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About spooky_squirrel

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  1. Practice your models so that you know what you want them to be doing and not doing is a great place to start. With that practice, make notes. For each strat/scheme pool posted for a tournament I'll have a few different core crew ideas drawn up, complete with notes of what I expect them to do. For instance, if I'm playing Colette with my Show on Ice core, I know that I'm going to use the Ice Dancer(s) to drop markers and move into positions that can threaten some good Turn 2 scheme/anti-scheme play. Luther is going to move up to where Sub Zero covers the Ice Dancer(s), Ice Gamin will walk up and put up Bite of Winter, and then the Silent One/December Acolyte will do what it was hired to do (like shoot things, hand out slow, scare people away from objectives). Then Colette and either Cassandra or Carlos will step in and start their business. I have these notes for every master I plan on playing into a tournament, and it speeds up the crew selection and first couple of turns.
  2. I've used the Rail Golem for this. Turn 1 boiler to set things around him on fire, and he wanders into position, then everything else gets to fly up and drop markers. It's really handy for things like Set Up and Detonate the Charges, or if you're planning on using those markers for something else, like Dig Their Graves or feeding the Large Steam Arachnid's (0). Letting things die to burning is a good idea when FFM is in the pool. A really good idea.
  3. I've noticed a similar opportunity cost with The Valedictorian. Properly supported, she can blend things after disabling their triggers, but without support you're looking at sinking 13 stones into a Henchman "beater" with min damage 2 (10 for her, 1 for Sandeep's upgrade, and ~2 for upgrades on her) that doesn't threat as far as other options we have in faction. Those same 13 stones is a Howard Langston. Yeah, Hank will likely die, but he's going to take something with him and you aren't going to be sinking resources into keeping him alive. Those same 13 stones is a fully kitted Captain pushing models out of scoring positions and charging into put his own Relic Hammer to work. In the beater family, 10 stones gets us the force multiplication of the Arcane Emissary. Want to make your opponent's eyes cross in analysis paralysis? First activation of turn 1: Flesh and Metal discard a card with Emissary to hand off an AP to something like a Gamin. Gamin uses Beacon to Lure Sandeep up. Sandeep relents, Gamin cheats what he needs to cheat for success with a , Sandeep discards a card to take a 1AP action himself, and summons in an immune to slow or unable to attack Wind Gamin. One activation in and you've had three models do something and have dropped another activation on the table. Oh, and you still have 3 more stones to hire models with. Need a second Raptor? Maybe turn that first Raptor into a Soulstone Miner? It makes it really hard to justify dropping The Valedictorian in, because we have no shortage of harder working models in the same price range. What she does bring, however, is Terrifying (All). If you know or have reason to suspect that your opponent is vulnerable to Horror duels (Gremlins come to mind, but anyone who is not immune to it will suddenly feel very vulnerable if you have a nearby Performer blowing up scheme markers), this will get cards out of their hand in a hurry or leave them with a number of paralyzed models. Especially if you pull out all the stops to get her in the middle of their crew.
