Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Putting Plans Into Action or Tournament Time is Nigh

With my first tournament coming up in just a few days I thought I'd do something different. Even though several of the people who are playing this weekend read my blog, I'm going to give a run down of the Strategies and Scheme Pools of the tournament and which lists I will very likely be taking. This blog is all about learning, and I think being able to look at my thoughts before going into the tournament and my thoughts afterward (next week's blog) will be beneficial. I have spent all week painting and basing models to get ready for this weekend and realized that I'm coming close to having the whole faction. Now I just have to put them all in action and see how the games play out. Keep in mind, my commitment the first half of this year is to 3 masters: Zoraida, Pandora and Lynch.

Round 1
Strategy: Interference
Scheme Pool: A Line in the Sand, Breakthrough, Bodyguard, Entourage, Plant Evidence

So first of all lets look at the Strategy. Interference says specifically: Divide the table into four Quarters. At the end of each turn after the first, a crew earns 1 VP if it controls two or more table Quarters. To control a table Quarter, the crew must have the most unengaged non-Peom models within the table Quarter. These models cannot be within 6" of the center of the table.

There are two ways I can approach this strategy. I can bring tons of guys and try to spam the table as much as possible. This could be accomplished with Terror Tots at 4SS but precludes taking some of my best available models at high point costs. The other option is to try to be as killy as possible and eliminate my opponents models as quickly as I can, giving me the advantage. This plan has its merits and flaws, being that the deck can work against you and if you don't kill a model it will be engaged and not gaining you points. also, putting models out there could end up with them being killed off and also not doing anything for you.

My first thought is that I want Waldgeists, Silurids and Zoraida here. I can use Hexed Among You to set my Geists in my opponent's side of the table and hole up certain parts of the table. They would also be in convenient spots to drop Breakthrough markers. Bringing those means a heavy swampfiend list so bad juju will be coming to the party. He's fun for this scenario as well because just when your opponent thinks they have killed a model to open up control of that side of the board, Juju comes out and smacks them down.

Schemes are a bit trickier to decide on here. Bodyguard is a good one to take with Bad Juju, as he is very hard to permanently get rid of. There's going to be a lot of movement to control board state, so ALitS, Plant Evidence and Breakthrough are all solid choices. ALitS can be very tough to keep though as its the most obvious scheme when you start dropping markers on the centerline.  Tentatively I would say Breakthrough and Bodyguard are going to be my choices here with Hexed Among You placing models in my opponent's side of the board to begin with.
Tentative List:

    Hexed Among You
    Tarot Reading
    Animal Shape

Bad Juju
Eternal Fiend

2X Waldgeist
Voodoo Doll

This list allows me to drop scheme markers, Utilize the voodoo doll and Nurse combo to lock things down. Lure models around the board and Zoraida gets some mobility with Animal Shape.

Round 2
Strategy: Headhunter
Scheme Pool: A Line in the Sand, Distract, Protect Territory, Take Prisoner, Deliver A Message.

Headhunter is a trickier strategy than it looks like at first glance. It says: Whenever a model kills or sacrifices a non-Peon model which it considers an enemy, the Acting model's controller must place a 30mm Head Marker within 3" and LoS of the killed or sacrificed model before removing it from play. Any model in base contact with a Head Marker may Make a (1) interact action with it to remove it from play. Gain a VP if you you have removed at least on Head Marker from play at the end of the turn.

My first instinct is to bring Lynch for this match up. He has the most on the table killing power of my three masters with his Darkened crew. The trick is, getting the Head Markers after the kill. I want to focus on large engagement ranges and tough models to protect the markers so that I can pick them up later. Companion becomes a fantastic ability to have in these situations but unfortunately Neverborn is light on both Companion and Accomplice. However, we do have Pandora with her Incite and Nobody Likes Me conditions. The wheels begin to turn. If I bring Candy and Pandora to Incite models that are no where near a Marker and bring Illuminated and other killy models, I can use Incite to my advantage and force my opponent to activate models when I want them to, effectively giving me control over who gets the Head Markers.  Candy also has the ability to heal things up which denies my opponent even more.

