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I've seen a few Tacticas here and there, but for my personal favourite master I've seen only threads with questions and ideas. I've been playing this nightmarish killer since he's been in Beta. I've tried my hand with and against every Master out so far, with the single exception of Shenlong, with this terror of Malifaux and I've learned quite a bit from it. So why not share my knowledge of this horror-bound "demon?" I'm talking about the elusive boy known as The Dreamer, of course! I'm hoping that everyone can learn at least something from this but my main goal is to try to help people be unafraid to try the Dreamer and perhaps pick him up as a permanent addition to their repertoire. A quick overview before we get more specifics! The Dreamer's Strengths - Large board control - Powerful summons and summoning - Extreme flexibility - Resilient master - Awesome flavour! (Seriously, his flavour is what got me into Malifaux. Props to Wyrd!) The Dreamer's Weakness - Every move requires consideration - Requires a largeish model pool - Hard to master - If you fight something that ignores incorporeal and/or defensive triggers, resilience gone. Now then, if you're still interested about him, let's get learning! The Dreamer Himself First thing to note is that, like a select few other Masters in the game, The Dreamer is first and foremost a control piece. I don't mean he can't do damage, as that is certainly not the case. What I mean is that a great deal of your control over fate is through The Dreamer. Fransico can still cut people in half without his sister and a Belle still has a Ca 8 without Seamus, but you'll find that your entire army seems to be made of molasses and glass without the blond boy from Earthside alongside them. Stats With a Df of 4 and only Wd 6 The Dreamer seems really easy to kill, at the very least easy to hit. You'll find, thankfully, it's actually a gigantic pain to take him down. His Wp of 7 means that Ca attacks will have a harder time hitting him. His impressive Wk 7 will allow you to easily maneuver him or, turn 4 or 5, have an unstoppable objective runner for those last few points. He also has a few less-noticed abilities: In not having any characteristics such as living, undead or construct he will be dodging quite a few hate from the ever-present Guild. His Ht 1 means you better put him in a good spot for line of sight because he's not seeing over anything, but it makes it ever easier to hide him away if you must. And he has a rather low cache of 3, so in order to take the full cache of 7 or even 6 it will cost you a Wicked Doll, two Daydreams, or an Insidious Madness' worth of models. Front-card abilities Incorporeal The easiest of his abilities to understand. It gives him a deceptively higher Wd pool than at first glance and the ability to move wherever he is needed with that high Wk of 7. Its only weakness is Ca actions but, thankfully, Ca actions are more likely than MI or Sh attacks to hit Wp. (Beware of attacks from Masters that do have Ca vs Df; Sonnia Criid, Rasputina, McMourning, and Nicodem as examples.), so he can rely on his high Wp to stave them off. Safe In My Bed This defensive trigger is automatic on his Df and only needs a if you're afraid someone is going to hit through his Wp. This allows him to discard a card to toss a successful attack against him off onto a friendly Nightmare model within 3''. Keeping chaff nearby, such as a Daydream and an Alp, allows him to kill them off in a manner similar to Collodi to keep him from being hit, keeping a high-regen model like Teddy or the nephilim twins to tank the shots and simply heal them off, or keeping the horrid Stitched Together nearby make him neigh-unkillable without some foreplanning. (More on them later!) Just be mindful, you're unlikely to have more than 3 cards to ditch to this ability: It isn't endless. (Note: This uses his final duel total for the modifiers, so if he flips a 7 [for a total 11] against a 17, tossing it off onto a Df 5 model won't force a on them. They're hitting on the straight they would've hit him on. But the new model takes the effects as if it had been the original target, ignoring The Dreamer entirely. As an example, if The Dreamer has Poison 6 when McMourning tries to Expunge him and he throws off the attack onto an unpoisoned Teddy nearby, your enforcer remains unharmed and McMorning doesn't have to take a Terrifying duel.) Pleasant Dreams Now we're cooking with gas! Whenever a friendly model activates within 6'' of your master they heal 3. Note that this doesn't say friendly Nightmare models, so if you find yourself taking a merc they still benifit from his pleasant dreams. This makes a lot of his army far harder to kill, from the Hard to Kill, Reactivating monstrosities the Stitched Together, to the twin Nephilim