  4. I second the remarks on Ramos. No other master can put three significant models on the table with 1AP and cheating with stones. Sure, it's steep to do, but it needs to be. In corner or standard deployment, Ramos will be getting two turns of summoning (if you set up your factory during hiring: Joss and Electrical Creation are a solid approach to this), which leaves the reasonable expectation of 4 spiders being on the table. If you start with an amazing hand, you might have 6 spiders on the table after your first Turn 2 activation. All of these spiders are hard to knock down, especially with Df 6 and positives from Ramos and Regeneration from a Bleeding Edge Tech caddie (or just one-off the healing factor with Johan's Open Revolt; why not both?), and should they get knocked down, you have scrap to summon more of them (or use his Combat Mechanic upgrade to keep key elements like Joss kicking harder, longer). The wall of spiders is effective at stopping non-ranged killy crews just by jamming up charge lanes and creating areas that the killy stuff cannot get to on their own terms. I've kept Nekima tied up with a knot of spiders for the first 3-4 turns of a game, leaving that dangerous model unable to hunt down Hank while Hank went about butchering scheme runners and support elements. Which brings me to the grinding out wins comment. Sandeep's attrition game comes from dropping in summons that must be dealt with while other attack vectors slingshot in, keeping opponents on the reactive. Once the initial shock and awe wears off and counters become more prevalent, he'll lose the attrition game that it looks like he has now. Ramos is scheming attrition S-tier. If your opponent isn't bringing Taelor or something else that will feed off of your summoning, they will have a lot of work ahead of them to try and stop you from getting your schemes and strategy completed (barring any mistakes made by the Ramos player). The sheer volume of spiders he can crank out off of scrap markers puts him in a class by himself. Even if they are bringing Taelor, you can do things to mitigate her influence, including baiting her into Hank's threat range if she activated early to put up Welcome to Malifaux or using Johan to clear that condition from her before activating Ramos for more summons. So when comparing the two, Ramos is well-settled in what he can do and how opponents might try countering him. Even when countered during the hiring and scheme selection phases, he can still get a lot of work done. This is what makes him top-notch. Where his weakness lies is the fact that he cannot hire beaters/tanks to replace any that are killed. To plan for this, make sure that your work will be getting done by the things that he can replace. Sandeep is still relatively new, though my regional meta has his Commands play is roughly settled for this region. I say roughly, because hard counters to it have not been regularly played yet. I strongly suspect that Taelor will be a solid take against Sandeep because she doesn't have to burn her own AP to deal with summoned models (which works around the attrition game Sandeep is counting on) and that she won't have to play forward (unlike when dealing with Ramos) to maximize herself as a counter. Anna is also good for slowing down the push/place shenanigans that Sandeep and company use to get up field. Since counters to him are in development and testing by players within various regional metas, it'll take some more time (read: a high enough number of games to smooth out the 'luck' factor of players) for Sandeep to fully settle. Scrolling up to check OP's context for the question: either of these masters is a tournament tier master, and either one asks a hard question of your opponent. Ramos' crew forms the recruitment poster for M&SU/Arcanist operators and is archetypal for the faction image. Sandeep's Academic crew is archetypal for the faction spirit (outlaw spellcasters) and offers more complex layers of play.
  5. I've run into this problem with Immune to Slow Banasuva before. How I end up working around it is having both the Arcane Conflux Emissary and the from a supporting Gamin. If you're on double to attack and no longer have a hand, it won't matter that you cannot cheat when Banasuva activates. That being said, the immunity to slow does not typically come up after the first turn of Banasuva being in play, and I often find myself trying to figure out where I can get the most use out of him. Without support when he cannot cheat, he's just a big distraction. Sometimes not even that, if my opponent is playing a paralyze/horror crew that can target him (Terrifying(All) X) he's in a world of hurt. Not being able to cheat when you get hit by The Nothing Beast means you may end up buried for a while. So when I'm running Commands, I find myself putting the Fire upgrade on a Wind Gamin and flinging that Gamin into combat. It has 4 attacks when charging unless something strips its suits (nearby Librarian, for instance) or triggers. I don't expect it to do much, except be an activation that jams a charge threat (they end up spending their AP 'killing' it or pushing it away so that the charging model has a clear lane). If they kill it, not only did they spend their AP killing a summoned Gamin, it's not really dead (so they don't get credit) and a friendly model will get a 5" push at the start of its activation, allowing me to summon that Gamin back in, and potentially get someone important somewhere. With the Visions versus Commands, one of the things I see with Visions is less reason to summon Banasuva. A 'chatty' 50mm model will shut down a large region of the board, but it may not be necessary. This reduces the card stress because all of the things I'll summon in are coming in on a 8+. This ties into what @mythicFOX was saying about scaling: a 4 stone minion's interact does just as much towards the strat/scheme as an 8 stone minion's. It makes me less reliant on cheating or top-decking a 12+ (and stoning as needed), and presumably allows me to focus on scoring my points and shutting my opponent down just enough