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Perdita Ortega Tactica
When the Second Breach was discovered and people started settling in Malifaux, constant Neverborn attacks prompted the Guild to put a bounty on every Neverborn head delivered to their doorstep.
Perdita gladly obliged and soon became a legend throughout Malifaux, earning so much scrip that she was able to send for her entire family to follow her through the Breach.
Living on a ranch outside of the city, this family of gunslingers instils fear into the hearts of the Guild’s enemies. While a younger sibling herself, Perdita’s willpower and charisma has made her into a natural leader to a cabal of family members and some outsiders, eager to prove themselves with a Peacebringer.
Overview of the Family keyword
A Perdita crew is, quite simply put, a ranged combat crew with a focus to take out enemy models as quickly and effectively as possible.
Abilities across the Family Crew
Each member (apart from the Enslaved Nephilim) has two abilities that make them feared opponents:
- Bravado: whenever you take the Concentrate Action, you may also push 4” to an enemy in LoS.
Under ideal circumstances, you only suffer 1” loss of Movement in order to get a Focus. You can still only Concentrate once per Activation. Also keep in mind that in less ideal circumstances, the 4” push doesn’t really do much for you, or that sometimes you might clip your own models’ bases if you weren’t really precise when positioning them.
- A por El: at the end of an Activation, you can ditch a card to make another friendly Family model of equal or lower cost within aura 6 take a non-Bonus Action. .
Under ideal circumstances, you can really surprise your opponent when you last-minute manage to plant that explosive they didn’t think you were going to be able to drop, deliver that message they weren’t counting on, Concentrate a second time this turn and gain another 4” push, or simply get an attack off… maybe with a Trigger to take the same attack again and really cripple the opponent’s crew!
Perdita: a Beginner’s Crew?
This makes the Perdita crew an excellent crew for beginners who are seeking to develop into intermediate players. The crew’s mission is something any tabletop player will intuitively understand: destroy the opponent. However, it also magnifies three key concepts that make Malifaux such an exciting and challenging game to play:
- Resource Management: you only get six cards. While the Family Values Trigger on some attacks allows you to draw more, you’ll go through those cards even faster because of A por El!
- Positioning: both for Bravado, A por el and the Family Values Trigger positioning matters. For the first, you have to be able to draw LoS to an opponent and position your model in such a way that you will not clip your own models’ bases when pushing. For the latter two, you need models to be within 6” of one another, which can pose quite a (fun!) challenge to get everything to go off just right.
- Activation Order: since you can only give out Actions to models of equal or lower cost, the A por El Ability really forces you to think several steps ahead. This, in combination with managing your cards, poses delightful puzzles that will eventually allow you to pull off dazzling stunts!
A Family crew isn’t particularly mobile. All Family models are Mv 5, with Abuela and the Enslaved Nephilim (Totem) being the exception at Mv 4.
Helpful Movement Abilities, Actions and Triggers
Of course, there are a few things that help the crew’s mobility:
- The Bravado Ability ideally gives you a 4” push each time you Concentrate, giving you some efficiency.
- The Trigger Family Values on many attacks allows you to give a nearby Family model a free Concentrate Action, and thus a 4” push.
- The Enslaved Nephilim has a Bonus Action Frightening Reminder that pushes a model 4” away from it (requires a 5). Great to get your Master up the board and create some Action efficiency with Perdita.
- Santiago and the Monster Hunters have a free 4” push at the end of his turn with his Ability Deadly Pursuit. Great to get out of combat, or position yourself for Schemes like Outflank and Claim Jump.
Your Mobile Guys
Then there are the Monster Hunters and the Pistoleros de Latigo.
- Monster Hunters are by far the most mobile models in the crew. They have the Bonus Action Creep Along with which they push their Movement (5”) towards a friendly model within LoS (requires a 6). Like Santiago, the also have the Ability Deadly Pursuit giving them a free 4” push at the end of the turn.
- Pistoleros clock in at 4ss each and have Reckless as a Bonus Action, with which they sacrifice 1 health in order to become Fast. This is great for that little extra sprint across the centre line.
Upgrades and Outside Hires
Finally the upgrade No Prisoners can help you a bit with the On the Prowl Ability, allowing you to push 2” after a kill (a fair Ability for a gunslinger crew) and the Run and Gun Ability, which allows you to get off a free shot every time you Charge (this last Ability is only for minions, though).
Of course you can ‘hire in’ some movement such as with the Pale Rider (Versatile, 11ss) or a Mounted Guild Guard (Guard keyword, 8 + 1ss), both of which have the Bonus Action Ride with Me, allowing them to target a friendly model up to 2” away, that they can place into base contact with them after they make a 5” push (requires a 6). Great for moving either Perdita or your Melee oriented pieces up the board.
Resilience (and Healing)
A Family crew isn’t particularly resilient. During Beta testing, Perdita and her crew still had the Tough as Nails Ability, allowing them to discard a Focus to reduce Damage by 1. When the Beta was over, the Ability was gone and A por El suddenly appeared in its place. This left Perdita and her crew with very little defensive tech, indeed. This means that the best defense for your crew is a good offense.
Let’s look at Perdita first, who dropped from Df/Wp 8 (M1e) to 7 (M2e) and eventually to 6 (this edition). Apart from Soulstones, the only defensive tech she has is her Df Trigger on a Mask (not built-in) Quick Draw, which allows you to take a 2/4/5 Damage Flip on negative , if another model was actually stupid enough to shoot at you. On a negative flip , odds are generally still about 38% that you will clock moderate or severe damage. I somehow always flip high on these flip, defying the odds. Lesson for opponents: quit shooting at my Master, jerks!
(Hint: if you have a high card, consider stoning for the Mask . Doing some out-of-activation high damage really feels like a punch on the nose for your opponent!)
Family Crew – General Notes on Df/Wp
Most other Family members have Df 5, with Abuela, the Nephilim and the Pistoleros clocking in at Df 4.
Your main guys (Francisco and Santiago) have Wp 6 (as does Abuela), with most others being Wp 5. Papa Loco, the Nephilim and the Pistoleros can only muster a Wp of 4.
Rescuing your Crew from Close Combat
The worst thing that can happen to a shooting crew is people trying to tie them up in Engagement. Perhaps the strongest defensive tech I use are two abilities on your main guys that ‘rescue’ your Shooters when they get tied up in combat:
- Francisco has the Tactical Action Heroic Intervention that allows you to target an enemy model within 6”, push all other friendly models within 1” from the garget 5” away from it and then you take a Melee Action (requires a 5). Frank basically rescues the whole gang that is tied up in combat… provided they aren’t engaged by a model with reach 2”+.
- Santiago can rescue folks with his Bonus Action I’ve Got Your Back, where he targets an engaged friendly model within 6” and places it in base contact (only requires a 4). The number of times he’s rescued Perdita this way is staggering. The best thing is: if you have a Mask , the Trigger Quick Shot allows you to take a free shot after liberating Perdita (or whomever). That’ll teach ‘em!
This essentially gives you a third Action. It can also be great of liberating guys who are stuck on purpose, e.g. with the Hold Up Their Forces Scheme. More on that, later!
Family Crew – Other Defensive Tech
Francisco, being your main Melee guy, has a great Bonus Action called Finesse. It goes off without any requirements and from that moment on until the End of Turn, all Melee Attacks against him are on negatives .
He also has the Parry Defensive Trigger on a Ram (not built in), which functions much like Perdita’s Quick Draw, granting a 2/3/4 negative Damage Flip against a Melee attack.
In addition, both him and Papa Loco boast the Grit(Hardened) Ability, reducing damage taken by 1 when they are at half of their maximum health or below. Both guys also have one more health than their Soulstone cost. This reinforces their role as your main Melee men. Both make fairly good tar pits.
Papa also has the Evasive Trigger, which means he’s impervious to damage from Shockwaves, Pulses and Blasts, preventing opponents from using several common tactics to get out of his Demise(Explosive +3) Ability, which would deal every model within 2 inches 3 damage. Loco remains crazily vulnerable to Obeys however, so you have to be very wary when taking him.
Santiago also has the Grit Ability, although his is not defensive (what Grit(Frantic) does, is it allows him to take positive flips on attack and damage when he reaches half of his max health). Nothing very defensive here, but he also has a Challenge Bonus Action. While not being very robust (at all!), you can force a specific model up to 8” away to attack Santiago or discard a card if it wants to target someone else. This is an opposed Stat 5 Wp duel at 6” range (that requires a 7). While it ties in well with his Grit Ability, I much prefer keeping Santiago out of harm’s way.
Santiago is the only member in the crew with Condition removal with his Sober Up Ability, that also hands out Focused + 1 to friendly models. This makes it so that negative conditions aren’t disastrous for Perdita (and her crew), because you can at least get a Focus out of it.
Nino can push 4” out of combat with his Bonus Action Quick Retreat, which doesn’t require a flip.
Abuela has Hard to Wound, meaning Damage Flips against her are on negative.
Papa Loco has Demise(Explosive +3), as in, when he dies, everyone within 2 inches will take 3 damage. Yeah, that can hurt a lot! If you’re more interested in keeping the good man alive, he has Juggernaut, allowing you to pitch a card for a 1/2/4 heal. In a crew where cards are gold, it’s quite the investment.
