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Crew Boxes: The Best Choice?


Velcro
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Coming from Warmachine/Hordes it's typically accepted that the Battleboxes (crew boxes) are generally poorly done and often include models that will likely not see play beyond the demo games. Having never played Malifaux before, is this the same situation?

My friend and I are heading out to our LGS tomorrow to pick up our first crews, so I'm wondering if it makes more sense to buy individual models/packs and a single Master or are the crew boxes actually worth it? Now, I understand that most crew boxes offer models you will likely use at some point, but at the same time probably not in the amount included (box includes 3 of a model but maybe 2 will be used at any given time).

Should I look into crew boxes or make my own army composition?

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Honestly, I've found that most crew boxes are more of the baseline for the master that's in it and from there you can add and modify. I remember the Warmahordes boxes were just awkward in play because they tried to hard to give you a taste of everything you could do rather than direct you as to what your group is MEANT to do, but the Malifaux ones are themed well enough that you can really get a hold of the game and the way that your chosen master works really quickly. 

I'd recommend you get a box that interests you and try it first, THEN make adjustments as you want.

You also can't buy single masters (you'd have to go to Ebay or trade on the forums or some other not store means to get one alone) and most henchmen also don't come solo (pretty sure it's all henchmen, tbh...). Which can be a huge deal when you do start expanding.

Ex. My Molly box is being expanded into mostly Belles because I love the theme and I used to run Seamus some years ago, but the Henchman Belle (Madame Sybelle) only comes in Seamus' box. I have to buy his box to get her BUT doing so also gets me a set of three other models I need to run Molly with Belles anyways. AND, while that builds on the one master I want to run, it ALSO allows me to now branch out and try Seamus for the hell of it when Molly gets boring.

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For starters, I don't think any of the Masters are available outside a crew box. 
So, right out of the gate, you're locked into buying a Crew box just because of that alone.

But the good news is that most of the Masters really really like the stuff that comes in their boxes.
The only thing to really look out for are Masters that do a lot of summoning, they'll often need additional things outside their box. 
All Masters will need to add stuff to their Crew box to be playable in a standard sized game, but summoners often need a LOT more  (Especially in the Rezzers faction)

Also, keep in mind that the Crew boxes are not balanced against each other points-wise.   They're a starting product to get going with that particular Master, nothing more, nothing less.   :)

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The Malifaux crew boxes are also pretty great deals economically if you give the models exclusively available in them (masters and henchmen) expected monetary values.

I've also found that you can usually find at least two crew boxes that "play nice" with each other.  By that I mean one or both of the masters in them greatly benefit from the models in both of their boxes.  While this can make for an initial purchase of about 80-100USD it does make for much more playable forces.  Though as mentioned above, summoners kind of throw a wrench into the value of boxes.  Though I believe at least a few of the summoners have non-summoning playstyles available.

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Thanks for the replies! Fair points, I wasn't aware Masters weren't sold separately. I get that from a profit point of view, but I don't know... I don't really like that. Still, I'll be picking something up tomorrow, I'm just not sure which crew yet. So many options!

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truthfully you can pick a crew that look cool  and go from there...Malifaux encompasses many genres from wonderland like characters to gritty gunslingers to steampunk monstrosities....and then the Gremlins which copy those genres with generally hilarious results. I suspect at least one of the crew boxes will scratch an itch for you.

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The very first box to catch my attention was Misaki's crew. I love the way TT looks, but my understanding is that she runs in, kills something, then just dies. I'd prefer something a little more resilient. Now, the one single model that looks the best in the entire Malfiaux list, to me, is Izamu. This guy is a serious bad ***. He reminds me so much of a lot of the anime I watch, so I'll probably just buy him to have his model.

With Malifaux I think I'd prefer more of a walking meatshield crew than a nimble paper armor crew. Visually I haven't seen a crew box that gives off this perception. If I could run Izamu, Samurai, Toshiro, and Oiran as a crew on their own I'd be so happy. Basically, an army of Ninja Gaiden bosses lol. Oiran are there just because they're sexy, like Kill Bill babes.

I love love LOVE the rules and general playstyle of Malifaux, but this is the hardest time I've had with a tabletop game with regards to selecting an army. There are so many models across every faction I like, but I'm really struggling to find one single army that scratches my cumulative itches.

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Yan Lo (Masters of the Path crewbox) goes quite well with Izamu and Toshiro. If you play him as Ten Thunders (he can also played as Resurrectionists) you can use Samurai and Oiran (though Oiran are mercenaries and can be used in any faction they are stronger in their home faction of Ten Thunders).

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7 hours ago, Velcro said:

The very first box to catch my attention was Misaki's crew. I love the way TT looks, but my understanding is that she runs in, kills something, then just dies. I'd prefer something a little more resilient. Now, the one single model that looks the best in the entire Malfiaux list, to me, is Izamu. This guy is a serious bad ***. He reminds me so much of a lot of the anime I watch, so I'll probably just buy him to have his model.

