Hi all back with another one of my crew overviews, this time for my favourite crew the Bandits of the Barrows Gang. I really do love playing Bandit and it's the keyword I've put the most time into by far (50-60 games compared to Viks next at about 10), having some close matches off top table in tournaments to knock me off podiums with solo-Parker. Keyword abilities/triggers-
Life of Crime- while not on everything in the crew, it's pretty common and very useful. When a model with this activates it can remove a scheme marker within 4" (any- friend or foe) to gain Fast. Simple, effective and all around just good if you have ways to get markers out easily (and with the bandits, you do)
Run and Gun- quite simple, they can use projectiles on Charge actions. When the crew mostly have guns, this is great because it's AP efficient and helps them move around while still being able to shoot opponents (also to get around cover or concealment)
Drop It!- the tome trigger of the crew, this forces the target to drop a scheme marker of the opponent's in base contact with themself. The trigger is useful to put Fast on your own models (because of Life of Crime) or just to mess with the placement of markers for your opponent (if you make them put a marker in a useless spot but it's within 4" of somewhere they would want a marker, that's a big win)
Gunfighter- A few models in the crew have this which lets them use their guns as melee attacks with a range of 1”. It’s good to stop things from being shut down in engagement and means the models with it can keep shooting, just at what’s closest first
A Fistful of Scrip- On Parker, Mad Dog and Sue, this lets them place a scheme marker in base contact with models they kill. It’s useful to set up schemes if models happen to be in the right place at the right time, but more often it will just be used to feed Fast to things.
Parker Barrows- The master of the crew, Parker is good at pretty much everything you want him to be good at. His defensive stats are very good for a master (mainly his 14 wounds) and he has a couple of ways to regenerate Soulstones to keep him going (and the other stone users in the crew). His front of card is pretty standard given his role as the Bandit Master, with Gunfighter, A Fistful of Scrip and Run and Gun but he also brings Expert Shot to always ignore Friendly Fire which is really nice to have, and Draw Their Attention to go into his role as a shooter that supports his crew when he does it. It means when he damages an enemy model another friendly in LoS of him can discard a card to take an Interact action, meaning in interact heavy pools it can get a lot of value out of a crew that already is capable of taking a lot of actions (you can’t score Deliver a Message off it but Plant or any scheme marker is fair game). The back of his card has a lot of text- to be expected on a master- but each of his 4 actions have worthwhile uses and will see play at some point. His Six-shooters are a somewhat low stat 5 with positives, but they get +1 for each scheme marker within 3” of the target which him and his crew will force placement of, and 2/4/5 damage is respectable with his possible 17” threat range on 1AP. The triggers are also pretty good with him having Reposition on a mask to move up to 3”, and Highway Robbery as a version of Drop It! that will always trigger provided he has the tome (it’s enemy only, after resolving so he doesn’t need to actually hit). Highway Robbery then helps set up one of his tactical actions Bandit Raid, which has 10” range and needs a 6 to push another friendly model up to 6” towards a scheme marker in its LoS and then if it is a Bandit it may take a shoot action. It can’t target the same model more than once an activation but it’s a great way to not only get threat extension but also extra shots and putting models closer to scheme markers (which then means Fast). It’s amazing on Mad Dog or Gunslingers because they both have great things that work with it (blasts on Mad Dog, Onslaught on the Gunslingers) and want to be in good positions for shooting. His other tactical action is a bonus with no flips needed, simply a 4” pulse that removes all enemy scheme markers and gives you a card or soulstone for each. It’s value just because it gives you resources super quickly and it’s absolutely free- doesn’t cost you cards and doesn’t clash for any other bonus action so when you have the opportunity it will happen. The last thing to note on his card is somewhat less common to use but still good in the right situation and that is Stick Up!, which is slightly lower range but higher stat than his guns, resisted by Wp instead of Df and has a more control focus. It’s enemy only and can’t target the same model more than once, but it deals a flat 4 damage that can be reduced by 2 for each card the enemy discards (obviously they can only discard 2). The catch is if they do discard cards you draw an equal number so it’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation for the enemy, and the ram trigger is then an irresistible theft of a soulstone provided the target can use them which is both thematic, hilarious and strong. In general I find myself using the Six-shooters more often to throw out markers and deal damage but Stick Up! Is great as well on models with especially low Wp that can spend stones (Fuhatsu for example). Don’t expect Parker himself to blow away the opponent’s crew, he isn’t Perdita or Ophelia in that regard, but do expect him to multiply your force and add a ton of value to the models you do have so you can achieve a lot more.