Monster Hunters cannot gain the Adversary Condition through their Heed No Fear Ability, which might come in handy when playing against Kirai or Yan Lo and their ilk.
Your Nephilim Totem has Regeneration +1, meaning he heals 1 every time he activates.
Upgrades and Outside Hires
With this little in terms of defensive abilities, you can perhaps be persuaded to consider the familiar Lead-Lined Coat 2ss upgrade, granting you Armor +1. It also prevents any models from pulling any movement shenanigans on you through the Laugh Off Ability. If you’re a minion, you also get the Hunker Down Ability, granting you Shielded +2 if you didn’t move during your turn. It’s great, but the minions in this crew are hired because of their mobility…
(Hint: definitely worth considering on Perdita in pools with Assassinate, or when playing against crews with lures, such as Seamus or – perhaps even more disastrous – Brewmaster).
In pools where folks are going to get bruised (e.g. Reckoning, Corrupted Idols) or if you want to safeguard your Claim Jump/Take Prisoner end-of-game points, you might want to consider bringing in a tech piece dedicated to healing. Two options immediately present themselves:
- The Guild Steward (Versatile, 6ss) who heals someone on his Bonus Action Foul-Mouthed Motivation, granting a 1/2/3 heal and Focus +1 on a 6” range (requires a 6). This ties in nicely with a Perdita crew. Sadly, it is only his Bonus Action…
Incidentally, the Steward also has the Dispel Magic Attack Action, that can end Conditions on targets. This is an opposed Stat 6 Wp duel at 6” range (and also requires a 6), making the Steward your #1 guy against Condition crews.
- The Orderly (also Versatile, but only 5ss) brings Emergency Surgery, a healing (1/2/3) Tactical Action. This affords you to perform it twice during your Activation. While this Action has a low range of 2”, it only requires a 4.
It’s a bit of a toss-up between which of these two to take. I’ve had success with both, yet both can also disappoint.
The Steward can be a huge pain in the rear-end, with his Demise(Reprisal) Ability, granting you a cheatable 4/6/8 Damage Flip against the model who killed it. Surprisingly, many crews find ways to deal with him (Execute Triggers, Obeys, Lures, Blasts, Poison, etc.), but he can definitely hold up an opponent’s beater if you can manoeuvre him into combat properly (he has a fun Sharp Wit attack that can make them Slow to boot). The Orderly is Hard to Woud and can hand out Staggered and Poison on certain Triggers, making it somewhat useful.
Now comes the most comprehensive part of this tactica. This is going to be the area your crew is going to excel in (and at 12” range, too). This being said, you cannot win your games if you don’t use your two key Abilities (Bravado and A por El!) efficiently. You have to master the three areas you can find under “Perdita: a Beginner’s Crew?”, else you will not win, even with the information below!
What I will do in this part of the tactica is discuss each model individually and its offensive role. If you are looking for a more complete overview, scrolls down to “General Strategy”.
Your Master: Perdita
Ideally, Perdita shoots twice or thrice a turn. Through her Triggers, she could even pull up to six shots a turn off! Everything you can do to move her up the board (the Enslaved Nephilim, Bravado or the Ride with Me Ability of the Pale Rider or Mounted Guard) will pay itself back, as you can now focus on killing things with Perdita.
Perdita’s Offensive Tech
Although she doesn’t have an awesome damage track (2/4/5), she does have a few very strong attack Abilities and Triggers:
- The Expert Shot Ability allows Perdita to shoot into engagements, ignoring the Friendly Fire rule. This should clue you in as to her role and that of the rest of the crew.
- Cut Down to Size is a terrific Ability. It allows you to take a positive Damage Flip against any model that is still at maximum Health. That’s right! Combine this with Focus, and you’ll understand that Perdita will often be hitting those wretched enemies for 4 or 5 damage.
- She can use her shooting attack as a 1” Melee attack through her Ability Gunfighter, although she no longer gets any Point Blank bonus (as in M2e).
- She has (sadly only) two Triggers on her Custom Peacebringer 12” range shooting attack, both of which can be worth stoning for:
o Critical Strike on a Ram grants a +1 damage to the attack for each Ram in the final duel total. That means if you stone for it and you flipped or cheated a Ram , you’ll be looking at a potential 7 damage. Especially against models with 6 Health, stoning for the Ram can be the difference between taking one or two shots (and consequently, Actions). After all, you can only use the Cut Down to Size Ability once against each model… unless they manage to slip away and get healed up, of course. Best make the most out of it and force that high damage through!!
o On a Mask you are looking at Quick Reflexes. Like almost every model in her Crew can take a 2nd attack in some way, shape or form, so can Perdita. In her case, you can take this attack again, but it has to target a different model. This means that you always position Perdita so she can shoot at least at two models (at 12” range). Remember what I said about efficiency… if this trigger goes off (say you flip a Mask, or worse, cheat in a high Mask to force the attack through) and you cannot make use of this Trigger, you’re denying yourself a large bonus. To get a free stat 7 attack is very powerful and if you can make optimal use of this Trigger, you will start winning games. Obviously it goes without saying that this Trigger can well be worth stoning for. You will soon learn to cackle with glee every time you draw a high Mask card, too!
- Perdita can also shut down someone’s Armor or Shielded for the entire turn with the Ability Analyze Weakness, a Wp 6 Attack at 10” range. It has the ability to bring opponents to tears as their expensive beaters bite the dust. The number of times I had to remind opponents later on in the turn that their model still counts as not having armor is amusing. They always seem to forget… but you won’t, trust me!
While it uses up one of your Master’s Actions, do keep in mind that the Family Values Trigger is built in. This means that you can either draw a card, or another model in your crew can take the Concentrate Action. If this means Francisco moves up the board 4” with another Focus on him, or you get another card with which you can give him or any other model a free attack with A por El, using your Master’s Action for Analyze Weakness seems a lot less terrible than it does at first sight.
Opponents don’t see this combination coming… but letting Frank go to town on their prized beater or tar pit (now without armour) and hitting a Mask Trigger on his attack (which grants a second attack against the same model, in his case) is priceless.
Stacking Focus on Perdita
To push those 4 or 5 damage attacks through, Perdita needs Focus. Because she is the highest costed model in the crew, she cannot get ‘free’ Concentrate Actions through A por El. This means you need to take every opportunity you can to stack focus on your most powerful piece, the Queen of Peacebringers herself. This is how you do it:
- Obviously, you will need to use Bravado at every opportune moment. You can still only do this once per Activation.
- Most Family members have the Family Values Trigger on their attacks (Francisco, Santiago, Nino, Monster Hunters, Abuela). They need to be within 6” from Perdita, however. When I have a high Tome , I always try and reserve it for the model within 6” of Dita, because that free Focus is essential for your Master to function and be as efficient as possible.
Now, Nino deserves special mention. There are only three Triggers built-in in this crew and it’s worth taking note when they are. One I already talked about with Analyse Weakness above. Nino’s is a built-in Family Values on his Repeating Rifle, and you can usually use it every turn. Since Nino’s aura always is the entire board, not just 6”, as long as he can see Perdita, he can stack one free focus on her every turn. More on Nino later. (Hint: he is a must-hire in most cases…!)
- When an opponent afflicts Perdita with things like Injured, Slow or another nasty Condition, keep in mind that Santiago’s Sober Up Action doesn’t just remove the Condition, but hands out Focused +1.
This means that I don’t necessarily out-cheat my opponent when I’m staring down a 2 Damage + Injured attack. I know I will get a Focus for it in return, and I can use my high card to really nail a bullet straight through their skull with Santiago later on in the turn…
- Ideally you will use the Enslaved Nephilim’s Bonus Action Frightening Reminder on someone like Perdita. A 5 of Tomes is enough to give Dita a free focus with its Preparations Trigger. And yes, boys and girls, this often is worth it if you have it.
- If you are taking the Guild Steward (a 6ss Versatile model), his Bonus Action Foul-Mouthed Motivation not only heals, but also gives someone Focused +1 (requires a 6, though). His Dispel Magic Attack Action also has a Trigger for an extra Focus, but here we’re getting neck deep into the ‘when the stars align’ territory.
Let me close by underlining how essential it is to keep Perdita stacked up with Focus, because she will be taking ~3-4 shots and you want as many of them to be Focused as possible, obviously. She can easily delete one, if not two models a turn. At 12” range. Yeah, baby!
This is going to be fairly obvious, but I’m trying to be exhaustive here, more than anything else.
- First of all, always try to keep Perdita within range of at least two enemy models (because of her Quick Reflexes Trigger).
- Be mindful of the Family Values Trigger of other models that need to be within 6” of Perdita for it to be able to affect her.
- In turn, be mindful that Perdita is within 6” of (ideally) Francisco or Santiago so her A por El Ability can target them.
- Be mindful that Nino has LoS to Perdita for his Family Values Trigger.
- Use the Enslaved Nephilim for the only thing he’s good at: repositioning Perdita (or other key pieces of the crew).
- Ideally you have Frank or Papa Loco engage opponents to stave off attacks against Perdita, but don’t be too conservative with Dita’s placement. If she ends up engaged in combat, Santiago can easily pull her out with I’ve Got Your Back and possibly get a free shot out of the deal as well.