to guarantee that I come out ahead. That being said, we have many similar effects organically--a Performer with a Mannequin can drop scheme markers everywhere for 9 stones, Performer alone is 5 stones for someone who can interact while engaged. What summoning in schemers gets us is two things: Renewable runners. A dead performer cannot scheme, so if her job isn't done yet, you're stuck trying to make up for it. Possibly with having more costly elements take up scheming. Being able to summon in something that can scheme immediately (and then kill it outright with Kudra's next activation) gives you an ability to pop scheme markers all over the place for the cost of cards in hand and some Master AP. Doing this with a Wind Gamin gets you a 5" push, so it helps make up for the use of the Master AP to pop a quick activation in for a scheme marker. A massive bulls-eye on Sandeep. An opponent who is paying attention will realize that your crew might scheme, but your summons will. Every AP spent killing something summoned isn't hurting the crew, and every AP spent hounding the crew isn't stopping the summons. If your opponent has a killy crew, they will probably try to address this by tackling the master before worrying about the crew. That being said, if you have renewable runners, you can have lone wolf beaters and tanks running out and jamming/killing things in your opponent's crew--but you're reliant on the summons to get the scheming done. As such, Sandeep is going to spend the game trying to stay out of reach and still summon into strategic positions. He's a fast mover for an Impossible to Wound model, but he'll still fall to dedicated beaters. This mode of play is similar to how I play Colette--early position grab and scheme racking, then as the crew gets wiped out collapse back and keep scoring everything I can with what survives. The more effort they put into killing Sandeep, the more time his crew has to do what they were hired to do (see closing paragraph under Commands). The flipside is Commands, where you're summoning in things that support fighting or scheming. The Gamin that cannot fight is making everything else around it more accurate--which means that models like The Valedictorian, the Emissary, Sandeep himself, etc. are all able to land their attacks more reliably (barring the accidental Black Joker fish). That same Gamin in the middle of a Oxfordian gunline makes your ranged attack game look terrific (note that previous remarks about ranged versus melee still apply). I've done something like that to a Dreamer crew, and all the incorporeal in the world doesn't matter when that happens. The Gamin that is immune to slow can charge, walk/attack, double walk, or full out attack the moment it hits the table. This makes it great for blocking counter-charge lanes and jamming up support elements like healers and shooters. This makes life a lot easier for the things that are beating down the front line. Then there's the Gamin with the extended reach that cannot be pushed/moved. Fire Gamin shoot further, becoming interesting turrets (except for their abysmal attack stat), but where it really comes into its own is when Banasuva is summoned into a knot of opposing models with 3" and still being able to attack after taking a (1) action, like Sandeep's Lure (which it can cheat) to get even more people to the party. If your crew is going to primarily run schemes, then Banasuva (Earth upgrade) and Gamin (Wind, Fire upgrades) will be running interference by getting in the opposing crew's face while your own crew sits back and does what it was hired to do (similar to Sandeep being a massive distraction under Visions). This is where 15 stones for the Oxfordian Trio gets questionable. If they're there to push things up the field to get the whole engine running, Angelica can do a similar thing (except for Sandeep) for 6 stones, no flips, and no friendly fire damage. Unless you're counting on a Turn 1 dive into the opponent's deployment zone to start the game off with your opponent in a blind panic, Sandeep doesn't necessarily need the additional pushes to get up the field himself. That leaves you 9 stones to put into things that will be doing different work. Like an additional stone for Practiced Production and 3 more for the Malifaux Raptor to complete Leave Your Mark or Claim Jump, then dropping 5 stones on something that's going to work towards another scheme or support the crew. If they are there to contribute to the fight, is their contribution worth the opportunity cost? Sometimes that answer will be yes, sometimes no.
  6. I'm in a campaign right now where I started with a SVG and Bleeding Edge Tech and a pair of Rail Workers. Any time my opponent does not actually finish them off and they can still activate, they'll go above HTK when they activate. For other healers, I like the Silent One (and I have a Librarian), but I haven't stretched my legs a whole lot in that direction yet this year.
  7. I'm curious what your take on Visions vs. Commands is. I know in my meta the general attitude is "if I kill everything, scheming is easier"--but I also love to play denial/control games, which is why I think Fingers is a solid Gremlin Henchman for a good proportion of the strat/scheme combinations. Reckless, chatty, and don't mind me in a single package is obnoxiously good into anything involving interacts. Visions Sandeep lets you pull off similar things on summoned models (harder to counter/predict than a single model--and they can keep coming back). Other readers: What @mythicFOX said about Soulstone Miner: everything hired should be specific in its use and readily play into that role. Soulstone Miner pops up at the end of Turn 1 in position to start scoring/denying in Turn 2--your opponent must answer it or let it do its job, and it's quite a bit tougher than other similar costed scheme runners. As a Sandeep player, If you're hiring model X because it's in theme or you cannot see why not--stop and ask yourself if you have a reason to hire that model. "It seemed like a good idea at the time" is something typically said in regret.
