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Starting Hoffman, Crew Pool Questions


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I'm a Lady Justice and Lucius player, but I've accumulated a fair amount of constructs and am planning on picking up a Hoffman Box from my FLGS next time I drop in to get a third Master online.  After purchasing the crew box and the Mechanical Attendant, my construct pool will look like this




Mechanical Attendant



2x Watcher




I was looking through some of the various Arcanist Constructs, and I wanted to pool some of the more experienced players with some questions I had regarding them, and what situations they are more useful than their guild construct counter parts.


1) Metal Gamin:  These guys seem like an awesome choice, mainly for their CA value which Helps Hoffman spread his abilities around with lower cards, and they have pretty decent defense as well.  Only costing 4 ss seems like a huge advantage as well, as Hoffman crews seem like they can get very elite very fast, and having some cheap minions would be helpful.  How many Gamin are typically worth running?


2) How many beat sticks are generally recommended in a 50ss Hoffman list.  So much of Hoffman's damage potential comes from buffing up and puppeting a beat stick construct, and I worry that by not including a back up heavy hitter can lead to the crew collapsing after one model goes down.  On the other hand, Hoffman's crew already leans towards being more elite, and having 2 very expensive punchy constructs seems dangerous


3) What situations are Howard Langston / the Rail Golem worth it over the Peacekeeper and Ryle?

- Howard Langston: packs Mi7, which reduces the need for the crew to loop in the Guardian.  He also packs some awesome Triggers, and Steam Cloud can be used via OSA to give some added protection from ranged attacks while the Hoffball surges forwards.  He also doesn't need the Nimble Modification.  Armor +1 is a downside, but Langston + Patchwork Plating is equivalent to Peacekeepr + Hydraulics in terms of armor and speed.

- Peacekeeper:  has Armor +2, which helps it tank hits better than Howard, and can get similar melee stats by looping in a Guardian.  If speed isn't needed, he can take patchwork plating to give himself and Hoffman Armor +3.  For people who have played both, how does he compare?

- Rail Golem: I don't know much about it, but it seems like it could be a solid choice.  Power loop fixes its mediocre stats by boosting him up to MI7 and df6 from the Guardian, and he can get some bonus activations from locomotion.  Have people used him to good effect in a Hoffman crew, and what situations would he be preferable to a Peacekeeper or Howard?

- How do people like Ryle?  His desire to eat soulstones for Rams pressures the crew into taking a larger pool- in a crew already leaning to be more elite, and with his signature upgrade he starts competing with Hoffman for scrap counters as well.  I also worry that his smaller base size makes it harder for him to hide important models like the Mechanical Attendant who provide the only real protection from blasts- here's looking at you Rasputina and Sonnia.  I could see using Ryle as the Henchmen Leader in smaller games of a Constructs of Order crew, but I feel like he competes too much with the resources Hoffman needs to keep models under the loop and upgraded.


4) Is the Mobile Toolkit worth it?  its zero action seems solid, especially since Hoffman can use it too via OSA, and with Hoffman it *can* do objectives via Programmed Directive.  Furthermore with little utility outside of moving and his 0 action, he seems like a prime target for Tap Power and providing increased activation count in general.  On the other hand, 3 soul stones seems like a pretty steep cost for another support model in a crew where Hoffman himself is dedicated to Support.  Are the benefits he brings worth his 3 ss tag compared to another Metal Gamin or Watcher for only slightly more points?


5) Soulstone Miner, what do people think of it for Hoffman?  Enemy from below and unimpeded seem like powerful tools for objective running, but how often is he better than a second Watcher or Warden for his 6 soulstone price tag?  He seems like he'd be best in a Hoffman + Ryle crew, where he can help power the soul stone pool if needed and have Hoffman Heal him with various abilities.


6) What situations warrant the use of other Guild Models.  As noted, I have a fairly large selection of Guardsmen, Marshals, and a few other assorted guys.  Is an Austringer still an auto include for Hoffman, and under what situations is a Death Marshal or other Guild model a better choice than other available constructs?