- Do be mindful that Perdita has next to zero defensive tech, so Cover will benefit her like any model.
- You are going to be interested in keeping Soulstones at hand to reduce damage or block attacks. Or take the Lead-Lined Cloak Upgrade if you’re feeling skittish.
(Perdita will go down easily if an opponent can really get some good Master-level/beater attacks off a few times in a row!)
Your Henchman: Francisco
Even with his mediocre Defense of 5, Francisco is pretty safe in close combat. He can activate his Finesse Ability (all Melee attacks against him will be on negative flips ) and has the Parry Defensive Trigger. Also, when he is in combat, your opponent will have to find a way to deal with the Friendly Fire negative flip penalty. Finally, Perdita and Santiago can shoot into combat, ignoring Friendly Fire through their Expert Shot Ability. This should clue you in as to where Francisco should be.
Francisco’s Offensive Tech
Francisco can be powerful at range, but he’s even stronger in Melee.
- The first thing, easy to overlook, is Francisco’s Custom Peacebringer Attack at 12” range, which is just as good as Santiago’s, with a Stat 6 and a 2/4/5 damage track. It’s just that there is only the single Trigger on this attack. It comes with Critical Strike on a Ram , granting +1 damage, for a respectable 3/5/6 damage track. At 12” range, and with a Henchman that could possibly stone for that Ram , it can be pretty devastating. Since he’s so well known for his Melee prowess (and rightly so), this attack can sometimes catch opponents off-guard. I’ve finished off many a key piece of the opponent’s team at range through Francisco’s attack. This is never you’re A game, however. His Melee attack has many advantages, both defensively (discussed above) and offensively.
- Frank’s main attack is his Balanced Sword on a Stat 7 with a 2/4/5 damage track (same as his ranged attack or Perdita’s for that matter). Apart from Critical Strike on a Ram, this attack also has the extremely essential Family Values Trigger on a Tome (allowing you to either draw a card or have another Family member within 6” Concentrate). Like Perdita and Santiago, the Mask Trigger Onslaught grants an additional attack, albeit with the stipulation it has to be against the same target. But that’s not a problem, now is it, boys?
So if you can use Perdita’s A por El Ability to give Francisco an additional Action, he can possibly get two Stat 7 attacks out through this Trigger, which he can stone for.
- To make matters worse, well… for your opponent, anyway – Francisco has Flurry, which allows you to chuck a card once a turn after a Melee Action to take said Action again. This can only be used during your own Activation, so you can’t do it off an A por El Action.
Pumping out Stat 7 attacks is what Francisco does best, and if you’ve done your job stacking focus on him through Bravado, this will take the opponent’s crew apart like an Ali Express ordered plastic action figurine.
- For completion’s sake, I also would like to point out the above mentioned Heroic Intervention Tactical Action. It requires a 5 and targets an enemy within 6” (it just goes off, there is no opposed duel). You can push all other friendly models 1” from the enemy models 5” away, then push Frank 6” towards the enemy model and take a Melee Attack against it.
The reason I mention this is because first of all, you can get an additional inch of movement out of it (6” instead of 5), which they don’t always see coming. More importantly, however, you can circumvent all those fun Abilities like Disguised (cannot be targeted by Attacks generated off the Charge Action) or Extended Reach (models within 2” cannot take Attacks generated off the Charge Action).
While this is a solid way to get other models, like Perdita and Santiago, out of Melee combat, there is downside to this: it does not work when a model has engaged your friendlies at a 2” range, since only friendly models within 1” can be pushed backwards. This, in my mind, is one of the dumbest things ever, design-wise. I think it should have said “all engaged models”, but it doesn’t. So, against a crew like Misaki’s, you can pretty much forget getting much use out of your ‘rescuing’ capabilities.
- It probably goes without saying, but Bravado should be used to increase Focus on Francisco whenever possible.
Your Ranged Support: Santiago
Santiago, or his sister Santana (the amazing alt model Wyrd released at the dawn of M2e), is almost like a second Perdita. He cannot use Soulstones, which is a sad thing with four amazing Triggers on the main attack.
Santiago’s Offensive Tech
- Delving straight into it, then, his Custom Peacebringer at Stat 6 has the same damage track we’ve seen with Perdita and Francisco: 2/4/5. This comes with the by now familiar Critical Strike on a Ram , and Family Values on a Tome .
The Mask Trigger Frantic Attack gives an additional attack, although it requires Santiago to suffer 1 damage. Considering his Grit(Frantic) Ability gives him positive flips on both attack and damage when he’s at half health, it’s not necessarily the end of the world.
Finally, there is an amazing Crow Trigger, Grudge, which Santiago shares with Abuela and both minion models in the crew, granting the garget Adversary(Family). This means that for the entire turn, your crew gets positive flips against the inflicted model, which pretty much comes down to a death sentence. Sadly, there is no reliable way on Santiago (or any of your other models) to get this Trigger off with confidence. So: dedicate your high Crows to Santiago’s attacks. He’s the only one who can make serious use of them.
- We’ve already talked about the Grit(Frantic) and the Expert Shot (you ignore the Friendly Fire penalty) above. The implication is, other models tie things up, you shoot into combat; and you don’t mind losing some health on this model. We’ll get back to that in a bit. In addition, like Perdita, Santiago has the Gunfighter Ability, allowing you to use the same awesome attack in Melee (at 1” range).
- Like Francisco, Santiago can ‘rescue’ folks from Melee engagements. He uses the I’ve Got Your Back Bonus Action at range 6 (only requires a 4!) to place a friendly in base contact with himself. This is a placement, not a push, so it’s particularly powerful and it has saved my Perdita more than once!
It also has an amazing Trigger on a Mask , so if you’ve got a low Mask, definitely bank it for the Quick Shot Trigger, as it allows you to take a shot, after rescuing your friend. This shot can be against anyone, but I really do love the symbolic justice of shooting whomever was holding Perdita hostage straight in the face with a nice Stat 6 attack. Keep in mind that you, sadly, cannot declare Triggers on this attack.
- As with Dita and Frank, Santiago really benefits from Focus, so use your Bravado Ability to move up the board whenever possible. You can use Abuela’s Listen Up, Young’Un Tactical Action to Obey Santiago to Concentrate a second time a turn.
Your Bed Bug: Nino
Nino looks like garbage. Pay 7 stones for a dude with Stats 5 across the board, including his main attack, and a 2/3/4 damage track. If I’ve not already made it clear, though, let me go on record, saying that I think Nino is practically essential for your crew. The reason is his built-in Trigger Family Values, the lifeblood of this crew.
Nino’s Offensive Tech
- Our boy Nino can be deployed From the Shadows, which means he can be placed on the board after every model has already been put down, as long as it is at least 6” from the enemy Deployment Zone. With his 14” range, this means he can potentially take two shots turn 1. We’ll touch some more on this during the Hiring and General Strategy sections.
- Nino’s Sharpshooter Ability allows him to ignore Cover and Concealment. His Spotter Ability extends his Aura to include the entire board. He still needs LoS so always try and manage to keep a line open to Perdita (or at least another Family model), so your Family Values Trigger will have a valid target to land on. This does require constant thinking ahead and, in fact, when you place him on the board the very first time.
Both Abilities, by the way, are unique to Nino. Currently there are no other Sharpshooter models in Malifaux.
- Nino has a Knife Attack Action, at 0” range on a Stat 4 with a 1/3/4 Damage Track. I’ve never used it.
- His main attack is his Repeating Rifle, which ironically has a 14” range. It comes with a Stat 5, built-in positive flip and built-in Tome . It has three Triggers, the prevalent Critical Strike (Ram ), Family Values (Tome ) and the additional attack on a Mask , Quick Reflexes, which is the same as Perdita’s: he gets to shoot again at a different target. Unlike Dita, Frank and Santiago, the Mask is fun to hit, but with his mediocre attack, it is far from a necessity. If you want to make the most out of it, though, position him so that he is in range of two enemy models. At 14”, this is not hard to do.
- While having Focus never hurts, with Nino usually deployed halfway up the board, he will not use his Bravado Ability a lot. With his mediocre attack, I’m also not convinced he really needs the Focused Condition to do what he does best. If you do stack Focus on him, it might help him stay alive a bit longer when used defensively.
Your Crowd Control: Papa Loco
Papa Loco will always force your opponent to find a way of how to deal. In that regard, he’s already a ton of fun to put on the board. In a crew without many Melee pieces, he can also double in that role alongside Francisco. At the same time, he remains a liability. Let’s take a closer look.
Papa’s Offensive Tech
- I mainly use Papa for his Shockwave Attack Throw Dynamite. It has an 8” range and requires a 6. You can place a marker (extending the range by 30mm) and anyone within 2” of the marker has to pass a Movement 13 duel or suffer 3 damage. This is considerable, and for most models, it requires them to flip or cheat an 8.
I’m not going to lie. Against some crews this is absolutely devastating.
On the Ram Trigger Cataclysm you can place an additional marker. I think I’ve only ever used it once, because the same model cannot be affected twice by the same aura, and I usually us Throw Dynamite from as large a distance as possible.
