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Collodi and Activation Order

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Collodi does so many things that it's really hard to pin down his crew and especially activation order.

1) He has Accomplice, helping you get more effective activations at the top of a crucial turn

2) He can give out Focus to all minions, which ends at the end of the turn. So you want to activate early to get as much use as possible.

3) He can also give out Defense, which is better as your last activation of the turn.

4) His obey tricks (especially the crow trigger on his attack + Accomplice) is perfect for setting up charges without your opponent reacting, great for killing key enemy models before they activate.

5) Alternatively, his obey tricks can be used at the very end of the turn to force an enemy off of an objective.

6) When he activates, he also wants all  his on-attack Effigy buffs (Arcane, Lucky, Brutal) (cause he's usually going to have 2-3 of those).

So the problem I'm having is activation order. In mid-game it seems like a total waste to win initiative just to do effigy buff, accomplice, Effigy buff (and then your oppoent effectively has initiative because you  didnt take proper advantage of it. But you also don't want to activate Collodi without his Effigy buffs on him. But you ALSO don't want to leave Collodi's activation for late cause you don't get to use his massive enemy control on the current turn or take advantage of setting up a charge. What do? His advantages seem really mixed between wanting to activate early, middle, or late to take full advantage.

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You're looking at it as a negative. Collodi's strength is his flexibility, in addition to buffing/ and his ability to get the maximum power from his minions/puppets. Far better to have options than not. :)

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Take this for instance - it's the top of turn 3, you win initiative. You can:

1) Brutal Effigy Buff -> Arcane Effigy Buff (nothing productive done to the enemy until your next activation)

2) Brutal Effigy Buff -> Collodi (so he can get Fast from Strum and heal the 2 damage back) (But he doesn't get the bonus burning from Arcane Effigy)

3) Arcane Effigy Buff -> Collodi  (he gets good effect from burning, but has to suck up the 2 Wounds without healing)

4) Collodi -> Illuminated (Collodi can obey to set up a charge on the enemy, then Accomplice the Illuminated to charge it, but neither Collodi, nor the Illuminated get benefit from the effigies that you spent 8 points to buy)

 

Yes there is flexibility, but I feel like no matter what I do I'm not being effective with taking advantage of Collodi's strengths and multiple buffs while working around activation order.

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Having the improvise is par-and-course for the game though. Sometimes you have to activate X model to quickly achieve a scheme before it dies, activate Y model to heal up Z first, etc... you're not always going to be able to do something that's optimal in isolation because the game changes things.

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Better a good move now than the perfect plan a turn too late... Don't let the search for the optimal play make you lose sight of the decent play that kills your opponent's key models.

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Going to be completely honest with you, I would go with the Brutal Collodi in your example without any hesitation unless I really really needed that burning.  First turn Collodi generally wants to go late for me, but second and third turn he often wants to go pronto to mess things up for my opponent.  So for me that is what I generally do.

Collodi can only share one Effigy's ability with the right upgrade on, so any additional effigy boosts is gravy most of the time.  Generally Brutal wins out as Collodi can heal himself after getting fast, set up healing across the board, and possible get a card or two depending on what the table looks like *I have had him snipe several wounded models and net me 3 cards before*.  Even if I am thinking Focus or Defensive I would likely go this way as it could help limit my opponent's options *or at least make them risker*.

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To be honest, I normally play bag of props over fated nowadays. but with the fated upgrade, generally you just need the brutal effigy to chain into collodi so he can heal up his damage while handing out slow or worse to up to 4 models. As stated before: don't get too caught up in your options. You are going to have to play it by ear each turn anyway so just keep it in your head that for the fated upgrade you want to activate within the first three models so that fated can pulse out useful abilities/conditions for the turn. With bag of props, you want to activate within the last three each turn to take advantage of the focus/ defensive conditions that your effigies have gained over the turn.

In other words, just have a general idea of what you want to do and try to get close. No plan survives contact with a good opponent anyway so be flexible about it; the person you are playing is going to do everything they can to stop you from getting points, so be aware that once they figure out what collodi can and can't do, you will start seeing things like metal gamin and relic hammers all over the board. the guy is surprisingly easy to neutralize when you know how. And after playing 10-15 games against him, they will figure it out so plan accordingly.