I want to kill things, so Distract isn't a good option here. Protect Territory wants me to hold models back, which means I have to split focus between killing/grabbing head markers and dropping markers/holding scheme markers. Take Prisoner is the real deal though. I simply need to be engaged with it at the end of the game, meaning I can single other models to take out and leave that one alone until the end. Deliver a Message is another fun one to take even if it requires a model's full AP for a turn. It definitely benefits from Fast and (0) movement actions. Luckily I have Teddy and Baby Kade combo to deliver a very angry bear into the enemy Master and both of them are good at murdering things. 

Tenative List:
    Fugue State

Baby Kade
2X Illuminated
    Fears Given Form
    Best Behavior

This list as all the killing power I want with some control options. (and even the control models can murder things pretty well)

Round 3
 Strategy: Collect the Bounty
Scheme Pool: A Line in the Sand,  Assassinate, Power Ritual, Breakthrough, Plant Explosives

This is the game that Lynch will shine. Collect the Bounty gives you points for each enemy non-Peon model that you kill or sacrafice during the turn. The player with the most points gets a VP.  So here I want to murder as many models as possible, which is what Lynch is quite good at doing. It should be noted that killing models too quickly can cause you to run out of points. Taking a model or two each turn while denying your opponent points is the best strategy. I'll wanna take Rising Sun upgrade as it makes the Hungering Darkness not count for points on any turn but the very last, IF it is still buried. Illuminated are good here too as they are tough to take down with Armor 1 and Regen. Stitched Together look like a good option as well as they have the potential to do lots of damage and have Hard to Kill. This is also a good time to try out Black Blood Shaman on Depleted and Iluminated though I have to be careful as a model killed by Black Blood from their own attack on my model doesn't count towards the Bounty and I lose potential VP.

Schemes for the round definitely point to Assassinate, as I am wanting to kill all the things. The rest are harder to decide on without knowing the terrain set up. Though I would probably lean toward Plant Explosives, and getting it off early as chances are models will be clumped together.

Tentative List:
Jakob Lynch
      Rising Son
       Expert Cheater
      Woke Up With a Hand
Hungering Darkness
      Fears Given Form
Hooded Rider
Black Blood Shaman
Stitched Together
The Illuminated
The Illuminated

This crew gives me lots of solid killing power and is fairly sturdy. The Hooded Rider gives me the
potential to catch up with my opponent's faster models and tow another along with him. I will have to be careful with Lynch though, as he isn't the most resilient master and Assassinate is on the table. Playing safe is the key here.

That's 3 rounds with a tentative plan to deal with each. It should be noted that any of these possible lists can change when I get to the table dependent on a couple things: terrain and my opponent's declared faction. However, I think it is beneficial to have a plan of attack going into the game as I am able to set up quickly and make informed choices based on what I already know. Granted, anyone reading who is also going to the tournament is able to see my thoughts and plans ahead of time, but this blog is for the benefit of learning and I'm willing to take that risk. After all, the bottom line of tournaments is have fun.
Next week I will be doing a breakdown of the tournament and how things went. I am arming myself with a notebook to take extensive notes. I have all my models painted and ready. My game accessories (counters, cards, and markers) are ready to go. I know my crews pretty well, and I plan on getting a good solid night's sleep before the big day.
Until next time, Keep Cheating Fate.-- John Fox.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Grain of Salt or How To Take Advice

I first started hobby gaming in 1994. I was 14 years old and was introduced to the entire world of games by my older cousin and his friends. I was the tag along kid, eager for any extra minis or magic cards they would throw my way just to get me off their backs. I didn't have rules for some of the games they played, so my friends and I would make them up in the best way we could.
At the risk of sounding like THAT old guy, you know the one, in those days we didn't have internet. Well we did, but it was mainly confined to local servers and had very limited access. The wealth of information that we have today simply wasn't available. Tournament results were learned about in monthly magazines, along with ideas for lists and various ruling questions. Otherwise, we were on our own to discover new things about the games.
Flash forward to today's world and the sheer amount of information available in seconds is purely astonishing. You can be in the middle of a game and look up a rules question on a forum as fast as your fingers can navigate the screen. Blogs, Social Media, Forums, YouTube videos and Wikis allow anyone and everyone to access not only all the information about the game but opinions as well. In the overload of information, advice and opinions how does a new player sift through it all? I'm glad you asked.

