Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Rage Quitting – Die Crow, Die!


…Okay, maybe it’s not that dramatic, but the point stands. After about 5 months of playing Resurrectionists, I’ve decided it’s time to hang up the… corpse bag(?), and move on to another faction. So why am I giving up on them? Well that’s a very good question. But before I answer that I thought I’d at least do a rundown of my thoughts on the Masters themselves;

Not a good end for Seamus...

I had one game with Seamus this year, in which he died in short order to a McMourning to the face (note to self – don’t leave your Master next to three undead models when McMourning is nearby to spam Rancid Transplant and Expunge!). So I suppose my overall impression of Seamus is mostly based on one game turn with him this year, a game with him last year and, of course, the odd game I’ve played against him.

On the whole, I like the fact that his playstyle seems to vary between either stalking the shadows to pick off victims with his Hand Cannon, and just getting stuck in and taking advantage of his Bag of Tools and Terrifying to either kill or neutralise everyone in range. Of the Masters here, Seamus is one of the Masters I wouldn’t object to playing again – he’s not reliant on summoning, and his mix of mobility and disruption certainly appeals.


Molly, was my first attempt at using a Master who actually summons models as a significant part of her playstyle. My only other game with Molly, from last year, was a three-way between Collodi and Ramos. So while I got a basic handle on how she works, it was hardly much of a test on how her crew performs in your average game against your average crew.

The point where a Fast Molly summoned 3 Drowned and a Hanged...

Anyway, this time around I managed three games with Molly, two with her Forgotten Life (Horrors) upgrade and one with Forgotten Path (Spirits). To save on space/time I’m not going to go into detail on the games (sorry battle report lovers!). But basically, my games were against Tara, Kaeris and Tara again and they all ended heavily in favour of Molly. I found that she offered a great mix of summoning, mobility and support to her crew. Whispered Secret allowed her to neutralise a problematic model each turn, Ones Left Behind gave her both summoning and crowd control and between her and the Necrotic Machine, she was able to move both herself and her crew around pretty well. Pairing her with a big Horror (or Spirit) like the Valedictorian was especially nasty, since she effectively gave them an extra AP each turn with the (0) Whispers… action on her limited upgrade.

On one hand, Molly seemed to offer alot of the things I like in Malifaux – crew support, debuffing in favour of outright killing and a degree of mobility. By all rights she should be a Master I’d enjoy. But in spite of all that, I still couldn’t get excited about her.

Yan Lo  

I decided to bring out Yan Lo after seeing people rate him so low in threads on the forum (specifically this one). At this point I’d lost interest in Molly so it seemed a good time to see if the concerns people were expressing had merit. The game I played was Turf war vs John Metzakis, who was giving Ironsides a try for the first time (which was also pretty interesting it itself!). Being only my second game with the old man I made my share of mistakes, but I did get a better feel for how he works.

The approach I took with Yan was to concentrate on his supportive side (Transcendence and Healing) as well as generating Seishin with Datsue Ba and Izamu's Spirit upgrade to get in the way and help generate Chi for Yan. In reality the Seishin weren't that great. They're not worth my opponent killing and in reality they just sacrificed themselves for a heal at the first opportunity.

I just didn't know what to do with Yan Lo this game. :(

As for Yan Lo himself, he did alright when I focused on support with him. Reliquary was awesome of course and between that, the Armour buff and his Heal, he was able to keep Izamu up and fighting throughout the game. Lightning Dance was good for sucking in an unsuspecting Essence of Power, but it required 2AP and at least one high card (because you don't want to fail that second cast and leave him stuck next to the opposing crew). Basically, a Rotten Belle would have been far more effective and less risky for pulling in models. So I think Lightning Dance has more potential if you're using Yan offensively, where you actually want to leave him closer to some other models where Terracotta Curse or Humpo Assault can really mess things up.

In any case, I can definitely see where people are coming from when they say he's just not as great as other Masters you could be taking. In fact, I kind of feel like I could just replace him entirely with a Nurse, Chiaki and a Rotten Belle and call it a day. Reliquary is pretty cool of course but again - if Yan Lo was more of a threat I wouldn't need to resummon his Ancestors.

