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Colette – the Adepticon (almost) Master of Malifaux. Crew Creation


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Hey, my name is Bret, and I recently piloted Colette to a 5-0-0 second place at the Adepticon Masters of Malifaux, and I'd like to share the thoughts that went into crew creation, so that my fellow Arcanists can see what makes this crew work and maybe try it for themselves.


The crew eventually ended up as something I like to call “Big Rig Colette” (after a similarly named Netrunner deck which is also about building up the ultimate weapon and breaking through everything they can throw at you).

Arcanists Crew - 50 - Scrap

Colette Du Bois -- 5 Pool

+Cabaret Choreography [2] (for Mechanical Dove summoning)

+Practiced Production [1] (This turns into Arcane Reservoir if Angelika is holding this upgrade)

+Shell Game [1] (for the Surge trigger on Prompt)

Coryphee [7]

Coryphee [7]

Howard Langston [12] (Miss Step, for aesthetic reasons)

+Imbued Energies [1]

Mechanical Rider [12]

+Imbued Energies [1]

Mobile Toolkit [3]


The general plan of the crew is to take three big constructs that are much more mobile than equivalent heavies (and even more so with Prompt and Give them an Encore), pump them up with :+fate to ML and damage flips, and then have them make as many additional attacks from Prompt, Reactivate and Imbued Energies as possible. However, just having a crew that can destroy any opposing model it can touch isn't enough to win games – and that's where Colette's amazing scheme generation abilities come in. The ability to do 0 interact actions with the Coryphees and Colette means that you can set up a scheme marker bunker for Colette AND get a scheme marker or two near the centerline on turn 1. Then, since Practiced Productions and the Mechanical Rider can stack scheme markers on top of each other, schemes like A Line in the Sand are always live. I cannot overstate how important it is that this crew can go into every game expecting to score three points on A Line in the Sand, since that scheme is ALWAYS available. Of course, basically any other scheme marker-based scheme is relatively easy, especially Protect Territory and Plant Explosives – so you're really hoping those come up.



The way I see it, there are three basic ways the game can play out:
1. The opponent has a similarly low model count of tough, killy models (generally for the Reckoning or Turf War strategies). In this case, you want to immediately take control of the center and set up your Line in the Sand. Since your heavies are much more mobile (from Prompt and just having a high WK/CG or Nimble) you can just sit and wait for your opponent to walk into your threat range. Either they won’t step into your range, and you just go on to win the game 3-0 (at the very least), or they do step in, and you send your crazy buffed up Miss Step in, kill their heavy and then Prompt her back to safety. The best part is, the longer you wait, the bigger your advantage - you’ll eventually get your full allotment of Mechanical Doves, plus a new Metal Gamin every turn, so you’ll start out-activating your opponent - and your Mechanical Rider only gets stronger and stronger as the game goes on.

2. The opponent has a massive number of cheap, significant models (generally for the Stake a Claim, Reconnoiter and Squatter’s Rights strategies). Stake a Claim and Reconnoiter are actually the most difficult strategies for this crew, so if the opponent's crew is specialized in taking as many significant models as possible you’re in for a rough match. In these games, you need to spread out as much as possible, take advantage of your maneuverability to either ignore enemy models or to pick off what you can for free. In this case, I prefer to switch out the Mobile Toolkit for Angelika so that I can get another significant model and the much-needed maneuverability of Give Them an Encore. Unfortunately, this type of matchup mostly comes down to mistakes and gameplay on both your and your opponent’s side, so there’s not too much advice I can give you. Sorry.

3. The opponent has a crew that scares the crap out of you (for me, this was Perdita and Kirai). In these matchups, your opponent either has a way to kill one of your heavies at a long range for free, or they only get stronger the more you attack them. In these matchups, it’s more than OK to never make a single attack all game. Just use your Coryphees to dance in and out of engagements, Prompt to get everyone else to run away, and spend all game keeping your stuff alive, scoring what you can and completely denying their victory points.



Finally, this crew has a lot of not-so-obvious strengths:

- It is RIDICULOUSLY card efficient. Since both the Mechanical Doves and the Mobile Toolkit can give out turn-long :+fate to attack or damage flips, you will be cheating much more rarely than your opponent. Then, you add onto that the fact that you’re probably drawing 2 cards from the Mechanical Rider, 1 or more card from Prompt, and hopefully you have the points for Arcane Reservoir for yet another card. Better yet, every single card you draw has a use - 1-5 of Masks and Tomes are great for DF triggers on Colette and the Mechanical Rider, respectively. 1-5 of the other suits are great for discarding to the Mobile Toolkit and Miss Step’s Flurry. 6-10 (especially of Tomes) are needed to get Prompt and Revel in Creation off, and 11+ is, as always, good for fighting.

- There is almost no reason to have a large soulstone cache. You only have one soulstone user (although the positive flips simulate that pretty well, offensively), and Colette is basically invulnerable as long as you’re holding onto a Mask (or saving your Artificial Soulstone). I usually only use 2 permanent soulstones per game and, even then, only for cycling cards or reflipping initiative.

