FIRST IMPRESSIONS: M3E RULES

m3e_logoWhat is going on fellow Wyrdos?

Week 1 and 3’s update from Waldo gave us some amazing information on the upcoming 3rd Edition release of Malifaux. With changes in everything from card draw to movement, there’s a lot to digest on what looks to be a much-needed streamlining.

Wyrd’s articles can be found here (general) and here (movement).

Card Draw

Summary: The maximum number of cards that can be in your hand at any given time is six. If you ever go over this, you must immediately discard down to six.

WOW.

This is a big change with some major ramifications on design and crew building. Throughput has always been extremely powerful in any game that relies on drawing from a randomized deck. From Shenlong in Ten Thunders to most of the Wave 5 guild minions, card draw has always been something that if you can get into your crew you did. Part of Nico’s oppressive nature for so long was his ability to run around with a 10+ card hand every turn. And the reason everyone in Rezzer’s takes Philip and the Nanny is not for his chatty aura!

Numerous examples aside, this is a potent and needed change to the control hand mechanic. You can’t “stack” your deck Turn 1 by drawing as much as you can and holding on to all the weak cards for a trimmer Turn 2 fate deck. This always was brutal to see against some masters (looking at you Lynch).

Meanwhile, mid turn card draw gets a boost. It was already good to draw cards throughout a turn, but now it’s literally the best (only) way to go. We’ve already seen some of the impact of this rule and its concepts with the Waldo spoiler of Youko Hamasaki (check Waldo’s article here and my impressions here) and her heavy discard effects and easy card draw.

Card cycling also gets a small buff here, as card draw becomes card cycling if you are at max hand size.

I’m curious to how this affects Rush of Magic, but even more curious to see how the control hand meta shakes up. With an emphasis on replace rather than fix, it makes cheating more desirable so that you can draw into cards. It also helps mitigate discard effects as well as taking some of the sting of low TN cheating away, as you ultimately want to be under max hand size, so your card draw can come online.

Size, Height and Line of Sight

Summary: Models now have size, leaving the height stat to Terrain only (in inches). This is to allow for bulky but squat models to have larger size without it conflicting with a height approximation.

Line of sight is not really changing. Models on terrain add height to their size for determining what they see over. Streamlined to if intervening models/terrain are less than either of the models drawing LoS, then they see each other.

The size change interests me. I understand the idea, but I know I’m going to keep asking for a model’s height over its size for a long time. I am curious to see how they implement the concept of size across models such as Akaname vs an Investigator. Gremlins I imagine will still mostly be size 1.

Line of sight has always been one of those rules I think everyone naturally simplified. This seems like that logical step.  Gremlin hides behind a wall… giant monster towers over said wall… they both see each other. Small gremlin can’t see over small wall to see other small gremlin.  Makes sense.

Vantage Point, LoS, and Shadows

Summary: Vantage Point was convoluted and clunky so here’s Shadows. Every terrain with Height casts a shadow, and that determines LoS and Cover rules.

This is a big change that we’re only given a snippet of, but right off the cuff it contradicts LoS a bit, but in an arguably logical way.

The article indicates that even if the Terrain is being ignored due to its Height, if a model is completely within its shadow, you don’t have LoS. This is to indicate “hugging” the terrain. Let’s look at my above simplification with LoS. It now looks like this:

Gremlin hides behind a wall… giant monster towers over said wall… if the Gremlin is completely within the shadow of the wall, monster doesn’t see it, otherwise they see each other.

This poses the immediate question of so does the Gremlin still see the giant monster? Is it possible to create LoS vectors from one model but not the other?

The idea seems nice, but I think we need to see more from this to make a total judgement call. How do you determine shadow’s direction? How do you draw LoS from the top of a building if you’re a few inches from the edge of said building?

I will say the change to cover is nice. Not having to be so careful about placement near terrain and being a scant 1/8” off is quite welcome.

Soulstones

Summary: Cache is gone, build accordingly. New ability to give soulstone use to stations beyond master and henchman. Minor changes to drawing cards, stoning to put opponent on negative to damage, and damage reduction.

So long, cache, it was fun while it lasted. I love this change. I think balancing masters and models in general will be a bit easier without having to worry about how many free stones they give the crew. The new attuned ability sounds like it could be a lot of fun, though I’m curious who is going to be attuned. If minions can suddenly start stoning, I’m going to have to re-evaluate building to only 43 points and maxing out the cache.

Hands down, the fun stuff here is the minor changes to the rest of soulstones’ uses.

Being able to stone for cards multiple times sounds like an easy way to blow through your cache. But I’ve had enough hands of nothing above a 6 to know just how valuable it can be to use 2 stones and draw 4 more cards. Even if you still get a bunch of weaks, at least now you’ve thinned that pocket out (hopefully). As mentioned above in the new card draw section, cycling got a mild buff in general, so that makes cycling with stones slightly stronger too.