Doc Mitchell- as a totem he is free, and he's 4SS anyway, so he could be forgiven if he wasn't fantastic. But he is for that cost. He's just a cheap healer to follow around the vital pieces, and although his heal is short ranged it's at a good stat with an excellent trigger and as such he will be an important piece in your crew. If he dies? Sure, the totem died and took hits the others could've taken. He doesn't? He'll keep things going far longer than they should. He's also immune to poison which is situationally great
Mad Dog Brackett- Mad Dog is hands down my favourite blaster in Outcasts. The amount of damage he can do is insanely good on his own and when you start adding in what Bandits can do to tune him up that becomes incredibly scary. While he is low range for the crew, Run and Gun helps extend that to 13” threat range off a single AP, and he can not only ignore Cover himself but he can extend it to the entire crew through Blown Apart markers which comes in handy often. His own damage track is very good, and with valuable triggers on every suit (his crow to ignore armour is built in, which is often helpful) he will always be doing something of value. He has great synergies with Parker and the Emissary which I will put in their respective sections, and in general I would never play a Bandit crew without Mad Dog
Benny Wolcomb- Honestly? Don't. Benny requires you to jump through a lot of hoops to get him going in a way that is useful to a Bandit crew, and although he is a second henchman that isn't actually great in a lot of situations. Play him in Hamelin (and even there he's a maybe take) but he's not worth it in Parker
Sue- Being entirely honest Sue is a model I have grappled with on a few occasions because I know that he is good and I see the great value there, but when I put him on the table he is never quite as hot as he seems. His gun is great especially with Critical Strike built in, Walk the Line is great value to set up scoring where it needs to happen (or just to trigger Life of Crime on something else) and both of his bonus actions are very useful. The Man in Black turning off triggers entirely is probably the better of the 2 in most cases (Ring of Fire has the potential to hurt your own models while MiB is just hard enemy control) and his front of card is fairly typical for a more expensive Bandit, although he lacks Life of Crime and instead has Grit (Hurt) to draw cards when activating below half health and Hard to Kill to keep him going longer. In general he’s good, but it’s more difficult to get value out of him compared to a lot of the similarly costed models in keyword or versatile with him not having Life of Crime.
Convict Gunslingers- Gunslingers are a very un-subtle model as can be expected from the name. They’re all about shooting as much as possible whenever possible and they’re good at it. Bullet Proof stops them from being damaged as much by enemy guns, and Quick Draw means if they win a duel on a mask against projectile attacks they can hit back at 2/4/5 with a negative. They have fairly standard abilities for Bandit otherwise (Life of Crime, Gunfighter and Run and Gun) and only 2 actions on the back of the card. Their attack is decent at stat 5 with positives resisted by Df, 2/4/5 damage is respectable but the triggers are where it gets strong. Onslaught on a mask, Slow on a crow and Drop It! is a great spread to have on a model that wants to be shooting as much as possible. Chain Gang is useful because it is a move for friendlies that needs no flips and can get things out of engagement (mainly Mad Dog and Bandidos) or just to get 3” further up the table early game.
Wokou Raiders- A shared keyword model with Misaki, Wokou Raiders are a bit odd in how they work but they’re very good nonetheless. They’re a melee model with a little bit of shooting, working as a tarpit and damage dealer that still has the classic Bandit scheme marker removal you’d expect. They borrow Charge Through from Last Blossom, getting positive flips to melee damage flips on Charges which goes well with their damage track (2/4/5) and positives to attack built in with some great triggers. Drop It! is typical as a Bandit, Critical Strike is good for the extra damage should you get rams and Coordinated Attack is better in Last Blossom than Bandit given the melee preference over Bandit’s gun focus, but always good when it’s relevant. Defence 5 is pretty average for something of their cost, willpower 6 being good, but Combat Finesse and the fact opponents can never cheat melee attacks against them is a very big boost to their effectiveness. Bullet Proof is something they share with Gunslingers and Oiran giving them a little edge against guns as well, while they have Life of Crime to gain Fast when they activate. This synergises well with their Ever-Changing Wind which lets them move (not push) 3” when an enemy scheme marker is placed within aura 6, meaning you’ll easily be able to get in 4” to remove that marker when they activate. A New Horizon lets them place scheme markers around as a bonus action for a 4 of tomes, moving the marker 6” of its current location when the action is declared which can not only counter an opponent but also benefit Bandits if you’re spreading around Fast.
