Hey nerds! I recently flew back from Gencon, and boy are my arms tired! Ha ha. No but really, the lady on the plane next to me thought I was a serial killer because the two books I was reading was From Hell by Alan Moore, and the new Malifaux book straight from Nathan at the Wyrd Booth. I mean, check out this cover in all its bloody, terrible glory.
Anyway, there’s a new master from each faction and a handful of neat new models Malifaux: Ripples of Fate. One of the trends you will notice with Ripples of Fate is that most of the masters have a lot more marker-interaction than in the older books. It looks like the other factions are tired of the nonsense that Colette can get up to, and want to get in on the action themselves. Here’s the rundown:
The New Masters of Malifaux
Nellie Cochran - Head reporter of the Malifaux Tattler newspaper, she is a control master that forces the enemy to durdle around placing scheme markers. Her crew is less aggressive than the average Guild crew, with very few of the models actually being able to hit someone outright. For a group of ladies in old timey reporter caps, they can still lay out debilitating debuffs to wrap up the enemy in red tape, leaving them stumbling about in confusion while you assassinate their characters.
Her box crew consists of herself, Phiona Gage, her totem, and three Field Reporters. Gage is a pretty standard defensive beatstick with a very solid melee attack, and the Field Reporters are control pieces with Manipulative and Disguised that can fool around with scheme markers and disable enemy units. Overall, her crew is very disruptive and looks like it would thrive in a Scheme Marker heavy pool where they can totally prevent the enemy from really advancing objectives. I think she would fold pretty quickly under and kind of focused combat pressure, but she does have some tricks to keep her people alive. They say the pen is mightier than the sword, but most crews have very, very large swords. Beware of combat heavy encounters, and maybe leave the notebooks at home. I give her three jauntily cocked newsie caps out of a possible five. Pros: She’s doing cool stuff with mechanics that the Guild hasn’t had before, and she is doing it well. Cons: Her core box seems a little light on damage at first blush, but maybe when the Newspaper Hate Machine gets running, she can dish out the hurt. You’ll also need to get more scheme markers to support the thousands and thousands of markers you’ll need to lay down each and every game.
Nellie's crew of reporters showcases a totally new approach for the Guild
Reva - Literally Zombie Jesus on a Horse, Reva lets her Revanant minions come back to life when they are killed. She is tough and fast, and while she looks like a weenie caster she actually has the melee chops to roll through a concentrated force. Her mechanics turn nearby corpse markers into dangerous threats, letting her arc node through them to attack nearby enemies, and her crew is cheap and durable, much like other Resser crews. She stands out because she is a support melee master that doesn’t summon, but the corpse markers she can utilize make her a bit like a melee Rasputina, reaching out through cadavers to touch someone for big damage.
Reva almost, almost looks like she might be a 'good guy' Resser. Maybe.
She’s on a horse, don’t you ever forget. Her main gimmick is Strength of the Fallen: if she is unengaged she can cast her attack actions through any Corpse marker within 18 inches and LoS. Considering that She is Ht 3 she’ll have a great view of the battlefield at any given time. She is Unimpeded, useful with the 10 inch charge range. She can summon her immobile Corpse Candle totem at the start of her activation by discarding a card. That will count as a corpse marker and when it dies it also drops a corpse counter, so you can poop out corpses all over the place. Without a dedicated cleanup crew, Reva will just get more and more angles to attack as the game goes on. The traditional Resser toughness is noticably absent on Reva, with the exception of The Final Veil that heals her 1 damage whenever a non-Peon model is killed within an 8 inch aura. Her bread and butter attack is Ethereal Reaping, a Ca 6 that targets either Df or Wp with an engagement range of 3. The base damage flip is a hefty 3/4/5, which can be boosted with the built in trigger The Withering by burning a Corpse counter for +1 damage. Her other triggers are a 3 inch push on a Mask towards a corpse counter, and on a Rams Reva heals 2. Her (0) attack is Life Drain, which needs a 4 or better of Tomes to fire. It only has a three inch range but the damage it deals is equal to the difference in Reva’s final duel total and the target’s, to a maximum of 5. That’s a real neat mechanic. Reva is really mobile, able to threaten a 13 inch charge and slap weaker minions with her cruel weak damage of 3.
