Gaining Grounds 2018 (Open Beta) – Strategies

Here it is at last! The open beta for GG2018, let us all rejoice for Wyrd has given us some delightful gifts. I’m going to run through my impressions of the entire packet over the course of a few posts, but this one will focus specific Strategies and the new Strategy condition. So! Let’s address said elephant in the room.

Hello, Unplanned. How are you?

This is a game changer and in my opinion it is a fantastic game changer. Unplanned is tacked on automatically to any model summoned and it reads thusly:

Unplanned: This model counts as a Peon for the strategy. This condition may not be removed.”

Wow. Just wow.

Ok let’s do a quick bullet point of who this affects:

• Nicodem
• Molly
• Kirai
• Yan Lo
• McMourning
• Tara’s Totem (ha)
• Leveticus
• Rusty Alyce
• Hamelin
• Ashes and Dust
• Big Jake
• Raspy (new upgrade)
• Marcus
• Myranda
• Ramos
• Mech Rider
• Sandeep
• Coryphee
• McCabe
• Sonnia
• Dashel (wave 4 upgrade)
• Ok you get the point…

This is NOT a small adjustment. It’s a giant freaking hammer to the FACE of how some masters and models used to approach strategies. Obviously, the biggest blow is to summoners but I actually feel this is a knee-jerk reaction. Yes it most certainly impacts summoners, but who it really impacts is COMBO summoners. And the biggest culprit of this is Philip and the Necropunk.

Anyone who has played ressers often enough has seen this: Necro activates, drops a scheme marker, leaps, drops another scheme marker, Philip activates, eats them both, draw 4 cards and discard 2.

This is incredible efficiency for summoners. Not as much for non-summoners, as you’re devoting 12 pts of your crew to nothing but drawing cards effectively (assuming that’s all you do). There’s just usually better choices, but the advantage it grants to summoners cannot be understated. Especially when you look at say a Nico or Kirai who are most well known for their “engines.” And the way they got away with setting up like 30 pts of engine is that they summoned a ton of models that went forth to scheme and strat. Well now you can’t do that. At least not when shooting for 10. Now you have to make sure your crew pre-summon can get that job done.

I love this.

Summoning “engine” lists were the closest thing to net-decking Malifaux had left after papa in a box got kinda nerfed. And even the papa lists had flux. You just had a solid core. The famous UK Kirai engine has like three to five spare points. That’s pretty damned fixed. I also like the idea of pushing P&N a little out of the rezzer meta. We have a ton of great models and I felt that he always ate up a slot just from hall of being so good for Nico, Kirai, Molly and McMourning. Anything that encourages more diversity in list building I am all for, and Unplanned does exactly this.

Now… that being said I do have a few issues with it. I don’t like that McCabe’s dismount gets tagged. Or that the coryphee combining gets hit. Ferdinand Vogel becomes useless for strategies.
I expect this ability to mutate quite a bit before the beta is over. But it’s a fantastic step in the right direction.

Now let’s move on to the goods, shall we?

OURS (Mask)

Rating: 8/10

First Impression: Great revamp to Interference. I was never a huge fan of interference because of how easy high activation lists could screw over more “elite” crews. This fixes that problem fairly simply if a bit clunky.

High Point: Non-summoners have serious play here now. I’m looking at you 10T and Guild

Low Point: Counting soulstones is time consuming. Especially considering you now have the additional bookkeeping of “wait wasn’t that summoned?” If unplanned doesn’t change much, tokens specifically to mark summoned models for easy identification is a thing. Oh, and if you can’t math please make your phone is charged for the calculator.

Who does this benefit the most: 10T gets a nice boost here because they already were a pretty elite heavy faction. Guild and Outcasts as well.

IN-DEPTH LOOK

So there’s a lot going on in this change to the polarizing interference. Doesn’t matter if you’re engaged is big. This means crew management is way more important. I’ve fallen victim to “I’ll just let this guy die” syndrome many times. You can’t really do that here. Not without retaliation. What this means is Ours is a kill version of Interference, as the only denial is to eliminate the models. I imagine this is going to bring back a look at elite crews with ranged support.