The first time I heard the word metagame was in the early 2000s while playing Magic: The Gathering. Metagame is quite simply a term used to describe the popular strategies in a community. It can mean your local LGS or even a global metagame. The meta is what is hot at the moment and represents the Thing to Beat.
In Malifaux we are strangely lucky. Every crew is pretty finely balanced to produce lists that are possibly more powerful than some but by no means dominant. It is one of the first games I have played that truly has a "Play what you want to" attitude and means it. There isn't a single Master that is considered to weak to play competitively and there are only a few that could truly be called Top Tier.
When jumping into a lot of games, if you consult the wisdom of the internet you will see statements like "Don't play X, they are terrible" or "Play Z and win, don't worry about the rest." So far, I haven't seen this attitude in Malifaux. Anything and everything has a possibility of achieving victory and player skill is the largest factor to taking home tournament prizes.
That being said, there are still some tough crews and match ups out there. The internet will give you some great tips on beating the masters you find tough, but ultimately it comes down to two very important things. Play More Games and Try New Things. Spend some time to find out what makes a crew work. Is Nicodem your problem? Remember he needs corpse tokens to pump out undead. Is Perdita the issue? Remember that she can't shoot what she can't see.

Metagaming can lead to some interesting situations. We know what a person has won with in a tournament almost as soon as the tournament is finished, if not sooner, these days. Results are posted, streamed and Tweeted in real time. Instead of the isolated communities of players from the 90s we have a global awareness of what is winning across the world. It seems easy to just latch on to what the top players are running and go with their choices, after all they did win.
There's a huge danger sign right here that should be flashing, especially in the case of Malifaux. In a game where lists are built most times at the table itself simply copying a list or strategy is locking you into a play style you may not completely understand or need. In top tier tournaments, players who are very serious about the game have an understanding that a casual player does not. Chances are they know their opponents pretty well. They know what each and every crew they are going to face is capable of and they have planned accordingly. Most lists are not just tailor made for the tournament but also for that specific game. Simply copying and pasting your crew from their tournament winning lists will not give you the cosmic key to victory.
That isn't to say that you should ignore tournament results, far from it. If you want to get better at the game, look at what has been played and ask the right questions. Why did they take a Silurid over two Gupps? Why make the choice of this limited upgrade over that one? One of the beautiful things about the internet community is that you have a good chance of being able to connect with the person who played the list themselves if you ask in the right place. Knowledge like this can definitely make your game better, but it requires much more information than a list of the models that were put on the table.

Constructive vs Negative
So there are two types of advice. There's the helpful kind that answers your questions and generally leaves you in a better understanding of how and why choices should be made, and then there's the
kind that makes you feel like you are a jerk newbie for not playing it correctly in the first place. The second type very rarely gives you reasons why or if they do it is in a backhanded or condescending manner. Beware the second type, in my opinion it is the newest form of bullying. This is the guy who probably only plays against new players because they give him easy match ups. This is the dreaded Anonymous Inferiority Complex.
Internet opinions are exactly that, opinions. The trick to opinions is that they are often given a weight that they don't fully deserve. I try very hard in this blog to stress that I'm learning the game and this blog is full of my personal observations and not hard facts about the game. I spend time asking questions, researching and am always asking for feedback. The crazy thing is that by me saying "I never take Bad Juju without Eternal Fiend and it works" I could be correct. Bad Juju might do consistent hard work for me in the games I play with Eternal Fiend and as many Swampfiends as I can jam into a list. However, in your local meta everyone might be onto the trick and have ways to counter it.This doesn't make me wrong, but it is not the best advice for your situation. So, the best thing to do is accept advice given and give it a try. If it doesn't work, then you are out a game or two, if it does then congrats! You managed to get some good advice and your game has improved.