Dead Outlaws- A very similar model to Bandidos below just with slightly different stats and replacing Life of Crime with Torment from Jack Daw’s crew, which they are also in-keyword. Df4 is pretty low but they have 7 wounds and Hard to Wound to compensate, they have Gunfighter so they aren’t stuck with being engaged, and they have 2 abilities on the front of card that work better with Tormented than Bandit. Cursed Bullets means they ignore Friendly Fire when Tormented models are involved, both friendly and enemy, while Torment lets them draw cards at the end of their activation if they damage enemies with upgrades attached. It works in Bandit if opponents happen to have them but is far easier in Tormented given how that crew throws out negative upgrades onto their opponents. Their Collier Revolver is the same as most of the crew and is ok, but their triggers are far more debilitating than the rest of the crew. On a mask they give out Staggered (which plays into Jack Daw more but is still good) and on a crow they give Slow or gain +1 damage if the target is already Slow which is really good. Their other attack is At Gunpoint which at stat 6 resist Wp is a decent attack but the effects are easy to negate. It works like an obey, but the opponent has to be within 3” of one of their scheme markers and can simply discard a random card to stop them from taking the action. The triggers on it give Staggered on a mask or a built-in trigger for +1 damage when resolving the action. Outlaws themselves cannot eat markers for Fast as they lack Life of Crime, but with Covetous Cravings as a tactical action they can hand it out on a 5 provided the target is in 6” and LoS of a scheme marker which is good for spreading fast but even better at being super long ranged and non-linear scheme marker removal. Their bonus action is a 6” aura that lets them push another Tormented model in LoS 3” towards a dropped scheme marker whenever a scheme marker is dropped within range. It’s a good way to keep things moving in Tormented but will only ever happen in Bandit if you’re hiring OOK or more than one Dead Outlaw.
Bandidos- The cheapest Bandit model outside of Doc, Bandidos are primarily scheming pieces that can also do a lot while shooting. They’re not fantastic and they lack the positive flips most of the crew have, but they are still valuable enough for their points. Their biggest weakness is getting engaged, because their Knife is very average, and they will usually fold should they be in combat with something that wants to be there. 5s all around for stats is decent enough, Run and Gun is well worth it on them (if you’re planning on walking to a position to place a marker, you may as well charge to shoot if you can), their mask trigger is great to push 3” after succeeding and they have a couple of really good front of card abilities. Quick Getaway is a mask trigger on defence that lets them push 5” after resolving an attack, so every time they resist on Df and get a mask they’re moving, and Trigger Finger is even better albeit once per turn. When an enemy drops a scheme marker within aura 8 of them (so when you use Drop It!) they can take a projectile action against the model that dropped it. This combined with Life of Crime means the crew can put out tons of shooting outside of normal AP limits which is great value to have. The last thing to mention is like Dead Outlaws they have At Gunpoint but it’s at a lower stat and thus not reliable at all for the setup. They aren’t really tanky but they can move around well enough to score points so I rate them, and I get value out of using them in marker schemes.
Bayou Smugglers- Like Benny this is another dual-keyword model that doesn't really do much to add to Parker's skillset. It's a predominately anti-scheme based model but that's done by literally everything in-keyword, and as a melee model Wokou Raiders have a better toolkit for the most part. Attuned is really nice and their card cycle is good, but I would consider these more in Bayou crews as a Versatile model, or Outcast Zipp crews.
