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Malifaux Tactics: the Basics

Posted by Andrew on

Whenever considering a strategy in Malifaux, winning the game must be first on your mind. To this end, there are basically two reasons to take any action; scoring VP and denying your opponent VP. If an action you take does neither of these on the current or a future turn, it's a wasted action.

Malifaux is all about that action economy.

Today we're going to examine my theories on how models interact with VP, it's a little different than most tactical doctrine in these types of games.

I categorize most every model into four categories. Many models fit multiple slots, some of the best fit all of them.

First we have scheme runners. Scheme runners are typically cheap, always mobile, and often work well with interact actions or scheme markers. With my Ressurrectionists, I usually use canine remains or necropunks to fill this role. Both are quick enough to do the job, they don't cost very much, and they can take a hit before dropping. Neverborn get terror tots, possibly the best scheme runners in the game due to sprint. Any time a model runs towards flanks to seek out those vital schemes, they can be considered scheme runners. There's something to be said for more durable or harder hitting models as scheme runners, if an ice golem tosses a metal gamin into the right spot, that gamin works very well as a runner with serious durability. One of my regular opponents uses Howard Langstrom as a scheme runner, typicall dominating that particular flank.

On the other end of that particular coin lies distraction units. Whenever I see a big, beefy, damage dealing figure I think of a distraction. Killing doesn't get you much in Malifaux, sometimes it works against you. Killing key parts of your opponents synergy and combos however, helps out very well. The ideal distraction unit is something that can take some hits, but has a significant enough presence that ignoring it is very costly. Ice golems, Fuhatsu, mature nephilim, and groups of punk zombies fit this bill very well. Don't think of them as killing enemy models, think of them as draining your opponent of cards and AP.

Similar to distractions, we have deniers. Killing models denies abilities, but it's usually a bit more difficult than throwing a monkey wrench into the works by denying a key ability. Anything that prevents your opponent from scoring works well as a denier. Mortimer, my beloved, slovenly gravedigger is amazing at this, his chatty aura just shuts down interactions. Hannahs counterspell aura works much in the same way, and my rotten belles are notorious for pulling people out of position. Deniers don't give your opponent the sense of urgency required to take them out, but if they're not dealt with they are even more detrimental than having Killjoy shoved down your throat. When you fully understand why Phillip and the nurse is a bigger threat than a rogue necromancy, you've reached a good point with your Malifaux strategy. When you prioritize the poor detached head in the pram over the undead chimera, you're doing very well.

Finally we have enablers. Where deniers will work to disrupt your opponents ability to score VP, enablers make it easier for your team to do the same. If a model has little use beyond beefing up your friendlies, it's an enabler. If you want a supreme example of this, look at the new Lucius. Holy crap. Nicodem does the same thing, outside of raising zombies and making them better, the guy doesn't really do much. But he does those two things very, very well.

Generalists do exist. Many models can fit multiple roles, a rare few do all of them. Death marshals are probably my favorite of these. You have good mobility and ability to drop scheme runners with finish the job, they're good enough in combat to act as a distraction, and pine box allows for wonderful denial strategies. For six stones, they're probably the most versitile figures in the game. Seamus works in much the same way, he's mobile enough to zip around and take care of whatever he needs to, hits like a truck, is very hard to kill, terrifies everything, and can raise more belles.

I'll have more details on strategies and tactics you can use in the future, I'll probably be referencing this list quite a bit.

In the meantime, keep gaming. Mojo out.