Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Recapping Tara - what did not work

So the league has come to a close and my Tara crew fared pretty well. What stuck out very prominently was that in the first six games I only won a single game. However, in the last six games I only lost a single game.

I thought this would be a good opportunity to review and contrast these two halves. Welcome to the first half.

Strategies and schemes (as recalled)
Gremlins – Rafael?
Squatters rights

Protect territory
-2 loss
Arcanists – Rasputina
Covered in detail in my previous post
-2 loss
Guild – Lucius

Cursed Object
3 victory
Guild – Lady J (non-league)

Gremlins – Zoraida

5 all draw
Neverborn – Lilith

Plant explosives
-2 loss
Ten Thunders – Misaki
Turf War

A line in the sand
-9 loss

Thoughts on various models
Malifaux is not particularly balanced at low SS levels, but I think Tara struggles more than most other masters. Her base card is not particularly special so she is more dependent on her upgrades than other masters. I don't think I ran a single game without Knowledge of Eternity and few without Obliteration Symbiote. Each of these comes in at 2 SS so I had effectively eliminated her cache before the game began. 

Thematic models - Nothing Beast, death marshals and void wretches
I think one area I struggled with was that I was not focussing on her thematic models. They were not appealing to me and I could not justify adding in Dead of Winter too. This was a mistake. I first ran Dead of Winter in my 3rd game. In this game Tara introduced the Guild to an undead death marshal and a void wretch.  The death marshal became the recipient of an inordinate amount of gun fire, but these were shots not aimed at Tara and her crew - so not too bad. I think the marshals have a bad reputation at the club so they get fired on pretty quickly. They barely survive the second turn in most of my games, but they have been pretty useful. They are fast, ignore severe terrain and can shove models into their Tardis-boxes. 

Once I introduced the void wretches they have been pretty good. I tend to run them on the wings to do schemes. They are pretty sturdy and decent against other scheme runners.

Non-thematic big hitters 
On paper this guy looks great, he has a great minimum damage, positives damage flips and armour. I was comparing him to the Nothing Beast and on base cards he just seemed better. There were some let downs though. Other than being dropped by Tara right in the enemy's face he just lacks synergy with her. I also found that his melee of 6 just doesn't cut it with Tara. There were too many instances of him fluffing while being surrounded by enemies. The last game he played was Game 7 above...and to be honest I have not missed him.

Bete Noir
Disappointment. That is what Bete Noir brings. I thought it would be great to bury Izamu and have him and Bete leap out and kill things. Bete just does not gel with the crew, she lacks enough serious punch (yes she has some cool triggers) and she wants you to hold onto cards - Tara does not do that well enough. I ran her once (game 4 above) and she was not a good fit at all. I do not believe that there would be a reason to do so again.

Support models
Rotten belles and Madame Sybelle
The belles have been fantastic for me. More of them next article. Sybelle was used as my leader in the first game where she was pretty good, I threw her away in a stupid move that cost me the game. Unfortunately, I struggled to fit her in again until I had enough SS to go around.

The Hanged
These are pretty solid. I think they were pretty cruel to run in small games and in many games they were one of my most reliable models. 

All around great support models. I was hoping to get more out of them bumping Izamu's damage, but it did not work that well. They generally need to be used earlier in the turn before Tara has gotten rid of most of the suits they want.

Thoughts on play
Keep it (un)alive
In more than one game I realised just how squishy Tara and her friends are. This is even more pronounced when you think of her as a Resurrectionist. I had a couple of games where everything just collapsed very quickly. This was particularly obvious when I faced Misaki. I had my plan - drag Misaki forward (she only had 1 ss) and leap on her with Tara and Izamu. Izamu fluffed and very soon my models were collapsing in spent heaps.

Tara is not hard to wound and has a pretty mediocre defence. In addition she needs to be in close to medium range of the action. This makes her incredibly vulnerable to charges. Even medium threat models are a decent threat to Tara...those 12 wounds don't go far enough. 

Order activation
This took some time to get used to. Activating the right model at the right time seems far more critical with Tara. There is also less decisions for your opponent...Tara is almost always going to go first. 

I find Tara's first turn particularly difficult to plan. It is easy to throw Pull the Void around a few times and can march forward. There were a few games where I left Tara too far forward. It is not a bad idea to take a focus or defensive stance action rather than just shuffling forward.

Where to next?
In most of my games there was a complete lack of synergy in my crews. I felt like that each model had some things they were good at it, but they really weren't helping their friends achieve the goals. I am pretty good at playing to my strategies and schemes and I think that is mostly reflected above..I was missing out a VPs here and there, but I felt like I was working really hard for too little gain.

After my Misaki game I took a long hard relook at my cards and in particular the various void models. I started piecing together some synergies and plans. More on those soon.

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