I can honestly say I’ve never even thought to stone for a + and a suit… so being told I can do both sounds incredible. But it might already be here and I just didn’t know it!

Probably my most loved change though is the change to stoning to put your opponent on negatives. I feel this was an ability that wasn’t used enough. Getting a + to defense and putting an extra – to your opponent’s damage flip was very strong in certain situations (Sonnia *cough cough*). We’ve apparently lost the + to defense, but we don’t have to pre-emptively stone now for the – flip to damage. Woah. Waiting to see if they’re on a straight before going, “nope be on a negative,” is awesome and I am thrilled.

Side note, I like the mention of cleaning up timing issues from M2E… good to know that’s a focus.

Damage reduction got a hefty buff as well. The new method is stone for the flip, and then stone for +1 to the reduction flip (for each extra stone). It’s rather often when you’re looking at a model going… “I really need to prevent two damage so you can live”. Now if you have the stones, you can guarantee it. Just spend 2 stones and now they get that extra chance to stay alive. Though confirmation that the black joker still hoses reduction flips isn’t great (anyone else curious that it’s now reduction instead of prevention?).

All of these changes mean that stones can go WAY faster than before. I think this might lead to slightly smaller crews, because these effects are strong enough that you’re going to be willing to sacrifice an activation to get a large enough cache to take advantage. We already know pass tokens are a thing, so this feels like it ties in well with that idea.

Movement

Summary: Places are now moves. Flight is now a place. Pushes can’t go up vertical surfaces and are now affected by Severe Terrain.

Places being put under the blanket of movement is a common-sense change that I wholeheartedly support (despite abusing its current state of not counting). Flight now becoming a place, on the other hand, is a massive double-take, back-up, hard stop.

Now Flight has always ignored anything anyways, but there’s a couple of key things here that make it significant. First, you don’t care about elevation anymore. A height 5 building that’s 2” away is just 2” away. Placement doesn’t measure vertical distance, only horizontal. So, you can place on top of houses, bridges, etc., without eating movement. Second, placing doesn’t require completely within. As a matter of fact, Waldo has said completely within is now gone except for deployment. Because flight affects movement and charges, heavy hitters with flight are going to be very dangerous indeed. Especially because of the new rule with pushes.

Pushes cannot push up vertical surfaces. Another situation I don’t think I’ve ever dealt with in M2E, it makes sense. But where it’s a massive change is Charges are now pushes. Which means you can no longer charge over walls as they are Ht 1, Climbable terrain. This means that models with flight now have a huge advantage over their terrestrial brethren. It’s going to be a very important thing to note and get used to. I can almost hear the M3E Yasunori hate already…

Bury and Incorporeal

Summary: Bury isn’t screwed by crowding out landing zones, and now activate as normal (just not able to do anything unless their actions say so).

Incorporeal got nerfed into oblivion while simultaneously buffed so that there’s no “weakness”.

Bury’s change makes good sense (I’m sensing a theme here). Counting as an activation means you aren’t punished for burying. Plus, Waldo indicated that models could have actions they can perform while buried.  They also spoiled some Colette goodies and dropped a hint on Tara.

Colette can bury by discarding a card and taking a damage, then pop out by scheme markers and pass out distracted to any enemies in range when she activates. That’s fantastic flavor and seems quite powerful when setup properly. Tara meanwhile, is getting summoning that brings models into play buried. Another flavorful and exciting ability.

The other aspect to Bury is what Wyrd is calling a “safety latch.” And I couldn’t agree more. If you try to unbury a model and don’t have a legal place to do so, they unbury at your deployment zone. I’ve been on the receiving end of someone crowding me out to stop my unburying, so I’m happy we now have a way to avoid losing that model’s impact. Yeah deployment zone still sucks, but at least they can eventually join the fray.

Incorporeal got a massive change. You can still ignore terrain and models when moving, but because M3E moved away from duel “types” (simplifying to just an action stat), there’s no casts in the game anymore. So incorp’s reduction needed to change. The downside is that the massive damage reduction against melee and shooting is going away and instead is providing a flat reduction of 1. The upside is that this can drop damage to 0. I don’t expect there’s a ton of min 1 damage tracks in M3E, but it’s good to note that min 1 does nothing to a model with incorporeal. Combined with models that can stone, they might become quite the tanks. It was stated in the article that it also allowed them to have larger health pools, so Kirai sounds like she might be getting some fun stuff. It does specify attack actions however, so conditions that damage and the like will still have full effect.

Wrapping it all up

The name of the game seems to be simplify and common-sense modifications. This gives me a lot of positivity with the direction the game is heading. I think I can safely say one of the largest complaints was the lack of simplicity and clarity in rules. Hands down my favorite change is the soulstone uses.

Next up @Waldo I expect to see a detailed timing chart!

 

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