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Gremlin Problems - Gremlins are bad or I'm Bad


Maroon Core
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Gremlins are the faction that got me to play malifaux. Although I started with ten thunders I found them kinda boring and not very thematically fun so I only played occasionally. Gracie hooked me and i've been a gremlin player since (who doesn't want to play a pig in armor from the kitchen). I don't post on the forums much but i've been having serious problems running gremlins. As this is the only faction I have I thought I'd look for some advice here before I sell them and try to start over. 

I've played for 2 years almost, over 100 games, and I own every gremlin model in the game. During this time I've gotten so badly beaten by even the newest of players that I'm having a hard time reconciling the balance of the game when it comes to playing gremlins who seem to crumble by the middle of turn three. I'm disheartened to the point of just selling off my models and finding a new game to get into. So to get deeper into it....

 

I tend to play Zoraida and Ulix most followed by Somer. I've not gotten much play time in with Wong or Brewmaster and I dislike how ophelia plays. I tend to try to focus on strategies and schemes that require scheme markers as I expect to be able to out activate opponents for a turn or two and can get 3-4 points this way easier. I typically avoid points requiring long term terrain holding as this has always failed when gremlins get into combat.... they always just die in droves so I lose models and often gain zero points. 

Most of my games are basically over by the end of turn 2 or middle of turn 3. I understand that the out-activation that gremlins bring because they are cheap to purchase and have reckless abilities is how they should be powerful. However, in my experience the extra AP and activation control is only relevant until the end of turn 3 as by that time I've lost so many models, been forced to retreat or hide out in terrain, or just can't stand up to even a moderate sized opponents hand that the extra power in AP and activation is gone. I've had several games where I've lost a huge number of points in a turn and a half (turn 2 to middle of 3) and can't claim points beyond maybe 3 or 4. 

Comparing equal points model to model I can't see the balance in abilities and stats. Although many gremlins can get extra AP with reckless/drunk and reckless, the payoff isn't enough to make them that much better compared to models of the same points that can do the same or better actions without a down side that can cause them to get killed in one shot. Example: Nino (the big guild sniper) compaired to Rami. Nino can kill models by focusing quite easily with a high damage flip. For Rami to do the same I've had to reckless, get the ram trigger to knock myself to half health to get the same effect.

If you consider the damage level a gremlin can do with a Ram trigger they are decent hitters but they also blow themselves up in the process and cost me models when this happens. One of my worst outcomes was losing Francois to a massive hit (admittedly killing the minion he hit) followed by losing Bert because of a ricochet trigger (flipped late and couldn't cheat to change), then because my two big hitters that were protecting Somer were gone he also died that turn. All because of one turn of damaging myself.  

My local Henchman has been extremely patient working with me to either get better or figure out lists to play for certain schemes etc. However, we've run out of ideas. I've tried playing conservatively, which helps with gremlin survival but I often still only get 3-5 points because my opponent has had two turns of free roaming for points. I've tried being aggressive with expendable models but find that I'm just spending two turns and 3-4 models to nullify one 5-10 point model, often losing 8-15 points of my own models in the trade. I've tried being more selective with schemes and strategies by focusing on what other gremlin players play (from podcasts and tournaments) but inevitably lose so many models so early on that I'm just waiting for my opponent to get max points and end turn 5 with a 4-6 point spread between us. 

I'm extremely positive and excited about playing every game (one to three games a week). I listen to and read hours of malifaux posts and podcasts every week trying to learn to play better. But by turn 2 or 3 in most games, even against new players, I'm just wanting the game to be over because i've lost so many models and will only be able to get half or less than half points and feel like i'm just waiting for my opponent to max out their points while I wait an hour for the game to end. 

I understand that it's possible, and very likely, that I'm playing extremely badly and can't figure out what to do to get better. But I also can't see the balance of the game when looking at a gremlin card compared to other factions. I love the game and how it plays but I'm very close to just selling all my models...... ANY advice would be great, any ideas for lists, advice on schemes and strategies to choose, any help with understanding how gremlins are even close to other factions in power level would be great before I decide to dump them. 

 

Thanks in advance

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While you like the gremlins, part of me wants to jump to conclusions and say I'm not sure their play style is something you are made for.  You say they crumble by turn 3, which is very likely true in a lot of the games I play as well.  Just the other day, turns 4 and 5 were only Brewmaster, Fingers, and Old Cranky on the table.  Partially my fault for trying a list against Outcasts and a gunline, but that's a different story.

