Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Preparing for the Trenches or Malifaux Tourney Primer


So the time has come. At the end of March I will be attending my first Malifaux tournament. Taking an entire month to plan may seem like overkill but I am a perfectionist when it comes to games and I like to know I'll be playing to the best of my abilities.  So come along with me as I prep for my initial foray into competitive Malifaux.

Seems like a no brainer, but it is important to make sure your schedule will be clear for the day you plan to go play. Game tournaments take all day, no matter how much I try and downplay it to my wife. I need to make sure that day is a good day for me to go. The tournament is also a 2.5 hour drive from my hometown, which is also a factor to take in. This time around, I'll already by at my In Laws which are only 30 minutes away, so fate is on my side. Otherwise, its always good to try and find some other players and see who can carpool to the event. Save gas, you can chat about the tournament or other things on the way, etc. My first step to preparing for the tournament is to make sure I actually have the day free to commit to it. (IE: asking the wife's permission to go play with toys all day).
Caveat to this is; Make sure you know where the tournament is going to be held as well. GPS the location and have a realistic idea of how long it will take you to drive there and when you need to leave, etc. Once again, seems like common sense but I used to have a friend who was continually late to every Magic tournament we went to because he assumed time frames instead of looking them up.

The next step is to figure out the ground rules for the tournament. I know from looking at the Facebook event and the Wyrd Forums that it will be a 50SS Fixed Faction 3 Round Gaining Grounds
2015 Tournament. So I immediately go to the Wyrd Forums and download the Gaining Grounds rules and peruse them. What does all this information mean?
Well 50SS Fixed Faction means that I can bring everyone in my faction, including anything that Zoraida can bring through her Enthrall ability and any mercenaries I want. 3 Rounds lets me know approximately how long the tournament will take. I also find out the entry fee. (Note to self: Put 10 bucks aside in the gaming budget)
Gaining Grounds is the official set of tournament rules for Malifaux and offers brand new Strategies that aren't in the main books.
I also see that Proxies are allowed by the TO's discretion. Sweet, maybe my Deneghra/Widow Weaver will pass.

Who is Coming to the Party?
So I'm committed to my Neverborn this year which means picking a Faction isn't an issue. There are some of you where this will be a much tougher decision, and I'm sure as I branch out into other factions it will become that way for me too. My best advice is, go with what you feel you are the strongest with. If you are just learning Guild, maybe not the best choice for a tournament. However, if you are just going for fun and not necessarily to bring home the big bucks, then go for it. For now though I'm firmly on Team Neverborn!
Of course the Lynchpin (see what I did there?) for any crew is your Leader and should be the first consideration when deciding which models to invite for the road trip. I need at least 3, as there are 3 rounds though, I'm not by the rules required to play them all. In fact, a player recently won a Templecon Tournament playing only Marcus.
I have 4 Neverborn Leaders: Pandora, Zoriada, Lynch and Lucius. I have yet to play Lucius so for now, he is benched. This might change in the next month, but probably not as he is a complicated Leader and I don't have a lot of time to learn him. That leaves me with a trio of pretty well rounded Leaders. I have Lynch for removing models, Zoraida for board control and Pandora for zone dominance.
So looking at my pile of models, I have these options:
Bad Juju
Baby Kade
Nurse (available because of Zoraida)
Rami (ditto)
Pere Ravage (Ditto)
Rapheal (Ditto)
Widow Weaver (pending approval)
3 Silurid
3 The Illuminated

3 The Depleted
2 Beckoner
Mr. Graves
Mr. Tannen
3 Waldgiest
3 Sorrows
Hungering Darkness

Mixed into this list, I have a few heavy hitters (Killjoy, Baby Kade, Graves, Teddy, The Illuminated, Bad Juju), with a few tar pits, (The Depleted, Waldgiest, Bad Juju), Several Control/Support Models (Candy, Beckoner, Nurse, Widow Weaver, Tannen) and thanks to Zoraida a few ranged options that Neverborn tends to not have often. I seem to be have the least options with Scheme runners, so before the tournament I might pick up the Mother of Monsters box to give me access to Terror Tots and since none of Lucius' starter crew is dual faction, they useless unless I decide to run him.
So for a starter to the Neverborn faction I have a pretty wide selection of models. Of course, figuring out when and where to use them is the tricky part.

Scoping Out the Battlefield

Before playing in a Gaining Grounds tournament I feel like its important to have a good grasp on the new Strategies that are available. There are 5 new Strategies that aren't in the core rulebook, Headhunter, Collect the Bounty, Guard the Stash, Interference, and Extraction. Some of them are similar to the base game strategies but others, like Collect the Bounty are very different. I plan on playing each of them at least once in the next month to make sure I have a feel for them.
As it is, Headhunter and Collect the Bounty feel like strong contenders for Lynch. Guard the Stash and Extraction seem good Pandora choices, and Interference seems strong for Zoriada. Ok, truthfully I feel like Zoraida could do well at them all with different crew set ups but I'd like to play someone besides the Hag.
Regardless, learning all you can about the objectives for the tournament you are about to go into is a good plan. Your TO might also let you know ahead of time which Strategies will be used during each round, leaving just the scheme pool a mystery.

Play More Games
 My favorite way to prep for a tournament is to just play some more games. Toss around some ideas for crews and see if they work well before you take an idea into a tournament. If you want to do well, perhaps an untested crew combination is not the best option. Get the group together and throw down. 

Don't Stress It

This is my first Malifaux tournament. I've played approximately 60 games so far and only half of those with my chosen faction. I don't expect to take home the big prize and though I will fight hard to repel all the human invaders from the streets of Malifaux. At the end of the day, I will ask myself these questions.
Did I have fun? Did I play to the best of my ability? Did I meet some new awesome people to play my favorite game with?
If the answer to all of these is "Yes," then the mission is accomplished.

Until next time, Keep Cheating Fate-- John Fox

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Best Laid Plans.....

So first of all, apologies for the late entry this week. I spent all day Wednesday working on painting Malifaux and not writing about it, but just like that I have my topic for this week. I have spent quite a bit of this blog talking about having a plan going into the game. There's a whole post on how to set up your pre game. Everything from the models you take to the schemes you pick.  By coming up with a plan of attack you can use tactics and decision making to achieve a flawless victory.....But wait, there's a snag in that plan, you have an opponent and they have very carefully crafted their own full proof method to victory. So what happens when the best laid plans get blown apart? How do you recoup from an unexpected ploy on your opponent's part and bring the game back into alignment?

Like the Man Said, Don't Lose Your Head
First of all in the immortal words of Douglas Adams
Was cool before the "Keep Calm" stuff

There it is just like the Hitchhiker's Guide says, in big friendly letters right on the cover, "Don't Panic." Sometimes its easy to let a bad start ruin the game, and get the momentum down. Maybe you forgot to hold a 10+ and Bete Noir went the way of the Dodo, costing you a significant amount of your points. Perhaps you gave up 3 points on a turn 2 Set the Trap and now you are looking at a points deficit. The best advice is just breathe and don't panic.  Now comes the time to take a look at the board and decide how the plan can be amended.

