M3E playtest 22nd Jan 2019
Guild Lucius vs Bayou Mah
Plant Explosives, corner deployment
Breakthrough, Hold Up Their Forces, Take Prisoner, Claim Jump, Vendetta
Guild: Lucius, Scribe, Agent 46, Investigator, 2 x Lawyer, False Witness, Doppelganger, Changeling, 5ss
Bayou: Mah, Lil Lass, Big Brain Brin, 2 x Rooster Rider, 2 x Bushwacker, 2 x Survivor, 6ss
Guild: Lucius x2 markers, Agent 46 1 marker, Doppelganger x2 markers.
Bayou: Mah 1 marker, 2x Bushwackers 1 marker, 2x Rooster Riders 1 marker.
Guild: Breakthrough, Claim Jump (Changeling)
Bayou: Take Prisoner (Lawyer 1), Vendetta (Survivor vs Lawyer 2)
Guild: multiple actions outside of activation turn a poor control hand into a strong one. The Lawyers protect themselves, but are not attacked, while Agent 46 skirmishes with a Bushwacker and a Rooster Rider on the flank.
Bayou: the Bushwackers harass on each flank and are quickly backed up by a rooster rider each. Mah pushes the survivors around and holds the backfield in reserve. The Bushwackers drop their markers in advance.
Guild: Lucius activates early and issues command on Agent 46, who uses this 1 AP to kill both the rooster rider and the Bushwacker, stealing the Rooster's explosives into the bargain. The Agent continues up this flank to drop his own explosives and prepare to make a run on the Bayou backfield next turn. The scribe moves to engage one of the survivors, and the Lawyers attempt to draw more cards and jockey for position. The Doppelganger lures the other Bushwacker into its own trap, and the False Witness runs ahead to steal one of the deployed explosives. The Changeling eventually moves to the centre of the table to score Claim Jump.
Bayou: down activations, the remaining rooster/Bushwacker team place another pair of explosives, only to have one grabbed by the Witness. The survivors skirmish in the centre again, one of them successfully putting wounds on the Witness and killing the Lawyer on the same flank, scoring Vendetta. Mah dives in toward the centre to threaten charges next turn. The Lil Lass puts some wounds into Agent 46 with a lucky flip.
Scoring: both score Plant Explosives, Guild scores Claim Jump, Bayou scores Vendetta; 2-2
Guild: The False Witness activates early to run up and dump the stolen explosives in the Bayou half before they get shot to death. They survive long enough to ensure it will be in that half for the duration of this turn. The Doppelganger moves up to get in position for breakthrough. Agent 46 brutally cuts down the Lil Lass and drops some more explosives. Lucius and the Scribe, alongside the Investigator and the Lawyer, try to protect the Changeling, but with some help from Big Brain Brin and pushes from Tricksy abilities, the survivor in the centre takes the poor child down to its last wound. Without healing in the crew, this will deny Claim Jump’s second point, unless the Doppelganger can mimic Brin's heal trigger (and not have it cancelled).
Bayou: The Rooster Rider eventually kills the False Witness, but it takes its entire activation to do so. The Bushwacker shoots to little effect. The Vendetta Survivor runs for cover to secure the second point for this before the Doppelganger can lure it back to the action. Mah gets involved, killing the Investigator and dropping her explosives.
Scoring: Both score Plant Explosives; 3-3
Guild: With few models left intact, Lucius attempts to maximise AP to get a marker down for Breakthrough, uncontested near Agent 46. More explosives go down thanks to the Agent as well. The Doppelganger moves to get further scheme markers in place for the endgame.
Bayou: Mah activates early and tosses snakes into the guild crowd in the centre, flipping double severe on a negative to blast onto everyone. The Scribe goes down to 1 wound, the Changeling dies, and Lucius and the Lawyer are hurt badly. Everyone is poisoned, though Lucius manages to remove it from the scribe to keep it alive for the turn. This swings activation control heavily into the Bayou's favour for the turn. The Rooster Rider recovers the stolen explosives and plants them down in the “correct” table half again. Their high wound count, movement and reckless has been a massive boon so far. The Survivor completes its vanishing act to secure Vendetta, as the guild no longer have a presence in this table corner.
Both Score Plant Explosives, Guild score Breakthrough; 5-4 For the Guild.
We have run out of time at this point. Bayou look to score Plant Explosives and Vendetta for sure, while Guild are sure to score Plant, but unlikely to also score Breakthrough with so few models left and Brin still lurking around the backfield. Bayou mention they have take prisoner, which Guild concede they would have scored based on the Guild plan for the turn.
Both score Plant Explosives, Bayou score Vendetta and Take Prisoner.
Final Score: 5-6, win to the Bayou
Lucius crew is extremely synergistic. They are encouraged to cheat often, as they quickly reclaim these cards, but this often plays into the hands of the Tricksy Bayou, who get several push effects as a result.
Agent 46 is a lethal scalpel, but average stats and middling wound count leave them vulnerable to passive duels, blasts, shockwaves etc, and late activations still have a chance of landing hits (Lil Lass hit a rather nasty 4 wounds at one point after charging, reduced by a soulstone).
The combination of defensive tech is strong and resource draining, but landing hits on the guild crew is rewarded by both a low wound count overall and a lack of healing.
Lucius himself seems to have a fairly low impact activation if he lacks strong models to use, as both his cane and sniper are somewhat unreliable. To offset this without making him stronger, it might be nice to have him also gain Following Orders for when the Changeling is bossing him around by copying Issue Command (a slightly odd, but definitely hilarious interaction).
One notable weakness of the guild crew was the False Witness, whose actions want to be taken early but whose only defence is Manipulative. Changing this to Intimidating Authority, while card intensive, should help balance the need to activate it early for maximum benefit from Adversary. Speaking of which, Adversary (Elite) and Adversary (Reporter) do nothing for the Mimic portion of Lucius’ crew. Being a master shapeshifter, it might be interesting for the Doppelganger to be able to gain a keyword from another friendly model it can see each turn - this could, of course, make it too desirable for other crews, in which case possibly just making it an Elite model would be a simpler solution to this. Without this, I can't see much reason to take it over Alan Reid.
On the side of the Bayou, Mah felt solid. Her bag of tricks with initiative, pushes and triggers, alongside a fearsome melee attack make her a strong presence on the table, and her crew is tough to pin down. The only outlier on this side seemed to be the Rooster Riders, who seemed like they could very safely move into range to shoot their excellent gun, then use Reckless to move away again with very little chance for reprisal and a high enough wound count that one stray hit doesn't really stop them from doing reckless 3-5 turns each game. Even one fewer wound or one lower move might help alleviate this without taking away from their strong offense.
In all, both crews felt like they played well, and neither seemed to have major problems, just the minor ones listed above.