Second thing is that Masters are a MAJOR player here. The wording is a bit suspect though, as there is at least one model with a soulstone cost of 0 (Huggy). Does he count for 0 or 10? I would say 0 as he HAS a cost, just it’s 0. The verbiage specifically says models without a cost… which is really only Masters. This makes the problem with McCabe and unplanned particularly bad, as you basically cannot take him in this Strat. If he gets dismounted, you lose 10pts towards that quarter.


PLY FOR INFORMATION (Tome)

Rating: 5/10

First Impression: I love the flavor, but this is going to be a ridiculously hard strat for a lot of crews. Especially with the influx of min 3 damage dealers in Wave 4-5.

High Point: Fantastic fluff and design space. There hasn’t been a scheme to my knowledge where you put a condition on your own models like this and try to carry it all game. There’s definitely some interesting lock down tactics that can be applied here to keep your model safe while trying to snag a point later in the game. Creativity is always fun.

Low Point: Malifaux is suffering from a mild form of power creep in that it’s a lot easier to get access to kill-y models for every faction. This just makes this strategy a bait and wait strat. You don’t want to get the condition too early… it makes that model a priority target. Alternatively, just make sure your whole crew gets the condition ASAP.

Who does this benefit the most: Arcanists, Guild, 10T and to a lesser extent Gremlins (just from sheer amount of significant minions they can hire). Special shout out to Yan Lo, Hoffman and Titania for their ability to be heavy armor skew if they want, which can definitely be a boon in this strat.

IN-DEPTH LOOK

You literally only have two methods of completing this scheme. At least from what I’m saying. You can either engage quickly and get as many secrets as you can… or you can push to the end of the game and make the Hail Mary play.

The reason for this is purely one of telegraphing. The issue with telegraphing your strats and schemes is that it makes specific models priority targets. This strategy does this by inherent design. As soon as you’ve used an AP to gain the condition, boom! You have a big fat target on you now.

What you’re left with is either playing the cat and mouse of “who am I going to tag” or you just tag everyone. If you take the latter route, t’s just can I keep three guys alive before the game ends? But because you also lose the ability to interact, you better have non-interaction based schemes. That makes it much more likely you’re going to have to bait out the points as a last-minute ploy (unless you have a super tanky model that can handle being focus fired) just so you can still interact and get your other 6 pts.

Another consideration is that while It’s fairly easy to keep at least a few models alive, it’s much harder when they have to get engaged in order for it to matter. And that’s ultimately the problem here. This strat demands for you to engage a model, and then requires you to survive the rest of the game afterwards.

All in all, it’s not a bad strat. I like it a lot. I just think it’s going to create some very bad matchups and swingy games. Much like Ours, this is going to be fairly kill oriented strat.



PUBLIC EXECUTIONS (Crow)

Rating: 7/10

First Impression: Basically Headhunter combined with Collect the Bounty. It makes careful selection of what dies when much more important than even Headhunter did. AP efficiency is going to be really important here because it won’t be good enough to just snag a single head. You need to control the board as well.

High Point: I love any strat or scheme that makes you have to really think. Or kill. And this makes you do both.

Low Point: Quite simply… it’s going to be rough.

Who does this benefit the most: I think Gremlins and 10T are going to particularly like this strat, for their easy access to additional AP or general AP efficiency. Special shout out to Nellie, McCabe (his new upgrade), Brewmaster and Colette.

IN-DEPTH LOOK

I don’t have a whole lot to say about this strat. It’s a modified Headhunter. You must watch where you kill things. And you need to have a plan for how to out interact your opponent. Of particular note here, the strat does not require you to place the Strategy Marker away from your base. It just has to be in base contact with the enemy. So if you took 1AP to kill the model, and are close enough, you should be able to pick it up if you aren’t engaged (or have Don’t Mind Me). This will make ranges more of a consideration as well. The extra 1” distance to interact is welcomed.


SYMBOLS OF AUTHORITY (Ram) UPDATED AS PER AARON

Rating: 7/10

First Impression:Ok so the clarification of this is that you can only remove markers on the opponent’s side of the table. This really emphasizes the capture the flag feel of this strategy and knowing that it has 180 my initial opinion.