When an early move nets your opponent an early lead in VPs you have to turn towards damage control. Allowing them to accrue points will only keep the momentum in their favor. Take a look at what way you can disrupt them from gaining VP from the Strategy or try to discern what their other hidden scheme could be. Damage control could come in the form of eliminating models, in the case of Reconnoiter or Turf War or keeping models off of key points, such as in Squatter's Rights.
Continue to play to your crew's strengths but in a defensive position work on early denial.

Move Ahead!
Playing defensively is fine but you can't keep yourself from scoring points while you switch gears. Some crews have little staying power and must react swiftly or will lose what advantage they could gain. Did you lose a key model in your plan? Time to improvise. Each activation you need to ask yourself if you are getting the most you can out of each model. Don't waste time and AP on anything that doesn't help you accomplish what you need to do.

Fate Gets in the Way
Sometimes this is how it seems

It is an inevitability, sometimes the cards don't happen the way you want them too. The model that you want off the board keeps flipping 13s and 12s, you had a positive flip and you hit both the Red and Black jokers. Take your time, mumble a little curse at the RNG gods and then toss it off. Spending too much time railing on the cruelty of the card flips doesn't help get you back in the game. The key is to make sure your initial plan is strong enough to withstand the possibility of not flipping what you need. For instance, if you are playing Nicodem and you want to summon a Flesh Construct very badly, make sure you have the number you need in your hand, if you don't then maybe its worth using a Soul Stone to dig for cards at the beginning of the turn.

Ain't Over Until Madam Sybelle Sings

There's another thing to consider about Malifaux as well. Games change on a dime, especially when
She probably has a voice like an angel
it comes down to the last turns. That extra turn 5 or 6 could exhaust the stamina of your opponent's crew and leave you in a positive position. If you are careful and look for ways to recover, a surprise extra turn can make all the difference between win and loss. Don't call the game off until you know for sure. Just a few weeks ago, I had a game against Marcus in the bag with my Pandora crew. Turn 5 came up and he went from being 2 points behind to a single point ahead of me, a game I had the momentum on the entire time. Never give up, never surrender.


There's times that no matter how good your plan, your counter plan or your counter counter plan is, you are going to be facing down heavy odds. As I said in my blog about how to learn from losing, sometimes the best way to get better at the game is to have our tails handed to us. It happens to even the best players. As a new player to the game, I find myself occasionally staring in utter horror as I realized that I just unleashed Killjoy on my crew by being trigger happy or that I set myself up for Sonnia to roast the model I thought was so carefully hidden. The best way to fight off a loss in those situations is to keep your head and revise the plan.

Until next time, Keep Cheating Fate-- John Fox

Friday, February 13, 2015

Hooked on a Demon: A Beginner's Guide to Jakob Lynch

Come on, first taste is free! 

I started playing Lynch just a few weeks ago, and have been amazed by the amount of strength he brings to the table as a Neverborn master. Lynch is equal parts card advantage and damage dealer who wants to play close but not too close to the action. He brings along with him some of the toughest models in the faction and plays inside of his theme of Brilliance very well. This article will of course be speaking of Lynch in a strictly Neverborn style though he is certainly potent as a Ten Thunders crew as well. 

Pusher Man

So what does Lynch do? He gets his own crew and his opponent's crew hooked on a demon essence called Brilliance. The Brilliance condition doesn't do anything on its own, but when teamed up with the other Darkened models in Jakob's crew, things suddenly start adding up. 
Lynch's stat card isn't that great to look at and most of his power comes from the large amount of upgrades that has available to him. He has a decent Def, pretty good WP and his wounds are on the low side for a Master.  He can bring Darkened models in his crew, which isn't really a big deal because all the Darkened models are Neverborn anyway. Anyone who cheats against him takes 2 damage after the attack resolves and its pretty awesome because it goes off even if Lynch wins the duel When you combine this with Tannen's Cooler ability that says enemies in LoS must discard a card to cheat, it makes your opponent really pay to cheat cards against Lynch. 
Lynch is immune to Brilliance which comes in handy during the mirror match and if one of your guys gets Obeyed, Alpha'd etc.  

Ace in the Hole is an interesting ability of Lynch's that doesn't see real use until you get to his upgrades. This ability allows him to pick any aces up that are used during another friendly model's activation. (Note: A trick with this is that you can basically always sprint with Terror Tots if you have an Ace of Masks in your hand, because Lynch will just pick them back up) 

Lynch has 2 attacks in the form of a shooting/melee attack with 8/2 range respectively called Hold Out Pistol. This attack gives Lynch a decent damaging shot but more importantly allows him to discard cards for triggers. He can give a model Slow, add some extra damage, force the model to discard a card or give them Brilliance. (Hint Brilliance is the important one)

His other attack is a CA attack that forces a WP duel. The loser of the duel takes 2 damage and can be triggered to give the model Brilliance. (Sensing a theme?)

Lynch has 2 (0) abilities. Mulligan, which allows him to discard up to 3 cards and draw that many and Pay Up, which allows him to flip cards for the top of his deck for every enemy model with Brilliance on the table. He gets to keep all Masks revealed this way.  While Pay Up is risky, Mulligan is just fantastic. Lynch gets to do what most crews need to spend soul stones for. Admittedly you take what you get, but if even one card is better than the others you discarded you have come out ahead. 

So from a straight card perspective Lynch isn't that impressive. 2 attacks with so so damage and a decent (0) ability. Its not the stat card that makes Lynch shine, its his upgrades. 

High Quality

Like most Masters Lynch's upgrades factor into his play style. 
The Rising Sun is a Limited upgrade allows Lynch to summon his totem/henchman Hungering Darkness back into play after an enemy model with Brilliance dies within 6" of Lynch. This is the aggressive Lynch upgrade, turning the Hungering Darkness into a guided missile of death and destruction as long as Lynch is close. Notice, Lynch has to play pretty forward for this to work out and if Lynch gets aced, the Darkness can't come back to play. (Thanks to a friendly forum member I have to amend this section and add that Huggy coming back is dependent on enemy models dying). This means that your opponent might play a bit more timidly in case their models get mowed down and reveal a demon in their midst. Perfect for controlling certain parts of the board through fear.

Endless Hunger is the other Limited upgrade for Lynch, despite the fact that it sounds like it should be the one to bring back the Darkness. This model turns the Hungering Darkness into a Terryfing(All) Turret with 3 total CA actions to spend. Hungering Darkness has a very fun Obey style ability called Heed My Voice, which with this upgrade allows him to play towards the back field and control the battlefield.  If Hungering Darkness goes down though, he doesn't get back up as he does with the other upgrade so be careful.