  8. Most of my opponents would disagree with this. A single Shastar Vidiya Guard can get a lot of work done, especially with the ability to give themselves focus for discarding a card, draw cards for cheating on Df, and having triggers on every suit (including handing out slow or ignoring all damage reduction) in melee. This work is all master-independent. As Academics and M&SU, they synergize with several of our masters right out of the box. Having 8 wounds and Hard to Kill means that it'll take some effort to kill them. He can also (0) to push a friend around, which makes up for inherent slowness of some models when getting into combat, or otherwise help them disengage. His shooting is interesting, but not what I'm hiring him for. In a Sandeep crew he provides a non-summoned melee model, which is handy for getting around one of the critical drawbacks of taking the Oxfordian Trio. As @mythicFOX mentions above, shooting is weaker in general. It has more counters and foils; if your goal is to kill or tie something up, getting in its face will do that more reliably than trying to blast it from afar. The Mages are great gunline pieces, but with two of them a fast-mover, summoned model, etc. can effectively take them out of action for at least an activation. I mention on other threads that tying them up is a good idea, but not 100% reliable because they can potentially get out of engagement without difficulty if there's enough support nearby. Here, however, because I've been on both sides of this, I'll caution prospective Sandeep&Oxfordian players to not count on that. For the (0) to place out of combat, you need a suit. For the Lure to pull one of them out of engagement, you need a spare activation that isn't going to be doing something more important. If you're burning control hand and activations to get the Oxfordian Mages (Nemesis and Doom) out of engagement so that they can do stuff, you're limiting your ability to get stuff done. Only the Blood Mage isn't stopped by being engaged by something. So along that line of thinking, it's not a bad idea to bring along melee elements that can work with everything else you are doing. The Shastar Vidiya Guard gives you an added on Tome on the Blood Mage when they're going in against targets in close proximity (or the same target). If the Blood Mage is also working in close proximity to Kudra, then you're getting maximized Resonance (not really needed once the fight goes to melee--you just need one to do things like ignore armor or apply burning with your primary attack, or get another Soul Stone off of the (0) attack). The Guard is also an enforcer that can use Sandeep's Beacon if needed. It's also not a bad idea to break theme/patterns and explore options. At some point your opponent is going to hear "Arcanist" and assume Sandeep with Oxfordian Trio, and build their crew on that assumption. That's why I keep experimenting with other ways to play Sandeep--because at some point, the local and regional meta will develop a hard counter to the regional meta's typical Sandeep (commands, Oxfordian trio, Kudra with upgrades) that involves disrupting the pushes and places that Sandeep's crew uses to bully position and disrupt their opponent. The first time you play 3 Oxfordian Mages into Levi, you'll probably never drop them into Outcasts again; he's just one example of a hard counter. If you're trying to use your mages as a gunline and your opponent drops in some serious Ca/Sh hate (Mei Feng, Sue, Sonnia, Bleeding Edge Tech), you'll need a backup plan. My regional meta's backup plan typically involves min damage 3 Sandeep (Commands), Banasuva (min damage 3/4), and Myranda shapeshifting into a third beater to provide three vectors of attack. It works for now, but when something is able to knock down the casting, paralyze the attack vectors, or bury key pieces it's stopped cold. This mode of play is also very card-dependent, which means that if you have a bad hand and even Myranda/IE--> 4 cards + beater beast doesn't help, you're stuck. You're spending soulstones early on just to try and create an activation advantage, because your primary plan involves Sandeep diving in, Banasuva tying up a bunch of models, Myranda shifting to kill scheme runners, and the Mage gunline pushing things into position turn one, then support-by-fire through the rest of the game. It's a solid plan with some redundancies built in, but it has several key components that can be disrupted/disabled by players who know what the overall plan is. Buried Banasuva doesn't get to contribute to the fight, and if your opponent used Anna to do it, you might see Banasuva pop up in your deployment zone with no ability to get back to the fight (tarpitting with Earth).
