Monday, 27 January 2014

Tara got Obliterated!

I’ve heard a lot of things about Tara. As the newest Master (not counting the Wave 2 unreleased Masters) she’s gotten a fair bit of attention, both on the Wyrd forums and locally as people give the crew a shot on the table. I’ve only played or seen a few games against Tara but she’s never been that difficult to face, and a lot of the talk about her tends to emphasise how tough she is to use. So I was curious to try Tara and see for myself how she played. For this game I was facing Chris with his Beta Hamelin crew. I’ll admit I hadn’t faced Hamelin since his original (horribly broken) incarnation in version 1.5 so I was interested to see how he’d go.

I completely forgot to take pictures of the game, so I apologies for the lack of illustrations today!

The Paint Job

Being the consummate Malifaux whore that I am, it was only natural that I get the Limited Edition Tara box during Gencon 2013. My original plan for painting her crew was to try for a monochrome colour scheme. Unfortunately, my efforts at monochrome were utterly awful, so I “sadly” had to resort to good old reliable pink. ;) Tara herself got her claw repositioned slightly to make her look a little less 2-dimensional, and gave her a back pack (being an adventurer and all). Karina got a hat, because that’s the kind of classy/insane girl Karina is. In any case, the crew was very easy to paint. There was nothing too tricky about the girls and the Nothing Beast and friends were little more than a drybrush job.

The Advice

My main source of info when I was figuring out Tara before the game was actually the Cheated Fates Podcast Tara Episode. There’s also a few threads on the Wyrd forums that have gone into Tara in good detail, although I’ll admit I didn’t have time to read it all.

The Game                         

45SS, Standard Deployment
Strategy: Reconnoiter
- Make Them Suffer
- Distract
- Frame for Murder
- Assassinate
- Line in the Sand

The List

Tara (Resurrectionist)
- Obliteration Symbiote
- Dead of Winter
- Knowledge of Eternity
Bete Noire
- Decaying Aura
Nothing Beast
Void Wretch
2x Rotten Belles
Death Marshall

I went for Tara as a Resser for one reason – Rotten Belles. I love movement effects like Lure and I figured they’d be great for pulling enemy models in for a Temporal Shift pulse (granting Fast) from Tara. My experience against John’s Tara crew in my game with the Viks taught me that Tara should probably have more than one heavy damage dealer in the crew. For that role I went for the Nothing Beast and Bete Noire, with her incredible Decaying Aura (which prevents damage prevention and healing within an aura). Decaying Aura is so good, it’s practically mandatory in a Resser crew. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if it gets an errata at some point down the track.

Finally, I filled my crew out with a Void Wretch and Death Marshall. This left me with the base cache of 4SS. Not my ideal, but I figured my only SS user (Tara) wasn’t going to be getting into the fight all that much anyway.

I didn't bother taking Karina in this game. I've heard that people have trouble getting much use out a her in a Tara crew and when it came down to it, I just couldn't fit her in after taking the pieces I wanted. 

As it turns out this was a tough scheme pool for facing Hamelin. He generally doesn’t have enough non-peons without Nihilist to Distract, Tara lacked the Henchmen or Killing Power herself to really do Make them Suffer and I wasn’t prepared to try and kill Hamelin. So that left Frame for Murder (Void Wretch) and Line in the Sand.

Opponent’s List

Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to note down Chris’s Hamelin List but from memory it was based on the 01/14/2014 beta rules and it went something like this;

Hamelin (bunch of upgrades)
Obedient Wretch
2? Stolen
Nix (with his upgrade)
Rat Catcher
Pile ‘o’ Rats

Chris went for Distract and Line in the Sand. 


The game started with a Rotten Belle and the Void Wretch advancing up one flank, the Death Marshall charging and Pine Boxing the Nothing Beast on the other flank and Tara and a Rotten Belle moving cautiously up the centre to hopefully pounce on something nasty. After that, things didn’t go so well for poor Tara. Hamelin then put something like Blighted +6 on Tara, which forced her to drop the Nothing beast to Hide behind (and fight off Rats) and Bete Noire to try and deal with Nix and Hamelin. Both Bete and the Nothing Beast killed their share of Rats, Stolen and Rat Kings, as well as the Obedient Wretch and they put a dent in Nix (who promptly healed himself). Unfortunately that wasn’t enough to stop the tide of Blighted attacks. Both eventually fell to Hamelin, as did Tara once Hamelin was finally able to draw a bead on her.

The Rotten Belle and Void Wretch wound up stuck in combat with a Rat Catcher, who Distracted them to fulfil the scheme, while a few Rat Kings helped to both fulfil Line in the Sand, kill off the Rotten Belle and remove the scheme markers for my own Line in the Sand. The poor Death Marshall spent most of the game out of position as he planted scheme markers, so his effect on the game was pretty minimal. I can’t remember exactly what the score was, but it was a very comfortable win for Hamelin.