- The small model count is eventually fixed by Colette's and the Mech Rider's summoning, so in the late game you usually won’t be getting as horribly out-activated as you might think.

- There is no “vulnerable” model. The Mechanical Doves can sit on the back table edge, Colette is nigh-invulnerable, your big constructs have 1~3 armor (and sometimes :+fate to DF), and all the models I tend to summon with the Mech Rider come in with 2 wounds and Hard to Kill.

- You are generally resilient to WP-based strategies. Your average WP is 6 (assuming you duet up the Coryphees), and both the Coryphees and the Mech Rider get a free twist on WP duels.


Of course, this crew has some weaknesses:

- Models that can ignore DF or WP triggers are an absolute nightmare, and must be killed immediately before they can simply murder the Mech Rider or Colette.

- The Mech Rider is a linchpin for the crew, and is very vulnerable on turns 1~2, so I tend to keep her WAY in the back until her tomes start kicking in on turn 3.

- Massive scheme marker removal (like the Steam Arachnid Swarm and the Hooded Rider) are a big problem, and must be killed immediately.

- Long range, high-volume shooting that ignores cover is also a problem (but hopefully that’s limited to just Perdita).

- I wish I could get some healing into this crew - except for the Coryphee Duet’s innate healing, it’s not impossible to see your heavies just get worn away 1 damage at a time.

Anyways, those are my thoughts on how to run a very effective crew with Colette - and I personally find the mobility and the sheer number of options lead to a very fun and interesting game. I’d really recommend giving this crew a shot since it plays so differently than anything else in Arcanists, and it gives a wide range of playstyles that put heavy pressure on both the scenario and attrition game.

I’m also writing up my battle reports from Adepticon, so if you want to see some after-action reports of this crew against some top-quality players, they’re available here: http://wyrd-games.net/community/topic/100269-colette-%E2%80%93-the-adepticon-almost-master-of-malifaux-battle-reports/.

Edited by Kovaj
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That's a very interesting crew. I can see how it would work. I already bring Howard because as you say he is extremely fast and hitting with Colette. And I've just been waiting for plastic versions of the Coryphee and Mech Rider to include them. I'm really tempted to proxy it soon though as it does look like a blast to play. I usually bring Angelica and an Acolyte as other standard models but I can see the appeal of harder models. Thanks for posting it up.

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Thanks for all the kind words - I'm working on writing up all my battle reports, but if you have any questions about the theory of this list, please feel free to ask - I love talking about Colette (at least, until I can find a Kaeris-as-a-master list that I like).

And I really lucked out, model-wise. I actually bought the metal Mechanical Rider right before the wave 2 beta because I loved the model so much, I didn't even care if it ended up being terrible, I just happened to get Miss Step at Gencon (and I absolutely despise every other version of Howard Langston), and I loved Colette back in M1E (even if I couldn't figure out how to make her work at all back then) so I immediately snapped up everything in the Showgirls crew.

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It's a small elite list that certain crews will chew right through. Yes, it's going to work sometimes and it was probably quite a surprise which helped it.....but will it perform so well when it isn't a surprise? It has parts that need to work a certain way......you lose one model and you've lost a third of your crew....without those parts, it isn't going to work.


Colette's Scheme Marker shenanigans are a thing unto their own. That doesn't make the Mech Rider OP.

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Hah, I don't like to rely on lists that only work because they're a surprise. By posting here, I'm testing your theory. Who knows, maybe it did only work because people didn't know how it works? We'll find out soon enough.

Spoiler alert for my battle reports: I actually lost one of the coryphees 3 or 4 activations into the first turn of one of my games, and Miss Step a turn or two later, and still managed to pull off a win. There's a lot of moving parts here, and there's a lot of weird ways that it can end up winning (even after losing a third or more of it's crew)

And I'm certainly not claiming that the Mech Rider is OP (although I am enjoying that nearby thread)

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Thanks for posting your crew and your views as to what worked well for them. I've been using Colette quite a bit recently and have found her to be an excellent master. The amazing speed and extras that can be given to those models really makes the most efficient use of high SS models. I don't really think losing one model is a huge hinderance as you have a few very efficient models that will all require quite a bit of effort to kill.

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This was funny. A friend shows up at my place last night to play Malifaux with McMourning, and he's just been to a local store selling old metals at 50% off, and he has most of this crew in blisters! The only thing he was missing was Colette herself (and I think only because she wasn't available. :P)

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As Rythos's abovementioned friend, I'm certainly intrigued by this!  I had gotten all excited about both Howard and Mech rider (and that was before the Adepticon thread), but had deflated thinking that it would be foolish to take two massive models at the same time... but this has opened my eyes!  As others have said, very concise and thoughtful description.  Thanks!

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  • 4 weeks later...

I want to see more write ups like this! GREAT STUFF!


I'm still trying to figure out what crew I want to get into, this list lays out exactly what each model is for, strengths and weaknesses, general strategies, play style, even counters helps to make my decision much more easy and now I think I'm a few steps closer to actually laying down some duckets and actually get around to painting and playing. Seriously a post like this should be in the Malifaux gazette. 

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