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Unconventional Crew: Assistance Requested


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While watching me peruse and purchase my collection my ladyfriend got curious and peaked around herself. She quickly fell for Kaeris' wings and the badass women of Malifaux (though echoes the common complaint of wishing they would dress and pose more practically). As a gift I snagged her the Kaeris starter and a box of Hoarcats (because she loves cats). She liked the look and had fun with little sample play sessions, so joined me in making Black Friday purchases. Her choices are primarily based on aesthetics, so aren't traditional. Her collection looks like this:

  • Kaeris
  • Firestarter
  • Eternal Flame
  • 3 Fire Gamin
  • 3 Hoarcats
  • Sabertooth Cerberus
  • 2 Gunsmiths
  • Mechanical Rider
  • Female Firestarter

Now, that we are nearly done building our new toys and prepping to play full games she is worried that she will never win. She knows her model choices aren't best-fits and is intimidated by my available options. Thus we get to the part where we need assistance. I ask that you provide input on the following questions:

  1. What strat/scheme pools can she do well with?
  2. What cool tactics/combos can she pull off with her current collection?
  3. Where should she look for future synergies?  In our browsing she already has her eyes on the following models (so tactics for them would also be good), but suggestions that fall within the aesthetic she currently has would also be very welcome:
    1. December Acolytes
    2. Silent Ones
    3. Razorspine Rattler
    4. Scorpius

Also, if it helps in coming up with answers, I currently own: Dreamer, Collodi, Pandora, Lynch, and most of their relevant extras.

Thanks everyone! I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

Edited by zeeblee
finally got a chance to get on my computer to improve the cruddy phone formatting
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To be perfectly honest, this is a pretty good spread of models to pick from.  Most strategies can be handled with it, and most schemes, too.  The trick will be learning when to use which models, and which upgrades to take on Kaeris.

Killing-oriented objectives can be accomplished by the Cerberus, Gunsmiths, Kaeris, and Hoarcats.  Marker-oriented schemes can be handled with Grab and Drop on Kaeris and the Mech Rider, and the Firestarter, Cerberus, Gunsmiths, and Kaeris can all work on marker strategies.

Fun tactics can include:
Fire Gamin grenades: Use the Rider to summon in low-wound Fire Gamin near enemies that will damage them, spreading burning while blowing up, giving a boost to Kaeris, Gunsmiths, and the Firestarter.  Feel free to shoot it with a Gunsmith if your opponent will not oblige.
Undying minions: Hoarcats are remarkably hard to hit, especially at range.  Both they and the Cerberus are considered less dangerous once below half wounds, but with Purifying Flame, Kaeris can keep them at maximum damage output from round to round, and Manipulative always comes back.  This also works great with Gunsmiths and the Rider (the former have Hard to Kill, the latter becomes harder to kill the longer the game continues).
The Schemestorm: This is a standard Kaeris opening with Wings of Fire.  Flare to light as many of your own models on fire as possible, then keep Kaeris close enough to give out Flight and the scheme marker drop.  Then move the rest of the crew forward, positioning as necessary to accomplish at least one scheme on Turn 1.  Repeat as needed.  I think my wife ended her last game with something like 10 markers down for Line in the Sand and 5 for Protect Territory, but this is also great for Plant Explosives and Spring the Trap.

December Acolytes are just about never a bad pick, even if they have no specific synergies, and Silent Ones are all-around good, too.  The Rattler is a decent piece, especially because it can use Wings of Fire to deliver scheme markers even if engaged via Slither.  Other good models to pick up are the Captain and Oxfordian Mages (both in the Ironsides box (Ironsides is also another badass lady who is fully clothed)).  Both introduce burning synergy and have good elements to build a strong ranged game.  The Scorpius will interestingly enough synergize better if the Rattler is also purchased, although no one has any idea exactly when it will hit shelves.  I'm personally fond of Rail Workers for Kaeris, as they have a touch of burning interaction but are also reasonably tanky for their cost.  Johan is a welcome addition to most M&SU crews, and it's hard to say no to a Relic Hammer.  The Arcane Effigy hilariously makes Kaeris more burny and has easy condition removal.  Malifaux Raptors are popular for scheme marker delivery and are annoying.  Very annoying.  Large Arachnids can apply burning, but they're just pretty scary right out of the gate, anyway.  The Rail Golem wants to be on fire to fulfill its destiny as the engine of ultimate pain.  The sky is pretty much the limit.  Even Mannequins become a lot more noteworthy when their three wounds can be stretched out with healing.  Also, you should have the Eternal Flame.  He's not a bad 2-stone investment, especially if you plan on putting Kaeris in danger.  Stripping immunity to burning is never a bad thing, either.