Woke Up With a Hand is my second favorite Lynch upgrade but it does force you into decisions about when you want to activate Lynch. If he activates last in your crew, you get to draw 2 cards at the start of his activation, which is awesome, but Lynch is a very good source of getting Brilliance on models for the rest of your crew to deal out extra damage. Illuminated and Hungering Darkness lose out a little bit if they are not attacking models with Brilliance on them. 

It also gives him a very strong CA attack called Final Debt. This CA attack does damage to a Brillianced model equal to the number of cards in your hand. Drawing two cards makes this attack even better, but is of course much stronger at the beginning of the turn unless you have been very conservative with cards. Still, this attack can't be ignored as it does a static amount of damage with no flip needed and I love being able to count on exactly how much damage I can do. Alternately, Lynch's Ace in the Hole ability can add extra fuel for this attack by putting aces back into his hand. 

This upgrade is my favorite mainly because it offers you solid choices. No matter when you activate Lynch you will get some sort of benefit from it.

Expert Cheater is one of the most fun upgrades that Lynch has. It allows you to cheat upside down as long as Lynch has LoS to the friendly model. The uses of this upgrade come in handy to pysch out your opponent, especially if you get to cheat first. The unknown factor of the card you dropped down could force them to spend high cards when you actually cheated in low when you know you aren't going to win the duel anyway. Your mileage may vary depending on your play style and your opponent. You also get access to Jakob's only defensive ability in Squeeel! Which lets him push 4" from a model that damages him with an attack. Its perfect defense if your opponent is playing a melee heavy crew that wants to use lots of flurry attacks and take him down all at once. 

Wanna See A Trick gives Jakob the 52 Card Pickup ability which allows him to discard Aces to do damage to a Brilliance model. Since Jakob has the ability to put Aces back in his hand when allies spend them, this can be a really nasty bit of burst damage. 

Addict upgrade can go on Jakob or Hungering Darkness to give positive flips to models with the Darkened keyword positive flips to attacks and damage vs models with the Brilliance characteristic. This upgrade is very good if you are taking a Darkened crew with Jakob. His out of the box crew has all darkened models plus Beckoners, Mr Graves, Mr. Tannen, Stitched Together and The Depleted are all Darkened and make a very solid crew choice for Jakob anyway. 

These upgrades are pretty much the staple for Lynch and considering most of them clock in at 2 SS cost, you won't find too much room to go outside of them. On Dreaming Wings can give Lynch flying to provide some extra mobility but that might be my only other real suggestion. The biggest choices come from the Limited upgrades and how you want to play Hungering Darkness and whether you are planning on taking a Darkened crew with Addict. 

Hungering Darkness 
Feed me, Seymour!

I would be very remiss if I didn't talk about Lynch's henchman totem in this blog. He will always be tagging along with Lynch and he is an important part of the viability of Jakob's crew. 
Hungering Darkness has a good WP and a very very small Def and Wound count. He is Terrifying (Living) and Incorporeal. At 7 wounds though, he can be focused down hard, so choose your placement wisely. 
 His movement and charge are very nice, especially combined with a 3" melee attack that gets positives vs Brilliance models and hits very hard. It also has triggers that give models brilliance or heals him for 2. 
Hungering Darkness is scary. 
He also has an ability called Heed My Voice that is an enemy only Obey style attack. with a decent range. So even when he isn't chomping people's faces, he's still a threat.
He can also consume brilliance and heals a wound for each brilliance model in 6" inches, forcing them to make a horror duel. Be very careful who he's around here, as you might end up spending cards to keep your own models from being paralyzed. 

Huggy can be a big centerpiece model for your crew, able to be both controlling turret or melee shredder with the ability to stay alive even with low wound count. Just like Jakob, he centers around opponent's models having brilliance to give him that extra edge. 

As far as upgrades go, if you are playing against a melee centered crew you can't go wrong with Fears Given Form. Huggy already has Terrifying(Living) and forcing extra WP duels digs more cards out of your opponent's hand and deck. To me, that's the best upgrade to see on him. Lynch only has 1 SS in his Cache, so those extra points are probably going to go to shoring up your SS pool instead of upgrades.

Strategies and Schemes
I plan on stealing  Allen's grading scale for Strategies and Schemes. Here it is for reference:

5.0 - All Star in this Strategy or Scheme
4.0 - Staple Choice for these types of Strategy or Scheme
3.5 - Very Good in the Strategy or Scheme
3.0 - Good at the Strategy or Scheme
2.5 - Average at the Strategy or Scheme
2.0 - Has some bright moments at the Strategy or Scheme
1.0 - You should probably pick another Master/Model/Upgrade


Turf War: (4.0) Lynch and Hungering Darkness can hold the middle of board on their own with sheer killing power. Add in his Darkened crew, especially The Depleted and you are going to score points all day. 

Reckoning: (4.5) Lynch excels at killing things. Tack on some Brilliance and his burst potential is pretty huge. He is fairly squishy though, so he has to remove as many threats as possible. 

Squatter's Rights: (3.0) Lynch isn't fast, he has no movement shenanigans and he can't do much to help out the rest of his crew in that regard either. The good thing is that between him and Huggy he can hold two claim markers.

Reconnoiter: (2.0/3.5) The same problems Lynch has in Squatter's Rights are doubled here. He can keep one quarter of the board cleared, but he's not able to divide his attention very well. Not my first choice in a faction that has plenty of other movement tricks. (Note: His Ace in the Hole trick with Terror Tots tips the scales a little bit. They can always get a sprint off meaning they can get across the board and away from other models pretty easily. If you take them, it ups his chances with this Strategy)

Stake a Claim: (2.0) Same difficulties as before. Lynch just doesn't get a round very well. 


Killing Schemes: (4.5) Jakob has no problem removing all obstacles from his path. The double shot combo of Lynch and Hungering Darkness is hard to pass up. 

Marker Schemes: (2.5) He doesn't do badly with them, but he doesn't add anything either. The lack of movement bonuses or marker dropping abilities means his crew will have to do all the work by themselves.

Miscellaneous:(2.5) Once again, Lynch doesn't specifically add anything to these schemes but he doesn't hinder them either. He is much better at putting models in the ground than he is slowing them down or stopping them from removing conditions. 