Shieldbearers are cool looking models that stand out among the Resser line up as 'normal', but badass
Her henchman is an Ex-Exorcist named Vincent St. Clair. He uses his profaned crossbow to lay down covering fire for Reva, picking off enemies with a surprisingly strong shot. He isn’t meant to get in melee combat, so keep him in the back. Reva’s box consists of Reva, two Corpse Candles, Vincent, and three Shieldbearers that use her Revenant mechanic. When they die, they drop a corpse counter and get one of three upgrades that turns them into a spirit as they rise up to keep fighting even beyond death. They are pretty mediocre for their costs, with only 4 Wds on a 6 stone model, but the fact that you get two lives and they drop a corpse early is actually a boon for Reva, who wants to be wading hip deep in bodies as soon as possible. I think it’s a super cool design choice to have the Shieldbearers die twice. Her crew box seems a little mechanically complicated, but also has the sort of late game inevitability that will steamroll slower crews. Ressers as a whole aren’t usually terrible mobile, and the Revenants are no exception. I’d rate these guys at 4 corpse counters out of 5. Pros: Awesome flavor, great mechanics, new take on the undead for Malifaux. Cons: Not Neverborn.
Sandeep Desai - The arcanists desperately (read: hahaha no) needed another summoner, and this dapper turbaned fellow specializes in Gamin. His totem is Banasura, a Gamin that will light your ass on fire and kick it down the lane. His playstyle is aggressive and he allows his Academic crew to share his spells, freeing him up to spend his time summoning shitty little gamin to clog up the field and annoy your opponents to death, all in the name of higher learning (read: pedantry and irritation.) I do not look forward to Wyatt putting this guy down on the other side of the field so I can cry sad tears.
His trick is that the Gamin that he summons are limited by a series of upgrades that prevents them from behaving totally normally. However, Gamin in general are rather cheap, so he can keep the flood of the little bastards going strong. Sandeep can only summon three Gamin like this concurrently, though he can hire as many as he wants to start. One of the Gamin that he can summon is his totem, Banasuva. This blue meanie is a melee beatstick that reminds me a bit of Mr. Graves. Reasonably mobile, he wants to get into melee and abuse his Melee Expert ability to shred opponents while Sandeep runs around throwing fireballs of his own.
However, I'll admit his Henchman is really cool: Kudra is a fast melee beater, and she can make four attacks off a charge. Plus she hits you with snakes that also poison you? Bruce Lee, eat your heart out. She can throw fireballs and punch you with snakes with equal ease, and she even has Collette's Soulstone refund ability. Sandeep’s box comes with three Poison Gamin, the newest little shits on the block. As one might expect, they can poison the crap out of everything around them all the time. Overall, Sandeep’s crew is really aggressive with a strong mix of ranged and melee options. The summoning mechanic sort of necessitates a deep hiring pool of Gamin, but Sandeep looks like a solid choice for a moderate to advanced player. He gets 3 giant turbans out of 5. Pros: Solid mechanics, cool models, reliable strategy. Cons: Temptation to say their names in a silly accent, requires more Gamin than anyone REALLY needs, and he is an Arcanist.
Titania - All Hail the Faerie Queen, Lady of Autumn and Biggest Problem in Malifaux. Sealed away for destroying the Tyrants physical forms in ages long gone, she was released during the Nythera event and has returned to take her rightful throne. Also, she is the second Undead master to hit the streets after Tara. Her and her crew of Fae are all undead, tough melee monsters, and really like to fool around with scheme markers. Almost all of the attacks of her minions let them drop scheme markers on a Tomes, and Titania can use those to her advantage.
The Fae Queen next to her totem, the Gorar
Titania herself is the toughest Neverborn master in the game with an unheard of and totally insane Wds, plus she has Impossible to Wound . She also has a self heal whenever any other model within six inches places a scheme marker, which all her crew have the ability to force the opponent to do. She can poop out Scheme Markers like crazy and then burn them to her advantage for more damage, more healing, and even movement. Her Totem is a cute little snake that can also poop out scheme markers, in addition to acting as a 1 Up for another friendly minion. If his buddy dies the totem can sacrifice himself to resummon the dead model in base contact with him.
