Malifaux Musings: Reconnoiter

Since my typical gaming group has been pretty focused on Warmachine lately, I started to branch into playing Malifaux by VASSAL. Playing by VASSAL has been enjoyable and a relatively easy way to get games in when I’m not able to get out (or have someone come over) for a game. It also exposes me to a set of players that I might not normally have. So, I joined a league, to bring a bit of structure and competitive flair to a game that I enjoy very much.

My first matchup is coming up soon. All games are going to be 50 soulstones. I’ll be facing off against an opponent playing Guild, and I’ve declared Arcanist. This round, we’ll be playing Standard Deployment, with the Strategy of Reconnoiter.

This has had me thinking pretty hard about what to bring to the party. Sure, I don’t know what the Schemes are going to be, but I think that building to be able to meet Reconnoiter and A Line in the Sand will be able to meet one of the four other schemes that are selected.

So, Reconnoiter. You need a crew that can control as much as the board as possible. Model spam could work, if the models are resilient or quick enough to be able to bob and weave between cover and avoid opposing models. We’re playing a standard deployment, so players will be able to spread forces between two of the four zones at the outset. So being quick off the start isn’t a huge requirement either.

Now, what might my opponent play? This is a tough thing for me to figure out. Because it’s VASSAL, I could see literally, ANY available crew and I don’t know Guild very well, especially in the new edition. So, I’m going to just evaluate each master as best I can.

Lady Justice – I’m not sure what to think about LJ in this situation. She’s pretty quick and can help her minions hit harder, but I’m not sure she brings the right tools for controlling the board. Sure, she’s going to keep an opponent away from a ‘bubble’ to make sure she’s not charging anyone – but I’m not sure that’s enough.

Perdita Ortega – I think Perdita crews rely quite heavily on the Family trait, and because of this, the crew size might just be too small to be effective.

Sonnia Criid – I’d consider Sonnia a reasonable master to expect – she’s got deadly range and can be challenging for a spellcaster to deal with. Witchling Stalkers are pretty low-cost, but very good minions.

Dr. McMourning – Maybe some zombie dog spam. That could be a pain. Would be an interesting matchup.

C. Hoffman – I believe Hoffman is too much about ‘one area’ control, rather than ‘wide area’. I’m not worried about seeing him.

Lucius – Lucius could be put down. Lots of Guild Guards with Dashel and a Sergeant to buff them.

Lucas McCabe – This would be another interesting crew to see. Pathfinders and Clockwork Traps to do a bit of board control – that’s very reasonable.

Who I’d Play: Sonnia Criid, Lucius, Lucas McCabe

Who Stays Home: C. Hoffman

Alright, so that analysis gives me a little information to consider. I’m probably seeing crews that have a number of lower-costed models, rather than a crew of specialists. Let’s look at what my options are.

Marcus – Marcus crews tend to be quick, but I feel they tend to have too many ‘specialists’ for this sort of strategy. I think overall, I’d be bringing some very good pieces to the fight, but I think I’d be losing in model count right away, and Marcus has limited ranged options, making this poor matchup in my eyes.

Mei Feng – Hrm. I think Mei has some pretty impressive options and can field a pretty good sized crew. Ultimately though, I feel like a Mei crew needs to stick too close together to make for a strong threat on Reconnoiter.

Ramos – Like McMourning, there’s the opportunity to spam spiders. However, I think Ramos has more utility in this area that the good Doctor and if memory serves, Ramos’ constructs are faster than undead doggies.

Rasputina – Rasputina crews can effectively create a 22″ dead zone. That’s board control. Her minions are prone to dying if shot at though. The Sub Zero upgrade mitigates the ‘melee squishiness’. I think there’s some very interesting tools that can be put into use here that make this a scheme that Rasputina can excel at.

Ironsides – I don’t know enough about Ironsides to make a good comment here – but she feels a bit like Lady Justice. Just not the right set of models in a typical crew to make this viable.

Kaeris – I think ‘mini-Rasputina’ has tools that make her able to do this scheme much like Rasputina can. While her range is much smaller than the Ice Queen’s, she has the tools to make an enemy go where you want them while piling your models where you need them.

Colette – You know, I’m really not sure about Colette. She might be good. I’m going to have to read up on her crew tonight.

Who I’d Play: Rasputina, Kaeris, Ramos

Who Stays Home: Marcus, Ironsides

What do you think? Who would you put on the table? Who would you leave at home?

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3 Responses to Malifaux Musings: Reconnoiter

  1. Nick J. says:

    Cool that you are playing Malifaux via VASSAL. I checked out that system a while back but didn’t have the patience or wherewithal to generate my own custom boards or whatever. It’s definitely versatile enough to facilitate games, though!

    As for who I’d play: I haven’t had a chance to look at the new edition basically at all so I’m unsure what has changed. Mei Feng is a beast, though, and with proper placement can effectively reach most targets in a single turn — and put them down for good. She might be worth considering.

    Colette might actually be a decent choice, though — her abilities seem powerful and there is a lot of mobility in her crews.

    I’d give Mei Feng another thought, though. She’s tough, she hits hard, and she has a lot of mobility. Move her crew together and bring one or two fast-movers to deal with outriders and you should be good to go.

  2. Josh Bazin says:

    The current Malifaux VASSAL module has a number of maps already built into it, so that’s a plus!

    One big thing that changed from the old edition that I haven’t mentioned to you is that points can be scored starting turn 2. So it’s not about being in position for the end game – it’s being in position once scoring starts. So, while Mei is a beast – I’m not sure she’s the right choice here.

    With that said – if the schemes that pop up are all about straight up murdering specific models – Mei does that VERY well – so that would change my opinion when it comes down to what to pick at gametime.

  3. Nick J. says:

    Fair point! That does somewhat change things — old Malifaux seemed to start very slowly so you had time to manoeuvre into position and get Mei in exactly when and where you needed her. But if points can start being scored that quickly then you might want someone else — her crew is too slow overall to be really effective. Though, yeah, she can absolutely assassinate people in the blink of an eye. Martial arts combos, man!

    I guess maybe I’m a little biased as she’s the only master I’ve ever played and in both matches she did pretty well. But I never had the pleasure/horror of facing Darren and his Pandora or Collodi crews, so maybe I’m not the best person to talk strategy with. Haha!

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