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Hi there, 

maybe it is a bit old but could not see a thread for this crew. Maybe we can do it sticky and share tacs and crew composition ideas. 

Who to buy next, which schemes& strategies are they strong etc. 

cheers,

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Ironsides is a bit of a dark horse because she was introduced in second edition and she didn't have models until June. She's vastly underrated, though she does have some significant weaknesses. This thread should help.

 

Also, I've been meaning to write up something more in depth. Thanks for reminding me.

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Hand Picked Men is easily one of the strongest passive auras in the game. Her own play style is odd as it usually changes depending on the opponent's crew. She can be a decent brawler, but you really need to know what your up against otherwise she'll crumple like paper. 

My best results have been to play her as a support master and build up adrenaline for that one turn of amazingness. She usually then dies, but not before accomplishing a worthwhile endeavour. 

My advice playing her would be to play patiently, know your opponent and don't be afraid to let her die if it benefits you in the long run.

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the wards available between her and the Oxford Mages seem to be very good. My biggest concern with her would be a fairly open table and looking down the barrels of Perdita and her family's Peacebringers. Seems like you would have a very difficult time building adrenaline in certain matchups and strats. I just bought the box set  so don't have any experience with her yet but looking to change that soon.

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I cannot echo loudly enough that you should go into a game expecting Toni to die.  If you've done it right, she will, and it will be all right.  In over a dozen games with her, I've had her live through four.  Three were against an opponent who does everything in his power to keep everything he can away from her, and the fourth was a game where someone convinced themselves that keeping four low-to-medium-strength models engaged with her and hitting her again and again was a good idea.  That said, Assassinate is usually a bad scheme to pick her for, unless you're loading up on healers.

She's really good at being a black hole on the board.  With You Lookin' at Me? she can pull in models from remarkably long range and possibly earn a few love taps for her trouble and to possibly fuel her adrenaline.  If you can manage to tie up two or three models, especially smaller pieces without movement tricks, she can spend the game sucking up their activations until she is deemed a threat or they are all dead.  Simultaneously, this makes her bad for Take Prisoner and Deliver the Message.

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the wards available between her and the Oxford Mages seem to be very good. My biggest concern with her would be a fairly open table and looking down the barrels of Perdita and her family's Peacebringers. Seems like you would have a very difficult time building adrenaline in certain matchups and strats. I just bought the box set  so don't have any experience with her yet but looking to change that soon.

This is the story of how I lost the first round of GenCon finals.  I don't know if I'll every drop anyone but Mei Feng into guild ever again.

That said, Ironsides is a black hole.  Her job is to suck up everything like a vacuum and hold them there for as long as possible. If you can orchestrate matters that nothing with a high minimum can get into her she'll last forever.  I find hand picked men along with a couple of gunsmiths makes sure that no matter how survivable, nothing heavy gets to melee.

Honestly, she's typically better hoovering up scheme runners and support rather than beaters.   

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In my limited experience Ironsides has an unhealthy number of bad matchups, so she's a risky choice if you don't exactly know what you're about to face. You can, of course, build a generalist crew around her, but those crews are led better by other arcanist masters. Or you can try to capitalize on her unique traits, and make the most out of adrenaline/warding/other mechanics. This way you get something impressive on paper – which is, in practice, stopped dead by unfavourable terrain/schemes and a large number of opposing builds.

During the games I played with Ironsides, I had a constant feeling of playing with a henchman-led crew at 50SS. That's because of the thousand little pains that make her mechanics expensive and unreliable. The Good shot, my turn trigger practically costs SS. You have to discard a card to gain adrenaline from Protective, so you won't have any low cards left to trigger Good shot, my turn, with or without SS. You generally have to pay 1SS for a ram and 2 adrenaline (likely bought for SS) to trigger the Uppercut. If you have 7 adrenaline, you have to discard all 7 even if you only have 2 wounds to heal. Etc. Etc. Now I could live with some of those things, but not all of them simultaneously. That's the toolbox of an useful henchman, not a master IMO.

I still think she's an interesting master and fun to play, but not the "sleeping OP" some people like to call her. Luckily Malifaux is a very well balanced system, if the masters are not that well balanced themselves. So Ironsides is fun to experiment with, but even if she does okay, any other master in the faction would do okay, under the given circumstances. If she doesn't... well, then she doesn't :)

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Having a master that Regenerates two wounds at the start of her turn and can lure enemy models away from the more vulnerable parts of her crew (like Oxfordian Mages), while everyone within 6" gets focus for free when damaged. So if you do furious casting with a Mage, you basically get 6 AP out of him, probably giving a model slow, set it seriously on fire or push it way out of position with wind blast.

Combined with the captain, and maybe a performer, you have so many movement tricks that you can pretty easily build Ironsides up to a huge turn 4 or 5 with a lot of adrenaline, as her brass knuckles attack does some serious damage.

