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Thalarian Queller Overview
The Thalarian Queller is a Living, Minion, Witch Hunter that is often considered a support/ control model. The Queller completes for the mid-range minion slot(s) in a Guild crew against Guild Investigators, Monster Hunters, Guild Lawyers, and Sanctioned Spellcasters. Many people consider them more of a tech choice for dealing with armor or incorporeal heavy crews rather than a staple choice to be included in or considered for every crew.; however their cost, durability, and wide range of abilities can make them well suited for use in just about any Guild crew even if the opposing crew isn't likely to contain a significant number of heavily armored or incorporeal models.
Mobility, Resilience, and Overall Stats
Thalarian Quellers have a pretty average speed (WK/CG) and do not have any built in abilities that provide them with additional movement but this does not limit their usefulness as most of their abilities allow them to be used from a fairly centralized location behind your main lines where they can buff your models or attack the enemy from a position of relative safety.
Quellers have pretty decent stats (average DF/WP and a decent number of wounds) which combined with their Arcane Shield can make then deceptively resilient. They are fairly survivable against scheme runners and other mid-range cost models and can even hold up fairly well for a turn against dedicated Min 3 beaters in the short term though they can't be expected to win or hold in a protracted fight or against a dedicated MI beater with 3+ AP.
Arcane Shield (AS), combined with the ability to "turn it back on" (Concentrated Shielding) by discarding a card make them relatively survivable especially if you have any healing available to top them back up periodically. In most crews you often have an expendable card that can be pitched to keep their shield up in the early turns unless you are playing a master like Nellie that has a use for low cards as well. You can avoid needing to pitch the card by activating them later in the turn but this can run counter to getting the most mileage out of their abilities and should really be dictated by how you intend to use them on a given turn (becomes more apparent after discussion of their abilities)
The Thalarian Queller has two attack actions:
Enchanted Blade is a standard range MI attack (MI 5/Rst. DF/Rg: 2) that deals a standard 2/3/4 damage however its damage dealt by the attack may not be reduced. The attack has two not built in (NBI) suited triggers; one of these allows you to push a friendly Suppression Marker the other allows you to ignore Hard to Wound and Hard to Kill when damaging with this attack.
Their other attack action Restraining Wand is a CA 5/Rst: DF/Rg: 10 that gives a target a condition that gives in (-) flips to all of its attack duels until the end of its next activation. This attack has a NBI suited trigger that also applies the slow condition.
Discussion: The Queller's Attack Actions are often overlooked by players who focus primarily on their Tactical Actions. Their attacks provide some good options and secondary utility for the Queller when building a crew and playing a game. Often times- against armor +1 models or when you have 2-3 damage models attacking an incorporeal model- you can get more mileage out of just attacking with the Queller than applying Enchant Weapon to another model. The Queller also fits very well into the finisher role (if you have the high Ram in hand) and can more efficiently take out enemy Hard to Kill models that have already had some damage done to them. While not a world beater by any means the Queller can be Joss's worse nightmare when you have the right cards in hand. In this role I often run the Queller in tandem with another model who can go in first to do the majority of the damage required and then the Queller can pick off the last few wounds without needing the extra AP to get past HtK with an additional attack.
Restraining Wand is also a great, but often overlooked, attack that provides a lot of mileage in support up moderate or high DF models. Typically I get the most effectiveness out of Suppression Markers, Enchanted Wepaons, etc in the first couple of turns and then shifting to Restraining Wand attacks with the Queller can significantly enhance the survivability of your models and cripple an opponent's attacks with their key beaters. This ability is even better when coupled with models or masters who have triggers or abilities they can use when enemy attacks miss. With Nellie this can provide opportunities to push their key beaters out of combat, with Lady J or Perdita this can be additional damage flips, and with your other models even if you aren't getting the bonus it is significantly improving the odds of neutralizing the enemy attacks. When using this approach it is critical to eliminate anything they have that can provide (+) flips to their other models in order for this to be effective.
The Queller's tactical actions are what get them the most attention. Enchanted Weapon can be a game changer and Suppression Markers can put a significant damper on an opponent's plans when they have actions that are dependent on built in suits.
The Quellers have two tactical actions:
Enchant Weapon (CA 5/TN: 12/RG: 6) which gives target non-Master model a condition until the end of turn where their MI and SH actions may not have their damage reduced.
Area Suppression (CA 5/TN: 8TM/RG:12) which allows you to put a 30mm marker in play within range that causes enemy models within 3" of the marker to lose all built in suits Printed on the MI, SH, CA, DF, and WP stats. If there are 3 or more Suppression markers in play you have to choose and discard one other wise this marker stays in play until /unless there are no friendly Thalarian Quellers in play at which point they are all discarded. While this action doesn't have any triggers it does have some interaction with Enchanted Blade, one of the Queller's attack actions, which can allows you to push a Suppression Marker anywhere in play up to 3".
Discussion: The Queller's tactical actions are the main reason you take them. While their attacks can be useful and sometimes downright incredible (bye-bye Joss) often times they are really just fractionally improving your game and letting you "win more" as opposed to making a huge shift in the trajectory of the game. Their tactical actions, on the other hand, can make that huge shift. The primary reason to take the Queller is Enchant Weapon (EW). If you are playing against a crew that has a significant amount of armor or incorporeal, the Queller’s EW completely changes your ability to deal with it. Many crews may have a single anti-armor model which their opponent can avoid but the Queller neutralizes this letting any of your beaters serve in the anti-armor capacity. It also gives you the ability to deal with armor at range as the action gives the "no reduction" to both melee and shoot actions and take a good chunk out of a Joss, Izamu, Samurai before they get close enough to have an impact. Another great thing about Enchant Weapon is that with 6" range, if you are playing the Queller in the center of the second echelon, you can often cast this on multiple models allowing you to deal with multiple armored/incorporeal models at the same time.