It's a good thing the game ended here - Ironsides had like eleventy billion Adrenalin to spend. :P

So it then begs the question; if a bunch of minions can pretty much replace what Yan Lo does, why bother taking him? Maybe you really need to use his offensive abilities to get enough value out of him? It feels risky to throw him in with Lightning Dance and mix it up in melee, but I guess the positive is that he's not so essential to the crew that losing him would be any great loss.

I guess what all this boils down to is that Yan Lo is a puzzle I’ve still yet to solve. Sure, maybe he’s crap – the Marcus from Malifaux v1.5 if you will. I think with more time I’d be able to crack him, and at least make him feel like he’s worthy of his “Master” title. Part of me would love to dive into him and prove the nay-sayers wrong. But I’m just not feeling motivated enough to do it. Certainly not as a Resser Master.


As the focus of my Tale of Malifaux Bloggers challenge, I managed to get more games in with McMourning than any other Master this year. As a result I feel like I got a pretty decent handle on the intricacies of how he and his crew plays. And on the whole, I really enjoyed my games with him! He was fast and dangerous, but still a glass cannon that you had to use carefully. While Poison plays a very major part in how he works, there’s enough depth to him and his crew to keep him entertaining. In fact in my initial games didn’t even use the Moonlighting upgrade. So while summoning flesh constructs everywhere is undoubtably good, it’s not actually a necessary part of McMourning’s playstyle.

But possibly my favourite part about him was the crew I built for him  - Bayou McMourning. It was a labour of love and I’m really, really pleased with the result!


I must admit, I was pretty apprehensive about pulling Tara out again after my last game with her. Fortunately, I learned from my mistakes and had two much better games with her this time around. My first game was 50SS vs the Viks, and saw me take a crew in which I basically spent the game Luring in my opponents models with a pair of Rotten Belles, then Unburying a Fast Killjoy with Decaying Aura (previously Buried with Pull the Void) on top of the target to wipe them out. It worked like a charm. I spent the first two turns taking his crew apart piecemeal (as well as giving my own crew Fast with Temporal Shift) while delaying the Viks with my Drowned and Crooked Man. Then when my opponent finally retaliated with the Viks, they were unable make enough of a dent into my crew to prevent Killjoy finishing them off, one by one.

My second game was a much smaller match – 35SS Squatters Rights against Perdita (with Fransisco, Pistolero, Santiago, Nino and Enslaved Nephilim). With so few points I decided to drop the Rotten Belles and see if the crew could work without relying on the old “Lure & Kill” combo. I also dropped Karina but Killjoy remained. In this game my opponents Perdita crew was just small enough to outactivate me, forcing me to drop Killjoy on Fransisco (who died!) before Perdita activated (who promptly slaughtered Killjoy in return). With the main beat stick and arguably the lynchpin of my crew gone I didn’t have high hopes for the rest of the game. However the rest of my crew were no slouches. The Crooked Man’s resilience to melee helped him take down Nino and Tara’s proved that her sword wasn’t just for looks, and she took down both Santiago and Perdita over the course of the game. Of course Tara’s near immunity to shooting helped a little! ;)

Tara and Perdita eye each other off across the board...

So at this point, I must admit I’m pretty satisfied with how Tara plays. Her ability to pull key friendly models in an out of play with her is great, but she’s got more depth to her playstyle thanks to Temporal Shift to easily boost her crew and a pile of AP from being able to Reactivate. Her weakness seems to be that her unbury tricks are less effective if your opponent can outactivate you, and especially if they can steal the initiative from you with models like the Doppelganger or a Seize the Day upgrade. I used to think that Rotten Belles were an auto-include for her. There’s no doubt they’re useful, but I’m not convinced they’re quite as necessary anymore. So if I play Tara again, I think I'll try her as an Outcast. If you can get over not using Rotten Belles, I think the Outcasts offer a lot more to her crew. Not just in activation control (Wretch plus Rats ;) ), but also in the array of solid, hard hitting choices for her to support.

Before you ask, no, Izamu didn't last long against Lady Justice at all!