The Mask Trigger Blown Back pushes models damaged by the Action 3” away from the Marker. I rarely use it. It’s hard to bank on this happening (who keeps a Mask for this when your entire crew does great things on a Mask!?) and usually I’m great with where my opponent’s models are. It is potentially a way to keep folk from scoring Claim Jump or Outflank and the like, but since they can cheat their Movement duel, it only has ‘when the stars align’-value.
- Papa can also double as a decent Melee beater. Keep in mind he is somewhat protected with his Grit(Hardened), reducing damage he suffers by 1 after he’s hit half health. I generally use him as Shockwave trooper, and when enemies get closer, I hurl Loco at them. You can also play him a tad more aggressive from the get go (I’ve had some success there, too), because in the end you do want him to expire in the middle of their crew because of his Demise(Explosive +3) Ability, passing around 3 damage to all models within 2”. This makes Loco a liability and never take him against crews with Obeys in it.
Keep in mind that Papa will generate a lot of aggro, and if you’re too forward with him without other threats to deal with, he will get destroyed before his time.
- His Melee attack Frantic Flailing is a 0” range Stat 5 Attack with a poor damage track of 1/2/3. The good news is that this is the third and final Trigger that is built-in in your crew. You can take your pick from two options, both on a Ram :
o Here, Hold This requires the target and anyone within pulse 2 of it, pass a TN 13 Movement Duel or suffer 3 damage. To make things worse, the target itself gets a negative flip to the duel. Unless you’re in the area with several of your own models, I usually prefer this Trigger over not declaring a Trigger.
Do keep in mind that Papa takes no damage from Pulses, and as this duel comes from the 2” Pulse, the damage won’t affect him.
o If you have some Focus to blow, the Trigger Dynamite Punch might be very interesting, as it increases your damage output to 3/4/6. It potentially wrecks most models, but Loco takes 2 damage as well in this attack. When he’s at half of his max health, Grit reduces that to just 1 damage.
- With his Bonus Action Blow it to Hell, Loco can drop a marker at range 8” (requires a 6). Anyone within aura 2 of the marker will not gain Cover, allowing Perdita and Santiago to do their work without sacrificing their Focus just to get over the negative Damage Flip Cover grants.
- Stacking Focus on Papa is not a priority, most of the time. He can’t use it on his Shockwaves (they’re not opposed duels) and only from time to time on his Melee Action, which he can only do so often before it kills him.
Your Motivator: Abuela
Abuela Ortega doesn’t carry much in the sense of Offensive Tech.
- Her Stat 5 Sharp Wit attack hands out Slow on 0” range and comes with the Family Values and Grudge Triggers. I’ve put her up against beaters when her time came, simply to make them Slow and force them to deal with her.
- Her Stat 5 Sawed-Off Shotgun only has 6” range and a 2/3(Blast)/4(Blast) damage track and comes with the Ram Trigger Slug, which increases the damage output by 1, but removes the blasts.
Neither attack is to write home about. The On Wheels Ability on the front of the card, gives Grandma a delightful thematic 3” push away from the target she shot at.
- Abuela’s value for the crew is concentrated mainly on her Nice Shot, Dear Ability, which grants +1 to duels taken outside any Family member’s activation. This includes all A por El attacks, Perdita’s Finger on the Trigger Ability and Abuela’s own Listen Up, Young’Un Obey Action. In the Utility section, I’ll talk some more about the implications this has on your play style.
- Listen Up, Young’Un has an 8” range (requires an 😎 and can Obey any Family member (excluding Perdita) to take an Action. If you have an 8+ of Masks card, and you are so inclined, you can also use this on a friendly non-Family model. I don’t think I’ve ever done this, because Masks are so valuable for your crew…
- Like Nino, because of her poor attacks, Abuela doesn’t necessarily benefit from the Focused Condition. Yet since her regular move is only 4, you might as well stack it on her and use it defensively.
Your Runners: Monster Hunters
Need to get somewhere? Monster Hunters (MHs) are your guys… or girls for that matter. Their attacks aren’t much to write home about, but let’s cover them here in this section:
- Like Santiago and Perdita, MHs have the Gunfighter Ability, allowing them to use their Shooting attacks as a 1” Melee Attack.
- MHs are better against larger size models. They get +1 to their duels against anyone larger in size than they are through their The Bigger They Are Ability. Situational, but nice against Euripedes crews and some larger, scarier models such as Peacekeepers, Mature Nephilim, Bad Juju, Good Ol’ Howard Langston…
- Their attack is (only) a Stat 5 Custom Firearm Attack at 2/4/5 damage. It can use the Family Values Trigger (Tomes ) as well as Stunning Strike on a Crow , handing out Stunned. This can be quite powerful what with these bigger models (on whom you should concentrate your MHs attacks) not being able to declare Triggers, or having to count their Bonus Action towards their regular Actions. Keep in mind that against some of these scarier models, you are a Stat 6… which is good, but a valid question is: is it going to be enough?
- MHs have a Terrorize Attack Stat 5 against Wp with an 8” range, pushing an enemy model its Movement away. I have used this a few times to push folks out of position, but with a Stat 5 attack, you can’t trust this will work.
- These are the only minions in your crew that you can seriously consider Upgrades for. There are three to pick from:
o Lead-Lined Cloak: Gives you Armor +1, prevents movement shenanigans and grants you Shielded +2 if you haven’t moved. Guess what? You take these guys to move, so I wouldn’t take this on them, unless you really want to keep them alive while facing a lot of Sz 3 models. This would have been great for someone like Nino, but he is no Minion and can’t benefit from this part of the Upgrade.
o No Prisoners: I have had some success with this Upgrade. It grants On the Prowl (Heal 1, Push 2” upon killing someone), a rather lousy Shockwave (Mv 12, Damage 2 at 8” range, requires a 6), but it does give you Run and Gun, which gives you a free shot every time you Charge. And who wouldn’t like that!? Essentially a free shot every turn you want to Move.
o Expert Marksman: This ironically makes your MHs shoot better than Perdita in some ways. You get her Expert Shot Ability (shoot into combat without the Friendly Fire penalty), get the Armour Piercing Trigger on a Tome (rarely an alternative for the strong Family Values Trigger…!) and Sharpshooter, giving you Nino’s Ability to ignore Cover and Concealment.
Now, opinions are divided on the matter. Particularly the latter two Upgrades give you some useful qualities, and I have used both with some success.
Still, you are only going to be a Stat 5 in everything. With nothing but 6 Health and their Movement tricks to keep them out of harm’s way, these things go down like a lead balloon. With the Upgrade, a MH comes to a significant 8ss cost. Unless I have a very clear combat plan for my MHs, I almost always take them without Upgrades.
Your Expendables: Pistoleros
Pistoleros de Latigo are 4ss models with Stats 4 across the board (Df, Wp, Health and Attack). Their main asset is that they are Reckless, a Bonus Action that grants you Fast at the expense of 1 damage. Offensively, they boast:
- A Small-Gauge Revolver on a 10” Range (Stat 4) with a 1/2/4 damage track. They do have the option for Critical Strike (Ram ) and Grudge (Crow ).
- A Biting Insult on a 5” Range (Stat 5 against Wp) to hand out Distracted. This also comes with the option for Grudge.
Don’t expect much from these hopefuls. When a Grootslang had Adversary on it, I did manage to put it down using a Pistolero. Those are the good days. They don’t come often. Their role is not offensively.
Your Totem: the Enslaved Nephilim
The Nephilim has next to no minor offensive capabilities, but he can be annoying for your opponent if he’s tying her models up in combat.
- With his 0” Ball and Chain Attack at Stat 4, he can squeeze out a measly 1/2/3 damage, with the off-chance to get an Obey off when you hit his Mask Trigger (Insidious Influence). Since whomever you are obeying will be locked in combat with the Nephilim, there is a good chance that the Obey won’t be all that helpful... great thinking, Wyrd!
- Now if you have a low Mask there is some potential here to attack your own model and relent. You’re banking on hopefully suffering just the one damage, then using the aforementioned Trigger to Obey your own model (you sadly cannot use this on Perdita). You will still need to flip or have an 8+ in your hand to get this to go off. I personally wouldn’t recommend it, but this long shot could just possibly help you pull off a risky venture. Please keep in mind a 4+ of Masks card can also be used for Santiago's way more useful Trigger on I've Got Your Back.
- The best thing an opponent can do around turn 3, is actually attack the Nephilim. Remember you have the Black Blood Ability (1 damage when someone hits you from up to 1” away) and you have Demise(Expendable), which means you can even draw a card when the critter is put out of its misery. This card is a potential A por El attack on Francisco or Santiago, so it’s nothing to sniff at.
Most Versatile or Out of Keyword-models I hire, I don’t hire for their prowess, but a few deserve mention here:
Pale Rider’s Offensive Tech
- The Pale Rider has a 12” Stat 6 Pneumatic Rifle with a nice 2/4/5 damage track, making him a solid addition to a Perdita crew, which is focused on ranged damage output. With the Gunfighter Ability, he can also use said rifle in Melee at a 1” range. The Ram Trigger grants Final Breath, further crippling your opponent by giving it Staggered and Injured +X where X is the number of Rams you want to use. Rams, by the way, come from the Tokens the Rider gets every turn for free.