Area Suppression (AS) can be a game changer as well but is often even more situational than the Queller's other abilities. In almost any game you can find some usage for either an attack that ignore armor/incorporeal or trigger's that ignore Htk but needing to shut down built in suits is often much less common- especially when if they have the models that are dependent on it you have to figure out the right place to get the effect and have the Queller in a position where he can get the marker there. When it works, it works.... but most of the time it is easier to just try to kill their key pieces than use the Queller's ability to deny their suits. Against the common things people want to strip suits from (Belles and other Lures) AS usually isn't very effective (buy Sanctioned Spellcasters if you are worried about this). Most of the time the source of the attack is often too far away for the Queller to get the marker in position or if the Queller is the target of the Lure and gets close enough to drop the marker he rapidly dies with it and then it goes away. The best uses of AS are shutting down summons and turning off DF triggers- if you can corner or restrict a master that relies on summoning to a given area and bracket it with AS markers then you can effectively shut down or extremely limit their ability to summon. Most summons require a double suit and if they either have a SS or the suited card they successfully cast their summons; the AS marker effectively cuts it by about ¾ requiring them to now have the suit plus the stone eliminating their ability to use high cards from the other 3 suits to summon. Using AS markers to turn off built in DF/WP triggers goes without saying; it can be more situational than their other abilities but shutting down (unless they have the suit) built in triggers like Run Away Hone, Disappear, Squeel, etc can make the difference between killing a key model or not.
Other Abilities, General Utility and Usage
The Thalarian Queller's wide range of abilities ensure that he is always going to be able to provide benefit to the game. Whether you are using him to deal with armor and incorporeal, to shut down suits in conjunction with other suit stripping models or abilities (counterspell/counterspell aura/etc), to get around Hard to Kill, or just to enhance the survivability of your other models he is always going to have a role.
In addition to his other abilities the Queller also provide some additional card draw as well. His Soulstone Artisan ability allows you to draw a card, once per turn, after a friendly model uses or discards a soulstone. This ability doesn't have any range restriction so can be used no matter how close or far away the model using the stone is from the Queller. One note- this ability does not trigger or allow you to draw an extra card if you are using soulstones to draw/discard extra cards at the start of the turn. Like in the case of Lucius's Devil's Deal ability spending the stone to draw cards is a player action not a model action so doesn't provide you the benefit; however, in most games this ability can amount to an additional 2-3 cards per game. When used in a Lucius crew this is likely an additional card every turn (except maybe the 1st turn) as Lucius is likely to be using stones every turn due to Devil's Deal.
The Queller's role in most games is going to be dictated by the composition and your threat assessment of the enemy crew. If they have models with a lot of nasty triggers that need built in suits (Howard, Executioner, etc) then first turn might be a turn of just tossing out AS markers into the primary engagement areas. If they have armor or incorporeal then with the good amount of decent ranged shooting the Queller can hand out EW to start letting you neutralize those key threats early.
A favorite target of mine for EW is models who have triggers that allow them to hit multiple models or take multiple attacks- an EW on Ryle first turn where he can spread fire across multiple Illuminated, Spiders, etc can go along ways towards trimming the odds early. Similarly EW on Phiona or a Thrall that have triggers or conditions that enable them to get additional attacks can be of significant value as well allowing them to deal with big threats (Peacekeeper (PK), Howard, Nothing Beast) rather quickly (often in one turn). Another unexpected target for EW is a PK (hilarious when it's fast from Nellie) where he can Harpoon a target dealing damaged that can't be reduced and then Drag it in and beat on it or Flurry for more damage that can't be reduced. In this situation he can typically one-round any of the other big armored beaters and the big incorporeal models usually go down even easier as most of them tend to have fewer wounds to start with. Nothing makes Yan Lo cry like being on the receiving end of an Enchanted Peacekeeper's flurry.
Although there are some masters that can maximize the Queller's ability in their lists he can work well and serves a role in almost any Guild crew. His primary abilities (EW, RW) either can't target your master or target the enemy's models anyway so his use is more dependent on what you expect to face in the enemy crew or in the strategy and schemes. The best usage is obviously for matches where you are expecting quite a bit of armor, high armor models, or big or multiple incorporeal models. Alternately depending on the scheme pool even if you don't expect incorporeal or high armor models the Queller can significantly enhance the survivability of your models in a meet in the middle or attrition game like Turf War, Extraction, or ours by helping neutralize the big threats from the opponent.
While the Queller works well with any list of master you get the most benefit from his support with masters that can provide additional AP to masters and with models that can get additional attacks. Typically masters like Nellie and Lucius can get the most mileage of out him by enabling the models he buffs to get sometimes 3-4 (maybe even 5) attacks per turn which in the right circumstances can just be amazing. His other abilities work well in a Lucius crew as well where you are often going to be drawing an extra card a turn and in conjunction with the Scribe boosting DF of nearby models and also handing out (-) flips (sometimes) from Governor's Authority then it makes RW that much more effective as well. The key to the Queller's utilization is having models that can take advantage of his buffs and being able to read and evaluate the timing of the actions- do you/when do you set up AS markers, it is more valuable at the moment to cast EW vs. using his MI attack, will you get more benefit from RW with the trigger for slow than attacking or giving something else EW......
While the Thalarian Queller is rarely the most obvious choice for the job, and he is frequently overlooked in favor of some of Guild's other great 6 SS choices, he is a great utility piece that almost always has an impact on the game by providing a range of options that can enhance the performance of your crew in a variety of matches and pools.