Courage Under Fire
Don't be afraid to ask questions when you can't find the answer easily. Yes, sometimes you will get nasty comments. There are unfortunate people who feel the need to let you know how much of their time you wasted. Luckily, the Malifaux community seems to be mostly bereft of these people. I think if you go to the Wyrd Forums, Twitter or A Wyrd Place you will find that the people who play Malifaux will be willing to give you constructive and helpful advice or at the very least point you in the right direction.
On the flip side, when you are in the position to answer questions and give advice try to be constructive. It can be frustrating to see the same question asked every other day on your news feed but it does not help foster a sense of community by lashing out. Also remember that Malifaux has a ton of fiddly rules and interpretations of those rules. Some people take months or even years to fully grasp the scope of various situations that can arise during a game. Not all of us are willing to go through the rules with a fine tooth comb. By offering advice without sarcasm or condescension you have more than likely made a future Malifaux player and maybe opponent more receptive and better at the game. It could be your advice that helps shape the next Nationals winner. It will definitely foster the growth of the game, and the more people who play, the more chances that this game will continue to be supported on all levels.

Where is it all
Here's a list of good resources to use. Its not comprehensive but I will add on as I'm given more.
Wyrd Forums-
A Wyrd Place podcast-
Malifaux Most Wanted--
Mistakes Were Made--
Cheated Fates--
GMorts Chaotica--

There are many many more out there.
When trying to learn more about the game, use all your resources. Jump on the Wyrd Forums, ask in Twitter, scour PullMyFinger, read blogs (especially mine), listen to podcasts. Gather every scrap you can and then use them. Try it out, and see what you get. Even if the advice isn't the best for you it can lead to new discoveries and the next thing you know, you will be the one giving the advice.

My first Tournament is a week away and I am very busy deciding what to play. The Strategies are in order: Headhunter, Interference and Collect the Bounty. Of course, what I play could change depending on which faction I'm facing down, but having that knowledge beforehand allows me to craft a preliminary game plan. To say I'm excited is an understatement.

Until next time, Keep Cheating Fate -- John Fox

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Blazin' Trails or Malifaux Terrain and How to Use It

Ask any Malifaux player or go to any Malifaux internet community and one of the first things they will tell you is that in Malifaux terrain matters. Malifaux requires a dense amount of terrain compared to other wargames and it really needs a larger variety. Look at most Warmahordes tables and you will see a few forests, a hill and some walls. Malifaux wants buildings to climb, cover to hide behind, hazardous terrain to drag models into and dense terrain if you are playing Lilith. Learning to take advantage of the table in Malifaux will help lead you to victory.

Choosing A Battlefield
When playing a game of Malifaux the general rule is that if you took all the terrain and put it in a pile it should cover 1/3 of the board. Which means that when spread out there shouldn't be more than a four or five inches between pieces of terrain and few wide open spaces. There should be a variety of terrain as well. Don't go for the same 3 buildings, 2 walls and 2 forests. Play around and create some unique battlegrounds. Add levels of height to the board, fight on bridges and balconies. Dive behind a fountain in the square or avoid gator infested swamps. The more varied your board, the more fun your experience will be and the the more tricks you will learn to use.
*Caveat: Make sure to always go over terrain rules before each game with your opponent. Decide which qualities each piece of terrain has, so that questions don't come up in the middle of the game. Remember that some terrain pieces might have multiple terrain qualities, like dense and hard cover or hazardous and climbable. 
Picking Sides
One of the more overlooked aspects of wargaming is initial deployment. Lots of people drop their models in a line or a cluster aimed directly at their objectives or counter to an opponent's models without really giving the lay of the land consideration. Sometimes the terrain set up can lead you to an easier route or slow you down enough to deny you. If you win initiative take a look at where everything is set up before you choose your side. Perhaps there's a good vantage point for a sniper within easy reach, or if you have a model that isn't impeded by terrain you can set it up to simply move through areas your opponent will have a harder time reaching. If you know your opponents models will have a hard time getting through a mass of hazardous terrain, give them that side of the board and make them work for it.

Cue gunfight music
Shooting Lanes
These are wide open lanes that allow a crew full of shooting actions free access to your models. It doesn't always happen in Malifaux, and if the terrain is set up properly you should be able to avoid them, but when you can't it can be a nightmare. Many starting Malifaux players, myself included, fall to Perdita and her Ortegas over and over by simply walking into the field of fire instead of going a less direct route. Shooting lists aren't always common in Malifaux but when they are things can get ugly. Use blocking terrain and dense forests to your advantage. Learn to force them to come to you instead of the other way around.