Lelu and Lilitu, to giving Teddy Regenerate 5. Key placement of The Dreamer is important to your success: Maximize your healing without putting him out of position. Release Nightmares Ah, the unique bit of the Dreamer, his duality. Every time he uses a summon he gains the condition Waking +1 that lowers his Pleasant Dreams healing by 1. If he gets Waking +3 he's no longer having any pleasant dreams and one more wakes him up, pulling him off the board. Right before he goes, though, his friend Lord Chompy Bits gets summoned within 6'' of him. We'll discuss the big guy himself later on, but the important bits of this interaction is another big place where foreknowledge will come in handy. Controlling when to summon, when to hold off and when to go all out to get out Chompy is important when controlling his pleasant dreams. Lord Chompy Bits can nix himself the turn he comes out as a (0) action, allowing a double walk to re-position himself before bringing the Dreamer back out in position once more. Release Nightmares removes all conditions from The Dreamer, not just his Waking, so if you're really scared of being Burned, Blighted or Poisoned you can wake up just long enough to get rid of them. You can use this to hide him if Assassinate is really pressing down on you. Wake up from the dreamland of Malifaux and just stay awake until the death of Lord Chompy Bits forces you back to sleep, then do your best to hide again in one or two turns (depending on your choice of limited upgrades.) A Fun Game of Cards: How The Dreamer influences Fate. The best strength of The Dreamer is how much influence he holds over his friends. Lets break down these abilites, shall we? Twist Reality With a decent Sh 6 and a solid Rg 12 or 1 The Dreamer can hit quite a bit with this nifty skill. It has a weak damage profile of 1/2/4 but its the triggers where this skills strength lies. If you nick a you get the powerful Unhinge trigger, paralyzing the target if it's Wp is 4 or less. This includes your decreases to Wp, so if someone with Wp 5 is within range of your Daydreams or a Weaver Widow's web marker, they're a target as well. You'd be surprised to find how easy it is to paralyze someone when all you need to do is tie them, especially with some (Ototo comes to mind) having a naturally low Wp (therefore requiring no setup before throwing the trigger at them. You can also push all friendly Nightmares their walk towards the target on a so long as they're already within 6''. Not game-endingly powerful, but useful. It makes for a nice alpha-strike before or after setting up for a strong Surrounded by Nightmares shot. Tucked In A (0) that lowers his Waking condition by 1, and being his only (0) action, means that he can naturally drop it once every turn. Unless your goal is to max out on Waking, get Lord Chompy Bits, then pop The Dreamer back out on the Tyrant's activation, use this every turn to drop your Waking and increase the healing from your pleasant dreams. Daydreaming Requiring a 7 of any suit to go off, this useful skill is his only printed summoning ability. A success gets you a Daydream within 6'', getting a 7 or better gets you the optional trigger to get an Alp instead. It also causes the Waking +1 condition, as both of his summoning abilities do. With the relatively low card requirement, getting new Daydreams for their Disturbing Whispers or Alps to gum up the tracks and throw out Slow isn't hard to do. Empty Night And here it is. That ever-present control that you were told so much about. Requiring a 4 of any suit to go off, as it comes with the prerequisite , and a range of 6'' you'll need to position yourself carefully to use this skill to its full extent. This skill hits Minions and Nightmares, just as any theme master can. Each suit gets you a different trigger: Journey, the automatic trigger, gets you a 6'' push and a free MI attack. That's 2 free AP you just handed out, provided you make use of it. You can push Teddy into combat and give him a free swing, push a friendly Lilitu out of combat and still let her use her Whip, the mobility of your army is astounding with the use of this skill. Everyone within 6'' of a model of yours needs to fear being in combat before they even know what hit them. Frantic gets you fast on the targeted model. Useful to remove slow from whatever you just summoned, giving your beater an extra swing, a caster an extra go, or you can throw it on one of the nephilim twins and the other will get it for free. Without a specific goal in mind, Frantic is simply another Journey, but with a twist. Stitches heals 2 on the targeted model. With this trigger at your disposal, your enemy better learn to drop someone in one go or nothing's going to die. Teddy can have 1 wound, activate, and after a few stitches he's good as new Just a Dream lets you remove a single condition