High Point: It’s Capture the Flag with two flags!!

Low Point: This is a playstyle we haven’t really seen before, and that means its a bit early to call what will happen. But I can see where there is potential for games to “turtle” around their flags, just to try to safely score 2VP at game’s end.

Who does this benefit most: This is all-comers kind of thing. Each faction has different and interesting options to try to lock down their control points, while pushing to get the opponents. Shout out to the Hoff bubble, Yan Lo, Lilith, Dead Doxies and lures in particular. And SPECIAL mention to Misaki, Archie and anyone else with AoE pushes. Archie is gonna make this strat way easier than it should be for Rezzers thanks to Hulking Leap.

IN-DEPTH LOOK

Wow. So now that this strategy has been clarified there’s a lot to take in here. There’s still a lot of potential I feel for the 2-2 strat scoring. But this kind of poke and create a weakness kind of play is intriguing. Feinting, bluffing, turtling, diving… there are so many ways to approach this and that’s part of what makes it such a strong strategy. There’s no clear method of attack or defense. It’s up to you and how you play the list you brought.

There needs to be some distance from the center line though, I think. Just to keep the scrum a bit further back. Or maybe not… maybe just let people place there to get the action hot? I think you really have to pay attention to the tricks of your opponent’s crew and that’s going to lead to frustration. The first time that a fast Archie double walks, Hulking Leaps and then claims a strat marker on an unsuspecting opponent, they’re going to be unhappy.

But, hey! It’s capture the flag! In Malifaux! How bad can it be?


PUT OUT A HIT (Joker)

Rating: 8/10

First Impression: Sweet Jeebus, the flavor of this! I love this strat, despite the clunky way of setting up the contract.

High Point: If you ever wanted to have an assassin model, this is the time for it. The flavor of picking “hits” that you can then send your models after who basically are playing a game of
relay to score VP is fun and challenging.

Low Point: That whole ditch a card thing is… strange. Why wouldn’t you just discard the lowest card in your hand every time? Every model has a higher SS cost than an ace.

Who does this benefit most: I think this is another all-comers kind of strat as there are models or masters in every faction that can really do some work here. Special shout out to Misaki, Lilith, Yan Lo, Titania, Perdita and the blasters.

IN-DEPTH LOOK

So disclaimer, I’m heavily biased to this particular strategy. My favorite master in the game is Misaki. And this strat feels like it was MADE for her (and Lilith, but Lilith was made for like everything 😝 ). So let’s address the bad before I gush further.

Why discard a card? There are so many masters that are super card hungry as it is. This is randomly punishing. If you drew a swol hand… great, ditch one of those moderate-severe cards and now you have to pick a high cost target. And if your opponent drew a normal hand… they have a 1-4 to pitch and target your cheap little peon that’s in a bad place right now. I don’t like that aspect and think that they should either remove the card discard or make it MATTER. Make it so that you have to discard a card HIGHER than the targets soulstone. That way it’s a bit closer to screwing everybody equally.

But seriously, just ditch the card cost. Or make it a flip! There ya go… at the start of the turn, they can flip a card, which may be cheated.

Anywho.

Otherwise, I love this. Pick a return point, pick a target, go forth and murder, then get your ass back to Mars. I also love the fact that your opponent can’t try to be tricksy and deny you. Good thinking, Wyrd. But the other cute thing is that if you see Myrandabus on the other side of the table or some Coryphee…


CLOSING REMARKS

I think Guild and 10T both got some great buffs in GG2018. Notoriously elite crews from 10T and no summoners in guild had put a specific dampen on some of the stuff we could compete with until Wave 4. Then it became the all-Nellie and Yasunori show. While I don’t think that’s diminished, these current strategies have plenty of room for OTHER masters to perform well. And that’s the most important thing for me. Same with the summoners. Being able to look at a Yan Lo in rezzers or Colette again in Arcansists is huge in my book, and so far these strats allow for some more creative options when it comes time to pick your master. And that’s just amazing for the health of the game.

Good job, Wyrd. Good job.

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