- If you do manage to save your tokens for later, starting turn 3 you can do the Riders’ Bonus Action Revel in Conflict with its most severe Trigger: Devastation (requires 5 Rams). It gives all enemies within 6” 2/3/4 irreducible damage, as well as Slow and Burning +1 to boot, which is… well… absolutely devastating, and I’m not kidding. It can pretty much eradicate what Perdita and her gang left standing.
- If you’re so inclined, you can also give Revel in Conflict the Trigger Hatred Unleashed (4 Rams), allowing all friendly models within 6” to Charge, even if they are in combat (a whole lot less useful in a Perdita crew) or Diminished Pain (3 Rams) giving each friendly model within 6” Shielded +2. But you’re obviously not taking this dude for either of those Triggers.
Taggart Queeg’s Offensive Tech
- A 2” Melee whip at Stat 6 with the potential to positive flip when the target is at half health or below (syncs nicely with Perdita’s Cut to Size Ability) gives out 2/2/3 damage with the option to heal another model within 3” on a Ram (My Loyal Servant) 1/2/3. He can also team up with Francisco and use his Mask Trigger Coordinated Attack to let Frank or any other friendly model in range hit the enemy model as well. Note that this additional attack benefits from Abuela’s Nice Shot, Dear Ability.
- Master Queeg also has a 2/3/5 Stat 5 Peacebringer at the usual 12” and can participate well enough with the rest of the crew. This also has the Ram Trigger My Loyal Servant, perhaps healing Santiago’s damage he is obligated to take when using his Trigger Frantic Attack.
- Obviously you don’t take Master Queeg for these things, you want to bring him along for something else, namely his Task Master Ability. This allows everyone within Aura 4 to gain Fast instead of Focus at the cost of 2 Health. This can be just 1 Health if you care to drop a scheme marker first. If you plan this well, you can make your entire crew Fast in turns 2/3 and really, really pump out some lead. It has some potential, but it is a lot of work, so I only try this in a non-competitive setting.
Utility and Control
Perdita’s crew isn’t known for its utility and control abilities, but there are a few, some of which I’ve already talked about above to some extent. I’ll briefly go over each model and what they contribute:
Perdita: Board Control & Hand Control
Perdita herself has an interesting Tactical Action called Finger on the Trigger. I wish this were her Bonus Action, but it isn’t. You still need a 5 to get it off and it eats away one of her valuable Actions. It does allow you to take a free shot at anyone who ends a Charge in range (a considerable 12”). As a bonus, if you hit moderate or severe damage, they can’t use the attack Action that was generated by the Charge. Basically… they’re caught with their pants down.
This is particularly potent if Dita has some Focus left or if the opponent is still at max health, granting you a positive flip on damage through your Cut to Size Ability. Also be mindful that these attacks benefit from Abuela’s Nice Shot, Dear +1 to Duel bonus. This suddenly transforms Perdita into a Stat 8 shot, which we all know is the stat she should have gotten in the first place!
It’s a shame that this Ability stipulates that your attack cannot declare Triggers.
This can be a strong move when you’re in the centre and in Cover and/or Concealment and commanding a view of the board. It can really keep your opponent from charging with multiple models, or models who Charge several times a turn (Mobile Warriors like Misaki, Wanyudo) or stupid models who rely on the Charge Through Ability heavily (Misaki, McCabe).
Do keep in mind that if Perdita is engaged in combat, she can no longer take Shooting Actions, including those generated by Finger on the Trigger. It is, therefore, situational and you are sacrificing an Action (and possibly a card if you don’t flip the required 5).
Perdita also has the Hero’s Gamble Bonus Action that she’s inherited from M1e and M2e. It allows you to ditch your entire hand and draw a number of cards equal to the number your discarded. This is a lot less meaningful than in previous iterations of the game (and therefore yet another design flaw in this beautiful crew) because literally each card in your hand can now be spent in a very strong way with A por El. Of course, I’m not going to say no when an 11 replaces a 2 in my hand, although it will make me pause when I am deciding whether or not to discard it for A por El. I could have flipped that 11, after all.
This version of Hero’s Gamble comes with another misplaced stipulation that “if there are more enemy models in play than friendly models, draw additional cards equal to the difference”.
This is, frankly, a little ridiculous, because Perdita’s Family crew is in no sense very elite (you average 8-9 models, like most crews) and from turn 1 your whole aim is to blast as many models off the board as you can, often increasing the difference in models in your favour.
The only thing I can think of as to why this made it into the game, is because designers thought Perdita could make a good second Master to take; and I think she could be. In those cases, I can see this additional stipulation on Hero’s Gamble making sense. I can literally count the number of times I’ve used this card bonus on one hand, across 20+ games.
Finally, and not unimportantly, Perdita has the Target Practice Tactical Action, which shoots off Scheme Markers. It is precisely this Action that is your incentive for keeping Perdita alive to turns 4/5, even when most of the enemy crew will have tasted dirt by that time. Target Practice works on any Scheme Marker 6” away, + however many inches as you flip a card for. If you have the Red Joker, for instance, you can go as far as 20” away with this. It discards the opponent’s Scheme Marker. Use a Mask and you hit the Trigger Swift Action, which allows you to take the Action again and potentially remove a second Scheme Marker.
Be mindful of when you do this. I once had a bold opponent drop a few markers on the centre line and I shot two (maybe three) off, and it turned out he didn’t have Harness the Leyline at all. So he traded three of his minion Actions for three of my Master Actions. If that’s not terrible enough, he was overtly coy about it and way too pleased with himself (even though I ended up almost tabling him in the end).
All I’m saying is, I now only use this on revealed Schemes. You’ll find the vast majority of players will try to get sad little Schemes like Search the Ruins and Breakthrough done. Perdita is your remedy against their misguided choices.
Francisco: Rescue Option
As discussed above, Francisco has the Heroic Intervention Tactical Action on range 6 (it requires a 5), allowing him to push towards an enemy model and push all other models within 1” up to 5” away, basically getting Perdita or Santiago out of combat. Mind that this plan doesn’t work so well on enemies with a 2” reach…
Santiago: Rescue Option, Condition Removal, Challenge, Free Push
Santiago has the Bonus Action I’ve Got Your Back, already discussed above. At range 6, you can pull someone out of combat and place them in base contact with yourself (requires a 4).
Santiago can also remove conditions with Sober Up (requires a 7). Enemies at range 6 can resist on Wp, friendlies also get a free Focus.
Also already mentioned, Santiago boasts the Challenge Bonus Action, which can be used on an enemy within 8” with Stat 6 against Wp (requires a 7). If said enemy wants to target someone else than Santiago, they first need to surrender a card. I’m not really sure why this is on Santiago, as he has next to no defensive abilities and unless you’re really hard up, I’d steer clear of all this unwanted attention.
Finally, at the end of every turn, Santiago (like the Monster Hunters) gains a 4” free push in any direction through the Deadly Pursuit Ability. This is great for scoring positional based schemes and can come as a massive surprise to your enemy. Delightful! We’ll talk more about this below. (Hint: this doesn’t really work in tandem with Challenge). It sometimes seems like this crew wasn’t completely developed…
Nino: Getting out of Melee
Nino can use his Bonus Action Quick Retreat when he’s in combat. It simply goes off and allows him a 4” push, allowing him to start pumping that Repeating Rifle of his once again.
Papa Loco: Destroy Terrain/Ignore Cover and Healing
Papa has the Bonus Action Blow It to Hell on range 8 (requires a 6). You can drop a ‘Blown Apart’-Marker. Anything within 2” from said marker no longer gains Cover. Even better, it destroys destructible terrain. So guess what? Say bye-bye to your Ice Pillars (Rasputina/Euripides), Piano’s (Zipp), Web (Dreamer) or Shadow Markers (Misaki). Loco makes himself invaluable when playing against crews who create destructible terrain.
As covered above, Loco also has Juggernaut, a 1/2/4 heal. Sadly, it requires you to discard a card. Not very attractive, but can keep him alive in Melee a tad longer (Hint: he’s meant to go down).
Abuela: Board Control and Obey
With the above discussed Nice Shot, Dear Ability, grandma gives +1 to every Action taken outside your normal Activation. It seems strong, and it can be, but it does require you to alter your play style from very aggressive to delayed aggressive.
What I mean by that is, that I usually try and kill as many things as quickly as possible. This results into me using my A por El additional Actions to Concentrate (and push) or to do things like Interact and score points. In short, I mainly use them for things not requiring any duel.
So to take real advantage of this, then, do your positioning and scheme activities during your regular turn and postpone shots until A por El, so you can take full advantage of Abuela’s bonus.
Through Listen Up, Young’Un Abuela can Obey Family members on any flip 8 or higher. This Action cannot target a Master, sadly. On an 8” range and with the above discussed +1 bonus, this Action can be fairly strong.
A valid question is, could I not also use any card (lower than 😎 to give any model an additional Action through A por El? Of course, its 6” range and the whole ‘cost has to be equal or lower’-thing needs to weighed in that debate.
In short, if I take the Guild Steward or the Orderly, those points usually come from leaving Grandma at home. I don’t like spending too many points on models with next to no damage output in this crew, where I want to play to my strengths.
