked. You'll need to make sure at least one Stolen is close by to mitigate an assassination, two is even better. But if you're feeling safe then let them go off to be sacrificed.
I've thought of the other possible totems to see if they'd be useful for him. The Student of Conflict, although expensive, is a good tech piece if you plan on using snipers like Hans. Handing out fast every turn to a stationary unit can do wonders, and if needed Hamelin can summon the Stolen which sacrifices her. The same can be done with the Malifaux Child as he can copy his Obey and Bleeding Disease. Copying Obey can be extremely useful if you're trying to get your friendly beater up the field in a hurry, and he costs the same as a Stolen anyway. On turn one he can use his Obey to make Nix move up 5" if you plan on him being a Blight bomb, or a scheme runner in position to do work, it's a pretty versatile move. Hamelin can double this duty after he's pushed up once. Then after his use is done Hamelin summons a Stolen and is back to running the engine, although it's a turn later. Copying Bleeding disease is a toss up, you're more than likely not to use it since Blight won't be stacked up much and things may not be in range, plus the Ca value is lower but gets a positive flip. If you utilize the Malifaux Child for Obey then that's one 5" walk for Nix from him, then Hamelin can do it again for another 5", and when he activates he's in range of a lot of stuff, and it's probably a good way for him to double walk in his activation to be in range of his (0) action Blight Bomb(tm).
The puppy, Nix
So now we're on to his in-theme Henchman, Nix. He's an 8 stone model with a high cache if needed as a leader. Notable stats are a 6 Wp and a low wound count for his cost. But don't fret! He's got plenty of damage mitigation.
On the front of his card he has Sweet Taste of Failure, which is an aura that heals him 1 damage if an enemy model within 3" of him fails a duel. This is huge. It is for ANY duel! If you put him in a big cluster of enemy models and they have another target they need to deal with and fail an attack he heals. If they're doing a tactical action and fail, he heals. It's amazing. It won't necessarily always save his life but it can be very demoralizing for the enemy. As long as he's alive he's still got the potential to bounce right back from dying. The trick to this ability is knowing how to capitalize on it. You can either keep him on his own and use the ability as a backup for staying alive, or try to put him in the thick of the action as a deterrent and save your good defense cards for actions that benefit him, either saving him from an attack while healing or defending another model nearby to heal him. This is by far one of his best, if not the best, abilities.
With the same range aura we have Weakness, which prevents an enemy model from doing severe damage and instead making it moderate. Again, this doesn't have to target him and he can prevent other models from suffering severe damage nearby, just make sure they are pretty close to get the maximum chance of assistance. This is yet another damage mitigation tool that Nix has.
Like his master he has Nihilism, an excellent defense against conditions without the downside of not receiving beneficial conditions like Ashes and Dust. A very good defense against condition based crews like Sonnia or Paralyze Pandora.
Lastly he is Incorporeal, which makes his low wound count seem much better. Don't get used to it though, as there are plenty of ways around this like Ca actions and actions that simply do damage that aren't Sh/Ml attacks. Make sure to know what enemy models have Ca actions and plan accordingly, either avoid them or save good cards for it.
On the back of his card he has two attacks. Feed On Anima is a short range Ml 6 attack with an average damage track that adds blight to the target. Bleeding Disease is the awesome attack we've talked about and has similar stats to Hamelin, so it's much more consistent. Once Blight gets stacked up this is going to be his go to attack.
His tactical actions are the meat and potatoes of his options in my opinion. First off is Drink Spirit, a (0) action with a 4" pulse that gives a very high Wp duel of 15 to enemy models without the Nihilist characteristic. If they fail they gain Blighted. This is the Blight Bomb, and it's great for him to get right in the middle of the enemy crew to get Blight started. This is the crux of his strategy in my opinion and should be concentrated on turn one to get the blight going, because once it's on a model it can be very tough to get off without dedicated assistance and most crews don't have that included.
Lastly he has Plague Pit which seems less useful and more like a good option to keep in mind should the situation occur. It prevents models in a 6" aura from interacting if they have at least 4 blight on them. Since it's another (0) action it's competing with the blight bomb, which is more useful. Even if models are blighted adding one more in a large pulse can be nail in the coffin.