Lynch is a powerhouse master when it comes to blasting his way through the enemy lines, but he has a definite bubble that he plays the best in. He's not a front line guy, but rather likes to hang about 6-8 inches back. His upgrades are where the real package is, so choose wisely and make sure to keep Hungering Darkness up and ready for business as they are most definitely a package deal.  The best way to play Lynch is that the best defense is less models on the board to hurt him. He has a few tricks he can turn out, but for a Neverborn master he's pretty straight forward. I would rate him pretty high on the beginning Master scale compared to someone like Pandora or Zoraida for the faction.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Malifaux Manners or Mini Game Etiquette


Hello again readers. I've given some thought on this week's topics and I've settled on one that seems to be brushed over but is ultimately very important to maintaining a good community and just having people to play with in general. To me, tabletop gaming is the last bastion of great communities in gaming in a world that has taken a heavy hit from the callousness that has become internet and console gaming.
 Join any League of Legends or Call of Duty game and you will see or hear people calling out incredibly foul things and preening their pumped up egos all over the place. Tabletop gaming is a different animal all together. Being right across from your opponent can curb a lot of the abuse that happens online.
That being said, there are protocols to be learned and bad behavior does still exist in the local gaming club. Sometimes its accidental, and sometimes people are just jerks. I'm hoping my readers all fall into the accidental/bad day category. So lets make sure that we are all set for the rules of being a gamer that helps build community and keeps others coming back to play the games we love so much.


So some of these things seem like they should be common sense, and for most of us, they are but I'd be remiss if I didn't bring it up. Be a good sport. We all have bad days, we all have bad games. Playing games is our escape from the bills and the stress of our jobs and responsibilities. Too often people want to blame their loss on RNG or on the opponent's pieces being Over Powered which often isn't fair to your opponent. Take the time and let your opponent know that they played a good game. Learning to lose gracefully is tough, swallowing your pride can be hard, but acknowledging that your opponent played a good game as well is key to making sure someone wants to play another game with you.

Alternately, when you win make sure to let your opponent know how well they played too. Try not crow to loudly about your victory. If you go back to the last time that you lost and remember the feeling of being completely tabled by a Perdita crew, that's possibly what your opponent is feeling too. If its possible and you have time, whether you win or lose, go over the game with your opponent. I mentioned in the article about learning from losing that you should always try to get a good grasp on what happened in the game.

If you are going to an out of town tournament remember that to some degree you represent the LGS that you normally play at. People will know you as "that guy from XXXX store" and they will base their opinions of the store on your demeanor. Being a good sport will influence whether they decide to travel your way for tournaments later on. Everyone has been at a game tournament before and heard "Oh its those guys from XXXX. Those guys came in, rolled the tourney and were complete jerks." Don't give your LGS that reputation, this a place that goes out of their way to provide you with a place to play. Your bad behavior could cost them customers which might lead to you not having a place to play in the future.

Asking Permission

OK this is another common sense thing but I see it so often that I find it disturbing. We spend a lot of time on the hobby aspect of this game. I know that my Malifaux crews represent nearly a hundred hours of painting and basing and *shudder* gluing pieces together. Nothing makes your pulse race more than some person randomly snatching a fragile model up off the table to admire it. Not asking permission to touch another person's models, transport bag or even their cards on the table is rude and can give people a very negative opinion of you.
Even when models are sitting on a side table and you need room to put your stuff too, find out who the owner is and ask if its ok to move their stuff. Think of the heart attack you would have if you came to the table and your things weren't there. The same goes for people playing other games. Magic players have spent as much if not much much more for their things as you have with your minis and everyone has to share the same LGS space.


This is a tricky one. Most LGS are family friendly and don't really like to hear profanity spoken, and if you are visiting a new LGS its best to be on the safe side. If you know your opponent well and you know they don't mind then speak as you will. However, leaning towards the conservative when it comes to foul
language is the better option in public places. I'm still learning this myself, as I have to keep things very PG at work all week so on the weekends I'm a bit more free with my words. The same thing goes for blogs, podcasts and video battle reports. Profanity restricts your potential audience and might cost you the popularity that you deserve when it comes to your work.

Measuring and Model Placement

This is a biggie, and probably the most unintentional of bad manners in a game. The difference of a few centimeters can put a model in or out of engagement range or out of line of sight and model placement is a large part of the learning curve for any miniature game. Make sure when measuring distances that you measure from a consistent point every time, back to back or front to front on the base, there won't be any questions as to where it was supposed to end up. If there is ever any doubt find a neutral 3rd party to eyeball things for you. Malifaux is pretty forgiving when it comes to measuring, and the fact that you can premeasure should make it easier to decide where you are going to move your models and cut back on the need for touching models any more than necessary.

Helping Out The New Player

So this is more suggestion than a hard fast rule but its something to point out. As Derek said in his first blog, this game is about community and the only way to expand it is to get more people interested in playing the game. When a table is set up with terrain and models in a LGS it will definitely attract a lot of attention. People will want to know whats going on and ask questions. It can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you are trying to concentrate on the game.
If you can though, answer questions, get people's interest piqued. Most people start playing mini games because they saw others playing it, not because they saw the models on the shelf. By no means disrupt your game, unless your opponent is cool with it as well. However, be polite to the new people, even if its just to say that you can answer more questions after the game is over. (Note: This is by absolutely no means a good suggestion if a tournament is going on)

Being a Good Bystander

Which leads me to the next point. If you are a bystander please be respectful. Games can be tense, and
Don't be this Robin
require concentration on both player's parts especially in a tournament. Watching is ok, maybe even cheering a good move, but keep it quiet and keep it respectful to both players. Do NOT give advice. If it isn't a tournament game, make sure both players are ok if you offer some pointers, but always ask permission first. Once again, this seems like common sense but it is a problem that I see over and over again in tournaments and events. No one likes a sideline coach during their games.

Yes, She's A Girl

This is a point that saddens me to have to go over. Never the less, girls play games. Lets take a minute, let that sink in. Girls play games and more and more of them are playing as the community becomes more open to the fact that they are playing. If you get paired up against a girl please keep your opinions to yourself. No one wants to hear comments along the lines of "wow you are pretty good for a girl" or "I wasn't expecting a girl to be such a good player." It may seem like a harmless thing to say but it comes across as very condescending. Also, girls are not there just because their boyfriend/husband play. They also are not using their feminine wiles to help them win. What is a wile anyway?
 (Note: This also applies to younger players as well. No one wants to be treated in a condescending manner)


These are all tips that will keep everyone's Malifaux experience pleasant and ensure that you will have plenty of people to play with in the future. Remember, a person is not necessarily always a bad sport either. Part of gaming etiquette is to be understanding to a point. Don't hold a single bad game over someone's head like the Sword of Damocles. Sometimes you just have a bad day and getting frustrated in a game is the straw that breaks the camel's back. It happens and when it does, remember to breathe and that it isn't your opponent's fault things are going badly. I love this game, love the communities that I am seeing pop up all across the world and learning how to treat each other with respect will go a long way to making this game last into the foreseeable future. 

Until next time, Keep Cheating Fate-- John Fox

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Makin' Deals, Friends and Opponents

Hi Malifolks!

