Malifaux Tactics: Suit Schemes
Apologies for the delay in blog posts, Kickstarter requires lots of attention when you're sending out product.
Today I'd like to chat more about schemes. I know last time was entirely about line in the sand, but that's very important to understand. Today more schemes sit in our path, five of them to be precise. I categorize schemes into two large categories when it comes to priority in planning, suit and value schemes. I tend to plan more for the former than the latter as they pop up far more often. Every game you play will contain two of these schemes, and I include Distract in the suit category.
Breakthrough is pretty straightforward, drop scheme markers within 6” of your opponents deployment zone. Common wisdom states that a lot of scheme runners helps out with this one, and common wisdom is generally correct in this regard. When considering taking Breakthrough, I've found deployment matters greatly. Close deployment means a model only needs to travel six inches before it can start tagging this scheme, meaning markers can satisfy both Line in the Sand as well as Breakthrough. Well, they could if a scheme marker could be used for two schemes. Regardless, close deployment does mean particularly speedy models, or those given the Fast condition, can begin satisfying this on turn one. Flank deployment also makes breakthrough easier, as that 18 inch corner is a huge chunk of real estate. With standard and corner deployment the normal pool of quick scheme runners is usually required to score for this scheme, flank and close allow for more flexibility. As in most instances, movement effects really shine in Breakthrough. Fast is worth it's weight in gold, anything that allows you to push your models away rather than pull them in can help greatly as well. Breakthrough does benefit from being revealed, if you're not planning on bluffing or your opponent or you have much greater mobility or numbers, revealing is probably a good idea.
Assassinate is a much more deceptive strategy than it seems. Scoring VP merely requires the enemy leader to die. With soulstone damage prevention, the crucial role a master plays in just about every crew requiring some level of defensive play with the figure, and the overall survivability of masters in general creates a much more difficult task than it appears. I usually avoid this scheme unless I see a master across from me I can easily pin down, and I have a crew with a lot of murdering power. As a fairly devoted Ressurrectionist, my masters are tough to take out. Assassinate is a perfect example where knowing your enemy is crucial. If your opponent is playing Tara and your crew relies on shooting, good luck taking her out. If Som'er is on the table and wants to stay alive he will. Much of the ease in this strategy is determined by your opponents list and activity, and if you've payed any attention to my ramblings to this point you'll know how I generally don't like murder-based crews. You can score with Assassinate, just make sure you don't start a gunfight you can't finish.
Protect territory bears a lot of resemblance to Breakthrough, but requires the models to stay near the scheme markers until the end of the game. Or be there at the end of the game. One of the two. Drop your scheme markers, make sure they're at least 6” from your deployment zone, babysit. If you've got confidence in winning a Turf War, Protect Territory makes for a great combination. Where Protect Territory really differs from Breakthrough lies in its denial. All you need to deny Protect Territory is keep models near the scheme marker. No interact to remove, no being on the marker, just have more dudes near it than your opponent. It also works if you kill said dudes. When this scheme pops up in the pool I'll usually make sure to take some mobile hitting power to pop those runners when they try to do their thing. Models like Seamus or Langstrom excel at this. As with just about every scheme out there, forced movement effects are worth their weight in gold.
With rams we have Bodyguard, and my opinion conflicts with much of the community. Taking Bodyguard is a declaration that you don't believe your game will time out. If you're in a timed format and you think you can keep your dude alive, Bodyguard is a good choice. A few things on Bodyguard bear noting, the model in question must be an enforcer or henchman, and only scores VP if it's eight inches or more away from your deployment zone. This means back-field players like Nino or Rami are probably poor choices, as are any models that are easy to kill or are guaranteed to attract attention like Nekima or Francisco. I've found that ideal candidates for Bodyguard are middle to front field players, durable scheme runners, or models that have the ability to heal. I've had some success with models that manipulate burying mechanics such as Bete Noire or Killjoy, just making sure they're unburied after turn four so they can get those tasty VP's. Bodyguard is a good example of checking out the opposing crews before picking your scheme. If they're lacking a lot of hitting power or you have something survivable and mobile, it's probably a good idea. Remember that if someone figures out your declared figure and keeps pushing him back into your deployment zone you won't score a single VP for it.
Those four schemes will pop up a lot, plan for them and learn them. I recommend coming up with at least three ideas for scoring on each of these for every master you intend to play. It's a bit of homework, but it pays off in the long run.
Until next time, keep gaming.