It will take a fair few games to get a feel for her though. I've played 5 so far and only in the last game I felt like I was getting the hang of how to translates what she can do in theory to getting some serious work done on the table.

Combined with the Captain's pushes, she can pull scheme runners way out of position or prevent your opponent from going after yours. I think she's fantastic, if rather tricky to play.

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I definitely wouldn't call her even remotely close to OP, but in the right hands she can handle just about any situation. I think her big issue is that she leads you to believe that she is a brawler and she's not really. She certainly can be, but you need to be careful what you throw her against and you'll probably need some help via triggers and adrenaline. At the end of the day however, Mei Feng does combat better and is more survivable overall.

Ironsides does have bad matchup's for certain, but those I feel are bad against her (ironsides) specifically. Like I said HPM is extremely powerful and even in those bad matchup's, you play her supportive and rely on the union to do the heavy lifting. There have been game's where I've barely thrown a punch with her and simply used her to lure people in/out of cover so gunsmiths and mages can tear them apart to great effect. 

Her real power is that she is so reactionary. If the matchup is unfavourable for her to go in swinging, then you have the tools to systematically eliminate the biggest threats and then send in Toni to clean up the rest. Her crew usually has tons of board control though the mages, mouse, the captain and Toni. Good ranged damage output from the mages and gunsmiths, firestarter and Willie. Also packs a hefty punch in melee from the captain, Willie, Johan, and sometimes Toni herself. Also you have access to heals from johan, mouse, and mages (warding runes). 

Also the models you tend to run with Toni, specifically the mages and gunsmiths have ton's of useful triggers that help with other aspects that Toni herself has trouble with such as armour and incorporeal. Basically I feel like if you bring a balanced crew then there is not much that a typical Ironsides list cannot handle, even if Ironsides herself may not be favourable. 

Edited by Jordon
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I think her main problem is that she gets her core ability neutered so easily by spreading out and denying her adrenaline, so ideally you'd need to have a contingency plan to really punish your opponents crew for spreading out. 

Maybe with a trio of oxfordian mages, gun smiths and message from the union or something. HPM will get really good when you have a fast gun smith firing three focused shots at stuff that ironsides has set on fire - or the mages getting three lots of focused furious casting with two inbuilt tomes for lots of pushing shenanigans.

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I think her main problem is that she gets her core ability neutered so easily by spreading out and denying her adrenaline, so ideally you'd need to have a contingency plan to really punish your opponents crew for spreading out. 

Maybe with a trio of oxfordian mages, gun smiths and message from the union or something. HPM will get really good when you have a fast gun smith firing three focused shots at stuff that ironsides has set on fire - or the mages getting three lots of focused furious casting with two inbuilt tomes for lots of pushing shenanigans.

I think the issue is with thinking of adrenaline as her core ability. HPM is generally what I focus on and it works a whole lot better than an adrenaline charged Ironsides. 

Once people see how much of a buff Toni gives to her crew, they'll be tossing models at her to try and shut it down. Besides her typical crew of herself, captain, mouse and mages all have push abilities making her crew one of the best board control crews in the arcanist faction.  

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Fair point. Just leaves me wondering if she's not using adrenaline to punch people, is her HPM ability enough to make her (and her crew, naturally) as good as Rasputina or Kaeris in a scenario? I didn't use to like message from the union, but I can see it being rather useful when you run Ironsides as a support master focusing on HPM.

I'm oretty keen on actually running her with three oxfordian mages, a gun smith and the captain. Anyone who wants to get near your ranged stuff gets punched, but if they run away they get shredded by focused ranged attacks.

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In my games anyone who wanted to get near my ranged stuff (oxfordian mages with Df 5 and 4 wounds, that is) crippled my ranged stuff and got somehow punched in return. Do you have any experience of running Ironsides with a totally melee-oriented crew, save the lone mage who provides the you-can't-touch-me aura? Speaking of HPM, I've been more successful with melee models, because 1. Ironsides made sure that I easily engaged the enemy, and 2. I didn't have to bugger with wounding my own models, they got wounded by the enemy sooner rather than later, anyways. But you guys seem to prefer the ranged setup, and I'm sure you have a reason to do so.

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@Sordid - Simply put, hell yeah. I've said it numerous times before, that HPM is probably the best passive aura in the game. If you've played a lot with Rail workers and seen how much the wreck stuff, you can get an idea of how effective it is when your whole crew is doing the same. Also message from the union is pretty brutal if you think of it as a min damage 3, ignoring cover and has synergy with models you should already be taking with her.

@Angyi - Personally I prefer ranged just for the simple reason that it's easier to maintain the HPM aura. Also Toni as a supporter tends to stay close to the group, so things that try to engage my mages typically end up dealing with Ironsides. I find once you start charging around, it becomes harder to maintain coherency, however if playing her with a more melee oriented crew, I find her "You looking at me" works much better to pull enemies towards you, than to break from the pack. 