With Malifaux I think I'd prefer more of a walking meatshield crew than a nimble paper armor crew. Visually I haven't seen a crew box that gives off this perception. If I could run Izamu, Samurai, Toshiro, and Oiran as a crew on their own I'd be so happy. Basically, an army of Ninja Gaiden bosses lol. Oiran are there just because they're sexy, like Kill Bill babes.

I love love LOVE the rules and general playstyle of Malifaux, but this is the hardest time I've had with a tabletop game with regards to selecting an army. There are so many models across every faction I like, but I'm really struggling to find one single army that scratches my cumulative itches.

Well you can run Misaki, Izamu, Toshiro, Oiran, and Samurai as a crew. As for running in and dying, Misaki is a scalpel. Find a lynchpin model in your opponent's crew and kill it dead. If you hit it at the right time the opponent won't be able to retaliate. She is not as fragile as the Viktorias, although they tend to be nuclear missiles taking out chunks of the opponent's crew rather than a laser making one extremely dead. However everything can die in Malifaux, but it's possible to lose all your models during the game and still win if you got the points from your strategies and schemes and your opponent didn't.

The ultimate in walking meatshield crews is probably a summoning Nicodem crew... but it's not a good one to start with because that's a lot of models. With Nicodem and the proper setup it's possibly to start with 50 stones of models, lose models every turn, and end the game with more than 70 stones worth of models on the table. McMourning is a less intensive summoner, since he generally summons Flesh Constructs and Canine Remains. Fleshies make great meat shields by the way.

Basically pick a faction you like, assemble and paint a Master and a few models, and play them. Malifaux is fairly well balanced so no Master is extraordinarily better than another provided you play to their strengths. It'll help if you write yourself a 50 stone crew with the Master you like, including the models in their box and any others you want to include, and build and paint that since 50 stones is the regular game size.

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Hmm, well let's say I had $100 to blow on a crew today. If I went Nico, what should I be looking to pick up as immediate and 'required' purchases outside of the crew box? I saw his resurrection card that another person had created, but it's all still very greek to me right now.

How does Seamus stack up to Nico? I understand he only summons Belles, but his crew box looks awesome! Who doesn't like a fetid bordello posse? Lol

I can already tell Yan Lo is way above my head at the moment, so he'll have to wait. He sounds much too complicated.

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Seamus is a Master who likes to kill things. Because he summons Belles (Rotten Belles and Dead Doxies) as a zero action he can only summon five a game so you don't need a lot of models in his summon pools. A lot of the time you'll want to Back Alley to a good shooting position, focus so you hit the target, then shoot. He's darn tough to damage.

Seamus is the other Masterid I'd recommend if you wanted to start in Resurrectionists. He likes Rotten Belles, Dead Doxies, and The Hanged. Basically everything that can cause a WP duel is good for him. The Outcast Bishop can be taken as a Mercenary and can attack WP.

With $100 I would get Seamus, a box of Dead Doxies, and a box of The Hanged. If you have money left over, Izamu or some other tough beater is a good option. Rotten Belles pull your opponent's models close then Hanged, Seamus, the Copycat Killer, and Izamu make them dead.

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1 hour ago, Velcro said:

 If I went Nico, what should I be looking to pick up as immediate and 'required' purchases outside of the crew box?

This is a bit of a trap.  
I started with Nico with this mindset, but he wants so much more... 

a box (or two) of the Mindless Zombies (you'll be making a lot of them)
McMourning's box for the Flesh Construct and Canine Remains. (whether you start with them or summon them is up to you)
Rotten Belles (may as well get Seamus' box)
Crooligans or Necropunks for Schemes (may as well get Molly's box if getting Crooligans)
Izamu - the one guy you'll always start the game with since he can't be summoned anyways.

That's a pretty good start.  
Eventually he'll also want...

Crooked men.
The University of Transmortis box for targeted summons
Necropunks (or Crooligans) for additional easy summons, whichever you don't already have.
Hanged for big summons
You may want a box of Canine remains for summons or to start with two in play.

The list could go on and on.
Nicodem is awesome because he can summon most of the Resser faction.
...but he can single-handedly bust your wallet, because he wants you to own most of the Resser faction.

If your budget is $100 I would recommend Seamus over Nicodem without any hesitation.

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Again, a very sound plan! If you go with Seamus or Molly (or both!) you'll gradually build up the arsenal you'd want with Nicodem. Seamus is pretty happy with some synergistic beaters, maybe som scheme runners. The reason McMourning often is suggested along with Seamus is because you get nurses there, and they are extremely good, as well as a canine remains (scheme runner) and a flesh construct (tar pit). Otherwise Seamus thrive on failed wp duels, so anything that target wp is good. Yin is often mentioned here. The hanged is very powerful, but very divise for Seamus; many swear by it, many never hire them. Molly's box contains Crooligans (scheme runners) and Phillip and the Nanny (card draw/markee manipulation). I'd say McMourning's box is slightly more useful for Seamus, but Seamus' box is more useful for Molly than for McMourning. If you only want to run one master from the outset I'd say get Seamus, McMourning and Yin. If you want more variation, Molly might be better than the good doc. Should be under 100 either way...