Rising Above
I can see my house from here!

Climbable terrain is a fun aspect of Malifaux that can offer you some opportunities to go after enemy models that are hiding, especially little guy like Gremlins. There are a few things to keep in mind when dealing with climbable terrain though. First off all be ware the movement penalties. If there are no stairs you lose an inch for every inch you move. Secondly, beware pushes and lures. Most snipers and shooting models are on the squishy side and a fall can bring them down with a single AP from an opponent.

Can you imagine Lucius wading through this?
Hazardous Terrain
Probably the least used but the most amusing terrain in the game, if you aren't playing with Hazardous you are cheating yourself. Go ahead, try it next game. Stick a ranged character behind a cactus bush and watch the melee guys come try to take it, or bring a Belle and lure someone right into quick sand. Hazardous terrain can do a good bit of work for you if used correctly.

if you look closely, you can see a nephilim

Can't See the Forest For the Trees
Dense forests usually only come in small patches in Malifaux being that its mostly urban landscape but they can also be immensely useful. If you are inside of the dense terrain you get hard cover, if you are on the other side you can't have LOS drawn to you. Incorporeal models can frustrate anyone trying to take them down by zipping through a forest to get away, the same for leaping models who can simply jump over the trees.

Soft and Hard Cover
There should always be plenty of sources of soft and hard cover on the table. From crates to walls, under bridges or behind wagons, make sure you go over with your opponent which terrain pieces represent each type of cover before the game. Just like in the shoot outs in the old westerns, using these pieces will help keep your models alive in a gun fight.

Malifaux is a fantastic game with some of the most balanced rules out there but one of the biggest things that draws people into the game is the setting. Stuck between the Old West, Steampunk and Gothic Horror the background of the game is why we pick the faction that we do and the masters that we play. Make sure that your battlefields reflect that ambiance. Your crews should fight undead in the sewers, or brave the wilds to tackle terrifying neverborn not just mill around on reused 40k hills and rocks.
If you don't have access to a lot of terrain and feel crafty, Youtube is a great source for DIY ideas for cheap and easy to make terrain. Check it out, once you get started in the hobby aspect of things its almost as addictive as playing.

Until next time, Keep Cheating Fate-- John Fox

Friday, March 6, 2015

Malifaux Tourney Primer Part 2: Tools of Conflict


As the date of my first tournament looms closer and my excitement builds, I take a look at my checklist. More than just making sure your ready for the game mentally, like I discussed last time, there are plenty of other things to do in order to make a tournament go as smoothly as possible.  At its base, Malifaux tournaments require 2 things: models and cards. The truth is you actually need a bit more than that to be prepared. So here's my checklist as I count down the days to seeing just how tournament ready I am.

Measuring Tools
Not specifically Malifaux, but gives you an idea.
In almost all miniature games some sort of measuring tool is required. Malifaux is no exception. Most of the time these can be acquired cheaply at any dollar store or hardware store. There are specific ones made by hobby companies, I have a galeforce 9 measuring tape. Regardless, you will need something. There is a growing trend towards using pre measured widgets, especially for the small, standard things such as 1,2 and 3 inch engagement ranges. I have a few left over pieces from my warmachine days, but there are a few companies out there who sell them specifically for Malifaux.

Dry Erase and Tokens
Make sure you have a good dry erase marker for keeping track of wounds on your cards. I write conditions down on the cards as well, but many use tokens of some sort for various purposes: Conditions, Marking activated models, etc. These can be as simple as glass beads at the dollar store or you can get creative and make your own. Using a thick stock paper and printing some small condition tokens is an option that takes up small amounts of space with less weight too. Remember you have to drag all this stuff around so keeping things compact is always good.

Tournament Tray
This is a new trend that I approve of when heading to a shop for games. Mini games take up tons of space and everyone is bringing their cool carrying bags full of models. Depending on your LGS, the space might be limited. If you know what models you are bringing and don't want to lug around or run back to your bag between every round, a tournament tray isn't a bad idea. These can be as cheap as gluing a magnet to the bases of your model and using a cookie sheet, or some of the neat laser cut trays out there for sale. These display your well painted models for others to ogle and make it much easier for you to just grab the ones you want without digging through your bag for 30 minutes. This is especially important for Malifaux where you don't always nail down your list before you get to the table.