However if your looking at trying for a melee oriented build, I've had some amazing results with the Arachnid Swarm. Having a :+fate to an attack that auto triggers into more attacks is awesome. Usually you can expect to get maybe 1 extra attack from the SAS due to their low Ml, but having that positive really increases the likelihood and usually they eat whatever they touch when benefiting from HPM. 

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which upgrades to go for toni ? 

warding runes seems a must, i really like the idea of challenge the crowd, and irondet seems a must. 

what do you guys think ? 

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Warding runes is basically resigning yourself to running a crew to support Ironsides because you then need at least two oxfordian mages to bring their runes too, and then something to protect the mages etc... So now if Toni doesn't spend the whole game beating on people (so playing anything other than turf war and guard the 'stache), you're runningyour crew at half efficiency and will likely lose unless your opponent makes lots of mistakes.

 

she can do a great job being a supporting master instead. Just depends on how you want to run her. I'm very keen on taking message from the union, Willie (to pre-damage all my stuff for the buff) and two gun smiths for a potential of six ficused shots per turn. Then whatever suits the mission, really. Challenge the criwd has been amazing for me in the past, and recharge soul stone on a master that kills people in Melee is always great. You won't know where to out all thos extra soul stomes you'll get!

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I think you are underestimating the power of counterspell. I'd take Warding Runes in certain matchups just for it (especially vs Ressurs and their damn belle lures). Also I think one mage is enough a lot of the time if you are taking them for defensive reasons (usually the one that makes you immune to conditions). I don't think any of Toni's upgrades are a must as she has quite a few good ones and also likes a few of the general upgrades, so it will depend a lot on how you plan on playing her

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There are so many good upgrades to consider for ironsides. There are not really any bad ones to take other than the philosophers stone. It all depends on how you want to run her. I'm a fan of recharge soulstone as it's one of the better ways to build adrenaline if you play her aggressively.

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My core crew is pretty much always Ironsides, two mages and The Captain. I then either plonk the warding runes on Toni if I think she's going to be in the thick of things, or on The Captain and another henchman (Cassandra, Fire Starter - he's great with regeneration, incidentally - or Joss) if they're going to be the front line combatants. 

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So I'm definitely not a seasoned veteran to Malifaux, but Toni is my favorite master and I've been working a lot of the theory of how to play her, even if I haven't played her a ton (yet).

This is my opinion on all of her specific upgrades.

 

Challenge the Crowd:

Probably the most popular of the Ironsides-only upgrades, as most people plan and expect her to be in close combat with multiple enemies. The benefit is two-fold, as it's useful for both getting a high card to avoid getting hit, as well as fishing for a tome so that you don't have to stone or cheat to get off your "Good Shot" trigger.

Frontline Leadership:

I personally prefer this mostly for the "Come Get Some" Action, as I tend to activate her early and this ramps up her ability to tarpit. While you won't be keeping EVERYTHING from escaping with a TN 13, you're probably burning cards out of your opponents hand, if not bunching them up for more adrenaline. As for the "Protective" Ability, I'm apprehensive to ditch cards for a single adrenaline, because I tend to overcheat anyways. Still, if your late in the turn or have a full hand...

Message from the Union:

I don't think people expect Ironsides to have any ranged threat. This not only doles out hefty burning, but it's quite possible to surprise your opponent with. Obviously works well with Gunsmiths and Firestarter. If I understand Locomotion correctly, you could use it to quickly gas-up your rail golem if you have the right hand for multiple "Locomotion"s

Iron Determination:

The healing is real nice if you need to keep Toni alive for another turn. I'm sure it depends completely on your playstyle whether you're willing to give up potential extra attacks to heal a bunch. If your surrounded by multiple enemies that you know aren't going anywhere, you can safely spend your remainder at the end of your activation, as any adrenaline you'll need next turn should be regained. I mostly see folks only talking about the healing aspect, though. As a paranoid person, I'm greatly relieved to be able to ignore the possible catastrophic outcome of the "You Lookin at Me?" action: flipping the red joker for damage. A double negative flip to the opponents damage almost guarantees minor damage, but I can't help but worry that it's also increasing the likelihood of the red joker. This upgrade solves that.

Warding Runes:

Plenty of talk about these already. I personally love my mages so this will probably always be my first upgrade. The weird thing is, is that I lean towards the Nemesis Ward over the Doom Ward when only two mages are in the picture. The extra healing is nice, but Toni has access to healing in other ways. The extra tome for the elemental bolt, however, is just gravy. Not only can the mage 'fly solo' and still have their triggers, but I LOVE the Windblast trigger. With two additional academics and a flipped/cheated tome, you're rocketing something 8 inches across the battlefield.

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Message from the Union:

I don't think people expect Ironsides to have any ranged threat. This not only doles out hefty burning, but it's quite possible to surprise your opponent with. Obviously works well with Gunsmiths and Firestarter. If I understand Locomotion correctly, you could use it to quickly gas-up your rail golem if you have the right hand for multiple "Locomotion"s

Flaming Bottle only adds burning to enemy models.

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