This post was supposed to be just a simple introduction to the faction I'll be focusing on in 2015. Allen has claimed the mantle of chief Arcanist and John is weaving wicked deals with the Neverborn so I've got to do my best to draw a line in the sand and stand by it. I have an infamously poor track record when it comes to committing to a single army/faction/crew for any real length of time, but it's a new year so let's see if I can change my bad habits.

So break out the moonshine, I'll be playing Gremlins!

Bacon flavored whiskey? Yes please!

With that being said, this post is much more than a drunken proclamation. No, this blog will be explaining HOW I managed to get my grubby hands on this new faction without spending any cash from my depleted coffers. I'll also showcase a few corners of the interwebs where gamers can get miniatures on the cheap themselves. If a poor bayou bum such as myself can do it- so can you!

Makin' Deals
Who doesn't like a sweet deal? The internet has several great places for miniatures players to get new toys on the cheap. Let's take a look at a few.

Good ol' B-town! I've been trading with this community for years now and have had nothing but positive experiences. The forum based site hosts several threads for gamers to acquire Malifaux, Warmachine/Hordes, Games Workshop, Infinity, RPG books, comics, video games, CCGs and more!

Players can trade, buy and sell for their wanted items at prices that are generally 40-50% off of retail or better. While there is always some risk when it comes to dealing via the internet, B-town has been around a long time and boasts a "reputation archive" for each transaction that is done on its site.

 Make sure you do some research on the person you are dealing with and make sure they have a solid track record. If they are a new trader with little to no history, it is common B-town policy to have the person with the lowest rep make the first move in regards to sending funds or shipping items. While there is no one overseeing your deals like with eBay, you get to decide the details of the transaction and don't have to kickback any fees.

First off, if you don't know about this awesome Malifaux-based Facebook group you should go and join it right now. Seriously, do it, I'll wait. Now that you are a member of one of the best Malifaux communities on the net, let's talk about makin' some deals! A Wyrd Place is a great place to hammer out a trade or buy/sell Malifaux pieces. Due to the fact that this is a premier Malifaux group, most people are very knowledgeable about the game as well as Wyrd's product line so you can be rest assured people know the value of items and will push for a mutually fair deal. It is also a great place to find rare Malifaux items such as Gencon and Black Friday exclusives that can cost a pretty penny on Ebay. 

While there is currently no reputation archive like with B-town, most people in the group are regulars and conduct themselves with integrity. This is a group of players who truly love the game and it is reflected in their community. I have had several trades using this site and have had nothing but positive experiences.

One thing to note, A Wyrd Place only allows people to post on topics relating to Malifaux so that means you'll have no luck dealin' for Space Marines here.

Despite its generic name, this Facebook group has been a great place to find deals as well as meet some pretty cool people. It is similar to A Wyrd Place in regards to how deals are made via Facebook posts, but it also boasts a collection of reputable traders and transactions which can help ease your mind when you're researching and planning your next deal. It is also open to other types of items such as Warhammer 40k, Malifaux and even Magic cards. Like with all online trade venues, be sure to exercise some caution and check references before planning any major transactions. I've made a few good deals here and check it often to see who is looking to part with what!

Hello Stranger! What'a you buyin?

Makin' Friends and Opponents

I won't spend too much time on this because the concept is a simple one. If you conduct yourself with integrity, have open and honest communication and are generally a cool person you are going to meet some great people who enjoy the same hobbies you do! The only thing better than making a great deal is making a friend (hallmark moment).

Throughout the course of my online trade history, I've met many people I've done recurring deals with and the trust and reassurance that comes with that is very valuable. A few of these people have become friends and are always up for a chat on aspects of the hobby and theorycraft. One or two of them have even become noble opponents via Vassal and are there to get a game in when you can't make it to the LGS.

In Conclusion

- I'm playing Gremlins in 2015 (with models haggled over via online trade sites)
- There are great places to get awesome deals online if you are willing to do some research
- Build a reputable name for yourself as a trader of integrity and you will meet cool people and save loads of cash by bartering for mutually beneficial deals

Ya'll keep readin' and we'll keep postin!


Table War Mini Case Review

Hey guys just wanted to drop this video here about a new product I just picked up from Table War.  

Friday, February 6, 2015

Out of Hand, or How To Use Resources


One of the more unique aspects of Malifaux is the fact that it comes with two resources that can be used in game to affect game play. When playing most miniature games you get very little chance to change the results of your attack and defense after the die have been cast. Malifaux uses 6 cards and a handful of Soul Stones to change all of that. For the new player knowing when to spend Soul Stones or Cheat cards can be daunting and confusing.
The general problem I have seen is either spending your resources like they might vanish from your hand any second, or hoarding them for the perfect "what if" instance at the end of the game. Part of the learning curve of Malifaux is being able to analyze the moment that is perfect to drop the 13 you've been hiding in your hand, or spend a Soul Stone for a positive flip on the big attack.
Lets take a brief look at what each resource does first:

Hand of Fate

Each turn you get 6 cards, 7 if you are a cheating Arcanist with an upgrade, that you can use to affect the outcome of Duels during the turn. Seeing as you probably have 5-8 models on the table each with 2 or 3 actions, 6 cards can go very fast if you try to use them on every activation. A card in your hand can substitute a card that has been flipped from the deck unless there is a negative modifier on the flip. You can use the flip to help win the duel or to get a suit for a specific trigger. This is an awesome mechanic, and one of the first things to attract me to the game. Very few games let you have so much control over winning opposed situations on the table.

Soul Stones

Soul Stones have a bit more utility than your Hand which makes them even trickier to use, and often are forgotten by newer players all together. Each Master has a cache of SS they start out with and points that are not spent when building a crew can converted to Soul Stones up to a total of 7. Soul Stones can be used by Masters and Henchmen to gain Positive Flips or to add a Suit to defensive or offensive flips, but you must declare you are using the stone before you flip a card. That's important, especially when riding that learning curve. Masters can also use a stone after being damaged by an attack to get a damage prevention flip of 1/2/3, with a Red Joker preventing it all.

Soul stones have two uses before the turn begins as well. You can spend a soul stone after you draw a new hand to draw 2 cards and then discard 2 cards. You can also use a stone to get a new initiative flip if you really want to win that first activation.