Monster Hunters: Movement Tricks
With their Bonus Action Creep Along, MHs can push their Movement (usually 5”) towards another friendly model. This can be useful in the first two turns to get up the board quickly, and once you’re far out field in turns 4/5 it can help reel you in quicker, too. It does require a 6 to work.
Like Santiago, they also have the Ability Deadly Pursuit, granting them a free 4” push during the End Phase in any direction. This really gets them where they need to be, and can free them from combat. They are not very survivable, so I wouldn’t necessarily take Claim Jump on them, but they could well do Outflank on an abandoned flank. If you are so inclined, they can also get up the board for dropping markers on the opponent’s side of the table. This makes them fairly good in Plant Explosives.
Finally, keep in mind that their Terrorize Attack can push an enemy model its Move from up to 8” away. This Stat 5 attack against Wp is one of the only ways to move enemy models (the other being Papa’s Trigger Blown Away on his Throw Dynamite Shockwave).
Pistoleros: Dropping Scheme Markers
Pistoleros have one little gimmick: when they kill a model, they can drop a Scheme Marker into base contact with it before removing it. I… don’t think there are players I know who have ever used this, much less played for this, as their 1/2/4 damage track on Stat 4 leaves a lot to be desired. Not exactly sure what the idea behind this was.
They can become Reckless (trade 1 health to become Fast), which helps getting stuff across the centre line (e.g. Explosive Markers). Keep in mind that, because they have the lowest Soulstone cost of any Family model, literally any model can give them an additional Action with A por El, making these guys ideal for certain Strategies and Schemes. Now, who wants to deliver that message??
Enslaved Nephilim: Movement and Obey
As discussed above, the Nephilim’s main use is his Frightening Reminder Bonus Action. With it, he can push another friendly model within range 6 up to 4” away (requires a 5). When you have a Tome , you can even give said model an additional Focus. Always allocate any low Tomes you draw to this Trigger (Preparations) as it is one of the few ways to stack Focus on Perdita.
The Nephilim has a ridiculous Obey on a 12” range. With a Stat 4 (requires a 10 of Masks ), the odds of this happening are pretty much non-existent.
Bring in the Pale Rider if you need a Ruthless model, meaning it ignores Terrifying/Manipulative. Utility-wise, you primarily take the Rider for its Ride With Me Bonus Action, allowing you to push the Rider 5” up the board and bring a model that was within 2” of the Rider along, placing it into base contact with the Rider (this requires a 6, which is well worth it). This is how you get slower Melee oriented guys like Francisco or Papa Loco up the board, or you can even use it on Perdita if you’re inclined to wreak serious havoc in Turn 1.
Taggart Queeg you primarily take for his Task Master Ability. This allows models within Aura 4 of him to become Fast instead of gaining Focus at the cost of 2 health. This is a considerable cost, but if these models are within 2” of a Scheme Marker (doesn’t have to be friendly), they only take 1 health worth of damage. It you can get half your crew Fast for just 1 health, it can be a fun game changer. Fun… for you, that is.
Master Queeg also has ways to increase your Soulstone Cache. His Loot Their Corpse Ability converts a Corpse Markers within 2” into a Soulstone, at the end of his Activation. In addition, on his main Attack Barbed Whip, he has the Crow Siphon Essence Trigger, granting you a Soulstone when you kill a model with that Attack. Seriously, with just 2/2/3 damage, it’s not something you play for.
The Guild Steward can end Conditions with his Dispel Magic within 6” (Stat 6 against Wp, requiring a 6). The Mask Trigger Galvanize can even make another model within 3” Focused.
Also previously discussed, his Bonus Action Foul-Mouthed Activation can Heal a model within 6” (also requires a 6) 1/2/3 and give them Focused +1.
The Orderly tries to keep enemies engaged (they get negative flips on their Disengage Actions through his Constriction Ability). He also heals other models within 2” for 1/2/3 (only requires a 4) with his Emergency Surgency Tactical Action.
I do want to devote a few words as to how many Soulstones I bring. I do tend to bring a relatively large cache, as in, anywhere from 6 and upwards.
You’re rarely wanting to use them for card draw, both because of Perdita’s Bonus Action Hero’s Gamble, which allows you to discard your hand and draw a new one, and the fact that literally every card (high or low) can be used for an additional Action with A por El.
Unless you’ve shelled out the 2ss for a Lead-Lined Cloak Upgrade (occasionally worth it), you will need stones to keep Perdita alive. I speculate that Wyrd took out a Defensive mechanism towards the end of the beta - one that I found worked fairly well – and never bothered to replace or re-balance it; I’m not complaining that we now have the A por El Ability, though, as it creates way more exciting opportunities than the Tough as Nails Ability it replaced… however, it does leave Perdita and most of your pieces wanting.
Keep in mind that in M3e, you can both Reduce Damage (a flip you can’t cheat and I always seem to flip a Weak for) as well as Block an attack, giving your opponent a negative flip on damage. The second option can very well prevent more damage.
In short, you do want to allocate about 2-3 Soulstones to Perdita’s defense. They will try and get to her, and it’s important to keep her alive till turn 4/5, so you can disrupt your opponent scoring his scheme marker Schemes. Occasionally, I need to keep Frank alive, too (this mostly happens when I can’t activate his Finesse Bonus Action in time).
This is where my Soulstones see most of their use. Particularly that Mask Trigger is so important. With most models in your crew, the Mask Trigger allows you to get off a second attack on the same Action.
I once destroyed a Sorrow with Francisco, only to be attacked by Baby Kade. Since Finesse was on, Kade didn’t get land any blows despite his Stat 7. I then used Perdita’s A por El to give Francisco another Action. I stoned for the Mask Trigger and ended up getting two focused attacks in on the thing, causing it to go down.
Lesson: stoning for Masks dramatically increases the damage output of your crew, and as long as you have (some) Focus on your models, your crew will be absolutely brutal to deal with.
Now that I’m done raving about the Mask Trigger, almost all models in your crew have Critical Strike on a Ram . You have to be smart here and calculate your odds. Want to take care of a 6 Health minion? With just a single attack you usually can’t take it out! So how are you spending that 1 Focus you have? That one high card? And Perdita only gets her Cut to Size positive flip on damage once (as long as you don’t let the opponent heal up, that is!), so you need to make good use of it.
Lesson: sometimes it is better to just take that single attack and to stone for the Ram .
Same goes for when an enemy model has 3 wounds and you and your opponent are (nearly) out of cards. You can be fairly confident that with Focus, you can win the attack, but you can also be fairly certain you won’t force more than 2 damage through. In this case, a Soulstone can be the difference of taking a model out, or letting live to see another round.
Therefore I allocate about 3-4 Soulstones for offensive use.
First things first: a Family that shoots together, stays together. Or in other words: it definitely pays off to hire Family models, mainly for the A por El. As you have probably noticed above, I’ve only listed a handful of Versatile or Out of Keyword-models that I consider to be worthwhile additions, which is not to say there are no other good models in Guild.
In any case, hiring outside your Family means less synergy in your crew.
I consider Francisco (9ss), Santiago (8ss) and Nino (7ss) absolutely essential to the crew.
Francisco is your main Melee guy, there are few others that can fill the role like he can and get the Bravado and A por El benefits.
Without Santiago, there is no Family crew. I am a firm believer of playing to your strengths and doing it in the most optimal way you can. Being deadly from a distance is your bread and butter. You need both Perdita and Santiago for that.
I consider Nino to be essential to the crew, for his built-in Family Values Trigger. I won’t always deploy him up the board (From the Shadows), but wherever you place him, make sure he can at least see Perdita (or at least another Family member). You need Family Values so you can make Perdita Concentrate a second time that turn and move up the board (and not waste her Actions on silly stuff like walking) and to stack focus on her.
Nino can potentially generate a massive amount of aggro from your opponent. He can shoot Turn 1. He can even shoot twice. Alternatively, you can also Concentrate and take a focused shot. Make sure you expound on everything you do, for instance:
1. Make a show of positioning him From the Shadows. Measure as precisely as you can (distance to the enemy at 14” or 18” if you want to Concentrate first), Make sure he can and will be able to see Dita, and make sure he is or will be Cover so it’s hard to hit him back at range.
2. Possibly Concentrate with Nino Turn 1, moving him just in range of that annoying Totem (or other minion with Df 5 max of your choice). Or two minions, if you want to get the most out of his Quick Reflexes Mark Trigger. Alternatively, you can just shoot twice with him Turn 1.
3. Use your Focus if you decided to Concentrate first.
4. Stress you get a built-in positive flip with him.
5. Of course you will win the duel, but if you don’t: cheat.
6. Do some serious damage. With a bit of luck you got 4 damage.
7. Then point out Family Values and A por El and that Nino’s range through the Spotter Ability is the entire board.
8. Continue by giving Perdita a Focus and also push her forward, saying how great it is your Master will not have to walk and will now dedicate herself exclusively to decimate your opponent’s crew.
9. You can also off-handedly remark that your opponent is free to engage Nino, but Nino’s Bonus Action Quick Retreat will allow him to push out of combat. Rather than prevent her from seeking retaliation, this will enrage your opponent even further (“this guy must go down!”).