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Seamus' box is a solid start since every Resser master likes Rotten Belles.

You can make a decent 50SS crew with the Seamus box, The Hanged, Yin the Penangalan:

Seamus -- 3ss Cache
 +Red Chapel Killer - 1ss
 +Sinister Reputation - 1ss

Copycat Killer - 3ss

Madame Sybelle - 8ss
 +Not Too Banged Up - 1ss

Rotten Belle - 5ss

Rotten Belle - 5ss

The Hanged - 9ss

The Hanged - 9ss

Yin The Penangalan - 8ss

It comes to $72.

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On ‎1‎.‎4‎.‎2016 at 2:51 AM, Velcro said:

Now, I understand that most crew boxes offer models you will likely use at some point, but at the same time probably not in the amount included (box includes 3 of a model but maybe 2 will be used at any given time).

All Minions tend to come in groups of three which is a bit unfortunate as about 80% of them you don't ever tend to use three of once you have other available choices.

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So I picked up the Seamus crew! Unfortunately my buddy switched from The Dreamer to Lady J, so with their corpse removal this seems like it will be an uphill battle... But I can't wait to play our first game tomorrow!

After much deliberation I think I'll have to pick up some Hanged, Yin, Bete Noir (?), and Nurses. Do I want Izamu or Toshiro with Seamus?

My overall goal, though, is Nico and a full sideboard of summons, so either way this is a good start to building his crew.

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I personally don't like Izamu, Toshiro, or Bete with Seamus. Don't take that as gospel obviously though. I think if you're going to play Seamus for awhile you might want to proxy those models first to see if they mesh with your play style before purchasing. I think if you are building for Nicodem though that Izamu is better with him.

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14 hours ago, Velcro said:

So I picked up the Seamus crew! Unfortunately my buddy switched from The Dreamer to Lady J, so with their corpse removal this seems like it will be an uphill battle... But I can't wait to play our first game tomorrow!

After much deliberation I think I'll have to pick up some Hanged, Yin, Bete Noir (?), and Nurses. Do I want Izamu or Toshiro with Seamus?

My overall goal, though, is Nico and a full sideboard of summons, so either way this is a good start to building his crew.

Just as an aside, if you're going for a Nicodem crew eventually you'll probably want Flesh Constructs and there's one in the McMourning box, which also contains two Nurses. In your position I'd be inclined to grab Seamus and McMourning rather than buy the Nurses separately. Then Hanged and Yin. The Flesh Construct is also a discouragement to your opponent emptying their hand because he gains Reactivate when they do so. McMourning is also quite indifferent to corpse markers, doing his summoning via killing with poison.

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Fair points, but how deterring is the Flesh Construct's reactivation? I don't have any cards yet, outside of the crew box, so I'm not really sure what models do. From reading PullMyFinger they frame the Flesh Construct as basically a walking meat shield that is hit by almost any attack, does little damage, and really only has a lot of wounds as his selling point. Doesn't really sound like a threat at all. At least, I don't see myself spending SS on him compared to something like Izamu.

On a side note, how many Belles do I want to have for a 'typical' Seamus game? He comes with 3, but is that enough? Do I want to buy more for summoning purposes?

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Ml 5, 2/3/5 damage and handing out poison is reasonable for a 6SS model, and no it's isn't Izamu, but it does have some fun features like, since it has a 40mm base, you can hide Seamus behind it and Back Alley because enemy models can't draw line of sight to him.

Belles are good minions, so I think you'll usually hire a couple. Assuming you're going with Hanged, Yin and Nurses, and remembering that you choose your crew based on the schemes and strategies you're trying to accomplish (to be honest I just pick stuff that I want to play with) a list might look something like.

Resurrectionists
50ss Crew

Seamus -- 7ss
 +Sinister Reputation - 1ss

Copycat Killer - 3ss

Madame Sybelle - 8ss
 +Bleeding Tongue - 1ss

Nurse - 5ss

Rotten Belle - 5ss

Rotten Belle - 5ss

The Hanged - 9ss

Yin The Penangalan - 8ss
 

There're 5 stones left over to add a upgrades. For summoning Seamus needs a corpse marker, and it's a (0) action which means it can only be performed once a turn. It's unlikely that you'll summon much more than three models a game. I would suggest getting a box of Dead Doxies and a box of Rotten Belles so you have all the bases covered.

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Seus can cause a lot of discards so the reactivate on the flesh construct is fairly liable to happen. Otherwise certain crews tend to want to burn their hands, so having to hold onto a card is a real nuisance for them.

I was also pretty surprised when a flesh construct ate my henchman with its ml 6 instant death attack, which you can't discard cards or soulstones to avoid.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 4. april 2016 at 6:24 PM, Velcro said:

So I picked up the Seamus crew! Unfortunately my buddy switched from The Dreamer to Lady J, so with their corpse removal this seems like it will be an uphill battle... But I can't wait to play our first game tomorrow!

I wouldnt worry much about corpse marker removal unless you're playing Nicodem and even then you can just turn them into Mindless Zombies.

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