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Wednesday, 3 December 2014

"Switching up"

Well this is my first article and I feel all excited about our shiny new blog.

Malifaux seems to be on the up at the moment. The awesome 2nd edition has become well established, the tournament scene is buzzing, there are new models and the fabulous Crossroads book. In the spirit of shiny newness, I thought I’d write a few words about starting new crews. Not a new crew in particular, but starting new crews in general. With the new models, strategy and scheme decks what better time to start a new crew?

Now let’s be honest, most of us will end up collecting a ton more models from various factions than we could even use. Malifaux is a fairly cheap game so building up a collection is easy and my bank a/c doesn’t seem to bleed in the way that it used to when I played 40k or fantasy. In those large games, jumping between armies could require a major investment.

There are a lot of articles out there for people getting into the basics of Malifaux, but once you’ve learned the rules the possibilities for expansion are endless. If you are a beginner, I’d recommend getting a crew that looks good and that you like the back ground for, then play as many games as you can without changing up the list too much. Learn the basics and the schemes.


I started with the Viktorias and played them as my learning crew. I really liked them, and Viktoria of Blood gave me some epically cinematic moments like the time she jumped through a window to charge Perdita and half a guild crew on her own – one whirl wind of destruction later she left them dead in the dirt. Good times.

After a while I wanted to try something new, and a slow grow league at Darksphere was the perfect chance. I wanted to change to give my opponents a level playing field so beginners didn’t have to face Blood Vik as she is pretty unforgiving on them when you haven’t been on the receiving end of her before (she ignores armour & hard to kill? How much damage? Melee expert from Ashes and fast from oathkeeper – jeez really that many attacks. Not nice in your first game!)

I picked Ressurectionists; Nicodem. Why? I liked the fluff and the models. I immediately struggled with him and almost completely failed to win a match. Taking him to a tournament was painful and I only managed a draw and 2 losses. I simply failed to make a good switch. In my head I've been trying to get Nicodem to work either like the Viktorias or Nagash! I’ve also picked up Yan Lo and some 10 Thunders, and am waiting for the awesomeness that is Shenlong.

What I have learned when switching crews is
  • Learn the rules of the crew, and don’t worry about losing.
  • Read the cards, try and pick out some things you want to do to see how they work in a game and do them without worrying about the impact on winning/losing. For my first games with Nicodem I decided to nail down summoning, not caring if it was appropriate or not. I just practised the summoning and using it to do his card cycling mechanic. Then I moved on to work at his buffing.
  • Keep your model choices in a new crew limited. It can take a long time to learn the optimum interactions between your crew, especially as they will vary in usefulness depending on the situation. Don’t just think “it didn’t work, I must be missing x and model y does x so I should buy that to make the crew work” Keep trying with a fairly narrow list to learn the way the crew operates.
  • Make sure your new crew covers the basics. A good master/henchmen combination with a heavy hitter, a couple of scheme runners and a specialist is a fairly good basis for a crew. Learn it, and then add in the special tricks, cool models etc.
  • Then comes a hard one; don’t play your new crew like it was your old one. Switching from a heavy hitting master to a summoning is a big switch. Suddenly your crew is doing the killing but requires your master to power them up to do it. Even small decisions like using focus or not change drastically between crews.
  • Pick a crew you like. Seriously, don’t pick a crew just because the Internetz says it is amazing. You will be the one painting the models, spending your money on them, playing the games and investing in them. If you are only switching crews because you think you will get a better chance of winning, then perhaps you need to look at your base game first? Nothing wrong with wanting to win, but switching crew isn’t always a magic bullet (or sword or tentacle or strange nightmare that eats you alive depending on the crew!)


And how am I doing now with Nicodem you ask? Much better. I’m not winning games yet but I am putting up a tougher fight each game.

Till next time

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