Hodgepodge Emissary- My favourite Versatile choice for Parker, the Emissary does a lot to support the crew in relevant ways. It has a 6 inch range heal that only needs a 6 to go off and can attach the excellent Trinket upgrades at the same time, a bonus action to put up an aura of soulstone generation when models die, and the better bonus action to push a model 3” and then drop a scheme marker. This action needs no flips, and in Bandit where it triggers Life of Crime is essentially pushing a model 3 and giving it fast for no investment at all. Combine that with 3 inch auras for passive heals on models’ activations and increasing their Mv by 1 for that activation (which is great for charges), plus it having Manipulative and Hard to Kill it is well worth the 10SS investment in Parker crews for a lot of pools.
Memento- Gives Companion, it’s excellent on Mad Dog. Use Parker to set up a 3AP killing spree, Bandit Raid him into range and then immediately go and slaughter.
Pretty Floral Bonnet- Don’t Mind Me lets any model you choose be able to Interact far easier which helps Bandit crews do what they do best. It’s useful in a lot of cases and where it goes (and when) depends entirely on board state, but it’s worth doing
Vitality Potion- Regen +1 should go on one of the more important models in the crew. Whether that’s Parker, Mad Dog (if he doesn’t get Companion), Wokou, Sue or Gunslingers is up to you but any are good choices. Parker I think is the best because it keeps him tarpitting and you’ll be healing him more often anyway.
Hodgepodge Effigy- Same sort of role as the Emissary with its support healing and soulstone generation, but for 4SS. It’s more fragile but for 4SS still remarkably tanky, although it doesn’t have good damage (nor should it as a support model) and doesn’t have a lot of the more useful tricks of the Emissary (trinkets, A Weary Road, its auras)
Prospector-He just fits nicely with the scheme shenanigans and soulstone generation in Parker’s crew. For 6SS he’s a great addition because he slots in perfectly with the schemes Parker tends to go for (and their denial too)
Midnight Stalker- He’s a reliable melee model with Leap, easy access to Fast and can give out Adversary Bandit (absolutely lethal if it goes off). His best use is for countering and promptly murdering scheme runners, but he’s really great value in Outflank or Breakthrough as well because it plays into his entire schtick
Ashes and Dust- I’d only take Ashes into Reckoning, but that’s because he is seriously cooked there. The difficulty in killing him while you take damage back is something the opponent has to consider, and then you just smack them down with his easy access to min 4 damage. He’s a perfect Reckoning model and even just a good melee beater in general, but I would only maybe consider him OOK for Turf War, and even then I would probably just take something in-keyword or Versatile (Wokou or the Stalker)
Servant of Dark Powers- It’s a good upgrade and really nice on Mad Dog for the threat extension and healing, but where it shines is on Wokou Raiders. They’re already quick and fairly tanky, adding Terrifying and healing to them makes them a real pain to remove and is well worth the cost.
Soldier for Hire- Its basically 2SS for Hard to Kill and a situational card draw. This Will Fetch A High Price will rarely if ever happen in Bandit given their other ways to remove scheme markers (and gain soulstones) and Bounty Hunter will give some nice card draw, but Wanted Criminal gives better card draw in Parker. Skip
Wanted Criminal- This upgrade has its best synergies in Parker, but even here I don’t think it’s amazing. It enables Trigger Finger to be even better, giving you cards to cheat or get triggers, and Drop It! will mean the card draw triggers often. Expert Thief isn’t fantastic, but Swagger on any minion in the crew is worth having as well. In general, I wouldn’t take it, but it does have its uses in Parker far more than any other crew.
Standard- The basic one, it's neither good or bad. You'll be able to start charge shooting bottom of turn 1 with some setup which is nice, and you have the spread to split things up and dedicate resources to where they need to go.
Wedge- A more annoying Standard. I like to run things up the flanks which is far harder in Wedge and although the middle is further up the table it tends to bottleneck the crew early on which can be a death sentence on certain terrain setups
Flank- wide deployment and plenty of movement potential. Bandit likes this as a keyword because they can manoeuvre around and get into annoying positions to score
Corner- Like Flank but smaller deployment on the wings, it's not as great IMO but it still works- especially if you go for a deathball
Reckoning- Doable, but not the best in-faction at it. His amount of guns helps a lot, as he can shoot things off the table before they can reach him and charge backwards to keep the crew safer. Going top-heavy with a lot of the expensive models is well worth doing, I like hiring in Ashes and Dust as a melee beater as well because he is nigh on impossible to actually kill.
