Monday, 3 February 2014

Snack Time with Ophelia

For my second Master-led game at the Cancon tournament I decided to take Ophelia, being the only Gremlin Master I had who I hadn’t used this year! This was the final game for the day so being on two convincing wins, I was set to play Dave, Resser player extraordinaire. Dave is one of the best Malifaux players in Australia. I’ve faced him twice before and it’s been a hard fought battle every time I’ve faced him. So I knew this was going to be a very tough match for me!

Well at least the hat makes her stand out...

The Paint Job

I originally painted Ophelia’s crew quite a long time ago and to be honest, I’m not all that happy with the job I did on Ophelia herself. It’s the hat. I never thought I’d say this, but it’s too pink. If I ever get a chance to repaint them, that would probably be the first thing I fix. Anyway, for the purpose of the tournament I did need to add some Young LaCroix to the crew which of course, got the same colour scheme to fit with the crew.

The Advice

Really, the standard line people have re: Ophelia is that she’s not complicated to use. You just point her crew at the enemy and shoot! As I mentioned in my last article, Kris’s (who is a guy, not a girl ;) ) blog, the Black Swamp Bayou, is a great source for all things Gremlin at the moment. He’s written a fair bit on Ophelia and of her kin, and in fact was nice enough to publish his Ophelia article early so I could give it a read before the tournament!

The Game

50SS, Standard Deployment
Strategy: Squatter’s Rights
- Make Them Suffer
- Take Prisoner
- Protect Territory
- Assassinate
- Line in the Sand

 I blame my overactive thyroid. Stupid shaky camera... :(

The List

- Dirty Cheater
- Gremlin-See
Young Lacroix
- Teamwork
- Dirty Cheater
- Stilts
- Teamwork

The overriding thought in my mind when I wrote this list was how much I loathed facing Hanged! In fact, I hated them so much that I took both Johan and Gremlin-See (for a (0) Shrug off action on Opehlia) to help deal with any possible Glimpse the Void Conditions that landed on Ophelia and my crew. Beyond that I went for a bit of an all-star crew – mostly enforcers and henchmen, with a Young LaCroix as my only minion/peon. My reasoning is that if I took a traditional gremlin horde then Make them Suffer would be an easy scheme for my opponent to achieve. So instead, I figured I’d take my single Young LaCroix, use him to give Ophelia a gun and then hide him up the back for the duration of the game.

Francois and Raphael were in, of course, and I grabbed Merris to help claim the Squatters Rights markers. Fingers was a late addition – with his Chatty Aura I figured I’d be able to lock down two of the Squatters rights markers for as long as he lived, making it much tougher for Dave to claim any for himself.

The schemes I chose were Make them Suffer and Assassinate. The former was a good choice for a crew like Ophelia’s against Ressers but Assassinate was definitely a mistake. Nicodem is NOT a good choice for Assassinate!

Opponent’s List

- Maniacal Laugh
- Undertaker
- Shadows Embrace
- Corpse Bloat
- Decaying Aura
Grave Spirit
Rotten Belle

Dave went for what I believe is a standard sort of summoning crew, with the addition of Killjoy with Decaying Aura to take down whatever he gets into grips with but more specifically, Ophelia! For schemes he selected Assassinate (Ophelia) and Take Prisoner (Young LaCroix). I’ll be honest – I hadn’t thought he’d go for Take Prisoner, not Murder Protégé  on the Young LaCroix, but there you go.

 The art might suggest otherwise but my god, she's ugly up close!


As you’d expect for any game with Killjoy on the table, it was a bloodbath. I took an early lead in the first two turns, claiming three Squatters Rights markers to Daves zero and knocking out his Nurse, Necropunk and Rotten Belle for no losses thanks to some great LaCroix shooting. Killjoy (with Fast from Nicodem) made his appearance at the end of turn two after Dave summoned a flesh construct off of a mindless zombie, and the big bastard almost killed Ophelia if it wasn’t for her squeal trigger. I thankfully got initative on turn three, and between Francois and Ophelia I took both Killjoy and the Flesh construct down, but not without both finishing their activations seriously wounded. Unfortunately Ophelia didn’t see the end of that turn, with a Black Joker damage prevention flip finishing her off.

The rest of the game saw flesh constructs devouring almost my entire crew as I held on to my Squatters Rights markers, but at the end of the game he just edged out the win. I’d scored 4VP for the strategy and 3VP for Make them Suffer, but Dave had 3VP for assassinate, 3VP for Take prisoner (on the Young Lacroix I’d kept hidden the entire game…damn summoned necropunks!) and 2VP for squatters rights. If the game hadn’t continued to turn 6 (giving him that last VP) it would have been a draw! For the purpose of the tournament, with both of us previously on two wins that flip for last turn ultimately meant the difference between getting first or second overall!