Know When To Hold 'Em
Obligatory Kenny Rogers reference

So now that we know what our resources do, when do we know the appropriate time to use them?
That is a million dollar question, and having a good grasp on exactly when to cheat or use a Soul Stone  is what separates a the best Malifaux players from everyone else. If you spend your big cards early you may find yourself in need of a high number or specific suit later in the turn that you have tossed away. Conversely, hanging onto a big card because you are worried about an attack from an opponent can cause you to miss a chance to land a big attack or ability.
The best advice is to have a plan ahead of time. Certain models need specific suits or high numbers to be successful. Summoners often need high number cards to bring in the big models and shouldn't rely on the deck to provide. Models like Bete Noir are fragile unless you have a 10+ in your hand to make sure she buries instead of dies when an opponent guns her down. Look at your models before your turn and decide where you want to use them. Will your Teddy kill a model if he lands the hit? Then its probably a good time to bring out a card to insure the attack goes through. If he won't kill the model with the hit, it might be a waste to spend that big card.
Another good question to ask when cheating for an attack is, will it change the damage flip significantly?  Sure a 13 is always better than a 10, but if it won't shift the damage up from a negative flip to a positive, there's very little reason to cheat. Also, how high does the damage jump from one level to another? If the attacking model's damage is 1/2/3 then there isn't all that much to worry about. If the attacking model's damage track is 1/4/7, that is a much more serious situation. The same goes in reverse if you are the one flipping defensively. If you can keep the flip negative, then generally it keeps your model safer as an opponent can't cheat a negative damage flip. Therefore, changing from a neutral flip to a negative warrants a possible cheat if the model is one that you A) still need around to do its job, or  B) won't survive a moderate or severe attack.

Along the same lines, does cheating give you the trigger you are trying for with the attack. Sometimes the damage of the attack isn't as important as the trigger that can drop a condition on the opposing model, saving that Mask to get a paralyze can save the day.

"Wanna place a friendly wager?"
Ultimately you don't know what your opponent has in their hand, and that makes cheating riskier, especially
when you are the one cheating first. Sometimes its appropriate to cheat the mid range cards in your hand to force your opponent to spend their larger cards. This is another tactic that comes with experience and knowing your opponent. Honestly, it probably warrants an entire blog post on its own.  Learn to gauge when your opponent is going to make their most significant actions during the turn. Its a skill you will pick up only one way; playing more games. As you become more familiar with the strategies and schemes of the game, and the models your opponent is playing, you will be better able to judge which schemes they chose and respond accordingly.

Burning Stones

Soul stones are the spot where most new players seem to be at a loss. The sheer number of things you can do with them can be mind boggling. Much like cards in the hand, Soul Stones should be used at key points and almost always according to plan. However, unlike cards in hand, you only get a set amount of them for the entire game. I mentioned summoner models before, and they stand out when it comes to Soul Stone usage as well as cards in hand. Many summoners require specific suits to summon a model, and Soul Stones are the best way to insure you get the suit that you want. Often you will see summoner models like Nicodem and Dreamer hit the table with all 7 Soul Stones. This is to guarantee they can flood the table with models. Conversely some models like Jakob Lynch, barely use Soul Stones. This is mainly because he can already affect his hand through abilities.
So when you have 7 Soul Stones, when do you use them and for what reason?
Well lets go through the list:
"I used a Soul Stone and all I
got was this Mindless Zombie"
Initiative Flips Out of all the uses for Soul Stones, this is probably the least utilized. Mostly the reason is because of how uncertain the results are. If you opponent flipped a 5 and you flipped a 3, then the chances of you getting a better card are pretty high.  However, the higher up the cards go, the less the odds are in your favor. Also, initiative isn't as crucial in Malifaux as it is in other miniature games. Activating a key model first can have a large impact on the turn, but generally unless that first activation can directly determine the outcome of the game, a Soul Stone is probably wasted on an extra flip. A Soul Stone should probably not be used on the first turn of the game either. There are some first turn tricks in Malifaux but precious few. The answer comes down to the situation and the impact of that first activation.

Hand Filtration You can spend a soul stone to draw 2 cards, then discard 2 cards. This is a bit more like it. Everyone's had those hands where you are staring at no card above a 9 and you just know your opponent has a Red Joker, you need more power. Once again, in order to determine when you should use a soul stone for hand filtration, you have to have a plan in place. Will you need a high powered card this turn? Is there a very specific action you need to land absolutely this turn? Then spending a Soul Stone to drop a few aces and collect 2 cards is pretty sound. If you have say, 4 cards 10+, a 5 and 4 then its probably a waste of a Soul Stone as you could very well get no gain at all.

Positive Attacks The first question to ask is, is this positive important? You must declare the Soul Stone use before you or your opponent flip any cards so the only knowledge you have to go on is the stats of the model being attacked. Is this going to be a hard model to hit? Is hitting this model with the ability or the attack a large part of your overall plan to win the game? Can your opponent respond with a Soul Stone use of their own?
Sometimes models incur a negative in order to hit them, like Zoraida's defensive ability. If you are playing a melee master and can't afford to Focus with one of your AP, then spending a Soul Stone to get a positive flip on the attack, therefore making it neutral, might be the best answer. (especially considering you will probably only get one attack on the Hag before she shuts you down) Keep in mind, attacking an enemy Master means they can respond with their own Soul Stone to get a positive flip of their own. The gamble comes down to how many Soul Stones you can afford to use versus the amount they can afford to use.
Sometimes forcing a summoning model to spend precious Soul Stones to save their skins means one less successful summon they can make.

Damage Prevention VS Positive Defensive Flip The big debate comes from using Soul Stones for a Positive flip on defense or spending a Soul Stone on damage prevention. Barring a lucky Red Joker flip, you can manage to prevent
1/2/3 damage with a Soul Stone. On one hand, Damage Prevention is reliable. You will always prevent some of the damage, assuming you don't get a Black Joker. On the other hand, a positive flip on defense could prevent all of the damage. I tend to stray into the side of damage prevention. I like reliable results, and knowing that I can keep my master alive for one more turn is a better choice to me than a positive flip where my opponent might still be able to cheat in higher. There is a caveat though, if I am pretty positive my opponent has no high cards left in their hand, the odds on a positive flip might come out better than the healing flip. Its another situation that requires judgement based on past experience and knowledge of models, opponent and the game state.


Boy, this was a long blog and truthfully, it was a hard one to write. Partly from my own lack of in depth experience playing the game (Still less than 50 games played) and also because so much of learning these things comes down to playing more games. Its hard to write down what is at some level unconscious decision making from years of playing games. I can say that more than many other aspects of the game, mastering the use of these resources will bring you towards the top levels of Malifaux play. The other thing that needs to be said is that there are very few situations that are exactly like the situation before it. Until you number of games is well into the 100s, you will come across new crew, strategy and scheme combos every game you play. Each one of those might very well back up the information here or possibly even manage to deny it. So let me sum it up:
Inigo is always there to help with a meme.

Have a Plan Each Turn
Consider the Impact of the Action You Are Spending a Resource On
Consider How Many Stones/Cards You Have Left.

