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New player starting misaki


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Hello, planning my first buy into malifaux, been reading a lot and talking with some local players, and made up my mind into getting a crew and start playing malifaux.

I'm thinking on starting with misaki as master and add yamaziko and oiran pack as starting point. Is this any good to build up a crew? 

Any thoughts you can share on this matter are most welcome. :-)


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Schemes & Stones podcast did "building on a budget" article for Ten Thunders, which includes several ways you could go when building a core model pool for Misaki:


While you're at it order Generalist Upgrade Deck 1, it has a lot of really useful upgrades that really up your game. GUD 2 is good too but not similarly "essential" in my mind if on a budget. Even better ask around and see if a local player has TT upgrades they don't need (GUD's come with upgrades for all factions).

Yamaziko is a nice add-on. She's a bit hard to use sometimes, with df 4 she dies quick and only ml 5 means she's not a reliable hitter in melee. I still love her though. 3/3/4 with optional blasts is solid, she's great against wp heavy opponents, anti-charge aura is a nice freebie and nimble is one of my favourite rules on a model. Don't get discouraged if she gets ripped like a wet paper bag in your first game or two, she's earned her stones many times in my games.

I don't have Oiran. I wouldn't get them if I only owned Misaki and Yamaziko box. I'm not convinced by their small +WP aura, lure seems unreliable and otherwise in a small collection they seem too similar to Torakage, far as strategies and schemes are concerned. If you love their looks or have been convinced by players who have played them (keeping in mind other models you own), go for them. Still, some alternative first buys:

Shooters! Torakage have ninja stars but those don't win gun fights. We've got loads of options, I suggest you read up more on Katanaka Snipers, Samurai, Thunder Archers, Guild Pathfinder and Fuhatsu. You could even look at some mercenaries (Lazarus springs to mind) but you perhaps want to stay in-faction for your first few purchases. At least keep in mind that you can at most hire two mercs in any one crew. I've used Samurai a lot and love them. I've fought against Pathfinders and they seem really nice on the table, but I've hesitated to buy one myself since they're pretty pricey per model at only one pathfinder per box.

Cheap bodies! There are times you just want a lot of activations. Torakage for 6ss aren't cheap. Oiran are a smidge better here at 5ss, Brothers are solid 5ss, Shadow Effigy is great for 4ss, Low River Monks add some utility at 4ss (even more so if you get GUD#2 for their healing upgrade), also at 4ss I've seen a lot of love for Tengu but can't comment. Shadow Effigy is a great model out of that bunch, it even has a leader only buff that's particularly useful to Misaki.

Big beefy minions! There are times you want beefy models but having them be enforcers or henchmen is a liability. Dawn Serpent and Jorogumo are nice to have in your toolbox for those scheme pools. Jorogumo are Last Blossom so there's some extra synergy when you field them with Misaki or Yamaziko.

The Lone Swordsman is a model I adore. He overlaps a bit with Misaki and Ototo, but useful in some scheme pools (Hunting Party with only Ototo and Yamaziko is a bit so-so...). Bit of a glass cannon but I've never been disappointed by this guy.

If were to start a Misaki crew from scratch I'd probably go with Yamaziko, Samurai and Shadow Effigy. But I just really love those models even without her so... Hope this helped.

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Oiran have a 0ss upgrade available in the wave 2 deck, that gives all Oiran in LoS fast and focused when the carrying model deals damage. Misaki is a great carrier for this, and it makes a pair of Oiran into fantastic scheme runners. Particularly as they cannot be charged. 

Yamaziko is good against wp attack heavy crews (neverborn), and can deny areas with her brace Yari. The smoke grenades upgrade goes a long way to offsetting her low df against ranged, and with nimble she can be great for schemes. 

Katanaka snipers are a solid buy, fantastic ranged with good melee as well, and they get reactivate if a friendly master dies in LoS, which Misaki will often. 

Having another good beater available is a good idea, and Izamu is a great choice. He's durable, and can dish out a lot of damage. 

Generally with Misaki, build your crew to be self sufficient without your master, as Misaki doesn't really help your crew, she's more of a solo killer.

Hope that helps.






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I'd like to give a specific shout-out against Oiran. They're just not good. Ten Thunder Brothers, Komainu, Low River Monks, Shadow Effigy... They're all much better. Really zero reason to take them besides fluff. Also Yamaziko is not really a piece you're gonna want to field most of the time. She has her niche moments but in a lot of lists it's just going to be wasted. 

For Misaki you're gonna want a crew that can run independent of her. So in Ototo you have something big that can take a hit or two and in Torakage you have some fast though expensive scheme runners. I'd get the TTB and/or Shadow Effigy for something cheaper and sturdier to fill out your list. And then an 8ish SS piece for what you'd feel you're gonna want more. Yin if you want a durable tarpit, the Lone Swordsman if you want another scalpel much like Misaki (I feel they do a bit too much of the same), snipers to put constant pressure on weaker units or chip away at models so Misaki can finish them off, or maybe Graves+Tannen if you'd like some movement shenanigans and something that really packs a punch. 

If you look at groups of models with a similar price as the Oiran+Yamaziko Id suggest...