  9. Absolutely, provided you kill the things that are scoring. I've often made the mistake of putting too many AP into trying to kill something because ...reasons?... and that has ended up costing me many games. To @daniello_s's remark: sometimes you're going to give your opponent full points on FFM. It's similar to running a summoner into Hunting Party. You just have to make sure that the trade-off is worth while. For instance, your gremlins' killing spree stops your opponent from scoring a point or two on their other scheme and the strategy, that makes up for giving them full points on FFM. There is one more bit of useful advice I can pass along regarding overcoming Mei Feng's Vent Steam cloud: drain the Mei Feng player's hand. Sure, you're at one or more negatives and that stops you from cheating, but your opponent cannot cheat if they don't have a hand. It's still not exactly equal footing, but it helps to force them (people like me) to deal with whatever is flipped, instead of shaping the outcome more in our own favor. Even before my hand is empty: every card I'm having to cheat to guarantee that you don't land a lucky shot from relatively cheap shooters is one less card I have available to cheat on my own attacks and abilities. If I'm running Mei Feng as a support piece that's creating a denial zone, I'm giving some board control and momentum to you. At some point, she'll need to stop being a denial piece and actually work to score VP (canny scheme picking on my opponent's side can get them 6VP to the 4VP I'm getting camping in a bubble). If I get a solid hand early and the board position supports it, I can break out and start killing things that are supporting/scheme running. If I don't have a solid hand, the board position won't matter as much because the shifting turn becomes a lot more risky. The longer it takes me to break out of that crawling turtle of a denial bubble, the less time I have to score on the schemes (assume that the Mei Feng player is playing into strategies that encourage being in a bubble). Every card I have to cheat on defense to stop Trixie's lure (for example) is one less card I have for cheating Rail Walk or various attack actions (faction dependent).
  10. Where I get a lot of use out of Ice Dancers is when I use them in conjunction with things that have a force multiplier effect. In a Colette crew with an Ice Gamin and Luther (Blessed) bearing the Sub Zero upgrade, for instance. It gives me the ability to scheme as a (0) when near Colette, and with their move-push ability they can disengage readily at the end of their activation, and with the Gamin's Bite of Winter upping their damage output they can punch a little higher out of their weight class. The defense trigger on Sub Zero is interesting, but not baked in. It can influence my opponent's decisions, heavily. With GG2017 schemes, I've enjoyed some interesting results in this way. Outside of that, it has a lot of utility, but it's not as reliable early in a turn as a Silurid. Later in the turn, after the control hand has been trimmed, the Ice Dancer has greater mobility. This can be very useful for hunting down things like Terror Tots and Silurids, keeping them engaged and forcing your opponent to activate them earlier in the following turn to avoid getting sliced apart. Alternatively, if the strat/scheme pool calls for positioning, you can get halfway up the table in a single activation, without the need to flip if you're not engaged. Then there's the whole Frozen Heart advantage. In my local meta, the more competitive players don't bother with paralyze/horror-focused crews because the risk of having the core mechanic just not work at all. Some of the local players will risk giving up full points on FFM just to kill Ice Dancers out of spite.
  11. I believe you mean Johan/Johanna here. Joss is a 10 stone henchman with a completely different role.
  12. I love Rail Workers so much I'm using a pair of them in my campaign arsenal. In normal games I've had Rail Workers kill things like Teddy (in Mei Feng list, with Kang nearby making them immune to horror and granting them additional positives on attack and damage). They are one of the models where you don't honestly need to worry a whole lot about what your min damage is because you have a (0) to put yourself on positives on attack and damage for the rest of the turn. Anything that happens during that turn to give you additional actions/activation carry that bonus. They get a lot of work done for a 5 stone minion. They also tend to take 2 high quality AP or 3 midling AP to remove from the table. If you have something like Bleeding Edge Tech, if your opponent doesn't take them all the way down in an activation, it's going to take them 2 more AP to stop them after their next activation. If your opponent does ignore armor (and/or damage reduction), then it's not quite as much effort to remove them, but it's still not a single shot unless it's a moderate damage flip from Joss. If my opponent is running Joss, however, that's when I'll focus on the fact I can paralyze, push, and slow things within my crew's abilities.