So Nix has a dedicated upgrade, Hollow, for 2 stones. It enables the crew to hire hounds, which isn't bad if you need those types of models but I find that a Hamelin crew has no shortage of models that do similar things that other hounds do. It also gives him the ability to charge models with blight for 1 AP instead of 2. The (0) action given allows models within a 5" aura immunity to blast, pulse and aura damage. This can be very good if you want to prevent losing rats in droves, but I tend to shirk away from situational defenses like this especially if they cost an action. I've seen plenty of Hamelin lists and players who believe this to be the key upgrade, but it sacrifices Nix's best (0) action along with forcing him to stay further back near models needing the protection. If you ever plan on having Nix go off on his own then this becomes useless for anything other than avoiding stuff like Black Blood.
Infectious Melodies, although an upgrade that Hamelin can take, is specifically mentioned in Nix's section simply because it works best on him. It allows all friendly Minions and Peons in his LOS to gain Fast but gets sacrificed at the end of their activation, and if Fast is gained they can no longer take actions that sacrifice themselves. Depending on what you're using Nix for this can be almost an auto include as it gives a lot of options for your models for a cheap price. Notice I emphasized ALL minions and peons earlier, this means everyone. So if you really really reaaaaaally need that last AP on a Rat King or another beater, you can do it. If you want a Stolen to go do their little blight bomb in the enemy's face, you give them fast. And there's no limit to how many models can do this, every one of them can. Imagine taking three Stolen who get fast to walk 12" into your face and when they die you all take Wp duels or become Paralyzed. Sure, they can save cards to pass them or pass them with average flips, but 3 times in a row? How about before Terrifying Killjoy? Or how about before Nix's Blight Bomb? What about after?! Spent all those cards to pass other checks then suddenly your whole crew is paralyzed... from totems!
So what does all these things mean for Nix, and how do I plan on using him?
Well, he's definitely mainly used to help deliver the Rat/Joy bomb, which will be described in a bit. but outside of that I think his main function should be denial and spreading blight in a wide area. He's one of the only consistent ways to get widespread blight going and going early. Originally I couldn't think of much of a way to get him in the crew's face fast but I did so after the game I played and will include it in the post game review. I basically included him in the list to have Infectious Melodies and during the 2nd or 3rd turn to increase Blight dramatically. I originally thought that the best way to get blight going early was through Hamelin's Pipes, but Nix is a much better choice for that as he can get in close and deny an early death.
He is definitely a must for a Hamelin crew as he offers a lot of utility and support for the minions and peons through Infectious Melodies.
So what about the other models you'd include for Hamelin? Well, there are plenty of resources out there including Pull My Finger and forums discussing each model individually, but I've decided since they're already exhausted online I'll just put a few bullet points:
- Obedient Wretch
- Crucial to the rat engine and thus free models. She won't move very much from deployment as she should be generating more rats every turn. Make sure to save two crow cards for her summoning as the target rat can relent and therefor any crow card works. Be prepared to accidentally kill a rat in the summoning process if you flip the red joker or get all severe cards in the negative flips. She also has Bleeding Disease, but since she's so far back of the line she most likely won't use it unless the enemy crew is very aggressive, plan to use her for table quarter objectives like Reconnoiter/Interference.
- Rat Catcher
- Mostly a byproduct of the rat engine with handy little abilities that become useful if needed. Mostly exists to give a vermin reactivate, including the Rat Kings who could definitely use it. Initially he's important for the Killjoy delivery so that the target rat gets even further up the field. Don't forget he has Voracious Rats like Hamelin, so any deaths can potentially summon more rats, which fuels his defenses or the rat engine, and at worst can just get in their way. If attacking a heavily-blighted model he can get his damage output to more than respectable levels, so make sure he's in the thick of it after he's summoned because he won't be a very big target until it's too late. Can possibly get more movement out of rats with his (0) action. Important to note his triggers are built in so he's very flexible.
- Malifaux Rat
- The fuel for the crew. Pitiful stats. Insignificant and can't do disengage strikes. Mostly there to summon a Rat King with other rats, but their attack can increase Blight and get better the more rats are around. Essentially there for the summon and to release the Killjoy. Use them to block charge lanes and waste AP.
- Rat King
- A very good minion that I'd never pay stones for. Solid stats although is Ht 1. Potentially giving Slow when contacting an enemy should never be forgotten. Charges blight models for one less AP. The heal may not get used often, but don't forget it's there. His attack is pretty good as long as you have half your life, and if you get the crow trigger it can spread Blight in a wide area. His (0) action Gnaw is potentially devastating, especially in the new meta of Book 4 masters making scheme markers like it's going out of style. Initially he's mostly used to summon a Rat Catcher and Rat, but after that the Rat King is what you're seeking to make from the rat engine every turn. A solid part of your crew.