on the target. Useful if you're trying to end Slow but not Whispers in Blood, or Poison but not Defensive. The real use of this trigger is the option to immediately take this skill again when you get this trigger. If you've got the tomes or the luck, you can just keep ending conditions one after the other. Nix slow on all of your newly-summoned models with 1 AP. Another useful trick is if you've got no cards to throw away on this and you flip a tomes, choose this trigger and point at whatever model you want, then just flip again. It basically gives you a chance to simply re-flip your card for this skill. Using this in tandem with your summoning allows The Dreamer to appear like a conductor, leading the battle exactly where he wants it to be. A Tantrum or Playtime: The Dreamer's Other Upgrades Like all masters, The Dreamer has a set number of additional upgrades that can be purchased by only him and one extra that may be taken by him or a Nightmare. Like The Dreamer they span the spectrum of damage to utility. Lying Down to Sleep: New Nightmares or a game with Lord Chompy Bits? Before we get into his other upgrades, I'll ask the question which decides quite a bit of your list: Which limited upgrade do I take? Your choice is between using Lord Chompy Bits to do your killing or bring new friends to the party. Dreams of Pain - 5SS For a whopping 5 stones The Dreamer has access to a specific set of summoning: Nightmares. It's similar to most other "Choose a Model" summoning: You start with a 6 and need a 10 :mask plus the soulstone cost of your named model. Shorthand is just add 4 to the soulstone cost and know what you're going to need to flip, cheat, stone or use your Daydreams to hit. If you want a Stitched Together at 6SS you're going to need to flip a 10 , for example. (Ratty has lovingly created a card with the prerequisite cards needed to summon using The Dreamer here.) If you do use a second source to get that and you also sneak a in there, you'll get a trigger that nixes slow from the newly made model, too! Once again, things aren't as easy as they seem: Your summoned friends come in at 1 wound and you gain the Waking +1 condition each time you dream a new friend. Manage them carefully, activate smart and his Pleasant Dreams will have them back to normal in no time. Just be wary, it is possible to summon two new friends, have one activate safely and the other die to a stray bullet. Such is fate. If you manage yourself well and keep models alive, you're opponent will be crushed beneath an never stemming tide of Nightmares. At the very least, it'll give them something to play with while you quietly sweep up all the objectives and make out like a burglar with your full 10 VP. Dreams of Pain is a solid choice if you need on-the-fly flexibility and movement control, in addition to a stronger support presence. If you did decide to go this route, feel free to read up on the New Friends section later on about summoning and your other tactics! Restless Dreams - 1SS As a sharp counterpoint to the expensive alternative, for only 1SS you give Lord Chompy Bits a quite useful ability: Melee Expert. Since the Tyrant is only a Henchman, this gives him 3 AP to work with on his turn and you'll be surprised how far it goes. Restless Dreams also adds the stipulation onto his shooting attacks, either from his printed card or his upgrade Toss and Turn, that they all now grant Waking +1 (provided that Lord Chompy Bits hasn't activated already this round, as to inhibit the shenanigans of activating with him, burying him after 3 attacks, bringing back the Dreamer who shoots 4 times and brings him back out for a second activation.) This means that is is far easier to get out Lord Chompy bits, rather than relying on many summons or sacrificing a Daydream and, well, relying on many summons. Restless Dreams is a solid choice if you need flexibility in starting models and a powerful, yet resilient, killer. If this is the route you choose, please read up on Lord Chompy Bits entry below! Otherworldly - 2SS The true draw of this upgrade is it gives The Dreamer the ever-powerful ability Accomplice. No more will you summon a model at 1 Wd and then pass turn to allow it to die before your pleasant dreams could heal it. Now you can summon a Stitched Together and chain activate to it to allow it to heal above its Hard to Kill before passing it off to your opponent. This also allows for some very powerful alpha strikes. Combine this with a hard hitter like Teddy an Empty Night's Journey trigger for three casts to give Teddy 3 free attacks, then chain activate to him to allow two, three or even four more. Combine with the Nephilim twins to keep them very hardy if you get the first turn. Heal them and give them fast (since both of those are shared) then chain activate to Lilitu to take Whispers in Blood 2 or 3 times. This