I’ve said before that I never liked Kirai’s background. The whole “my life sucks because my boyfiend was murdered” vibe is just really unappealing to me. Despite these reservations my game with her last last year gave me some hope; the nastiness of Ikiryo and the ability to just drop piles of summons (including cheap, expendable Seishin) was kind of neat to see. 

Unfortunately my recent game with her dashed those hopes. It’s not that she was bad, quite the opposite in fact. The game was against Lady Justice and even with all her killing power I was still able to summon like a mofo and take both her and her crew down through sheer attrition. The moment when I summoned two Hanged and a Shikome was great, but that was effectively all she did – summon, with a bit of healing on the side thanks to her Swirling Aether upgrade and the odd Seishin that popped out.

 Turns out Lady Justice was as good at killing as Kirai was at summoning. That's two Hanged and a Shikome summoned in one turn. ;)

Looking over her card again, the potential was certainly there for some spirit swapping and other mobility tricks, but none of it was necessary in this game – she was basically there to spew out spirits and keep them alive. So sure, I won the game. But with Kirai’s playstyle it felt a bit hollow for me.


As of writing this I haven’t yet played a game with Nicodem. But as a model who seems to concentrate mostly on summoning, he really doesn’t excite me. I’m currently painting him up and will at least give him a try within the next week or two, but I don’t have high hopes for him in terms of interest level.

I needed a spacer, so here's Dead Lady Justice. :)

The Problem with Ressers...

Okay, so onto the meat and potatoes; why am I quitting Ressers? Well for me it comes down to three main issues;

Yeah, it took me a while to accept this, but I just don’t like the models as much as the other factions. That’s not to say that the models aren’t nice, but they just don’t excite me as much as those models from other factions. A part of this also comes from my inability to find a good theme for most of my Resser crews (with one exception…). I love theming my crews in various wacky ways, so with most of my Ressers more or less being the stock standard, unmodified sculpts, I guess it’s not surprising that the crews didn’t interest me. Probably the most telling example of this was that my favourite Master from this Faction was McMourning… who’s crew had been converted almost entirely out of models from another Faction!

Trading killing power for attrition
Resser models tend to be pretty tough, but that toughness usually comes a relative lack of damage output. There are the odd exception, but there’s not a lot so when it came to, say, picking a beatstick for Tara to unbury there wasn’t a lot of options. I guess what this all means is that I prefer my models to be cheap, fast and/or damaging. Resiliance is nice, but it’s pretty low on my priority list and unfortunately that’s one of the defining features of the Resurrectionist Faction.

While part of this plays into the attrition aspect of the Ressers, the summoning playstyle has never been something I’ve enjoyed. Basically at the start of your turn you look at your hand, and earmark cards you’d want to use for summoning (usually the 11-13’s). For most of the turn you’ll then play with the rest of your hand and then when your Master activates, dump those high cards into summoning the models you wanted. Given those high cards could be otherwise used to attack/defend against your opponents models it’s a high cost (or at least it is if your opponent plays aggressively enough). In other words the whole summoning process feels a little like handicapping your crew for the turn, then playing Solitare when your Master activates.

Is it strong? Absolutely. In one game I managed to summon 3 Drowned and a Hanged with Molly. That was in one turn (Tara made her fast)! And then in my game with Kirai I summoned two hanged and a Shikome, again in one turn. When it happens it’s brutal, but it still felt somewhat hollow. Basically, I’d rather spend all those cards and AP actively engaging with my opponent, not putting out more models for him/her to knock over.

I have an ass-load of crews. :(

For my next trick…

So what’s next? Well for one I won't say I’ll never play Resurrectionists again. If nothing else I did find two Resser Masters I quite enjoy – Tara and McMourning. I’ve also never won a tournament with the Resser Faction (just them and Outcasts to tick off), so I still might pull them out for an event some day.

But as I said at the start of this piece, it’s time I switched to a new Faction. Unfortunately, I’ve no idea which one. Right now I’m swaying between Outcasts, Gremlins and Ten Thunders. I’ve been trying to settle on one for days now, but without success. Chances are I’ll stick up a thread on the forums about it, so stay tuned, I suppose!