Gaining Grounds 2018 (Open Beta) – Numbered Schemes

For this installment, it’s a look at the new numbered schemes we have this year. But first I’m going to comment on the ones returning that we all know and love/hate. Afterwards, my meta put together some faction matchups for me and I’m going to do some in-depth discussion on what I would take and why using scheme pools generated from GG18 (credit to ttsgosadow on the Wyrd Forums for posting a generator for GG18 beta!). Let me know if you guys like this kind of analysis and leave me a note in the comments if you’d like me to do more in the future!

Covert Breakthrough – Full disclosure: I never take this scheme. I find it’s a worse version of Leave Your Mark. I have always considered this an all or nothing scheme, and actually prefer Claim Jump to it. I know, I’m weird. That being said, there are quite a number of models that can make this scheme near trivial, so I don’t think it’s a bad pick. It’s much more a positioning game for me than LYM or CJ, simply because you need to not telegraph it, and then get it knocked out.

Undercover Entourage – Always a favorite, you have to be a little wily, but it can be a quick 3VP at the end of the game if you’ve got the game plan for it. There are a few masters that make this absolutely trivial to accomplish (I’m looking at you Asami, Colette and Tara). All in all, I really like this scheme and happy to see it back.

Show of Force – So I main 10T and Rezzers right now, so this scheme is practically an auto-take for me. I almost always have 3-4 score-able upgrades out. I really like that this scheme doesn’t punish if you tie and I think target prioritization is one of the most common weak points. This scheme kind of paints the targets for you, which is both good and bad. So it makes for good mid-game decision making. Great scheme.

Hidden Trap – This is one of those schemes that I think is safe to never take. There’s a few masters that can handle it pretty easily, but being end of game hurts it. Especially once you’ve revealed your first scheme. It’s one of those “ah” moments that completely changes what your opponent does. Now if you have control, or are at least on even keel, you’re probably still going to get a couple of points out of it. But I feel there is almost always a better choice. Still, it’s good to break things up and it’s absolutely doable.

Set Up – Another scheme that is almost trivial for a few crews yet quite rough for others. I ultimately much prefer this scheme over Hidden Trap as, even though you’re restricted to naming a model, you can pop it when needed. 4” is also a much larger distance than you think sometimes. You really do have a lot of play as to what model you pick, and you can absolutely bluff this scheme for CJ or Dig Their Graves.

Search the Ruins – This scheme is equal combinations great and frustrating. You can spend most of the game setting it up, and there’s not really anything your opponent can do to stop it except pick them up or move them away. I also like that if you are really getting pushed back, you can just get the three down for 2VP and work on cutting your losses and focusing on the strat.

Leave Your Mark – Another scheme I don’t often take… because I didn’t play Arcanists during the glory days of Raptor PP. Or Gremlins. But this is a solid scheme that can be hard to deny if you don’t have a counter-schemer to handle an exposed flank. Ice Dancers, Wandering River Monks, Silurids, Bayous, Investigators, Necropunks… some factions have a bit more toys than others but pretty much everyone has a way of completing this as long as you can control a flank.

Dig Their Graves – The king scheme of AP inefficiency, lol. I happen to love this scheme because it combines positioning, interacting and killing all into one neat and tidy package. Just be careful of where your scheme markers are placed so your opponent doesn’t get cheeky and remove one you need to stay on the board!

Now on to the returning and the new, starting with the returning!


Rating: 8/10

First Impression: Who doesn’t like to score points by killing things with your Master or Henchman?

High Point: Very straightforward scheme that forces constructive thought on how you fill out your list.

Low Point: Not particularly deep. But that’s not always required

Who does this benefit the most: An all-comers kind of scheme. Every faction has at least one super kill-y master/henchman. So I’m going to list my personal favorites (one per faction): Raspy/Howard (Arcanists); Lady J/Judge (Guild); Reva/Archie (Rezzers); Wong/Francois (Gremlins); Misaki/Ohaguro Bettari (10T); Daw/The Nothing Beast (Outcasts); Lynch/Huggy (Neverborn).