The ill-fated crew....

Post-game Thoughts

I have to admit my inexperience facing M2E Hamelin didn’t help me in this game but to be honest, I lost this game because I made lots of mistakes. ;) For one, the Death Marshall and Void Wretch should have traded roles, with the latter planting scheme markers for Line in the Sand and the former either supporting Tara or helping the Rotten Belle on the Flank. I should have been more wary of Distract and while I did a good job keeping the Rat Kings under control (until most of my crew died!), my crew was poorly equipped to achieve Line in the Sand anyway (I should have taken a Necropunk if I wanted to pick that scheme). Frame for Murder would have been a decent choice had I put it on the Nothing Beast but like I said above, the Void Wretch just wasn’t enough of a threat for Hamelin’s crew to want to kill.

At least in theory I can really see why the Death Marshall is a solid choice for Tara - he's a solid choice for burying models, both friendly and enemy, with his pine box. But like I said above, I misused the Death Marshall in this game. He really needed to be supporting the crew in combat instead of skulking around claiming markers. 

I think the Void Wretch is a model that's best off running objectives. Wk 5 and Incorporeal makes him pretty good at getting to where he needs to be but when I think about it, a Necropunk would be much better for placing scheme markers. So at least in a Resser crew I'd say the Void Wretch's purpose in life lies with his bury synergies (ie. his (2) actions to hurt or heal buried models and his ability to hand out slow to enemy models. 

The only problem with the Rotten Belles this game was that they never got into a position to really get good use out of their Lure. But I still love the Belles. I think they retain alot of great potential with Tara and when it comes down to it, I'd still want at least one in any Resser crew I'd make. 

Bete Noire more than pulled her weight, but in a Tara crew she wasn’t as good a choice as I was hoping. The Void Wretches and Nothing Beast are neither living nor undead (preventing Bete from being unburied when they die) and their preference for a small control hand works against Bete’s need for a 10 to bury her should she die. If I hadn’t taken the Nothing Beast then I wouldn’t have felt the need for a small control hand. So I think it’s really a matter of taking either the Nothing Beast or Bete, but not both.

Speaking of the Nothing Beast, I have to say I wasn’t impressed. It has a solid stat line and the Bury trigger in particular has great potential. In fact I did manage to bury Nix with it once but I never got to take advantage of it – he returned to play later that turn when Bete started killing Stolen. But what I really don’t like about him is his Pure Nothingness ability, which links his Df stat to how many cards you have. In theory it seems okay – you just need to drop you three worst cards and he’s suddenly at a very respectable Df 6. However I can’t help but feel he’s responsible for me having an empty hand in those times it really counted (like when I needed to bury Bete or resist something with Tara). But perhaps I’m being overly harsh on the Nothing Beast. Like I said, he’s got some solid stats so perhaps I just wasn't able to use him right. 

Anyway, this brings us to Tara herself. In this game Hamelin’s Blighted condition prevented Tara from doing much more than hiding behind the Nothing Beast, so I wasn’t really able to use her at her best. The most I was able to do was bury Nix (which could have been timed better), grant Fast to the Nothing Beast to help him dish out some serious damage and unbury Bete Noire to take on Hamelin. At least on paper she’s got a lot of great tricks and combos that should make her a great denial/support type Master. But actually getting them to work with her crew proved harder than I expected.

Gotta love the Dead Marshals

Final Impressions

Between a few key mistakes and facing a Master I had little idea about, I don’t feel as though I was able to get a good feel for Tara. One thing I did realise though, is that Tara is not a simple Master to use. It’s going to take some practice to get the hang of her Fast/Bury tricks, and balancing her need for a control hand with Pure Nothingness on the Void Wretches and Nothing Beast is not a simple matter.

At this stage, I’d suggest that Tara is one of the harder Masters to use well in Malifaux. I might even go as far as saying she might be the new Marcus for M2E – potentially great, but requiring an experienced hand to use well. Between this and my abysmal game against Hamelin, it actually makes me want to give Tara another run. Like I keep saying, the potential is there so just like when I started Marcus, the challenge of “Mastering” Tara definitely appeals to me. Right now the Rainbow Challenge is a priority, but we’ll see how quickly I play through these Masters and hopefully, I’ll be able to fit in another Tara game or three. ;)

Till next time,



  1. Been thinking of starting up Malifaux and grabbing the Tara box set. I have to say, this is by far the best article I've seen written on this master. Thanks for giving an in-depth look at how it was to play her and what kind of models you found worked (or didn't work) well around her.

    1. Hi Dan, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

      Since writing this article I did give Tara another try, which I wrote about in this post;

      The short version is that I got a much better handle on how best to use her, and even without the Rotten Belles I still prefer her as an Outcast (better beatsticks).

      Anyway, good luck playing Tara - she's a great Master once you figure out how she's supposed to work! :)