Graves+Tannen+Effigy - 8+6+4 SS

Snipers+Ten Thunder Brothers 2x7+3x5 SS

Yin+Lone Swordsman+Effigy 8+8+4 SS

The Effigy is just a really nice cheap filler piece that lives longer than it should for its price and can easily be turned to scheming if you don't need the :-fate anymore.

The TTB are hardly flashy but really manage to hold down an area until your crew can get there to back them up.

The snipers are the closest you'll get to giving Misaki backup by constantly harassing units and making it riskier to send them at or leave them with Misaki.

Graves and Tannen have some synergy but are great models by themselves as well. Graves hits hard and helps with mobility, Tannen disrupts your opponent's play.

The LS is like a slow Misaki, dashing in and taking out one or two key models before he goes down himself.

And Yin keeps everything around her engaged and has some nasty effects to throw on them while being very hard to put down. 


I have a bit of a personal preference for elite crews but I'd imagine the Snipers+TTB will give you the best all-round use if you're gonna venture further into TT. Maybe a bit lacking in big beaters but with Ototo and Misaki you'll have a decent start. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Graves is a great choice for Misaki as you want a brutish midfield model, and him having a push to boot is awesome. 

Obsidian Oni are just all around fantastic models to add to your collection.

Samurai/Katanaka Snipers... pick your ranged death. They do different things, but are both really solid models that do a lot of work and more importantly give that bit of ranged threat that really benefits Misaki.

Oiran are indeed underpowered, but that being said, they provide some fantastic benefits to certain crews and against certain lists. Anti-charge is meaningless against guild for instance, but it's pretty great against neverborn, as is their +1 WP aura.

10T Bros are solid. Can't go wrong with them.

Yamaziko is really good, but she's a tad too fragile against a lot of opponents. But she loves smoke grenades, which gives her a lot of surivability. Alternatively, for the same point cost is Yin the Pengalan, who defines the role of tarpit.

Jorogumo are cute, especially as last blossom models, and have some fun synergy with Misaki, Yamaziko or Ototo if they are wearing the Smoke and Shadows upgrade. Joro can bury and then pop up as a bodyguard for the divebombing Misaki (something I LOVE doing). 

Terracotta Warrior and Kamaitachi are a great combo that I take regularly over say Shang + Shadow Effigy.


So I just want to point out that Misaki is one of those masters that has some fantastic fluff builds, that aren't the most powerful lists. But that being said they can be quite a bit of fun. If you are looking to have fun, and have opponents who aren't going to take advantage and just crush you for not playing competitive, go ahead and get Oiran and Yamaziko. Pick up some Ronin. Maybe grab some jorogumo and just have fun with that last blossom mechanic and not being able to be charged! I love playing that kind of list for the fluff and flavor, and I've absolutely won with it. But it is an uphill battle in a few ways.

if you'd like a more complete, functional build... I'd look elsewhere over Yamaziko and Oiran. They are delicious flavor and great models, but they are hard to get value out of at times and can be frustrating. My first Misaki list ever was the fun build, and I lost horribly many times until I got the hang of it. Now I take it for fun, but if I want to be competitive, look to other choices. 

The Asami and Shenlong crew boxes are also good options to help support Misaki as Sensei Yu is amazing with her, and Yokai and Ohagura Bettari compliment her playstyle well.

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Oiran are really beautiful models, and fluffwise related to the Misaki, which for me are reasons enough to buy them. But in any other case, I wouldn't advise to get them (personally I only use them in "thematic" lists).

6 hours ago, InvokeChaos said:

Jorogumo are cute, especially as last blossom models, and have some fun synergy with Misaki and Yamaziko. 

Here I must disagree *a little*. I don't find any particular synergy between Misaki and Jorogumo. It does exists a synergy between Jorogumo and Smoke and Shadows, but I'll never put it on Misaki (nor advice it), and as the upgrade doesn't need Misaki to be on the crew, I'd just state that Jorogumo *may* have some synergy with Yamaziko, but only if you give her Smoke and Shadows (choosing to not even consider Ototo for carrying the upgrade).

Anyway, @Madchef75, I suggest you this thread, where you can find a lot of good advices related to Misaki's crew construction:


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Haha, no worries.

I meant that I don't always run a non-master who can properly where Smoke and Shadows (as it's limited to Blossom models) and I typically only put two upgrades on Misaki. So if I don't bring Yamaziko, Misaki gets Smoke and Shadows. I will clarify my post to include the upgrade, as that was what I was implying.


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The Thunder, Shadow Effigy, Mr Graves, Johan, Yin, Katanaka Snipers, and Thunder Brothers is where I would start. Then going on to Yamaziko, Shadow Emissary, Big Jake, possibly Oiran and Tannen. If you are on a tight budget go with The Thunder, Brothers/oiran, and Snipers (and play the crap out of Misaki, Shang, 2x Torakage, 2x Snipers, 2x Oiran/TB). 

In game, remember that your own models are perfect targets for Misdirection. Preferbly Shang and Effigy. Misaki depends on solid positioning to stay around. So always have a plan on how to get in and out of heat. Also, dont be reckless. Misaki is a great threat to any opposing model and have seldom problem to pick anything 15" away from her. If she hasnt activated the opponent will have to be more restrictive with ss and cards. On the other hand, sometimes the right move is to be really aggressive and fly into the thick of it. In those situations its important that even if she dies, her sacrifice should serve a higher purpose (netting vp that is!).

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