Thursday, May 26, 2011

Malifaux Overview

Friends of mine, Dan from Mongoose Blog and Mike from White Rabbits Legendary Blog put together a write-up for a new player in our community briefly describing the different Malifaux masters. I really liked it, and contributed some to the discussion as well as pulling some information from the Malifaux Tactics Wiki site. I wanted to repost it here, as I think it is a great description of the Malifaux Masters/Crews.

The Guild

Lady Justice - Justice is a melee hammer.  No one hits harder then her, no one really lives when she wants them dead.  She has an ability called sword style where she can buff up her sword strikes.  There are 2 kinds of Lady J crews that I have seen work well.  There is a the swarm, where you take a ton of cheap guys with decent guns and swords, and kick major butt with mid-range shooting.  Once opponents close, Justice steps in and clear out anyone who made it into melee.  The other is the elite model list.  You take the best of the best models you can.  In the list I saw the cheapest guy was 7 points.  Since Justice doesn't do a ton to support her crew, you have a lot of bad asses roll up with her and kick ass in melee.  Both lists work well in certain strategies, and a lot is player preference. She also has an advantage when dealing with undead and construct based (Ramos/Collodi/Leviticus) crews, she can clear away the counters (Scrap/Corpse) those crews need to rebuild.

Perdita - Perdita is a shooter with pretty much no equal.  She is hard to hit, very fast, and shoots her gun in melee as well.  So there really is no safe spot from her,  she can even ignore cover.  Her crew 90% of the time will be mostly her family members.  The Ortega family can all companion for a really nasty turn of death.  They all shoot, and are all VERY deadly from range.  The crews biggest weakness is being engaged in Melee.  Even that can be dealt with. Perdita is incredibly resilient, but her crew are softer and do not take a hit well.

Sonia Criid - Criid is a Spell Caster.  She can dish out serious fireball type spells that can rip through an entire crew.  She is also a magic hater.  She can stop opponents spells and the better a mage her opponent is the more horrible things she can do to them.  Her crew is very user choice.  you can take a crew of all mage haters, or a crew of elite models who dont need master support.  In my experiences the Elite force is generally better as Criid doesn't do much to support her crew.

Hoffman - The Hoff uses machines.  He is a cripple who is in a mechanical harness and just clicks with machines.  his crew is odd.  They play a kind of speedy turtle shell that can pass their damage around to which ever model they see fit.  Then it kind of burst out with very sturdy hard to kill machines who can do decent damage.  The other big thing with Hoff's crew is they are nearly immune to some of the mind tricks (wp resistant) other crews push out. Overall, the crew is very expensive point wise, but incredibly resilient.

Lucius - Lucius is tricky. His limited crew works with some fairly low end type guys, guild guards. Even his "heavy hitters" do not pump out a lot of Damage on their own but rely on a combined arms approach. He, of everyone in the guild, supports his crew the most and loses well over half his capability when not running his own crew. His limited crew (Special forces) can do some cool "alpha strike" type things, but is pretty tricky to make work. Focusing on any single part of his crew can take it apart quickly and make it tougher to play. Overall, its the "Average" crew (average movement, average attack, average resiliency) with a couple tricks that can be made to work. 