This is a very straight forward scheme that I personally LOVE. But I also like schemes that are all about being in the thick of the scrum.

But maybe more than running the actual scheme, I also like that it creates some interesting choices for some crews. Because if you aren’t careful, you can be put on the back foot pretty quickly.

And I’m sure there are plenty of people who are quite happy that Yasunori can’t complete this one!


Rating: 10/10

First Impression: I LOVE this scheme. Its flavor is perfectly executed and it can both be a challenging and rewarding scheme to not only play but succeed at.

High Point: Being able to pick any model for the Vendetta makes for compelling crew decisions against the faction you’re playing as well as when crews are revealed.

Low Point: It can be a swingy scheme. If your vendetta target gets nuked by say an errant red-joker… you suddenly can only score 1VP from this scheme tops.

Who does this benefit the most: Another all-comers scheme (which contributes heavily to its strong rating) this scheme favors ranged non-projectile attacks. Guild does get a bit more play out of this, though that’s somewhat mitigated by needing to be non-leader and you must match SS costs. I’m going to shout out to models like Yokai and Monster Hunter who can hit pretty well above their SS cost.


This is a deceptively deep scheme. Can’t cheese out with a leader. And if you go for that high SS beater, you must pick something high SS from them. So the sweet spot is to have a mid-costed, aggressive model that can go for the teeth. Illuminated come to mind, as they can hit hard, go deep and are hard to shift. So it can be fairly easy to at least score 2VP.

I think honestly that’s the method to go for here. Hunt for that 2VP sweet spot, with designs on getting that 3rd if the opportunity presents itself. It can be easy to telegraph this scheme if you are a little too eager, but that means it’s pretty easy to bluff too.

All of these considerations make it a fantastic scheme in the pool. It just brings a bunch of layers that you could do. Or you don’t do. Either way it’s got to be a consideration.

I will say that I’m a slacker here and often just assume I’m 3VP down because I just know I’m going to offer up my vendetta target on a silver platter. I seem to be good at that!


Rating: 8/10

First Impression: I think this is a progression from Last Stand, and personally really like it. Another strong scheme for Elite crews.

High Point: Supports the “tank” style of play that Last Stand tried to, while not handicapping you in the process.

Low Point: Forces you to go into a potentially losing battle. Really need to be careful with target selection here.

Who does this benefit the most: Elite crews; anyone who’s got a slightly lower model count that can bring the business. But specifically, 3” reach, tanky models. Izamu, you may have finally found your home! Special shout out to crews with positioning shenanigans as you can help facilitate this much better.


First off, this scheme doesn’t benefit hordes at all, as it makes it easier for your opponent to score. I love that. Yet another thing to encourage slightly more elite crews (my favorite).

This can be easy to deny as well. Just don’t group up. But that brings its own potential problems, depending on the scheme and strategy. A counter argument to that is we don’t have extraction or guard the stash anymore. This exacerbates the situation as the only schemes and strats that care about the center now are Show of Force and Search the Ruins. Everything else is just all over the place.

As such, crews that have higher mobility or positioning tricks can really make this a consistent 3 pts. I know I’ve brought a lot of attention to 10T, but they are all about positioning and a lot of these schemes favor strong positioning capabilities. Lust is a great model for this as her whole shtick is to take an enemy and send it to a buddy. Fortunately, she’s a merc so anyone can hire her!


Rating: 9/10

First Impression: Unique feel and a unique mechanic that work pretty smoothly. My favorite of the new schemes. Does require a bit of book keeping though, especially if both players take it.

High Point: Thematics are always a big thing for me and the one here is fantastic.

Low Point: I wonder if the reveal/unreveal is needless clunky. Can we not just declare a challenger and at the end of the turn, you can discard 2 cards to declare new challengers?

