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?|
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.
A few models simply stand out with Zoraida from outside of faction, even with a point added to their cost. The one with the
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.
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.
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.