 

-Proxy

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So in that case should I even take the Arcane Effigy if I'm not expecting to need condition removal? Unlike the Brutal (Finish the Job, not terrible damage on a ranged weapon) or Lucky (great damage), it's attacks and abilities provide nothing else.

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Arcane Effigy is used mainly for condition removal. Its burning buff is good, but Collodi doesn't need to act like heavy hitter and minions need healing buff more. But all effigies are solid as 4ss models, so you don't need faster scheme runners, they are not bad choice. And Arcane effigy's Attack is Ca Attack. Additionally, Lucky's "Hit me!" may be useful. I usually use it as healing buffer, but I don't avoid using it as sacrificial lamb in late game. 

 

Return to the point, I have played Fated Collodi by some activation logics from Wave 2 beta. So I introduce them.  

Collodi don't need to be activated to spread a buff by an effigy -> Don't need to use the effigy's accomplice to Collodi.

Collodi can spread the buff when he receives it, but he need to be activated to spread a buff by his actions. so If you don't need to activate Collodi for other things, you may use effigy's accomplice to other model.  

If you use your effigies for other things, you don't need to activate them before Collodi.

Some effigies used for other things must be activated when you need them. don't need to care their buffs, they are like free gifts. For Example, Arcane Effigy can give buff and use Accomplice to Collodi and in start of the turn, and it may be a good choice. But it may mean "Okay, I will waste my condition removal in this turn" to your opponent.  

Healing buffs may be more important than other buffs.

Other Buff are useful, but healing buffs are essential to keep our fragile models and Collodi's Fast buff. So if you don't need to activate a certain model, Activate Brutal or Lucky first. I prefer Lucky to Brutal, but I agree that Brutal is generally better choice. 

Don't need to use chain activation early.  

Chain activation is very, very useful. but if you keep more models than opponent, you may activate left models like using long chain activations. And this may be more useful for scheme run, because your opponent can't do nothing except watching what you do.  

If opponent can kill / deny your "important" model in 1 Activation -> Try to get initiative and save it (or prepare to recover).  

Spreading the buffs early is important, but loss of "important(for VP and / or Combo)" model may be the more important issue. If you think you can save the model, give some heal / buffs to save it. But you think you can't, you must prepare to recover your loss. so I like Frame for Murder....

If opponent can use chain activation -> Try to get Initiative and try something. 

If your opponent can use chain activation to do something,  you may not stop it. So you will do something to recover your loss or deny opponent's plan. In this situation, you must watch out scheme run combo. 3VP Combo may be more dangerous than killing your models.

If opponent can't deny / kill your "important" model in 1 Activation and can't use chain activation -> Think about opponent's next move

In this situation, opponent usually prepare to do next move. So you may think about what is his / her next move. If you think his / her next move won't be dangerous, try to play more aggressive and get more VP. 

 

If you can't remember these all, just remember "Play Accordingly".

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As Nical notes, so much depends on circumstances that the optimum moves changes from turn to turn. As a general principle, though, I tend to use Fated, and usually try and save Collodi for the end of the round. Typically I'll open a round with:

1) Effigy activates and buffs Collodi (typically Brutal, occasionally Arcane or Lucky depending on circumstances);

2) Effigy accomplices into Lazarus, who Assimilates My Will to command Collodi to take an action, usually Focus or gaining Armor that can be shared with his friends.

That lets me set up my buffs for the turn, while also activating a heavy hitter (Lazarus) early on to go after any key injured targets. Meanwhile, it lets Collodi wait until the end of the turn where he can take advantage of out-activating the enemy, either to set up schemes with his movement tricks, or to unload into a soft target.

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Long story short, my regular opponents know how to play around the fated builds now (the learning curve isn't that high). Also having a double positive on damage flips with multiple effigy effects is pretty boss. it turns my average damage into about 3-3.5 before modifiers. also it doesn't force me to activate collodi first; I can use him anytime after the effigies and the rest of his crew gets super beefy since you don't need as many high cost minions for fated

 

myth, I like the synergy with lazarus. I like bag of props more for collodi now because he is more useful when activating mid to late turn; add that into a killy crew that will take out one to two models a turn, and a late turn collodi becomes a monster. 

my standard bag of props list for reference:

collodi

-bag, strum, pact

envy-pact

lazarus

dopleganger- pact

tot

3 effigies

vomit snake

five stones

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