7) Finally, looking  to the Beta, is Hoffman's Avatar worth it?  Right now I would lean towards Delayed Manifestation, that way the Cyborg comes into play later when the original beat stick may have gone down, and lets you keep up pressure in the later turns when you probably have fewer constructs to support. The + flip to tactical actions also seems useful in general for a support master like Hoffman.  On the other hand, Arcanist Ties, Field Mechanic, and On Sight Assimilation all look really good, and its hard to choose which one of them to drop for the expensive Avatar upgrade.


Thanks for helping me out.  I'm still pretty new to the new edition, and still grappling with the less obvious synergies.  I'm also really at a loss as to what non guild models are truly capable of.  Hoffman seems like a really fun master to use, and I really like the sculpts for a lot of the constructs.  So any input on what models I should look towards acquiring cross faction and when they are more useful than equivalent Guild models would be incredibly helpful to me, and anybody else looking to play the Hoff.



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I find myself dropping OSA for stones, and I feel like his avatar is situation unless you're realllly going for it. At which point you'd bring more ancillary models, and let hoffman be the beatstick.


I used to love the metal gamin in my hoffman lists, but after playing a few games without (just to see) I found that with two constructs around him, he doesn't really need to get to casting 8 (10 when surrounded)- and it takes another ap to loop in other people who you want (auto loop the gamin, then cast it to loop in a guardian and/or ryle, or hank and/or ryle, or whatever you've got). 


I think (and this is a radical idea, I'm sure), that Hoffman works best with some constructs. The constructs are amazing models, but the one thing we're really lacking is anything with range. So what I have found myself liking to do is create a ball- a core- of constructs. 2-3 that are optimized to be near hoffman. And then pick the rest of the crew around strats and schemes. For instance: Turf War- Guardian and Peacekeeper. Give peace keeper patchwork plating, and guardian hydraulics. The guardian

becomes Hoffman's Legs and shield, the Peacekeeper becomes his armor and sword. Then you fill out the rest of the team. Hunters to pull people out of the center, maybe an austringer or a rifleman for ranged support. 


I guess what I'm trying to say is, your pool looks good, and if you could had a howard langston or a rail gollem to the crew you wouldn't find yourself not wanting them. Joss is, potentially, a bit more circumstantial.


That being said, here are some of my favorite tricks.


Super-watchers. Two watchers, one with hydraulics, one with programmed directive. They can both now either interact move interact, or move interact move, at flight6.


Deliver the Message- There are two guys who are amazing at deliver the message who are potentially a little spendy- Howard langston and Ryle- Ryle more so. If you give him nimble, he can push 4 (with his 0), nimble four and then 2ap deliver. If you give howard programmed directive, he can nimble, then move, the 1ap deliver. On the other hand, a watcher who can walk 6 over a building and then deliver can often have as good a chance as either of them.


"The Brick"- Howard, Hoffman, and Ryle take up a defensible location. Ryle shoots, Hank stabs, and Hoffman drops scrap and machine puppets to make ryle or hank shoot or stab. Any time anyone is hurt, destroy a scrap, to heal everyone back up. If they go after the constructs, they get healed, if they go after hoffman, he steals their armor. And then gets healed.


On O.S.A. I haven't done a lot of playing with OSA on, I know it was one of his big tricks in the last edition, and I want to get comfortable with it- because two fasts for the price of one slow sounds good. Whether it should be a mechanical attendant? You can get your personal assistant for a stone less, and if you loop in ryle, his shooting isn't half bad, plus it gives you condition removal. One concern, however, is if the enemy obeys his totem and makes it "your goggles sir" power loop off of hoffman. 


Rambly post is rambly. I like playing Hoffman, he is fun, and unique in the guild roster. Given two masters single faction I would choose Hoffman and McMourning a lot. They are both very good, and counter each other well. Watch out for viks, take out pokey vik (or whoever they gave the magic sword to), and blast templates, as you can't use your armor defensive trigger if it wasn't a duel. 