The Queen’s Box contains the Fae Royalty: Titania herself, her totem, Aeslin, who is Titania’s Majordomo and resident blood witch, as well as The Tooth, The Claw, and The Thorn. Aeslin can poop out scheme markers and burn them do damage and debuff the enemy with slow. The Tooth, Claw and Thorn are all beefy melee monsters that, you guessed it, can poop out scheme markers and burn them for benefits to their attack. They all have Armor +1 and Hard to Wound +1 and an aura that hands out Slow. Lastly, they all have lures in one form or another to draw would be escapees into a bubble of scheme poopy death. While the crew can fart out a metric ton of scheme markers, none of them are particularly fast or mobile. They would excel with schemes and strategies that require dumping scheme markers in a cluster together, and they could always score Line in the Sand. I give this crew four out of five scheme markers. Pros: Really cool models, adding freaky undead into Neverborn, and accurate-to-mythology treatment of the Good Folk. Cons: Slow, you don’t actually own enough scheme markers to play this crew with putting down quarters or something, and Aeslin is probably impossible to assemble because she is covered in vines.
Parker Barrows - Von Schill is in it for the money, but Parker Barrows is in it for the quick cash grab. Parker is a classic train-robbing, gun-shooting, bandanna-wearing bandito. Armed with a lot of guns and an eye for profit, he and his crew will murder you and rob you, and they don’t care what order that happens in. He has some of the most fun mechanics in the new book because he and his gang can steal enemy cards and soulstones to create a war of attrition that I haven’t seen anyone else do. Hamelin might count, but he doesn’t engage the mechanics the same way that Parker does. I’d like to see a shootout between the Parker Gang and the Ortegas. It’d be a real spaghetti western right there.
Parker’s game seems to revolve around swapping out equipment in the form of Upgrades. He has a lot of single use abilities, like throwing dynamite, laying down suppressing fire, and straight up robbing enemy Masters and Henchmen of soulstones. By choosing which one shot abilities you need at any given moment, you can set up a lot of tricks to let the rest of your crew run around and score points. Like the rest of the masters in this book, the Barrows Gang drops a lot of Scheme Markers and forces the opponents to drop their own, which they can pick up and use for highwayman-related activities.
A cool side-note: a new model, the Dead Outlaw, is going to be good for Parker, Tara, and Jack Daw.
Parker’s crew box is himself, his totem Doc Mitchel, shotgun-and-rabies enthusiast Mad Dog Brackett, and three Bandidos. Bandidoes? Bandidoctopi. Mad Dog has a midrange shotgun that does 3/4 blast/5 blast, and Rapid Fire. He will stand in the middle of the fight and get hit until he rages to get bonuses to attack and damage, and then murder every single motherfucker in the room. He also has a really neat mechanic where he can lay down a Blown Apart marker that prevents anyone within 3 inches of it from benefiting from cover. The Bandidoes are cheap shooty little guys that can force the enemy to place a scheme markers on a Tomes. Feeling a little bit like more mobile Ortegas, the Barrows Gang can make life miserable for the opponent by forcing them into dropping lots of scheme markers. This can be a double edged sword, so be careful when bringing them to a game with a scheme marker heavy strategy pool. They seem good enough at murder, though the base box doesn’t have any real solid melee tarpits to keep enemies from closing the distance. I give them 3 exploded train cars out of 5. Pros: Bandana masks are so “in” this year, heavy shooting crews are fun, and Parker has a fistful of cool mechanics. Cons: a little squishy, not terribly mobile, and no scheme runners in the base box means they aren’t a great take-on-all-comers crew.
Zipp - The game’s first Insignificant master, Zipp is an anti-scheme marker disruptor, capable of flying around with an incredibly fast walk and bogging down enemies, then flying off to dick around with other models. His crew is fast, fragile, and hits hard with some nasty disabling abilities. They seem designed to use hit and run tactics, harrying an enemy force while using their superior mobility to their advantage. He has Flying and a walk of 8, so he’s super ridiculously mobile. His kit is mostly disruption and debuff abilities that prevent the opponent from actually playing the game they want to play.
Zipp has a built in trigger on his lightning gun that reduces the victim’s Wk by 2 and prevents them from making Charge actions or using (0) abilities. As if that wasn’t annoying enough, he can reposition enemy units by flying them into the sky and dropping them then flying away like a total dingus. He falls solidly in the classic Gremlin strategy of “Annoy your opponents until you win for no reason because Gremlins are so silly.” I won't know for sure if he's truly dangerous as a Master until I see him on the field several times - he might just be annoying.
Oh yeah, this is exactly what I want to deal with. Makes perfect sense too.