Scheme/Corpse/Scrap/etc Markers

Malifaux requires a lot of markers on the table. Most of these are 30MM size, though some are larger. There are cheap ways to create them, print from a template online or buy some cheap 30mm bases from your LGS. I suggest you get a bit creative though and make sure that at least your scheme
These are the ones I made, quick and easy.
markers are customized even just a little to make sure they are separate from your opponents. I have some cheap 30mm bases and glass beads that I have painted simple symbols on. Flag for scheme, Skull for corpse, Gear for Scrap, and a web for Widow Weaver's nasty web markers. I also have some 50mm bases that I have printed some lovely fiery explosions and glued them down for blast markers. Remember to look over all your cards and decide what you need before you take off. You are responsible for all the markers you need. Playing Raspy? make some quick Ice Walls. Playing waldgiests? print some quick forest themed circles off. You can even get creative and impress your opponents with neat looking accessories.
Note: I would bring 8-10 scheme markers with you, as you want to make sure you have enough. If you want to play Line in the Sand and Breakthrough you could end up short on makers and stall the game while you look for more. Caveat: you might even need more if you are worried about markers getting removed and must spam them.

Know Your Models

Might be spill over from last time, but its a good point to reinforce. Spend the time to really know what your models can do. Tournaments are time limited and spending time each turn trying to decide what your model can do is going to slow you down. Also, if you haven't played a model or are unsure about it, don't play it. Stay safe with the ones you know and you'll be more confident and do better. There have been a few times I've switched a list in other games at last minute and manage to beat myself because I spent the whole game second guessing my options.

Take Care of Yourself

Do not, and I mean do not make the mistake of practicing all night before the tournament. The last minute games might help your strategy but lets face it, you will be at your LGS from 9 or 10 in the morning until well into the afternoon. You will be on your feet most of that time and your mind will be engaged. Tournaments are fun but they are also exhausting. Get a good night's sleep, get up early and check to make sure your stuff is ready. Eat well, make sure you have lunch or money for lunch. A growling stomach can be just as distracting as being tired. Seems like common sense, but the excitement of getting to play and seeing that big prize ahead of you can sometimes blind you.

When gathering things together for Malifaux it feels like you have 3 options: Cheap, Easy, and Creative. You get to pick 2 of those. If you want easy accessories that won't take up your time you probably are going to have to pay for it, such as going online and getting the things that are pre made. This is not a bad option at all if you have it in your budget. Alternately, you can get creative and make your own. These range from the super cheap like dollar store glass beads or printing things off (though ink does start to add up) to spending the time to make awesome Ice Wall markers which will also start to add up on materials. Anyway you go is perfectly fine, though I encourage you to attempt some creative styles. The more you dabble into the hobby aspects of the game, the more rewarding it can be. Fair warning, it gets addictive.
Generally, being prepared ahead of time will leave you with less stress on tournament day and you'll be better focused and have more fun. The tournament is 3 weeks away and I'm going to be playing a few games this weekend to see what models I want to bring and how I like the Gaining Grounds strategies. I will admit I'm getting pretty excited. My son is revving up his gremlin play as well and we are trying to figure out shared custody of Zoraida. Maybe he'll just have to buy his own.
Until next time, Keep Cheating Fate-- John Fox

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Reinforcements! or When Monsters Need Mercs


Malifaux offers many factions and each faction has strengths and weaknesses to exploit. This is shored up a bit by offering the ability to use mercenary models at the cost of an extra SS to their cost. The question is, when do you use them and why? My side of the blog is of course from a purely Neverborn perspective so lets take a look at the mercenaries that will help to bring Malifaux back to its rightful owners.

Neverborn Gaps

Neverborn are a very strong faction, full of casting and melee actions which are focused mostly at short range. They have a lot of brutal movement tricks and tend to be full of glass cannons (models that can deliver powerful attacks but tend to die quickly to any concentrated assault). The one thing Neverborn as a faction tend to lack are solid ranged attacks. Shooting is just not their thing. There also aren't many condition removing models in Neverborn, making it hard to get around being set on fire or paralyzed.   When looking at options for Merc models, we want to see ways to fix these gaps in the Neverborn arsenal, though there's something to be said for beefing up what can already be done.