I'd also like to give a big shout out to the members of the A Wyrd Place Facebook group for answering all of my badgering questions and giving me directions in which to take this article. Without them I probably couldn't have finished this article. Once again, they are an awesome gaming community and if you haven't joined up, follow the link on the side of the blog.
One last thing, if there are any other aspects of the game you'd like to see me write about, leave a comment and I'll get to it.
Until next time, Keep Cheating Fate-- John Fox

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Animal House: Marcus Indepth


Welcome back to my series of tactics articles on the Beast Master Marcus! Just a reminder, this is based on my own observations, discussions and play time so I will probably come back and update these periodically as I gain more experience with Marcus and learn from others. I also wanted to give a break down of how I will be grading models using a scale for Strategies and Schemes. I say this as some factions can be a a hard counter for a Master, but if you focus on trying to complete the Strategies and Schemes you can look at the models in a vacuum.  

5.0 - All Star in this Strategy or Scheme
4.0 - Staple Choice for these types of Strategy or Scheme
3.5 - Very Good in the Strategy or Scheme
3.0 - Good at the Strategy or Scheme
2.5 - Average at the Strategy or Scheme
2.0 - Has some bright moments at the Strategy or Scheme
1.0 - You should probably pick another Master/Model/Upgrade

These are subject to change so bear with me as I try this out. Remember this is talking about models in a VACUUM. Crew construction for various Strategies and Schemes will be a different article series in the future.  

The Break Down

Marcus is the swiss army knife of masters in that he can be built pretty much to fit any situation. Let's first take a look at the stats. He has average Df/Wp/Wd/Wk, and his Cg is pretty which is extended by a 2" melee that lets him get up the board to attack or engage. Marcus also has a sweet little Df trigger for beasts as well as Unimpeded to move through all the various terrain types. He has the ability to reach out of faction for the entire animal kingdom which is made more lethal by access to Chain Activation. This makes for a lot of versatility in regards to movement which helps to protect himself in a pinch. Marcus has an average damage track with a great trigger for fueling other abilities such as the dreaded Alpha. The uses of Alpha are more than I can summarize here but it offers offensive and defensive applications depending on the need at the time. Darzee's Chant is a great 0 ability that gives you the chance to go on offense with a, really go on the offensive! It is one of those dual abilities that can affect the "beast" type model. I tend to use it on my opponents models as I can plan around them activating then getting Chanted so they only get the debuff and the buff doesn't help them at all. Can we say IT'S CLOBBERIN' TIME!? This last ability gives Marcus some degree of control against opposing models and using this on an opposing melee beatstick can control the flow of the game.

Ratings for Marcus in Strategies

 I will be honest, I love Marcus and feel he is great with most any Strategy or Scheme, but I will mention things that may not be as favorable for him.

Turf War - 4.0 - With a strong Df trigger and reach, Marcus can get up there and hold his ground. If he wants he can even fire off 3 Laws of Meat after engaging multiple enemies just so they can't hurt him.  

Reckoning - 2.5(3.5) - On his own with no upgrades (like that will ever happen), Marcus isn't very good at killing things. He can make good use of Alpha after hitting someone with the Shillelagh and have them do his dirty work.

Squatter's Rights - 3.5 - Much like Turf War, Marcus can reach out and touch people with a solid attack. His solid Wk also allows him to get somewhere in a hurry.

Reconnoiter - 3.5(5.0) - Not as fast as some Masters, but enough to get around the board with 3 AP worth of Wk actions. With the right upgrades, he can really be a highly mobile Master.

Stake a Claim - 4.0(5.0) - Due to moving and interacting, Marcus can really shine here.

Ratings for Schemes

I will be placing schemes in groups much like those located at the Malifaux Wiki. 

Killing Schemes - 2.5(4.0) Marcus is solid, but not a stone cold killer without upgrades.

Marker Schemes - 3.0 (5.0) He has a decent Wk and Cg, but once again with upgrades goes to crazy levels for marker placement.

Miscellaneous - 3.0 (5.0) I'm on the fence here as it is totally dependent on the situation. As I get more playtime with Marcus, I will be leaning more on the side of a 5.0 as you can tailor him to any scheme more so than a lot of Masters.  


This is the bread and butter of what Marcus is and does. I feel he has some of the best upgrades in the game not to mention access to Arcanists' amazing suite of upgrades. Rating these on a scale will be difficult as they are useful in any set of Strategies and Schemes so I will just discuss them and what I like about them.

The Hunger Cry - Very utility based and a great control upgrade. If my opponent is Neverborn I always take it (sorry John) because it is amazing against WP based crews. I will have to give more consideration to other factions as I get more games in, but looking at the upgrade as a whole it feels great against most opponents. Especially when paired with Alpha. This upgrade is really solid no matter the Strategy or Scheme so I feel like rating it would be ineffectual to tell its real power.

Feral Instincts - This upgrade makes The Hunger Cry even better. It allows double (0)s and then sets up the opponent to get some debuffs along the way. Usually I will try and pair these together if I take one of them. However, I have learned that there are some situations to take just one. For example, if I know that my opponent isn't using a Wp heavy Master or crew I can drop Hunger Cry and just use this to power up my Alphas. Ultimately, it will be hard for me not to take both as I have had such good results when combining these upgrades together.

Pack Leader - Not an Upgrade that is Marcus required but worth mentioning here. It's another upgrade that is pointed towards Wp duels but this punishes an opponent for failing. The Hunger Cry makes it even more difficult for them to win the duel. Most of the time, I'll throw it on a forward tanky model i.e. Cojo, Slateridge Mauler, Blessed of December and sometimes even a Razorspine Rattler. I have considered using it on Marcus on occasion, but the demand for better upgrades on my Master tend to rule it out.

The Trail of the Gods - We are now getting to the first of two upgrades that really define Marcus. The ability to pick something for a situation is what sets both of these 2 upgrades apart. Trail of the Gods is more combat output centered and we get to see Marcus become a very strong melee beatstick. His damage line goes from ok to "I don't care what flip you get." The only downside to the damage buff is that it doesn't ignore armor. We also notice that he can get anywhere he needs to go with the increase to Wk and this has been very useful for contesting or claiming certain Strategies and Schemes.The final ability grants more attacks which is always a welcome thing.The bonus is that at the price of some Fate Cards you can get multiple abilities to do all the powers at once. This can get a little out of hand as I have seen my man generate Reckoning points on his own and then the rest of the crew handle other objectives. We call this playing in the sprinkler folks.

The God's Domain - This is the support version of Marcus. If you want to hang back for a while with Marcus this is what you will choose. It has build in regen as well as great accuracy and helpsMarcus support his beast army with precision. He can also move in and finish off models his crew whittled down. Its an interesting upgrade because you get lots of highly accurate attacks from the backlines which can catch players off guard. I find that gaining the Df buff and rusing the front is good enough to keep most players honest.