Edit: Reckoning

If you don't bring something to threaten someone at range, you're gonna have a bad time. I ran a full M&SU list at a tournament- Hank, Joss, Ryle, Johan, Hoffman, aaannndd.... maybe that was it...) But we didn't engage until t3- I was worried about taking fire with limited firing support. So it might be better to bring some non construct shooters to threaten at range while you move up- a Santiago, or riflemen- something to shoot. My favorite was: Hunter, Ryle, Francisco, and Santiago. Frank moves forward to engage, then Ryle, Santiago, and the Hunter all get to make their SH attacks while the enemy is at a -flip. And frank can charge and kill a lot too. He's in a looot of lists for a good reason. He's deceptively hard to kill and has some crazy damage potential.

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Never underestimate the power of the Mobile Toolkit, ensuring a straight flip can save you AP and change the game.


It also 'counters' negative flips out there that would almost negate your beat-stick.


Still dont see much use in OSA, thats 1AP from my master, I could just make Ryle hit a guy with a positive flip for damage, thats max dmg of 7.... 



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If you give one of your watchers the Hydraulics upgrade, it now has a nimble action, which unlocks these moves:
Nimble, Interact (1), Move.
Interact (1), Nimble, Interact (1)

Nimble, Interact (2) [deliver the message]


If you give one of your watchers programmed directive, it can now take (2) interacts as (1) interacts, and (1) interacts as (0) interacts, Which unlocks these moves:
Move, Interact (0), Move
Interact (0), Move, Interact (1)
Move, Interact (2 as 1) [deliver the message]


Because their move is unimpeded and they have flight, it makes scheme markers between moves easy to place, and it makes moving from cover to cover much easier also. The upgrades increase their mobility and make complex interactions easier. The only thing that could make them better would be a push to get clear to make them distract machines as well. (Maybe Oiran... Hm.)

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I would always say 2 Hunters are good to have (how suprisingly^^) and the soulstone miner  is good for special jobs. Beyond constructs the guild sergeant with the scheme marker movement could be an nice addition to your crew, depending on your schemes and strategy. And Taelor could be also a good mercenary henchman, cause she`s very powerful and has good stats.

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I would love to hear about your experiences with the Hunter, especially since I'll have one (well I already have one, its just not built quite yet), and will probably want to field him. Although I can't help but question what he brings to the table that a second Warden wouldn't bring.


Both the Warden and the Hunter seem like medium cost all around models, providing a mix of ranged and close combat ability.  Except Paralyze is insanely powerful, and can be an auto trigger with a combination of pursuit and targeting systems.  The Hunter benefits from going early in the turn, while the Warden is more powerful the later you activate him.  I've found the later to be more generally useful, since to me at least so many models benefit from going early, its good to have one or two that get added benefit for waiting their turn.  As a Lucius player, I also feel obligated to point out that the Warden is a Guardsmen, so gains a ton of benefit from being around Dashel for the 0 action focus, and + flip to its ranged attack.


Are the Hunter's pushes, and moving enemy model's with chain spear worth it over the cheaper Warden?  I suppose I'll answer that question myself once I get my Hunter built haha.

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It is. Hunters are amazing. The push is like a in-faction (in theme) lure. And it's a push, as well, so terrain won't help them. It's also got a slow in there, so you've got both activation control as well as positional control. He's fast, so if you give him nimble, he's a hell of a chariot.



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I ran Hank and a Peacekeeper in a game of Reckoning, and Hard to Wound on the Peacekeeper made him my tank of choice after that game. I also took two Soulstone Miners and they nailed Power Ritual for me. They did pretty well, and if you want to disrupt a backfield support Master they could make a good choice. If I was playing Wong or Raspy or Sonnia I would take Mechanical Attendant, but I took the Mobile Toolkit in every game - The Right Tool is fantastic.


I didn't make any use of OSA, but I intend to try it out.

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