Seamus - Seamus has a big ass Gun.  He can only fire it once per turn, but it does amazing damage.  His other abilities are very control oriented, he can hurt opponents Willpower, and stop them from moving too close to Undead models.  He is also a tough sob.  He heals when things die, can heal off his damage spell, and is generally tough to kill.  Its takes a pretty focused effort to take him out.  A standard Seamus crew uses the undead hookers, which is the only model he can summon, and a few models with guns.  Seamus likes the mid-range shooting game a lot.
Nicodem - He is the spell caster of the ressers.  He has a wide range of spells that go from Summon new undead, aoe damage, or a control spell that prevents a target from activating (paralyzed).  He also can turn all the corpse counters  in zombies.  The zombies don't do too much, but they can swarm, and he can pass off attacks to them so he doesn't get beat up too bad.  Nicodem also can take 2 birds which act as Arc Nodes for him, allowing him to cast through them.  His crew is very wide open.  He can take any undead model from any crew.  And its all players preference.
McMourning - This is a strange guy.  He is a glass cannon in melee, with several spells designed to work in melee for him.  But his big ability is he can summon Frankenstien monsters.  And generally 2-3 per game.  This is a huge boost because he drops 7 point models in the middle of the field.  His crew is almost always a lot of cheap models.  Mcmourning needs body parts and corpses to make his monsters and generally isn't picky about slashing his own models to ribbons to make them into Golems. 
Kirai - Kirai is a support Master.  She can only really use Spirit models.  But she is fantastic with them so there is no real reason to take non-spirits.  She can summon new spirits, swap 2 spirits locations, heal spirits, and debuff enemies vs spirits. She damages her self a lot, and many  games played with her all the damage she takes is from her own spells.   Her crew is an assortment of different spirit models.  with lots of Seishin, these are little chump spirits she can take, they can heal her, body guard her, and generally die for her.
Molly is last, she isn't out yet so there's pretty much no info on her.  She seems control based.

Ramos - Ramos is the machine master, he uses mostly constructs in his crew.  He is a very good Summoner, summoning spiders and balls of electricity.   He also has a really good range damage spell  and he can support his machines with his spells.  One his other cool tricks is that he can force his own machines to blow up and deal auto damage to enemies. He has some cool tricks and can becomes somewhat resilient to damage via armor, but is fairly slow moving.

Rasputina - The Ice witch is mostly about throwing out massive damage spells.  She also has decent support spells, she can make terrain and armor up her crew with her spells.  She is awful in melee and that is her big weakness.  Her crew is usually ice themes models designed to either buff her spells or be mirrors for her to cast through.  She can use ice models as short range arc nodes. Rasputina is the typical Fireball throwing D&D mage, but with ice instead of fire.

Marcus - Marcus is fast.  Like ridiculously fast.  He makes speedy Gonzalez look like regular Gonzalez.  Marcus is also a beast master.  His big down side is that he needs to cast a spell to be awesome,  without it he is below average.  He needs to activate early in order to get his spell going. His crew is beasts, all sorts of beast from any faction he wants.  His crew is quick and hits moderately well.  Not super hard, not bad though.  But on the whole none of them can take a hit. Marcus can be really good once his play style is mastered, but is tough to learn how to play to that level.

Colette - Collette and her crew are all about movement. She has some very expensive models that are very resilient, but overall her crew is not about attacking the enemy. She has a number of tricks and is a fairly complex master to play. Her spells swap around her totem (doves) and the models in her crew, bouncing them around the table and in/out of combat. She has a limited selection of combat abilities, and those she does have do not target the typical DF/WP like other models in the game.

Kaeris - Kaeris is a henchman, with a very limited set of models she can take. She has also not been released yet, so there is very little information.


Zoraida - Baba Yaga, the bog hag, the voodoo master, etc.  She is completely control.  She doesn't really have a lot of her own to damage you with.  But she's got great support for pretty much everyone out there.  A few key things: she can create a Voodoo Doll and attach it to an enemy model (other than the master).  From then on, Zoraida can cast her spells on that model easier, and can do so regardless of range or LOS.  Also, that model slowly begins dying of poison.  Another big thing is the spell Obey.  She's not the only master with it, but because she starts with the suit it needs, she's the best at it.  She can pick any friendly or enemy model and cast the spell at them.  They resist with WP.  If they fail, you get to use that model for one action or a charge.  (You can choose to fail the resist if it's against your own model so it automatically works if you successfully cast it).  So that big scary monster that you sent after me?  It just charged and killed your own guy.  Or my big scary monster?  He charges you outside of his activation so that I can still activate him and attack you more.  Finally, she's surprisingly hard to hit having a lot of maneuverability and a nice bonus to her defenses.  Because of how she works as a support master, she can work with just about any crew out there for NB.