Han(d)s On!
*all images in this blog do not represent the
actual models. Its just fun to imagine them
this way.

This guy. If you have ever gone up against him, you know how annoying he can be. Snipers in Malifaux are extremely good and nearly always benefit from the Focus action. Hans is the best of the best when it comes to taking models off the board and focus and board wide range make it ridiculously hard to hide from him. When you know your opponent is going to be bringing nasty support pieces that will stay far out of your range, pay Hans to get rid of them for you.


Steel driving man

Johan is a brute who loves crushing constructs and tyrant models. He also has an ability called Rebel Yell which removes conditions from models. There's very little that isn't fantastic about this. Normally you will see him in M&SU crews but he's cheap enough that he fits well into Neverborn's plans. Take Johan if you know you might come up against some serious conditions or any masters with the Tyrant type. (Dreamer, Hamelin, Shenlong)

Convict Gunslinger
Seen trouble all their days

So you like to shoot things? What are you doing playing Neverborn? Well, ok there's some options for you. Convict Gunslingers are awesome bullet slingers. They get even better when you can Obey them and do more ranged damage. Bring 1-2 of them and maybe a gremlin or two and suddenly Zoraida has a gunline. No one will expect that!

Freikorps Trapper

Oh look, another sniper. Coming it at a bit cheaper than Hans, this guy has a lot more mobility with slightly less damage potential. Still he gets the job done.

Just watching the neighbor's Netflix
When the man comes around.

The Man in Black is a good option if you are facing Resurrectionists or Ramos and don't want dead enemies coming back to haunt you. He is also very good for schemes that require lots of markers by granting allies Finish the Job. He is also very strong vs Ca Leaders like Rasputina, Sonnia or Pandora with his Man in Black ability.

Come on we all thought it.

Remember when I said sometimes mercs are about doing more of what Neverborn already does? That's Killjoy. He lives (unlives?) to destroy things, and Neverborn are very good at helping him accomplish this goal. His Blood Sacrifice ability means that he's going to hit the table exactly when he needs to, so no worries about him being beaten up before he gets there. Comboing him with Bad Juju and Eternal Fiend could mean that killing a single swamp fiend unleashes two beat sticks in the enemy's midst. He can also help spread the love in a Lilith crew with all the Bad Blood. Killjoy's downside is that he will be incredibly expensive at 13SS.

It doesn't matter what your Defense is!

This cage fighting maniac works very well in his versatility of using either Df or Wp for his melee attacks, meaning that a nearby Pandora or Sorrows will be able to use Misery off his attacks. He can also trigger to ignore quite a few annoying Df abilities.

I'll be back with another overused quote.

This guy does it all. Melee, Ranged, self healing construct. Which makes him perfect for Collodi crews. His Assimilate ability allows him to steal a (1) action from any nearby friendly construct. He can take Gamble for Your Life from a Stitched Together, Obey from Vasilla, or oddly enough Sew Fate from a Voodoo Doll. Neverborn have plenty of good construct options for Lazarus to play around with.


Sorry did you NEED those kneecaps?
This model is another nightmare for any summoning crews you are going up against. Her ability, Welcome to Malifaux allows her to charge models that are summoned anywhere near her and her damage potential along with a 3" melee range makes her an expensive but intimidating model no matter what crew she tags along with. Giving her Fears Given Form will mean that she dominates any part of the board that she happens to be on. Summoning Leaders should be terrified of her, honestly any model that gets in her way should be terrified of her.

This is in no way an exhaustive list but its a good place to get started on options for mercs if you are playing Neverborn. In most cases mercs are pretty niche, filling out spots in lists where there are known weaknesses, and even more so when you have a pretty solid idea of what your opponent is going to be bringing. In most cases you can stay in faction fairly easily with Neverborn but there are some times that having the extra range, conditions removal or healing becomes a key that helps you survive a specific match up.
I'd like to once again thank the players at A Wyrd Place on Facebook for helping with some ideas for Outcasts I haven't gotten a chance to try yet.
Until next time, Keep Cheating Fate -- John Fox