puts them both at almost full wounds (between your Stitches trigger, her regeneration, your pleasant dreams) and with a double or triple positive on defense flips. It also gives you the tactical action (1) Playtime which gives the condition Playtime to a friendly model within 6''. This allows you to draw a card whenever that model deals damage. Once again, this condition is shared between the Nephilim twins, so applying it once lets them both have it. If you're scared for your life or simply want better cards t o cheat with, you can spend one AP to give this to the twins and let them wail on someone, which they were probably going to do anyway. Tantrum - 2SS This skill offers The Dreamer ranged expert, giving him 1 AP that he can spend on Twist Reality or the attack action this skill gives him, Surrounded by Nightmares. Free AP is never a bad thing. Surrounded by Nightmares is a Ca 7 resisted on Wp at a Rg of 8. The targetted model suffers 1 damage for each Nightmare within 3'' and line of sight of it. While this may not seem like much, the killing potential this offers The Dreamer is significant. Your models are quite hardy while your master is alive, and if your concern is one tanky model, prepare for it to be shred to pieces. Use your Twist Reality to draw everyone towards them, and then you have a high Ca skill that they can't cheat to lower the damage from or force negatives on. Even if they tie you, you do full damage, which will catch many people's foreplanning of guard. Your Daydreams both add to the skill's damage and lower their Wp to allow for an easier hit. Combine this skill with the Weaver Widow and anything in your way will fall quickly. (This skill is also a Wp based attack and will trigger Smell Fear on Teddy, even if it does no damage. Keep this in mind if you have nothing to do with that ranged expert!) On Dreaming Wings - 2SS This upgrade can be taken by The Dreamer or one of his Nightmares, however it is Rare 1, so you can't take it on both. The upgraded model gets +1 Wk and grants Flight to all friendly Nightmare models within 6. While you can take this on The Dreamer to give him a stunning Wk 8, he can't use the Flight he is granted, and while you want to keep your models within 6'' of him for his pleasant dreams, you'll be surprised how often someone trying to move forward to hug the everloving daylights out of an enemy they lose the ability to fly just before they get to the enemies they have to fly over. Instead, I find this upgrade useful on one of two models: Teddy or Coppelius. Giving Teddy wings allows him to fly right where he needs to be and start hugging everyone, it also gives him a respectable Wk 6 to get there on his own. The Stitched Together and other slower models will have an easier time following him with his wings as well and he makes for a good front line friend. On Coppelius you have one of the most powerful objective runners in the game. If you have Breakthrough on the table, or you're playing corner or flank deployment, consider this upgrade on Coppelius. You've got a Wk 8 model that can fly, is terrifying, and can take on almost any other non-leader model in hand to hand, after a few eyes of course. He can drop Alp friends as he goes if he starts picking up stragglers, but in reality, since you've been summoning new friends you don't have to worry about the 10 SS you spent on him. While you're busy killing, distracting or playing with the enemy, Coppelius is making off like a theif with your other 6 VP. Tying it All Up like a New Shoe Alright, you understand all of his new skills. But how would you use these in conjunction? Individual character interactions, things that are specific to a model not just The Dreamer's skills, will be mentioned in the New Friends section, but how would our little friend work up his tactics and start being the maestro of his playing field? We'll go through a sample turn later as well, so let's do a quick outline: Use your Wk 7 to stay in position to heal, out of easy target range. Never stray too far from a few bullet-shields and always keep a model within 3''. With Empty Night alone you can do a lot on The Dreamer's turn: Save it for as long as you can, especially if you're planning on being very summon heavy or planning a powerful charge with Lord Chompy Bits. Never leave The Dreamer at Waking +3. Either aim to top-out and get Lord Chompy Bits or save your actions for another turn. Positioning is key. You should always be happy with where The Dreamer is standing. Scheme markers are powerful things. Even without shenanigans, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who can threaten objectives like The Dreamer. Stitches into a chain activate can save a lot of models from certain death. Always know when to let something die, never fight too hard to keep a summonable, even Lord Chompy Bits.