Plant Explosives- Bandit's best strat IMO, because they have the movement and interact potential to spread all over the table and do whatever they want to. I tend to take more minions here than other strats because of numbers spread, but it can be done with almost any Parker list relatively easily. Make use of Draw Their Attention and have Parker and Mad Dog as damage dealing diversions while the rest of the crew can sneak around.
Corrupted Idols- Not fantastic. They can do it but not well and it relies on a lot of things falling into place for them to excel at it. This is easily the worst strategy for Bandit as a keyword, and there are flat out better options in-faction, but they can manage well enough.
Turf War- Decent take here, they can move up and deal damage quickly enough to threaten the opponent's markers fairly easily. Not quite Viks level IMO, but the same style of play and they're well suited towards it.
Detonate Charges- This one I'm not a huge fan of taking, but hot damn Parker is such a ridiculously good counter to it. Hold him till later in the turn, waddle over into the markers and they disappear, giving you cards/soulstones and the opponent nothing. That said, an opponent who knows what Bandits do will never choose it against you because of this.
Breakthrough- You've got mobility and you've got scheme marker placement. This is one you can do, but as always I only recommend it in Flank because of greater spread and more potential to flank.
Harness the Ley Line- Easy to score, easy to deny. Parker makes this even more apparent and it is for this reason I love Bandit into this scheme because you can play hard denial and still come out on top in terms of actual scoring.
Search the Ruins- My favourite for Parker alongside Ley Line, for the same reasons. You can zip around the backfield and chuck markers around while you charge and it's just thematically fun while being a good choice for the crew.
Dig Their Graves- I'm not a huge fan, mainly because the second point is silly to score, but the first point isn't all that hard. Take it if you want to, it's not impossible to score 2VP from but it isn't something I personally like taking even when the first point is fairly easy.
Hold Up Their Forces- Decent because of Bandidos and Dead Outlaws, but those options aren't hard to take out should they be focused on. I wouldn't take it because both points are telegraphed and not entirely easy to do, but it's an option.
Take Prisoner- Bandits don't really want to be right up in combat so this one isn't fantastic, but it's still doable. Wokou Raiders are the choice pick here because they have staying power in melee more than the rest
Power Ritual- Another one that can be done pretty easily by Bandits, but it's significantly easier in Flank or Corner and Tara is just as good if not better.
Outflank- With the tankier options or even just a couple of cheap minions, this is pretty good for Bandit crews. It's obvious but it's not massively easy to deny at least the first point, and the second one is no harder
Assassinate- One of the 14 wound masters with good access to healing and soulstone generation, Parker is a difficult one to get Assassinate. His crew have enough high-powered shooting to get it themselves, and with their reach it's hard to escape the 2nd point, so it's not a bad take. He doesn't do so well here into Leveticus, but who outside of Ten Thunders does?
Deliver a Message- First point easy, 2nd point not so much- but Bandit counters the 2nd point hard. That’s worth keeping in mind here because it could mean the difference between a win and a draw. Not as easy to get the second point as in some other Outcast crews, but it’s still a doable scheme
Claim Jump- With some of the tankier models in the crew it’s possible, but it’s far more situational and difficult than Outflank is and you’ll be fighting hard for it. The second point is almost as easy as the first with healing access, but that reflects how difficult it is relative to a lot of other Reveal schemes (and Outflank is easier in both cases with Bandits)
Vendetta- With the changes to it, Mad Dog does this like an absolute champ (Sue and Gunslingers are good options too). Anything 9 stones or above is going to get blown away for the first point quite, and the second point is a little bit harder but still easily doable with the Bandit tricks.
In general I love the Bandit crew, and they're by far my favourite thing to play in 3E. They're solid generalists and can achieve any scheme with some degree of confidence, but they're by no means the best option at any of them really. Once someone knows the ins and outs of the crew though they're definitely a crew you can play with great certainty in getting at least half your points and they play a very good denial game at the same time.