Who does this benefit the most: Another all-comer type scheme. Love that! Literally anyone can master can complete this.


One of Molly’s new upgrades has an interesting interaction here in that it grants her 2 cards every time she reveals a scheme. Normally that’s 4 cards in a game, but this scheme can bring that up to 8 cards. Not necessarily a “ZOMG!” thing, but something to be aware of.

It’s also quite card intensive if you choose your targets poorly. This may be one of the most punishing schemes in that regard. Two cards is nothing to scoff at and if you had to burn your control hand, or are unwilling to pitch, and your opponent got his challenge target the hell out of dodge… that’s a big problem.

So pay careful attention to the tricks for disengagement, so you don’t get caught flatfooted when you lock in your targets, fail to kill it because they have better cards than you, and then GTFO.


Rating: 6/10

First Impression: The “fixed” Frame for Murder. I like the change, making scoring 3VP a little less difficult.

High Point: Frame for Murder v2.0 not on a suit.

Low Point: It’s still Frame for Murder…

Who does this benefit the most: The players with the best poker face and the crews with the threats that HAVE to be dealt with via death and dismemberment. Though as was the case with Frame… if you have an obey, this should be an auto 3VP.


I don’t like frame. I don’t like guessing if I can get a model my opponent will be nice enough to kill with the right model so that I score points. This takes a lot of the decision making out of your hand. If you telegraph it, they find ways around it. If you don’t telegraph it, they still might decide to neuter over kill.

I feel like the best luck is to pick a random model and hope they go for it. But that’s the same problem of… but what if they don’t?

I can’t rate it too poorly as it brings some interesting decisions and strategic choices to the table. But I also can’t rate it high because I don’t like schemes that can’t be scored unless your opponent “gives” you the points. A lot of schemes are reliant on what your opponent does or brings. I don’t know of another one that you physically cannot score unless your opponent does something.

But it’s not on a suit… so that makes it totally ok to have pop up once in a while just to stir things up a bit.

That’s my take on the numbered schemes! Let’s put this all into some practice, shall we? Here’s three random matchups (well semi-random, my meta picked the factions) to take a quick once over! For the purpose of the rundown I’ll be picking a random faction to represent what I would be playing and then examining my options from it.

Outcasts vs Gremlins

Deployment: Flank

Strategy: Ours

Schemes: Charge Soulstone, Smuggled Across, Make them Suffer, Vendetta and Claim Jump

Playing As: Outcasts

Pretty kill oriented pool. Ours wants you to reduce the number of models in a quadrant. Charge, Suffer, and Vendetta all require you to kill to score. Claim Jump is interesting here because flank changes the center line, but ours doesn’t change how it splits the quadrants. So effectively quadrant 2 and 3 will have the center line in them. The hard part about this is that’s the war zone quadrants. Your opponent will be in 1 (for sake of visualizing) and you in 4, read to push out immediately to start scoring. So that’s probably a dead scheme unless you can gain dominance and hold it there. You could always push for center to help, but then you have models that aren’t scoring.

Gremlins have an advantage because they are far more AP and model efficient for SS, so Charge Soulstone hurts less. Pigapult and some Bayou gremlins guarantee Smuggled Across for 3VP on turn one. Make them Suffer isn’t likely unless they play Wong, even with Francois available. He is good for maybe two points, but he’s going to be too close to dead for the third. Similarly, with Vendetta.

You’re looking at facing probably Somer or Wong here, leaning towards Somer. Zipp is not a bad choice, but they can summon three bayous with Somer, score Smuggled, and then they can die for next to no cost to them all while being in your back line so if you ignore them, they can be trouble. This opens up Make them Suffer to you though.

As already established above, Claim Jump is out. Smuggled is a decent pick, as you’re gonna be in the thick anyways. Make them Suffer is probably an auto-pick here. Lots of minions/peons potentially to be had. Vendetta is iffy. But Charge Soulstone is good. So you’re probably going with Suffer and Charge.