Despite Nino being a garbage model in the sense of stats, experience with snipers like Hans will give rise to the idea that Nino can do disastrous things, even though he can do none of those (he can’t, for instance, sacrifice a Focus to extend his range). Yet by this time, he will have generated so much aggro, that your opponent will want to destroy him as soon as possible and allocate considerable resources towards this goal. (Hint: this is great for Vendetta). It can and will derail your opponent’s plans from the very first Activation you take.
You, on the other hand, will most likely get at least two or three Activations out of Nino before they’ve killed him, and if he’s essential to your crew (in the aforementioned Vendetta example), make sure folks like Santiago or Francisco can pull him out of combat in time, or you will have a friendly Orderly/Steward to heal him up. If nothing else, he will at least steer some enemy heavy lifters his way. This leaves the rest of your crew to do work in another part of the board without being troubled by a serious beater/Henchman. I once managed to pull both Nekima and Hayreddin off course while I decimated the rest of the opponent’s crew.
The rest of the crew is situational.
I like Papa Loco (7ss) for crowd control, I definitely think he has his place. As mentioned, don’t take him when the opponent can Obey him to do things you (really!) don’t want him to do.
I take Monster Hunters (6ss) if I need to get stuff across the centre line quickly (e.g. in Plant Explosives)
Pistoleros (4ss) can be good when I need a low minion to do some cheap interacts (e.g. Turf War).
Abuela (5ss) is a bit of a tossup. It’s fun to play around with her and her Nice Shot, Dear Ability, but it really changes your play style. She’s slow, has a low Defense and offers little offensive capabilities. She is a lot of fun to have on the table, though, such as the first time you cart her in her wheelchair across a hedge, fence or stream. Another thing that makes people chuckle is when you shoot her Sawed-Off Shotgun and she is pushed back 3” as a result. She is a bit of a conversation piece (if you care for such things), and if you can manage to tie folks up with her, her Sharp Wit can make enemies Slow. Take that, Archie!
For more on Abuela, read the Utility section above.
Out of Keyword/Versatile
If I need healing (e.g. Cursed Idols, Reckoning) I usually take an Orderly (5ss), or if I can squeeze out the Soulstones, the Guild Steward (6ss). Since their damage output is low, I generally sacrifice taking Abuela, another low damage ouput model.
The Pale Rider (11ss) is absolutely an awesome choice and by this time, I usually alternate a bit between taking him and riding the waves of synergy by taking an all-Family crew. The Rider works fairly well with the crew in that he has a 12” gun with a decent 2/4/5 damage track. The Rider appears more often in Strats that require great mobility, such as Plant Explosives, sacrificing a Monster Hunter and a Pistolero to make room for him in my crew.
Master Queeg (8+1ss) is a bit of gimmick. I usually leave him home for competitive play, but it is a lot of fun trying to get his Focus -> Fast synergy off around the Family Crew.
First I’ll give you my general strategy overview, and then I’ll talk a little bit more about the specific Strategies (GG 0).
General Approach for the Family Crew / How to Approach Turn 1
By now you will have hopefully realized that you need to play this crew Plug ‘n’ Play. What I mean by that is, kill first, ask questions later. When you’re asking yourself the question “Who’s the Beatdown?” (who has the role of the aggressor), the answer should always be you.
Generally activate lower cost models first. This allows you to watch what the opponent is doing. What you’re looking for is for her to over-extend. By the end of Turn 1, usually there is one model that she’s moved up too far.
By moving up your lower cost models first, you get the opportunity to use your A por El Ability. For example, moving up Francisco first will place him out of range to use A por El on another model and since he can use this to benefit literally every other Family member but Perdita, this is just plain stupid.
Since you’re not going to be using most of your cards on Turn 1, allocate them to A por El, preferably to get a lot of additional Focus and Movement through Bravado.
On a secondary level, Bravado dictates whom you move. If there are models that can use it (i.e. they have LoS to an enemy model), they take preference over models that won’t be able to use it and, thusly, might end Turn 1 without any Focus on them. Keep in mind you can also first move, then Concentrate, so move into position where you can draw LoS, and then go for it.
The Nephilim should be used to move Perdita up the board. When Perdita is in place by turn 2/3, the Nephilim can either engage the enemy and frustrate them, or help move slower models such as Abuela up the board farther.
Last to activate in Turn 1 is Perdita. By this time, you will have moved her up 8” through Bravado (Nino’s Family Values Trigger, discussed above) and through the Enslaved Nephilim’s Frightening Reminder Bonus Action. With any luck, this has also netted her 2 Focus (requires a 5 of Tomes :tome). Take one more Bravado Action and you will not only be up to 12” on your way, you will also have 3 Focus. With a 12” range on your Custom Peacebringer, ideally you can now target two models. Stone for the Mask :mask Trigger and make sure you have set aside your high Card(s) for Dita’s attacks. Potentially pump four attacks out.
It is very likely that by this point, you will take at least one, if not two enemy models down. I always prioritize those horrible 4-5ss Scheme Runners. Let’s face it, those will probably score your opponent most of their points. By taking them out as early as Turn 1, you can really (and I mean really) mess up their plans.
Of course, if you have cards left, use A por El to move Frank up the board (i.e. Concentrate).
By now you should understand that it is key to think ahead. You need to exploit every part of your crew to get out on top. You need your Bravado, you need to be strategic with A por El, you need to Concentrate as much as you can, you need the Triggers, you need to get the Activation Order exactly right; and most importantly, you need to stay within 6” of another model for the Family Values Trigger. It can’t always go off, but you need to use it every single opportunity you get, as cards and Focus are the lifeblood of your crew. Generally speaking, you should never, ever over-extend. Unless you can kill Earl, heh.
Relish the amazing and fun puzzles all these parameters give you. When you play as efficiently as possible, you’ll have a good chance of coming out on top.
I will let you in on a secret: with this crew I am being naughty and don’t focus too much on Strategies and Schemes. I don’t mean to say that you should ignore them… don’t lose sight of them completely, of course! It is fine to dedicate a Pistolero and Monster Hunter to get an Explosive Marker across the centre line, it’s what they’re there for.
In most of my games, by the end of Turn 4, there are only 2 enemy models alive. They won’t do much, trust me. By this time, you will have free reign (and you’re also possibly sitting on 8 Explosive Makers) to do whatever you please.
The centre of the board is a good place to be, in general. However, I sometimes opt to have Nino pull a few enemy models out of position and go the other way with the rest of my crew. Your crew’s range means that few places will be safe from their long reach. You want to take out as many models as possible, so concentrate your firepower and try to prevent them coming in en masse. If, despite your best efforts, this does happen, Perdita’s Finger on the Trigger can really help you stave off their attacks.
I’m now going to treat the schemes in order of my own personal preference.
This is a very good Strategy for you, although you sometimes need to pace your kills. I am constantly torn between taking out a model early (i.e. in time for it to do serious damage) and letting it run around lame and killing it the next turn. Personally I’ve found a balance: I allow myself to take out 1-2 models early (preferably Turn 1) to take the edge of the opponent’s crew. Turn 2 and 3 it’s usually not too hard to score a point off this Strat. Turn 4 I try and focus on the Master. Doesn’t always work, and perhaps I could ‘let go’ a bit more and delay kills even further. However, if you allow models to breach your defense and tie you up in Melee, remember your stuff will go down easily. You want to use your strength (i.e. your range) and take them out in time!
This I consider a good strategy. Francisco and the Pale Rider can carry multiple markers. Monster Hunters and Pistoleros are also fairly fast and can get things dropped quickly. They will go down quickly, if they’re caught, though. If you want to place something Turn 1, possibly use the Nephilim to give your Monster Hunter an extra boost. A por El can be so much fun here. Just when an opponent figures you cannot score because you are across the centre line but you do not have the Actions necessary to drop an Explosive Marker, you can help your model by giving it the very Action it needs. It can catch opponents off-guard, particularly if it is the last thing you do in a turn.
As per the general strategy: taking out enemies is vital. If they can’t drop their Explosives, they can’t score. Simple. Monster Hunters can come in use in this scenario to help pick up some of the dropped bombs. They’re fairly cheap and adequately fast (they can potentially move up to 19” a turn).
I consider this to be a decent scheme. You’re near the centre line already most of the time. However, your crew is pretty easy to take down, without you inflicting additional wounds on your models by pushing Idol Markers around. I usually focus on killing first, before moving onto the Idols.
It’s your job to take out the healers of the enemy crew as soon as possible. Nino can certainly help in that regard. Make your opponent think twice about spending 3 Health to move an Idol. Unlike most crews, you don’t necessarily need to pick a side. I usually try to take control of the centre of the board. From there you can easily reach the flanks what with your 12” range and all.
Obviously, you want to consider taking your own healer. The Orderly can heal twice a turn, although he only has a 2” range. He works well in a tightly knit group in the centre. Perdita’s Finger on the Trigger can also help to keep you there.
I am not sure how I feel about this strategy, because part of a general approach is to get across the centre line and not get your own guys killed. But if you’re doing that, you won’t be using your range. See the dilemma? The opponent, most likely, will make the same dash across the centre line (they will have to if they want to get to you), and you won’t be winning a Melee fight with them.