Francois and Raphael - awesome killing machines...right up until they get devoured by a flesh construct. :(

Post-game Thoughts

Given how close this game was I have to say I’m very happy with the narrow loss, especially considering the calibre of player Dave is. But probably the most vivid memory I’ll take from this game is how nasty Devour is against Gremlins! I may have been concerned about the Hanged, but it was the Flesh Constructs who really took a toll on my crew!  If I was to play this again, Ophelia would have gotten the Stilts (for Ht 2) and I would not have worried about taking Gremlin-see. Flesh constructs really are the biggest threat to Gremlins against Ressers.

Other than that, my biggest mistake this game was taking Assassinate for one of my schemes. With his impressive defensive stats, a playstyle that encourages him to hang up the back and wave upon wave of summoned fodder to throw at the opposing crew, Nicodem is definitely not an easy Master to kill. A better choice would have been Protect Territory – a scheme Merris Lacroix could have easily achieved while Nicodem was busy dealing with the rest of my crew. Oh well, lesson learnt!

Ophelia herself proved to be a gun slinging, damage dealing monster. Well, at least for the three turns in which she was alive! The Thinkin’ Luck trigger is just incredible – one damage is a small price to pay for what amounts to a 4/6/8 damage track so she was reliably killing whatever she aimed at. Not only that, but she has a great array of defensive tricks as well. Her Df trigger, Second Loudest Squeel can put an end to subsequent attacks from a charge or flurry and in fact, it was the only reason Killjoy (who was fast at the time) didn’t take her out with his two initial charges. Dirty Cheater (to heal after cheating), Stilts (to prevent all damage from a Ml attack) and Gremlin-See (to remove conditions) can also help keep her pretty safe. Finally there’s her Plink ability. I have to admit I actually forgot to use this at the critical moment, when a Flesh Construct hit her for her last point of damage and I Black Jokered the Prevention flip. I really should have just prevented the damage altogether with Plink, which would have saved her for another turn. Mind you, Dave also should have just Devoured Ophelia at that point instead (he had the Red Joker in his hand), so realistically Ophelia was on her way out anyway!

In terms of Upgrades, it seems to be a bit of a balancing act between taking the good stuff like Stilts or Dirty Cheater, and leaving enough room for the Gun upgrades she’ll likely be swapping in and out. At the moment I like the guns mostly for the (0) actions they grant. The movement effects from Jug Rocket and Threatenin’ Gun are both favorites of mine, although the ability to remove slow and paralysed with the Hooch Igniter definitely has its uses. Sadly, I didn’t get a chance to use any of her movement tricks in this game, but when I have used them in the past (particularly to slingshot Pere Ravage into the middle of a Lilith crew!), it’s been fantastic.

When it comes to Ophelia dealing damage I tend to think that her standard “Rough Riders” attack tends to win out, so long as you can cheat or soulstone a Ram for Thinkin’ Luck. The other guns have their niches (eg. ignoring LoS with the Jug Rocket, or dealing mass-damage/horror duels with the Hooch Igniter/Theatenin’ Gun), but the fact that you only get one shot with them before you have to reload is a bit of a pain. Anyway, what all that means is that I was happy having only one slot available for a gun. I got to pick the (0) action I preferred (in this case, Jug Rocket) and with only one Young LaCroix who was intent on hiding up the back, I figured I wouldn’t be doing much reloading anyway.

My opinion on Francois and Raphael hasn’t changed since my match with So’mer, apart from how susceptible they are to Devour! Speaking of which, that alone has made me start to wonder what I can do about models with Devour when using Gremlins. Unless they have Stilts, Raphael and Francois might not be the best choice against Ressers for that exact reason – they’re just too juicy a target for something like a Flesh Construct. That means I’d need to find a suitable replacement for them. A quick look through the Wave 1 & 2 models gives me a few options. Some of the more promising ones might be the Warpig, Bayou Gator and Mancha Roja, so I might be looking into them next time I face Ressers with a Gremlin crew. Speaking of anti-Flesh Construct tech, that would bring us to…

Johan, aka Clownface. Honourary Gremlin.

Johan was a model I’d initially included for the condition removal but as it turned out, he’s actually a great model to use for the Gremlins against Flesh Constructs. Being Ht 2 he’s immune to Devour, and the double positive damage flip against constructs on his Relic Hammer makes him pretty good at taking them down too. His only problem is a lack of mobility, and there’s nothing I can recall in the gremlin faction that would help him with that. All the movement tricks gremlins have seem to target Pigs, Gremlins or Ht 1 models, none of which Johan is. In any case, I think with his anti-Flesh Construct and anti-Hanged tech he may become a common inclusion in future Gremlin vs Resser games.

This was my third game with Merris LaCroix, and this time she helped me to claim a Squatters Rights Marker and wound the Graveyard Spirit with a flaming bottle and getting eaten by a Flesh construct in return. It was not the most stellar performance for my Wannabe-Kaeris and as I said above, Merris would have been far better off running away to plant scheme markers for Protect Territory. Much like my beloved Silurid, she really needs to stay out of the centre of the fight. Nevertheless, my experience this game has not swayed me away from Merris – like I said in my So’mer blog post I firmly believe she’s an excellent option for Gremlin crews.