As to Masters… you want kill, disruption and not needing to rely on cards (in case of Somer). Daw and Tara jump out immediately. Viks as a potential third option. Tara can not only dive the back line with the Nothing Beast but can meet the bayous head on with Void Wretches. This definitely helps swing in your favor. Daw can help neuter abilities with curses, and can blitz down the heavy hitters. His ability to warp around pretty easily and provide pushes to his Tormented crew really helps with positioning. Or you could load up the Viks, dive in and try to wreck face, forcing the Gremlin player to react to you. This feels good against Somer, less so against Wong. But Somer is probably the master you’ll face here.

Ultimately I think I’d do Tara with Wretch spam here taking Make them Suffer and Charge Soulstone.

Guild vs Arcanists

Deployment: Standard

Strategy: Symbols of Authority

Schemes: Eliminate the Leadership, Collect Evidence, Undercover Entourage, Challenge, and Claim Jump

Playing as: Guild

Symbols of Authority introduces some grey area into what you’re going to want to do here. Because you don’t know where half the symbols are going to go until after deployment, you have to play a guessing game based on terrain. The thing to watch out for is going first or second here. You really want to pick your side of the table. While knowing where your opponent is going to drop his marker is nice, you want to prevent them being able to drop a marker on the far side of some impassable terrain. That’s where you want YOUR marker. You can expect that the other one is going to be near the center line, so that it can be blitzed quickly. The benefit is that you’ll have one turn to setup how you’re going to attack the near marker and defend yours. The downside is that by going first to pick your side, your opponent gets to counter deploy. So you need to build your crew with this in mind. Mobility and durability is going to be key.

For this reason you have to count out Hoffman. He’s deceptively fast, but you need to split your forces. You need to provide severe threat for your opponent so I’m going with ranged here. You’re really looking at a Perdita/Sonnia option. While I think McMourning, McCabe, Nellie and Lucius all have the mobility, I think because you know exactly what the target positions are going to be, going with a heavy ranged master that can delete models is good. You’re going to put your “opponent” marker out in the open by the centerline. Let them come try to defend that.

Now playing Arcanists introduces several distinct possibilities here. The eponymous Sandeep, blitzing with Marcus, a Colette gun line, a challenge oriented Ironsides, or Seismic Claws Mei Fang all are viable options here. Regardless of the master though, you are going to face three oxfordians here, because their ability to push is obscene for this strategy. They also can potentailly deny Undercover Entourage and help deny Collect Evidence. For this reason I think Deep or the Ironsides MSU combo are what you will face. Ironsides might be the better pick here because she is also next to impossible to kill now, thus mitigating Eliminate the Leaderships viability. The positives that she grants to MSU helps with challenge as well. And of course there is the Jossbot.

So knowing you have a lot of pushing and control coming your way, you need something that can handle those threats. This reinforces the desire to take models that can work at range. Oxfordians do NOT like focused fire nor blasts, and in an Ironsides bubble, you’re going to be looking for blasts to ignore her defensive triggers. So I’m leaning towards Sonnia with papa. You need to be prepared for Banusuva and Joss. A Domadore would not be a bad idea here to either get a Doxy or a Rotten Belle for more positioning control as well as the heal. Field Reporters have a push away and are dirt cheap, so that’s a thought as well.

In the scheme department it’s rough going. Eliminate could be risky. Undercover Entourage isn’t very viable for Sonnia or Perdita, and I don’t think guild henches are particularly speedy either. Unless you want to bring Dr. Grimwell, hehe. Collect Evidence can be extremely hard to get to, but if you’re going a kill route, you should be able to open up some path ways. Challenge is interesting and I think a good take, especially with Monster Hunter. Especially if you have a belle involved here, you could lure an already activated mage and let the Monster Hunter go to work. There’s also Claim Jump, which isn’t horrible, but not necessarily a strong pick comparatively. It ultimately depends on what you fill your crew out with.