  13. This right here should be in bold 64-pt font. Basic Malifaux answer to how do I win is: use your activations and AP to score victory points. Every AP that is spent not earning, denying, or supporting a VP is an AP being thrown away. If you don't have to kill Mei Feng and whatever stuff she keeps in her bubble, don't. I'm saying this as a Mei Feng player who likes to have things like Envy or a Samurai in Mei Feng's bubble, shooting out and being largely immune to ranged/magic retaliation. If I think you've got effective stuff to unravel my bubble, I'll have Mei Feng Vent Steam twice, which will shut out anything that doesn't get baked-in positives or an additional AP they can spend on focusing. This forces you to come in, where there's a number of bad things that will happen (as you've seen going in against her with Gremlins). You don't have to kill her, or even kill the things shooting at you. Cover's not as effective against things that can give themselves positives (like the Samurai has baked in or Envy with its (0) to focus, or even Katanaka Snipers that get more out of a single focused shot than two unfocused ones), but LOS-blocking is still LOS-blocking. These things I've mentioned cannot shoot you if they cannot see you. Your stuff is largely Ht 1, which means there are a lot more places you can potentially hide while you complete your schemes than other crews I might play this kind of list into. If the Strategy calls for being near a marker in the middle (like Extraction), you'll have to deal with this, but if it involves spreading out between two markers (Guard the Stash) or table quarters (Interference) you can work around her. She might still get all of her Strategy VP if you avoid entirely, but that's only 4/10. Take a look at the schemes and do what you can to score yours and deny a even just single point off of theirs. Whether the game ends 5-4 or 10-9, you still win. If the Strategy and Scheme pool calls for killing, then that's what you have to do. Mei Feng's typically harder to kill than her crew (12 wounds, defensive trigger, upgrades, soulstone use), so focus on her crew. Unless I (the Mei Feng) player get the right trigger suit (relying on Vapormancy), every AP I spend killing chaff units is an AP I'm not using to get into position and Vent Steam. If you're playing a summoner like Somer or Ulix and stuff chaff units or exploding units into my bubble of steam, I'm not able to go after the things that matter (and in the case of exploding piglets, I may end up hurting myself in the process). Just keep your summoner back far enough where if I go after him with Mei Feng, the rest of my crew becomes exposed and vulnerable. Also, on the subject of Vapormancy: don't bunch up unless you've got Merris nearby and relatively safe from being targeted. Use your chaff units to eat my AP while your quality stuff waits for a solid opening. When you get a proper opening, that's when you send in Francois or Mancha and start depleting Mei Feng's crew. If you aren't ignoring/bypassing things like Hard to Kill, don't worry too much about trying to get massive damage spikes onto things that have it; Rail Workers will still take two AP to kill and Kang will probably take 3+AP, even from Francois. Speaking of Kang, if you know your opponent's playing Mei Feng and have reason to suspect that they'll bring Kang, you might want to leave the Constructs at home and take things that can complete your schemes for you or get you more activations/utility within your crew. Kang has a passive aura on his card that gives positives on attack and damage flips against undead and constructs. Handing out poison is great if you are building your crew to capitalize on it, otherwise it's just another tick of damage that could potentially end up on your own, more fragile, models if your opponent turns the Whiskey Golem to scrap in the middle of your own crew.
  14. He can make leaders constructs. He just cannot Wind 'Em Up afterwards.
  15. Nope, Sandeep summons the ice/poison/whichever Gamin in first, then summons Banasuva. What gets him across the table is his own stuff moving up and copying his lure (Wind Gamin is great for this), then one or more Oxfordian Mages using their attack's push trigger to bump him another 6"-8" max each (Nemesis Ward can get a max of 8" on the push), then when Sandeep activates, he can (0) to place another 6" up the board. He only needs two AP to summon the support Gamin and Banasuva, so if he's not yet close enough, he could walk. I've been going with Ice Gamin with Commands the Wind because it gives positives on the attack from the upgrade, can (0) for Bite of Winter, and has 5 wounds. Banasuva comes in either immune to slow or with a 3" melee, copies Frozen Heart and goes to min damage 4 with BoW's effect and having positives. All of this happens about 8-9 friendly activations into my turn, which means I'll have the final say in the turn in most cases. Earlier in the turn using the Beacon ability, I can get an extra AP out of Sandeep to either summon in a Gamin or walk a little more towards where he's going to be putting in work. All of this absurd mobility is coming from Sandeep, a hired Gamin (or Kudra in a pinch), and the Oxfordian Mages.