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Musings on the Mechanical Attendant


akaean
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I've been playing a lot of C. Hoffman (Colin?  Charles? whatever).   And overall I have been impressed with his excellent support, the power and durability of his crew, and his ability to accomplish schemes. Typically my list is something along these lines

 

Hoffman-Field Mechanic

Rye

Peacekeeper

Guardian

Hunter

Warden

Watcher

 

One thing that I keep hearing is that "The Mechanical Attendant is a dangerous proposition because if the opponent can cast obey on him, he can remove Hoffman from the Power loop".  While I admit that this sounds bad, I really don't think it is a very big draw back compared to the advantages the Mechanical Attendant can bring to the crew.

 

1) First, lets take a look at what the primary purpose of Power Loop is.  Hoffman is a support master.  He can fight decently well, but he is much happier improving constructs to do his dirty work for him.  After playing Hoffman for several months, Power Loop is typically most effective early on to give your crew an upper hand in the initial conflicts of the game.  After a few key kills have been made, I find myself casting redirect power far less often, in favor of using Hoffman's actions for other things, like healing, machine puppeting models into positions I need them in, etc.   Really the main benefit of Power Loop I have found is transferring the Guardian's ml7 and df6 over to your other beaters, namely Ryle and the Peacekeeper.  What Hoffman himself provides to the loop is typically Ca6 and Wp6.  While the Willpower boost is nice, most constructs already have wp5 and the Ca boost is generally trivial most turns.  So if an opponent manages to draw Line of Sight to the Mechanical Attendant, then manages to obey him through his looped wp6, to remove the Power Loop condition from Hoffman, he is burning a lot of resources to provide very little overall detriment to your crew.

 

2) Second, the ability to remove a negative status affliction from Hoffman can potentially be game changing.  Status afflictions like the Hanged's no healing ability, or things like burning, poison, slow, and paralized can potentially keep Hoffman in the game far more effectively.  So you are essentially trading a minor detriment to the other models in the power loop, for a potentially game changing benefit.

 

3) Null Field is an exceptionally powerful ability.  In a game like Malifaux there are tons of powerful auras and pulses, both buffing and debuffing.  Hoffman's typical configuration of the Guardian + Peacekeeper + Hoffman death ball, can be very easy to hinder with Auras, Pulses and Blasts.  Which all have an otherwise exaggerated effect on his crew.  Being able to straight up deny these things from happening when near the Mechanical Attendant can be a huge frustration for the enemy.  Sure it paints a huge target on his relatively frail figure, but when you consider how easy it is to slip him behind the massive ht3 Peacekeeper, you can force your opponent to spend a lot of resources trying to take out a relatively cheap and expendable minion.  This is especially useful if you plan on utilizing Tessilating Magnet to keep the Deathball together.

 

4) the Mechanical Attendant gives Hoffman's crew an additional dirt cheap activation.  2 ss for a model is pretty much as cheap as they come.  Hoffman typically enjoys fielding more elite crews, as he is hindered more than most by having a large crew, since it spreads thin his ability to keep things looped in and upgraded.  The Mechanical Attendant loops himself in, meaning Hoffman doesn't have to spend any effort to buff his stats.  2ss for a sh6, df6, ca6, and wp6 model is pretty nice in and of itself.  He can also sacrifice himself to shrug insignificant via programmed directive if the situation calls for it.  The difference between 7 and 8 models can be significant in terms of activation order.

 

5) Finally Scan can be useful for Hoffman if Line of Sight to his desired construct happens to be on the wrong side of the Peacekeeper.  Its a pretty situational ability, but when you consider that Hoffman is happiest hiding behind a ht3 50mm base, sometimes his line of sight can get messy.

 

Overall I think that the Mechanical Attendant is an excellent Totem for Hoffman against a wide variety of factions and opponents.  Any drawbacks that can come from him being obeyed to take the power loop off of Hoffman are far outweighed by the various benefits that he brings to the crew.   I'm interested in hearing other people's opinions on this little dude.

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I think he's a fine model, I just usually don't find a lot of space for him.

 

I however play a lot of M&SU models fairly often, so if I'm looking for condition removal, Johan is usually a better bet, as he can remove from anyone, not just Hoffman, and he can heal M&SU members, which includes Hoffman himself, good for an emergency heal outside of Chuck's turn.

 

I think the Mechanical attendant is fine for his points, but all of his cool stuff ends up being passive or situational. I spend his activation thinking, "well... mauser I guess..."

 

Then, for one more stone (and the appropriate upgrade), you can get a mobile toolkit who's (0) does some serious buffing- take a model up an additional armor combine with patchwork plating and a peacekeeper and you've got 4 armor for both him and Hoff. Give Langston a :+fate to attack or damage to go with his melee seven. And, when the time is right, he can go out in a blaze if glory in (hopefully) turn four or five, 'Splodin' some cherry grouping.

 

If I know I'm going up against a raspy or a Sonia, I Would probably field the attendant. It might just be a playstyle thing.

 

ENinja

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Then, for one more stone (and the appropriate upgrade), you can get a mobile toolkit who's (0) does some serious buffing- take a model up an additional armor combine with patchwork plating and a peacekeeper and you've got 4 armor for both him and Hoff. Give Langston a :+fate to attack or damage to go with his melee seven. And, when the time is right, he can go out in a blaze if glory in (hopefully) turn four or five, 'Splodin' some cherry grouping.

 

One thing to keep in mind though is that the Mobile Toolkit is not a totem so you can have it and the Mechanical Attendant for two cheap activations.

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Firstly I don't see Hoffman complete without Arcanist Assets and a Metal Gamin so you can Power Loop the Gamin for Ca 8 but if you're only finding you need the high Ca early game then it's not necessarily an auto-include, he just makes life easier and provides another Df 6 for Hoffman should the Guardian go down.

 

Secondly I completely agree with everything you have said. The Mechanical Attendant is amazing! Condition removal for Hoffman, no blasts, aura's or pulses within 3". He's also only 2ss so if you can't find space for him then something is going wrong. I've had him single handedly shut down Pandora and Co. for a good 3-4 turns. He's a steal! There is the risk that he can remove Power Loop from Hoffman but there aren't that many models in the game that can Obey him to warrant that being a serious threat. I personally rate the little guy 10/10 for cost and effectiveness. 

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