I’m going to assume Sandeep, Kandera, 3 Oxfordians and stuff coming from the Arcanist player. So I’m going to go Sonnia with Papa and the Effigy. Leaving the Emissary out here in favor of taking a couple of field reporters. Think I’m going to lean into a Domadore, Belle and a Monster Hunter, then make sure I have a heavy hitter, probably a peacekeeper because it has a grapple gun. I’m going to definitely take Challenge… and… with Sonnia and Papa, I’m going run the risk and take Eliminate the Leadership.

Rezzers vs 10T

Deployment: Standard

Strategy: Put Out a Hit

Schemes: Smuggled Across, Buried Treasure, Covert Breakthrough, Show of Force, Claim Jump

Playing as: 10T

Put out a Hit is a fantastic scheme that has some interesting aspects of denial to it (by keeping the model with Contract away from the scoring markers). Or just by killing it. With this being the only kill oriented scheme in the pool, there’s actually a lot of options here because you aren’t restricted to one type of list to capitalize. As long as you have one or two things that can successfully kill (and make it back alive), you’re golden.

Looking at the other schemes, you can be a cagey pain in the ass too. Covert and Smuggled Require getting deep into enemy territory. But Buried Treasure, Show of Force and Claim Jump can all be completed on your side of the table. This screams sniper support and pushes. This pool basically can be done with any 10T master. But I would favor Shenlong, Misaki or Brewmaster.

Looking at Rezzers… there’s a lot of upgrade potential there for Show of Force. My Little Helper is always lurking around. You aren’t worried about covert breakthrough because your probably going to be playing back a bit, so you can react. Smuggled Across is an easy 2-3VP for them I feel, between necropunks and crooligans, but we can punish them for it while fulfilling
the strategy. Buried Treasure would be probably pretty hard to stop, but Shenlong and Misaki are very mobile, so if you see that’s what they are going for, you can move to intercept. Same with Claim Jump.

I think you are going to be looking at Molly, Tara or McMourning here. All three can get across the board pretty effectively, scheme their back line and drop some massive bombs that can swing advantage. Tara’s NB bomb is very dangerous here as is McMourning’s Abra Cadavra. Molly can bolt across the board and lock you in your deployment zone if you aren’t careful, but she denies herself Put Out a Hit potentially there. So I would lean towards McMourning or Tara. Though you have to accept that because of the balance of rezzers , any master works well. Reva can bully you and keep you pushed back, dropping corpses by your hit return point so that it’s never safe to approach. Kirai has the mobility to get right in your face and bounce scheme markers where needed, just like Molly. Honestly the only masters I wouldn’t consider here is maybe Seamus, Nico and Yan Lo. Nico is too slow and bubble based. Seamus has the ability to traverse the board, but I think Molly or McMourning is a better pick for the scheme pool. And because these schemes can be played back a bit, Yan Lo isn’t as effective as he normally would be.

Back to 10T… it’s a hard toss-up here as each master brings something a little different here. I think probably Shenlong is the correct choice, but being the Misaki fan I am, and relying on her sheer mobility, I think you can do a lot of damage here. Misaki is a fantastic counter to Molly if you catch them unawares (a little harder with her new upgrade) because of assassinate. Misaki’s high WP is also a great counter to Rezzer tricks in general. McMourning is a real threat no matter who you take. But you can burn through him pretty quickly once he’s activated.

I think I would probably take Terracotta and Kamaitachi with Misaki, start with The Storm and move into Stalking Bisento when you needed to delete say McMourning, for being too aggressive. You get the mobility to combat other schemes, the range with The Storm to pressure flankers and with Risk and Reward and Misdirection you should have enough healing and defense to keep Misaki up while she completes Contracts. I’d look to probably do Buried Treasure and maybe Show of Force, throwing up Yasunori with Equality to remove any threats that try to contest it with you.

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