Arcanist Upgrades - These next group of upgrades are all mostly "win more" options in my opinion with the exception of Arcane Reservoir. Reservoir helps to fuel his two most powerful upgrades (but doesn't it for every Arcanist Master?) so you can get 2 abilities a turn from Trail and Domain. Imbued Protection isn't really needed so much for Marcus because Domain is better and Imbued Energies is better on other models that I have played (Myranda). I could see a use for Recharge Soulstone but I would have to test it first. The Philosopher's Stone is cute but the Marcus only upgrades are more consistent. Though it would be neat to take Philosopher's Stone and Trail together just to get the Df buff and the damage output, I think using SS takes away from some important triggers for his base abilities. Seize the day could be nice but it uses up an important slot on Marcus. Maybe if you are in a lower point game it could be good on Myranda, but not for the main man himself.

The End?

 I hope that this gives a better insight into how I view my main Master. As I play more games my thoughts will continue to evolve. Right now I am still very new in my understanding of Malifaux and the best ways to win with Marcus. I truly love his versatility and as I start to review his beast choices, I hope that you can also gain a better understanding of how to play with and against the Beast Master. Next week, I will begin to break down and explore the impressive selection of beasts Marcus has access to. Until next time! 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Wicked Games: Zoraida's Crew


Zoraida's crew options are one of the largest in the game of Malifaux due to her ability to take any model with a WP 4 or less at Mercenary cost. This means that any non Master model who is WP 4 or less can be added to Zoraida's crew at +1 cost regardless of faction. That's a fairly large number. Now just because you can take this many models, doesn't mean they are all worth taking. Some models stand out among the crowd, and some models practically shine.

Besides sounding like the name of a metal band, swampfiends are fairly large in number in the Neverborn and Gremlin factions. If Zoraida takes the Upgrade Tarot Reading, she can hire any swampfiend regardless of faction. Zoraida herself is a swampfiend, though I wouldn't say that to her face. Zoraida likes taking these marshy monsters for two reasons. One is her Henchman Bad Juju and his eternal fiend upgrade which I will go into in detail shortly, and the other is the Upgrade Hexed Among You. With Hexed, Zoraida can deploy swampfiend minions anywhere up to 6" of her opponent's deployment zone. That's a big advantage. She can already have troops spread out to achieve strategies and counter her opponent from the beginning of the game. This is good for very slow swampfiends like waldgeists and even better for nimble guys like Silurids.

So what are the swampfiends that she can bring?
Bad Juju's long lost cousin? 
Bad Juju- This henchman is slow but has a very nice damage track and flurry. He also has a (0) action pulse that cause WP duels and can take the Eternal Fiend upgrade. Eternal fiend allows him to
begin the game buried if you wish and whenever a swampfiend dies, he gets to pop up from their corpse and start swinging. If he dies, he gets buried and healed, and ready to come up again. This upgrade makes a pretty good investment if you are loaded down with swampfiends. He can also put some nice damage on a Voodoo Doll if need be to take down whoever has been hemmed to it. To be honest, Zoraida very rarely leaves the swamp without him.

Silurids-- These guys have a 7" charge and leap, meaning they can do some scheme running work with Zoraida. At 7 points, they are a bit steep but if you are keeping in the swampfiend theme they work for you.

Gupps-- These little guys are baby Silurids. They are only 4ss and still have a leap, albeit a much smaller one. They also go down easier. The best thing they can do is drop scheme markers then get in the way for a convienent Bad Juju explosion. Unless that is, you have the Spawn Mother.

Spawn Mother-- So she's a Silurid that hatches eggs that become Gupps. She doesn't leap anymore but she can charge anyone who kills one of her swampfiend babies and she can give +2" charge to friendly models, making her a decent support piece for the alpha strike.

Waldgeists-- These guys are amazing Tar pits. Set them up with Hexed Among You, Germinate to drop down forests and then have them tie up your enemy with a 4" engagement range while the rest of your crew has free range to control the board.

There are a couple other Swampfiends worth mentioning; McTavish and his Bayou Gators, but the ones listed above are seen with Zoraida the most often.

Naughty Nurse
A few models simply stand out with Zoraida from outside of faction, even with a point added to their cost. The one with the
most tricks is the Ressurectionist Nurse. The Nurse has a CA action called Take Your Meds. This ability has 4 triggers. The first, paralyzes and heals a model to full. The second gives a model +2 Wk but it can only take Wk actions on its activation, the third gives a model +2 Ml but it can only make Ml actions and the 4th gives a model Armor: 2 but it gets a negative flip to opposed duels.
Anyone who has gone up against a list with a Nurse in it can attest to how nasty they are to deal with, but when you add the Voodoo Doll things get even meaner. She can hit a Doll to paralyze a model, then heal the Doll, effectively keeping the Hemmed model paralyzed for the rest of the game. If you get lucky enough to Hem a big Henchmen this could neutralize a model that is a huge point sink for your opponent.
Besides the Doll, the Nurse can be Obeyed at the end of Zoraida's turn to heal up the Hag or any of her crew that are in trouble. Considering the lack of healing in Neverborn, this is a very good thing. The nurse can also play tricks on a melee oriented model by smacking it with +2 Wk and only Wk actions, effectively neutering its offensive potential. Conversely if Bad Juju is already in engagement range, use her to give him +2 Ml and watch the carnage.
Note: This trick works on your opponent one time and one time only. After that, keep your Nurse well protected because they will gun it down as quickly as possible. Very few models get the on table hatred as much as these gals do.

Papa Loco 

The Ortega's mad bomber is a fun option for Zoraida too, allowing for rare blast damage in Neverborn and a fun buff in Hold This. Papa can give a friendly model a positive on all flips for the turn at the cost of having to stay near him, a dicey thing considering he blows up if he dies. The interesting effect to this is, set your opponent up. If Bad Juju is down, let a swamp thing hold the dynamite. If the focus Papa Loco, the fiend and hopefully a minion or two of theirs as well, and a fully healed Bad Juju hits the table again.

Papa is pretty slow though, so consider hitting him with an Obey to get him up the table.


There are quite a few gremlins that Zoraida can press gang into her crew. Notably, Lenny, Pere Ravage and Rami LaCroix. This gives Neverborn access to something your opponent might not expect, guns. Any of the LaCroix boys can make decent shooting attacks which is something your opponent might not expect. Lenny can be a big dumb bodyguard for Zoraida but he does get to be a bit expensive. Remember that everyone comes with a Merc tax if you aren't play the big Z as a Gremlin Master.

Honorable Mention
Candy isn't often seen in Zoraida lists but she has some utility one of the few models in Neverborn that can heal other models. She's expensive for just this perfect but she's resilient and can put out some damage when needed.


These are the models I have played around with in my Zoraida games and is not by any means an exhaustive list. They do represent the models that have the most in game synergy with the Big Z and the ones I have had the most success with. Zoraida is a pretty complicated Master, especially for a newer player but she can be very rewarding when you figure her out. Hopefully the last two articles will give you some direction towards bringing the swamp to your opponent.  My next article is going to focus on in game resources and how to utilize them the best.

Until next time, Keep Cheating Fate-- John Fox.