Lilith - The mother of monsters.  She's also the Master of Malifaux - she can see through terrain, move really fast, switch the positions of people around her, hit really hard, and has the best defense in the game (tied with Perdita).  She's all about speed, speed, speed and then hitting so hard your mother feels it.  She doesn't hit as hard as the other big two melee masters (Lady Justice - Guild, and the Viktorias - Outcasts), but she is probably the most survivable of the 3 due to her high Defense.  Her crew tends to be other fast-moving models - usually the Nephilim.  They hit really hard and can attack you from angles you didn't expect (why run around the building to get to you when I can simply fly over it?).  Also, they have a neat mechanic where they can get blood for killing people and then use that blood to grow into better versions of themselves.

Pandora - The girl that opened the box and let out all the woes of the world.  She is all about WP duels.  All enemies within 12" of her lose their immunities to WP duels.  If an enemy fails a WP duel within 12" of her, it takes a wound.  And she has a lot of WP-based spells.  So she runs around slinging spells at people and making them lose life that way.  Nickle-and-diming her opponent.  Also, she's got one of the best triggers in the game.  If she casts a spell on a Crow and you fail the resist, you run away in addition to whatever else you would do.  One of her spells is an AOE.  So she can drop it and make everyone under have to test and if they fail, they run away (if she got the Crow).  To target her, you have to win a contested WP duel against her (which does damage to you, then, if you lose).  Also, if she wins a WP duel, she gets to move a little.  So while she has only a walk of 3", she can really moter as she starts WP-dueling people around her.  Her crews tend to also be very WP-based models, increasing the damage done by her one damage per failed WP duel ability. 

Dreamer/Lord Chompy Bits - Here is the crazy kid and his nightmare friend.  The kid and Lord Chompy Bits work together as one master (like the two Vikis are one master).  The kid is all about controlling his own crew - he can remove them from the board to protect them, and he can pop them out elsewhere to ambush a model.  He's also very fast and can give boosts to his models - either giving them all terrifying, or possibly more attacks, etc.  He has a couple of situational debuffs too.  Lord Chompy Bits is a melee beat-house but fairly fragile.  Usually he'll pop up, do a ton of attacks, and then disappear back into the kid before the enemy can get a chance to attack him back.  He's pretty slow, though, and fragile.  His crew tends to be all Nightmares - they are pretty much all glass cannons.  Hit really hard but die to a stiff breeze.  That's why it's important to be good at burying and unburying your nightmares to make sure they can stay safe.

Collodi - This is the Henchman for Neverborn.  He's not out yet, so not a lot on him yet.  But he's "death by 1000 cuts".  He's a puppet master and he works well with his marionettes.  He's very slow, but the Marionettes can pull on their strings and yank him along with them.  They hit for very little damage each, but they can move fast and attack a ton of times.


Leviticus - He is tricky.  Leviticus only draws a new hand of cards if he dies.  He also comes back to life very easily.  So there is a wierd balance of die every turn while still doing cool things with him.  His main abilities focus on killing a single model every turn.  And he is VERY good at that.  I usually say he has point and click death.  His crew can take any undead or construct model from any faction.  So its a very eclectic crew that generall has 3-5 elite models in it since he can't really support them while hes dead.

Viktoria('s) - Two for the price of one,the Viks are the proverbial Glass Cannon, but with great offensive ability comes great vulnerability - its not just coincidence that they are the Red and Black Jokers in the Puppet Deck. They want to get into melee and kill everything.  Then run away as needed.  Most Vicki crews use Von Schill, he is a henchmen who can kick some major butt.  They prefer a crew that doesn't need their help to function.