Now the out of theme models:
- You can't mention Hamelin without mentioning Killjoy. He's a solid choice for the crew as he has plenty of options to come out from Buried with them and the fact that you're down an activation until he comes out is no issue for the crew as they usually out-activate everyone else. With the rat delivery he's in the opponent's face turn one and can generally get to choose his target - a perfect way to get A Quick Murder or Assassinate. Because he's there turn one the rest of the crew is free to set up what they need, including preparing for Blight and running schemes. Once Killjoy is removed - which he will be, he's too juicy a target - then blight should be built up to the point where Hamelin is exploding models along with other Bleeding Disease models and Killjoy probably took out their biggest threat. If Nix is paired up with him then you've got a solid amount of distraction going on while Bleeding Disease doesn't have to randomize in engagements, a solid plan
- The issue with Killjoy is that he BECOMES your plan. At his price you can't afford to make a mistake, and in the current community he is definitely expected in a Hamelin crew. Once you announce Outcasts they are thinking about if Rat/Joy is going to come out and prepare accordingly.
- Malifaux Child
- Already discussed, but his ability to copy Obey should be considered at least for first turn before Hamelin kills him for Stolen
- Ashes and Dust
- Ooooooh boy, he's expensive but fits in any crew. If you're looking for an alternative to the Rat/Joy he's a good candidate. Great melee presence, can run schemes, simply does not die, and synergizes with Hamelin's upgrade to sacrifice models for cards. If you want you can figure out a way to have him as well as Killjoy, but I doubt that you'd have anything else in that crew, especially since you'll likely still need Nix. I may try to figure out a list to do so, but it most likely won't work well.
- Convict Gunslinger
- A points efficient option for an enforcer and Obey becomes potentially great with him due to his triggers. He's effective in ranged or melee as well making him a good way to fill in gaps for the crew as you don't have too many shooters outside of Bleeding Disease. Give him Oathkeeper and watch the bullets fly. Not a necessary addition but one I tend to consider.
- Friekorps Trapper
- Another gap filler in the crew, he's able to soften up models prior to the Rat/Joy bomb or pick off models that are outside of the affected bomb area. An added plus is that he's able to run schemes once he's no longer relevant for attacks, or attack once and push to place a scheme. For the points he's always considered in Outcast lists both online and in my lists.
- Big Jake
- A good consideration for the crew. Because of the model count he can slip under the radar as a target, and with rats being everywhere he'll have a good amount of options for when he comes back to safely score points. His ability to push helps with positioning models to where you need them to be. It doesn't hurt that he's an enforcer at a low points cost.
All other considerations for models aren't on my radar in terms of crew synergy or gap filling in the list. You can include them, but usually they're self contained and don't offer anything new for Hamelin. Strongarm Suit doesn't do anything that it doesn't already do for anyone else, Freikorpsmann are the same, models like Sue are great as a tech piece but don't add more, etc.
So with all these things considered this is the list I made:
Hamelin (7ss Cache)
- The Plague
- The Piper
- Infectious Melodies
Malifaux Rat x2
Originally I had the Convict Gunslinger in the Trapper's place but decided to try adding another significant minion in the crew so that Convict Labor becomes a little easier to achieve. I would have wished to have room for the Sewer King upgrade and add in Crooligans but the other upgrades are so important to have and Crooligans are not.
The Test Game
So we set up the table and had flipped the objectives. It was standard deployment with Collect the Bounty. The schemes were Convict Labor, Hunting Party, A Quick Murder, Leave Your Mark and Public Demonstration were the schemes. He was using Molly so I chose A Quick Murder - his highest cost model was Anna and Killjoy can dispatch of her - and Leave Your Mark as I felt confident I could get a model on the other side by turn two. I had to be careful because AQM with Killjoy is an easy scheme to achieve for the other side.
So in the game he started off by luring my Trapper, who was deployed on the center line, directly toward his two Belles. I did my meaningless activations as well as started the rat engine with the Obedient Wretch, and he did a few wounds to the Trapper while advancing toward the center. When he was out of activations I proceeded to move Hamelin forward, killed my Stolen for more rats, moved Nix to the center line and had Killjoy pop out to charge Anna. With Oathkeeper, a 1 AP charge and triggers I got a ton of attacks - but only managed to bring her down by one or two attacks as I kept missing and he'd damage prevent and had armor. It's still a good start though, as he was semi-shielded by being engaged and in a forest so he can still do a good amount of damage without much retaliation.