I usually deploy a Pistolero and/or Nino in one table quarter (to flip the marker and possibly to lure some of their guys away from the main force) and the rest of the crew in the other quarter. From there, I move to the centre again and try to claim that marker. It’s a bit tricky, but avoid over-extending yourself. Once the enemy is dead, they won’t be likely to make any kills and you can bring balance to all things by reclaiming any lost Turf War markers.
I generally shy away from schemes that require a lot of effort, i.e. a lot of movement or Interacts. I don’t want to run across the board with my crew, it’s just not their strength. They’re more the ‘stay at home’ kind of guys (and girls!). And who wants to be spending their Actions on Interacts when they could be shooting? If you take Harness the Leyline, for instance, you will need to use six Actions to Interact. Ridiculous. Claim Jump on the other hand is comparatively easy to achieve without using Actions on things you wouldn’t have already done yourself. What I mean to say, is: if there are models that try to deny you your points, you will shoot them, because you were going to anyway, right!?
I’ll sort the Schemes in three categories: Recommended, Doable, and Not-Recommended.
With all Schemes below, remember that A por El really makes a difference. That additional shot in Assassinate/Vendetta to get someone below half health, or to help them scurry away to safety is vital. Similarly, with Claim Jump/Outflank it can help to manoeuvre a model in place without anyone expecting it.
Vendetta: if you beef Nino up, as I described in the Hiring section, you can lure a higher Soulstone cost model your way. When you position your models, you can almost guarantee which model they will send after you. This does require you to prepare some backup for Nino without being too overt about it. He can survive 2 attacks, but with the third, he can possibly go down. I usually make sure by that time, I can have moved someone like Perdita up (Ride with Me on the Pale Rider does the trick) and gun down the model. It’s a bit of a gamble. You can make Nino more survivable if you give him the 2ss Upgrade Lead-Lined Cloak, giving him Armor +1.
If you don’t want to use Nino as your secretly chosen model, you can basically take any other model. With your 12” range, it is fairly easy to get the shots you need in, and kill the model before they can hit you.
Claim Jump: with Deadly Pursuit, Santiago can easily get a free 4” push at the end of the turn and surprise your opponent. He’s not the strongest model to try and keep alive, but if you want to try and keep a model alive, he’s certainly it. I sometimes bring a healer just in case, especially if I’m also playing Reckoning or Cursed Idols.
Outflank: I love Schemes that happen when I play naturally. With Range 12, it’s less of a sacrifice to have models be out on the flanks. You can already deploy Nino on one (don’t be too obvious and put him one or two moves away) and move a Monster Hunter quickly up the other. Again, Deadly Pursuit is your friend and can really jump this on an opponent. From a centre position, you can relatively easily lend support to either flank.
Alternatively, you can wait till turn 4 to reveal this Scheme when most enemy models are dead, and you can dedicate some of your more superfluous models to occupying the flanks.
Assassinate: Of course, you can always just try and kill the enemy leader. With your Focus, Perdita’s Cut Them to Size and possibly Analyse Weakness, it’s often not that hard. Besides, in turn 4 you are looking for that Master Kill for your Reckoning Strategy, aren’t you? Of course, this Scheme is very Master specific. It’s a given when Nekima is the opposing Master. With Colette, not so much.
Dig Their Graves: One thing is certain: with Perdita on the table bodies will soon start falling left and right. With A por El it is usually fairly easy to find room in your plan to drop a Scheme Marker. I don’t like using Interacts when I can instead shoot things, though, but at least with this it is just the one Interact in the heat of battle.
When the smoke of battle rises and most enemies are gone, an Abuela, a Monster Hunter or Pistolero can easily dedicate itself to dropping more Scheme Markers near the Corpses. It won’t be hard.
Hold Up Their Forces: The thing is, your crew doesn’t like to be in Melee. When considering this Scheme, I try and see whether I can team up Francisco with a 10ss enemy henchman and Papa Loco with another 8ss+ enemy Enforcer, so your Melee guys can do what comes natural to them (engage enemies that will be sorry to have engaged them).
That being said, it’s not advisable to engage Howard Langston in this way. Francisco can stand up to a beating if his Finesse is up, but he won’t survive everything.
Otherwise, you can potentially use Monster Hunters for this (Deadly Pursuit can potentially surprise the enemy) and make sure Francisco and Santiago are there to pull them out of combat at the start of the next turn. I do like the puzzle this Scheme presents my crew, but at times all it does, is give me a headache.
Deliver a Message: there are few things more fun than to surprise someone with a message. If you plan things correctly, you can even A por El twice and move a Pistolero up as well as have them perform an Interact. Or use Reckless on your Pistolero to get up close and personal. Santiago and Francisco are great to pull your model out of combat, after which Abuela can Obey them to get even farther away from the battle. You can deliver and move back to safety within a single turn.
Take Prisoner: Most of your guys can’t stand up to a beating. Sure, a Monster Hunter can tie up an enemy scheme runner (you usually have the movability necessary to do so), however, do you want to be using a 6ss minion for this? One with Defense 5?
With a crew designed to kill, trying to keep enemies alive is counter-productive.
Harness the Leyline: I don’t recommend wasting 6 Actions to drop scheme markers. However, if you want to try this despite my best judgment, you can position Nino near the centre line and have him drop markers around turn 2/3.
Breakthrough: who wants to go for a run across the table? No one? Great. Then don’t do it. If you need to do it, a Monster Hunter or the Pale Rider could possibly dedicate itself to it when the fighting dies down in turn 3. I usually can’t make it in time to do it twice, though.
Power Ritual: something akin to Breakthrough, although with Corner Deployment, Nino can come in handy here. You can already deploy him near a corner and he can drop the first maker, essentially giving you a ‘free’ point.
Search the Ruins: not only can I be bothered to move up the board that far, but I refuse to use 5 Actions to drop Scheme Markers. Also, everyone and their tennis partners’ dogs seem to take this Scheme. Happy to steer clear of it.
So, how do you win against Perdita? It is certainly possible. Here are a few pointers:
- Stay out of sight. Bravado is essential to the crew. When they can’t see you, they can’t exploit the Concentrate Action. If they don’t have any Focus to spend, they won’t break through your Cover bonus. Of course, insist on a table with ample terrain as per the Gaining Ground rules.
- Card pressure. Anything you can do to make Perdita discard cards, takes apart her crew. Every card she has is another Action through A por El. Every Action is more pressure on you. Take her cards away, she’ll have nothing. This means that, for instance, bringing Terrifying models to the party constitutes a great choice.
- Pull the crew apart. Anything you can do to lure models away from each other (farther than 6”) will benefit you. Without a legal model around as the target of a Family Values Trigger, you’ll keep the needed cards out of Perdita’s hand. You will also prevent A por El from being used.
- Bring models with Stealth. This presents such an enormous puzzle to the Perdita player. I’m serious, even just one or two models can be a headache. A Swampfiend crew with the First Mate and Silurids is an absolute nightmare and a hard counter to the Perdita crew.
Ten Thunders has access to a ridiculous Upgrade (Trained Ninja) that gives Stealth out to any man, woman and child that needs it. Combine this with some Torakage and Misaki’s easy way of reaching Perdita, and Dita is toast.
- Bring models with 2” reach. Francisco’s Heroic Intervention only really works when you’re within 1”. All the Gunfighter Abilities only have range 1. Also, it’s possible to circumvent Perdita’s Finger on the Trigger Attacks when you Charge at her and tie her up from 2” away.
- Obey Papa Loco to Charge into his own Crew and damage himself to the point that he’ll explode. It’s absolutely brutal. Obeys can also be a great way to deal with the Guild Steward’s Demise(Reprisal) Ability. It's not too difficult to Obey a Family member to shoot and kill him for you. Do keep in mind you will not be able to take the Demise(Reprisal) damage flip, though, as this is Enemy only.
Is this enough for you, you sick bastard? See you across the table!
Here I would like to give a brief overview of what to do with your cards.
High Rams :ram– Can be used for Critical Strike on almost all your main and some secondary attacks.
High Masks :mask– Grin with pleasure as you puzzle which model you will give an additional attack.
High Tomes :tome– Dedicate them to a model 6” away from Perdita, so she can make use of the Family Values Trigger’s benefits to Concentrate again.
High Crows :crow– Use on Santiago’s attack to hand out Adversary(Family).
5+ of Tomes – Use on your Enslaved Nephilim’s Frightening Reminder Bonus Action, to give Perdita an additional Focus.
4+ of Masks :mask– Use on Santiago’s Bonus Action I’ve Got your Back to get a free shot off with Quick Shot.
Most 6s can be used for Movement shenanigans you might want to use (Creep Along, Ride with Me, et cetera).
This tactica can help, but you need to practice and get games in, as with any crew. I’m convinced that in most situations, I can give my opponent a pretty good run for her money when playing Perdita, gauging by the fact that at this point in time, people are starting to beg me to play a different master.
Is there anything missing in this tactica? Do you want to request more information? Am I incorrect, or do you have further tips for me? Please feel free to comment or ask anything you like.
FYI: I’m against hiring second Masters into crews in principle, so if it’s all the same, I rather not touch upon that subject than by saying you’re not wrong if you think Perdita would make a good second Master.
Henchman for the Netherlands
Perdita Ortega Tactica.docx