While I don’t think he was a terrible choice in this kind of game, I feel like Fingers didn’t pull his weight. He spent most of the game protecting scheme markers but when it came down to it, that really only became relevant in turns 5 and 6, when Dave really started trying to score those points for Squatter’s rights. Maybe from Dave’s perspective he was much more troublesome than he seemed to be but with hindsight, I can’t help but feel I would have been better off taking a model with more killing power to help take on the flesh constructs. Preferably something that was Height 2-3 as well (Lookin’ at you, Mancha)!

Merris. Just take her.

Final Impressions

In my So’mer blog post I talked about Gremlins have a tendency to Lose Their Way to Victory. I think this also applies to Ophelia and her crew, but in a slightly different way. Whereas So’mer sends wave upon wave of his cheap Bayou Gremlins to bog down the enemy (at least until the surviving gremlins achieve their objectives), Ophelia’s more elite crew tends to sacrifice their own wounds for some ridiculous damage output. Bayou Gremlins also have this in the form of Dumb Luck but the LaCroix, with their sturdier guns and thus higher damage profile, use it to much better effect.

On top of that, Ophelia has the added benefit of having a bunch of ways to move her crew around, mainly through her Gun upgrades and Teamwork. Like I said before I didn’t really get to use those tricks in this game, but it’s definitely a big drawcard for me.

Compared with So’mer, Ophelia makes for a far more elite crew that hits like a truck. But at this stage I think Ophelia’s mobility is why I prefer using her over So’mer. While So’mer’s summoning and horde tactics really appeal, I’m less fond of his tendency to stay in one spot. Still, I’ve had fun playing both Masters, and I’m certainly interested to see how the rest of the Gremlins Masters play too!

Till next time,



  1. Moon Shinobi are gold against Ressers. All that hard to wound makes for great positive damage flips. Assasinate could have been accomplished but needs Lenny and his upgrade along with the Pigapult. Lots of thoughts on what you could have done from initial crew selection to possibly make for an almost guaranteed victory
    Also glad to see how devour worked in the game for those that say its a corner case. Sorry that it worked out that way for you though.its something that has had heated debate on the forums but I believe unless you face it from the devouree side, you really don't understand it.

    1. Thanks for the feedback! I didn't think about Moon Shinobi (don't have models for them anyway), but it wasn't the killing power I was having trouble with, it was the Devour. For me, that was the overriding problem I had in this game - without Devour on the table I would have fared MUCH better, which is why I'm now looking at the Ht2+ options in the gremlin crew.

      Lenny and the Pigapult might have worked, but if he'd taken Reaper Grin it would have been much harder to achieve and in any case, it's an 18SS investment. That's alot of SS I wouldn't have been putting toward achieving my other objectives and holding off Dave's undead. Nico is killable, sure, but Protect Territory would have been easier to achieve.

    2. Using a Somer crew similar to how Ophelia works I'd go with the following
      Somer Teeth Jones -- 5 Pool
      +Can o' Beans [1]

      Skeeter X 2 [4]
      Francois LaCroix [7]
      +Dirty Cheater [1]
      +Stilts [1]
      Lenny [9]
      +I'll Love it and Pet it... [1]
      Moon Shinobi [6]
      Moon Shinobi [6]
      Slop Hauler [5]
      Pigapult [8]

      The Skeeters (1) action of handing out suits allows Francois to auto trigger his Loose Trigger and Dirty Cheater gets him to heal. Somer himself gives the tome to Lenny and he summons 2 pigs turn 1. Also allows the Pigapult 2 turns of guaranteed firing. The Ressers don't have anything fast enough to get to the Pult by Turn 2. If Nico takes Reapers Grin he can reduce damage but at the cost of a model that is sacced so no corpse marker will be dropped. So 2 turns of the Pult firing at Nico should keep Nico busy, Hanged won't effect Lenny since he is immune to conditions and all the HtW helps the Shinobi do max damage. If you would have taken Nico out, there is no possibility for a Hanged or Flesh Construct to appear. Somer can move forward and while not as fast as Ophelia can do similar amounts of damage. Skeeters move upfield and use the Can O' Beans and Defensive stance to inflict damage on the crew.

      Staying with Ophelia she'd get Stilts and Liquid Bravery leaving one slot open for a gun. Use Fran, Raph and Pere. Pere is a melee beast and blows up when he dies. Merris is great for scheme marker placement as well as dealing damage when she dies. Stil would have brought the Pult just used it differently. When you can place unactivated Gremlins into the opponents deployment zone it can make for a powerful advantage, esp when that Gremlin is Pere. Fil the rest with Bayous and concentrate fire onto Nicodem. You can drop 3 models into engagement with him on turn 1 with outactivation. If you drop Fran and Ophelia there, winning initiative becomes paramount so you may want Trixiebelle. Trixie, Fran and Ophelia allow for cheating initiative and then you activate Trixie, hit Nico 3 times with the trigger to give Fran 3 attacks for free, chain into Ophelia and finish him off. If Killjoy pops you get first crack at him before he can activate. The best part is that all 3 of the model can use SS and Squeel away from attacks. Just some random thoughts about how to take down a master quickly and end the threat of bringing more models out. Yeah Devour is nasty against Gremlins.