After that I got Nix into the mix and it went off from there. Because he had to split his resources between Nix and Killjoy they required a disproportionate amount of attention in order to be gotten rid of. Nix did the Blight Bomb and everything in the crew had blight, while charging Sybil got even more blight on her. Killjoy easily dispatched of Anna. Hamelin was able to join in on the fray and was using Bleeding Disease on Sybil and exploded her with little effort. All my other models were pretty much inconsequential as they weren't needed hardly; Hamelin, Killjoy and Nix were doing it pretty much all on their own. The Trapper used his ability to push once and placed a marker for Leave Your Mark before dying. Every failed duel on the opponent's part was just healing up Nix, who would get very close to dying before going right back up to full wounds. Nix was just being obnoxious with that.
After Killjoy died it was mostly a clean up game for Hamelin. Blight was hitting around 3 to 4 stacks or higher on everyone and he was just evaporating models with ease. We decided to call it early in turn 4 since he was unable to score Hunting Party and I was starting to score the strategy with ease. We both got full points for A Quick Murder.
So after the game I analyzed what I did right, wrong, and what different strategies I came up with now that I've seen what it's like on the table.
- Being aggressive with Nix is a winner, you just have to make sure he's going into the fray with an equally threatening ally like Killjoy to force half of the attacks off Nix
- Blight needs to start going on turn one, I only got it started on turn 2 and while still effective it leaves Hamelin a little lackluster until turn 3. If you're able to get going earlier Hamelin becomes an absolute threat on turn 3 rather than turn 4.
- The Trapper isn't really a necessary piece and that gives me a little flexibility, his points can float around as tech points depending on the matchup.
- It's debatable if I need the Stolen to turn into rats on turn one, although if the Obedient Wretch fails even one of her summon attacks then the rats are absolutely necessary
- With the current list placing scheme markers is my biggest gap.
- The list falls prey to long range shooting, which luckily Ressers don't naturally have, as well as a large amount of Ca attacks. He had quite a few Ca attacks in his crew, but he flubbed all the crucial flips which helped me a lot. Really though there's not much one can do using Hamelin to prevent that, and it's primarily aimed at Nix himself so it's a case by case scenario. Against long range shooters like Hans you're just going to have to accept the weakness and work around it, possibly activate the Wretch ASAP and don't reveal your reactivate/fast rat until after he's activated Hans
So what have I decided to change?
Well my first serious consideration is how to deliver Nix. I really want him in their face just like Killjoy on turn one. So how do I do that?
I've already mentioned the Malifaux Child strategy, so I think I'm going to try that out. The risk is saving high cards for his Obey, and not summoning enough rats to start the engine. In the current list I have only two rats starting off in the list, and generally the only other way I'm summoning more rats is by sacrificing the Stolen. If I flip a black joker to hit, or flip only severe damage, I'll kill one of the rats I desperately need to summon a Rat King, which in turn becomes a Rat Catcher and Rat, which eventually summons Killjoy. However if the risk seems worth it I can use the Malifaux Child for one Obey before dying for a Stolen, then Hamelin can Obey after walking twice. Nix then discards Oathkeeper for one additional walk and either charges if in range (that's to a target within 22" of my deployment zone) or just double walks again to use his (0) action and get Blight going early.
The other option is to simply keep the Stolen totem as Rat backup as usual and just have Hamelin Obey Nix twice, I just prefer to have Hamelin closer to have his Auras be in effect on turn two as well as have the summoned Stolen in effective range for their abilities. In fact if they're in Nix's LOS then they can have fast and explode the turn they're summoned for possible Paralysis. Hmmm.... now it's starting to look interesting, as well as remind me of Ah Puch from Smite... that would lead to a lot of action on turn one alone when a player does not expect it at all, and should probably use a stone for cards turn one as well.
I still am deciding on what is needed instead of the Trapper to aid with my game, I wish I could fit something in like the Strongarm Suit as a follow up threat to when Killjoy and Nix die, or perhaps use the points for something cheap like the Hodgepodge Effigy and use the leftover points for one more Rat - this could be possible assistance for the Malifaux Child strategy as it leaves less to chance on the Wretch not summoning enough Rats, it just leaves me with one less model doing damage (which may not be necessary at all really).
I hope you've enjoyed my thoughts on this crew, however long-winded they may be! Let me know what you think or if you have any other ideas I haven't come across yet.