His crew consists of his totem, the First Mate (a Silurid in a coat with a captain’s hat, because… Gremlins) and three Iron Skeeters. The First Mate is a melee beatstick with Leap, so he is just as mobile as the rest of the crew though he trades off the mobility for a small damage penalty compared to other beatsticks. The Skeeters are fast flying explosive combustion engines with Gremlins on top of them, so you know there’s going to be some Immolating Demise and general Gremlin fuckery. It damages itself and the people around it, but the trigger’s on it’s (0) act will make you chuckle. Frankly, I don’t get the Gremlins as a faction; they go against my raging OCD need to be in control of everything, what with their random effects and self harming attacks. Zipp’s sky pirates are probably pretty potent in the hands of an experienced Gremlin player, but I don’t think I would enjoy them too much. I give them 3 aerial explosions out of 5. Pros: Funny, goofy, silly, and you can probably win games with them. Cons: You’re playing Gremlins.
Asami Tanaka - The first Ten Thunders summoning master (Yan Lo doesn’t count, shut up), Asami likes to play with the relatively new Oni type minions. Other summoners bring in their minions at low life, but Asami’s Oni fade away as time goes on with the new Flicker condition. Flicker ticks down each turn and when it runs out the Oni poof out of existence. Asami herself isn’t terribly tough but she does has a reasonably reliable self heal by eating scheme markers. Combined with a high Df of 7 and some mobility tricks, she is a backline support master that can create some pretty nasty Oni with the right cards.
An important note: there’s a lot of Oni available to Asami, although many of them don’t have resin models at the time of this writing. There have been a few oni that have come out in previous books, but it's going to take time to make an Asami crew really come to life.
Asami’s crew comes with herself, the Amanjaku totem, Ohaguro Bettari, who is ostensibly Asami’s mom but Onified and horrible, and three Yokai. Ohaguro feels like Kirai’s Ikyrio, where she can just charge across the map and eat people alive. The Yokai all start with Flicker at +5, and they can burn it to do bonus damage or get more attacks. Asami’s box is rather basic, but the Yokai are solid melee combatants and Ohaguro can back them up with some significant battlefield control. This crew focuses on murder before you start bringing in scheme runners like Tengu and other options, so you want to get a handful of other Oni before you can really bring Asami’s full repertoire to bear. She's a neat new concept, but she's going to need more than what's in her box. I’m going to give her 2 blackened teeth out of 5. Pros: Easily the most creepy and horrifying story of any of the masters, and she's going to have really cool looking models. Cons: Easily the most creepy and horrifying story of any of the masters, requires a deep summoning pool of models that aren’t out in resin yet, and your whole army will disappear at the end of turn 5. She'll be good for murdering, but trying to create board control is going to be an interesting juggling act.
When models like Yasunori come out, then I think we'll see a lot more Oni
Filling In The Gaps
One thing that Wyrd does great is use their yearly rulebook to fill in gaps in other, older crews. The new 'showgirl' Carlos Vazquez is going to give Arcanists a reason to bring Kaeris and Colette back to the table, while the Witchling Thrall gives Sonnia a boost. Another way that Wyrd has made the most out of Ripples of Fate is using it to create new crew options or synergies. At the same time, these new Masters give reasons to grab models that you hadn't touched in years. Remember that reject neverborn undead Killjoy? Well, he might have just found employment under Titania. I already hate Asami because it gives Wyatt another reason to use Ama No Zako against me.
I’d like to give a couple of honorable mentions for other great models in Ripples of Fate I personally like. The Neverborn Bandersnatch has a super flavorful mechanic where it will Bury itself and hide in another model’s shadow, reaching out to attack using the shadow’s Ht stat added to its attack range. The intersection of mechanics and narrative are just stellar with the Bandersnatch, and I'm sure it'll be a favorite. Runner up goes to the Ressurectionist Draugr, who can modify its Height to 1, 2, or 3 at the start of its activation, because it has different abilities and effects depending on how tall they are. It's really neat how Wyrd is playing with mechanics in unusual ways.
Final Thoughts: A New Book With Cool Ideas
Overall, Ripples of Fate is an excursion into unexplored design space within the game of Malifaux. Wyrd has had several years to fine tune and observe the development of the game, and this book gave them a chance to really blaze new paths into both the lore and mechanics. The first two books of Second Edition had to re-establish the original characters from the first edition, and now we are seeing new models being developed to fill gaps that last year's Shifting Loyalties started addressing. I’m quite impressed with the care and attention being given to each of the releases, and these new Masters really look as if they are going to change the landscape in good ways. I'm looking forward to playing with my new toys, as long as I don't have to deal with that Sandeep character that I'm sure Wyatt already has.
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