Monday, 6 January 2014

Slumming it with Zoraida

And so it begins…

Well my probably unrealistic challenge has begun, and as it turns out my first Master to be ticked off is Zoraida! I wanted to avoid playing any more Neverborn for at least a few months but last Friday was the last day of a local Malifaux League, so I took Zoraida out of necessity. To make up for it, I figured I would take her as a Gremlin Master.

I have to say, this post will probably be a bit longer than what I intended. Reason being that I already had some existing notes on Z-dog. I actually intended to do a second post on her last year, although that obviously didn’t happen so it’s getting recycled here. ;)

The Game

45 SS
Corner Deployment
Strategy: Squatters Rights
- Line in the Sand
- Breakthrough
- Bodyguard
- Vendetta
- Power Ritual

The Lists

- Animal Shape
- Liquid Bravery
- Tarot Reading
- Dirty Cheater
- Stilts
2x Bayou Gremlins

I decided on Francois and the Warpig for my heavy hitters, with the Nurse for support and the Silurid and Bayou Gremlins for taking objectives.
For the Schemes I decided to go with Power Ritual (announced) and to keep things interesting, Bodyguard on Francois. I figure with the cheap Gremlins I could achieve power ritual and squatters rights easily enough. I knew going in that Bodyguard wasn’t the best choice, but I felt like something a bit different so went ahead with it anyway.

My opponent’s list;
- Mad Haberdasher
- Bag of Tools
Copycat Killer
3x Belles
2x Canine Remains
Punk Zombie

Funnily enough, my opponent also went for Power Ritual and Bodyguard on Sybelle.

Yeah, it's a terrible photo. Sorry!


During the game, I decided to run the Warpig and a Bayou Gremlin up the left flank, Francois and the second Bayou Gremlin up the right flank, and the Silurid, Zoraida and the Nurse down the centre. Seamus and most of his crew ended up piling into the flank with the Warpig, while Sybelle and a Rotten Belle matched Francois. Thanks to the Silurid and my quick gremlins I was able to easily put down the required markers for Power Ritual and Squatters Rights, although Seamus quickly identified the Silurid as a threat and killed him late on turn 2.
The game ended up going for just three turns on account of time, during which very little else actually happened. Aside from a dead Silurid and a few wounded models, nobody else took any damage. Objective-wise, I claimed 6VP (2 from Squatters rights, 3 from Power Ritual and 1 from bodyguard) to my opponent’s 2VP (1 for Bodyguard and 1 for Power Ritual).

Post-game thoughts

I have to admit the cards didn’t seem to work in my favour this game. My opponent in particular always seemed to flip high cards whenever he defended against my attacks, which was especially frustrating when my Nurse attempted to cast Take your Meds on Seamus to hopefully neuter him for a turn. He conveniently flipped a 13, dashing all hope of the Nurse successfully casting the spell.
To be honest though, the cards weren’t to blame - I made a complete mess of this game. With most of the action happening on the flanks, both the Nurse and Zoraida ended up too far from the action to do much supporting. This was probably my biggest (and admittedly obvious) lesson from this game. Despite her mobility, Zoraida can’t be everywhere at once so while in this game I tried to support both parts of my crew, she sould have just committed to one part and focussed on supporting those models. Same goes for the Nurse.

The Silurid also should have kept far, far away from Seamus. Instead of going up the centre he really needed to keep away from the action and focus on claiming objectives. That would be obvious lesson number two – assume your opponent will gun for your Silurid if you give them the chance.

The Warpig has served me well in the few previous games I’ve used him, but this time around he was definitely underwhelming. I think the crux of the problem was that he ended up getting bogged down into combat with multiple other models, where he really should be taking on a more spread out crew where his stampede trigger in particular can really shine. When I was building my list I was actually deciding between the Warpig and Pere Ravage. In retrospect I think Pere would have been a better idea. His Wp may be awful but he is still an excellent area denial tool, which in itself can keep my opponent away from a table corner and/or Squatters Rights marker. Pairing him with Francois also would have allowed me to throw Pere in first, let him explode and then clean up the remnants with Francois. Given the interact-heavy objectives in this game Fingers would have worked a charm as well.

The one other model I want to talk about is the Voodoo Doll. In this game I cast it in Turn 1 and it helped Zoraida deal with Sybelle and a Canine remains that was threatening Squatters Rights Marker. It didn’t do much else, but I’ve used it in other games too and I have to say, my opinion on the Voodoo Doll has improved considerably.
Previously I said that while it was good, I’d generally found I had better things to do than to spend 2AP creating a Voodoo Doll. Fortunately, it’s actually a decent action to take in Turn 1. Basically spend that first activation making one Wk and then summoning the Voodoo doll 6” up the field, hopefully in range of a potential Hem Target. Zoraida doesn’t mind starting a little further back from the rest of her crew and I’ve found that the summoned Voodoo is often close enough to a potential Hem target to make himself useful from the start.
After Turn 1 I doubt I’d recast the Voodoo Doll (as I said before, I tend to have better things to spend those AP on), so once the Doll is dead, I’m not sure I’d bother getting a new one. However I’ve found that my opponents are usually too distracted trying to kill the rest of my crew to think about dealing with a Voodoo doll, especially when hurting the voodoo doll will also hurt the Hem target. So while the Voodoo doll isn’t guaranteed to survive the entire game, it’s at least going to last for most of it.

Now that I’m using the Voodoo doll, I’m starting to see a lot more value in Zoraida’s Tarot Reading, purely for the Mend Action. Healing the Voodoo Doll back to full should both keep it in the game longer and allow me to abuse it all the more. 2SS is still a bit steep just to heal a Voodoo Doll though, so in the future its value as an upgrade will probably depend on how much use I can get out of Fickle Winds of Fate and Bayou Servants. The former is still pretty situational depending on schemes, but I suspect Bayou Servants will prove much more useful with all those new Swampfiends in the Gremlin Faction!

Final Impressions

This is the bit where I talk about what I think of the Master now that I’ve played him/her. Of course in this case, I’ve already played Zoraida quite a lot and honestly, I still love her to bits! One thing I will say though – at least in Wave 1 she still feels stronger as a Neverborn Master. Gremlins benefit a lot from Zoraida’s card drawing and obey-related tricks, while their relative cheapness allows you to take some cheap fodder to both tie up your opponent and grab objectives. But the Neverborn tend to be both more mobile and offer a better selection of high damage or high resilience models. Part of this might be my relative inexperience with gremlins compared to Neverborn though, so hopefully as I play through the  other Gremlin Masters some more I’ll see more potential for using Zoraida with the Gremlins.

Till next time,


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