So'Mer Teeth Jones - Som'er Teeth Jones (nicknamed Som'er) is a tricky, but rewarding master to use. He can be a bit daunting for beginners, but if you stick with him you can have your opponents cursing you and your gremlins! There are many masters in Malifaux who run into the fray with swords drawn contagiously yelling battle cries; Som'er is not one of them. He is more comfortable in your deployment zone using his actions to spawn more Gremlins, Pigs, and Giant Mosquitos to catapult (sometimes literally) at your opponent. He also has a decent range of spells to maneuver your crew around the board, and heal them. Playing Som'er can sometimes feel like a war of attrition as you grind your opponent down with sheer numbers, and even potentially discard their control hand! In other words, the Boss gives the orders, the gremlins do the dirty work. But, hey, that's how things are done down here in the bayou. The guy in the top hat does not need to toss the slop!

Hamelin -He's the walking embodiement of plague in Malifaux.  He has a very small crew selection available to him, but they are highly synergistic.  He's primarily a control caster with some swarm built in.  Each piece of his crew fits together to make a whole.
  • Rats.  These guys come in bundles.  You only start with a few out there, but once they start swarming together, they can do a lot of damage.  Each one passes you a bit of plague which makes later attacks hurt more.  So while each may be doing only 1-2 points of damage, when you've got 5-6 of them out there, it adds up.  They can also do a trigger to permanently lower your WP by 2.
  •  Rat Catchers.  These guys run around with the rats.  Whenever a model within 6" of them dies, they make a new rat.  So if your enemy comes in and cuts down two rats... two rats appear in their place.  If your rats overrun one of your enemy's models, a new rat appears. 
  • Stolen.  These are children that have been lured into following Hamelin (he's patterned after the piper luring rats and children out of town).  They have only one wound and no attacks.  But they are surprisingly hard to kill (you have to pass a WP test just to attack them - they have harmless), and then if you do kill them, you may become paralyzed from the horrible realization that you just killed a child, and all your models nearby lose WP temporarily in realizing that someone just killed a kid.  Finally, when a kid dies, no matter where he was on the table, he makes a new rat.
 Finally, Hamelin himself.  Like the Rat Catchers, he makes new rats when people around him die.  He has a spell against WP that can turn a model Insignificant for the rest of the game (Insignificant models are generally worthless for scenarios and schemes).  He can't be targeted by Insignificant models, and Insignificant models have a hard time hurting the Rat Catchers.  So those killed Stolen that dropped your WP and the Rabies from the Rats that dropped your WP?  Those make sure you can't do your missions or attack Hamelin anymore.  And if you do find yourself in the spot where you can kill Hamelin, if there's a Stolen on the board at the end of the turn, he just replaces that Stolen as a brand new Hamelin.  Oh, and every turn he can summon a new Stolen as a (1) action.
There are a couple other models in the crew (Nix and the Obedient Wretch) but that's the basic of Hamelin.  Lots of control and lock down.  Really hard to play against, and not a lot of fun for your opponent. Hamelin is what we call a Negative Play Experience (NPE). 

Von Schill - He can be the leader or a minion, like Lucius, Molly, and Kaeris.  As a leader he can only take Freikorps with him.  He is a very solid leader, he is tough, hits hard, and supports his crew really well.  Also his crew is pretty good.  Big weakness here is that outside of Von Schill everyone only has 6 wounds.

Ophelia - Ophelia is a gunfighter, capable of dishing out good amounts of damage from a distance. She leads a crew of her most trusted kin on raids against human settlements, using her prowess with her pistolas to bring back loot. All of her kin are companioned to Ophelia, allowing them to activate together and get the first strike! She is also the only Henchman that Som'er may take, and she is key to his Crew. However, Ophelia is more than just a trigger finger. She also has a host of abilities to enhance the gremlins around her, making her a fun and useful tool to any gremlin list, whether it is led by Som'er or herself.

If this interested you, check out the new Malifaux Tactics Wiki. Its a great site and a good way to get more information!!!


  1. Hey Bill!  Just played my first game tonight!  I love it!!!  And thanks again for the doves!!!!  :D

  2. Great Article.  I have pondered getting into the game, but just can't seem to find a master who inspires me enough to paint it and its crew up.  (Pretty much the same issue I have with Hordes).  The game is growing in my area, so maybe I will try and get a couple of practice games in.

  3. Hi, I came across your site and wasn’t able to get an email
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