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Only thing it really lacks is all out killing power. Cerberus is a great missile but tends to be one shot most of the time. Purifying fire can heal if it survives any retaliation though. 

December acolytes are very good and my favoured collect the bounty crew includes 2 if them with 2 gunsmiths so can the models available make for a decent list for that.

Speaking of gunsmiths an easy starting tactic turn 1 with either upgrade is to flare putting burning on the gunsmith whilst also cheating in a low ram for defence for them to gain fast is an easy tactic and can get your crew on the front foot early!

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Thanks for the feedback and suggestions so far!  She does indeed have the Eternal Flame (so I've edited into the list).

From what has been said here as well as what I've read elsewhere it sounds like Kaeris is optimally played as a support master (who oddly attacks her own stuff to set it on fire) who can kill opportunistically.  Is this assessment correct?

I would ask a few more specific questions, but I think they would mostly be from my own curiosity rather than be about things she's interested in.  Either I'll get her to let me know what I should ask or I'll get her to make an account and post herself.  In the meantime I'm going to summarize the above so you can make sure I'm interpreting everything correctly/divide things out for easy reading.

Gamin Grenades:  Summon/move low-wound gamin near the enemy so they can damage/apply conditions and avoid enemy defense triggers.  Relevant models include:

  • Fire/Ice Gamin
  • Mechanical Rider

Undying Minions:  Use healing to make already difficult-to-kill models even harder to get rid of.  Relevant models include:

  • Kaeris with Purifying Fire
  • Eternal Flame (only works for Kaeris and constructs like the Mechanical Rider)
  • Mechanical Rider (gets harder and harder to kill)
  • Gunsmiths (Hard to Kill means they enjoy getting healed to two wounds and above)
  • Sabertooth Cerberus (to keep its :+fate buff going)
  • Hoarcat Pride (to keep its damage buff going)

Schemestorm:  Using Kaeris' Grab and Drop upgrade, light friendly models on fire (preferably with attacks/abilities that don't cause damage) and move those models into position via the extra mobility granted by Flight.  Drops all of the schemes ever (ignoring most standard restrictions?)  Relevant models include:

  • Kaeris with Grab and Drop
  • Firestarter?
  • anything which would like to ignore terrain (and probably also has a high walk/charge value?)

Gunsmith Jet Fuel:  Attack Gunsmiths with an attack that causes burning (which preferably also cause no damage?) and flip/cheat a :ram on the Gunsmith's defense in order to gain Fast.  Relevant models include:

  • Gunsmiths
  • Kaeris
  • Firestarter

For the Gunsmith combo, I'm guessing Kaeris following up with Truth in Flame could be a good combo in order to recover her hand or just generate extra cards if the Gunsmiths were lucky on their defense flips?

Thanks again everyone!

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Malifaux child can replace eternal flame and hand out burning allowing kaeris to activate later.

She can take a fair bit of damage due to df6 and armour plus most of her stones will be spent either for dmg prevention or cards as she isnt very suit dependant. But she is better for killing scheme runners and running schemes than getting stuck right in!

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I don't think you should worry too much about making summoned Fire Gamin explode. With Sh5 and a weak damage of 2+1 they are a genuine threat to many other low to mid cost models, let the opponent ignore them at his peril. Ice Gamin are rather more lacklustre except for Bite of Winter, which is only good with other Frozen Heart models, so I wouldn't summon them at all unless I had run out of other models.

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