From what I've noticed playing gremlins over the past year, we hit hard and fast, but we can't take much of a punch (certain models go against this rule, of course).  We are the glass canon of factions.  It's entirely possible to score your points before this, and that's the intention.  Go in fast and score before you get taken down.  There are certain masters and lists that go against this rule, I find Zipp and most of his crew surviving an entire game while completely disrupting my opponent the entire time.  However, for the most part, you want in to score early.

Trixiebelle is considered by many one of the better models we have, but if she isn't near a gremlin that she can pass a punch off onto, she tends to drop easily.  That doesn't mean she can't do what she's built to do well, or that she can't survive a game.

I in no way think you should give up on gremlins, but maybe adjust how you handle it as a whole.  Not necessarily alpha striking, but getting yourself set up and scoring quickly is what you want to try to do.  Some of the newer schemes don't play well to that style all the time, but for the most part you can find 2 schemes out of 5 that allow you to get set up early and done.

Try coming up with a game plan for all the schemes.  Quick example, Show of Force with Trixie or the First Mate.  They can get there quickly because of Reckless and Leap, and they each have a push to keep enemies with upgrades away from the center to ensure you score.  Obviously, wrenches get thrown in and you have to come up with a back-up plan when your opponent tries to counter, but having a rough idea of how to handle situations when they come up will be a nod in the right direction.

I haven't gotten around to trying yet, but it's been suggested to me to play against myself.  Especially when trying a mostly new crew.

 

As far as balance,  you were right earlier on in your post.  Out activation and extra AP.  The issue is looking at comparative models and thinking they're automatically better.  On paper, Nino has a good one up on Rami.  However, you need to consider that Rami has the extra AP and out activation possibilities from the rest of the crew.  It's a little counter intuitive, but it tends to work out about evenly.  I don't care if their sniper is better than mine when I have 4 or 5 more models on the table to begin with, because those extra models are more AP he has to spend to remove.  Even if it's just a Stuffed Piglet.  That's 2 soul stones I had to spend to eat his sniper's AP for a round, which means that's a round his sniper isn't shooting one of my more important models.  If I happen to get the pig in range to blow some stuff up, that's icing on the cake.

Unfortunately, the masters that you're gravitating towards are almost my bottom 3 when it comes to who I enjoy using.  I've won games with everybody, but you have to find that special click of what you have fun playing.

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I feel your pain. I've had similar experiences in 40k and after a while you get kind of desperate for progress. 

I'm too new to malifaux to be able to give you an answer right away, but could you maybe describe a typical game in a little more detail with lists, scheme pool and roughly what happens? 

My experience is that anyone can win and surely that should be possible for you to.

Good luck and Merry Christmas! 

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Please don't take this poorly but from what you are saying I think you are suffering at least a mixture of the "Grass is greener on the other side" and tunnel vision.  It actually happens a lot with people and can really create some issues.  I am sure other people will chime in and you have already likely read or heard it plenty but Gremlins really are a competitive faction.  They can be Glass Cannon like, but I have also played them very flexible and harsh like a bunch of trench fighters.  Often as is key is breaking notions that might otherwise hold you back such as auto included models, support bloating, resource misuse, and predictable approaches. 

Take your Nino to Rami.  Nino's damage spread is 1/2/4.  Even with Critical strike built in, that is a 2/3/5.  So he either needs a second Ram on Moderate or Severe to kill low end models.  Rami has a 1/3/4 but if you get the ram it is a 2/6/8.  So if Rami gets the same Ram that Nino needs he also kills them on Moderate or Severe but has higher damage so can take out bigger prey.  Sure it might kill Rami but depending on the target it might well be worth it.  In a game this year first turn Rami killed Yamzuki for 10T and later killed himself shooting Misaki when she had came like a bat out of hell at my crew.  Nino could not have pulled off the same thing.  I have also had a few games were Rami kills Nino first turn before at least one where Nino shot Rami first, almost killed him, so I let Rami go out with a bang blowing a Witchling Stalker away to spread some burning to my opponent's crew.  It some cases Nino will be the better sniper, in others Rami.

Also it seems like you might be to caught up in the whole Reckless and Drunk&Reckless issue.  Honestly, my Bayou Gremlins don't use Drunk&Reckless much.  Like one out of four will use it per game.  It is an emergency button rather than the default for me.  Even models like Francois I don't use it unless I feel it is needed.  Mind you those with just Reckless tend to use it more but that does not mean it always has to be used.  Gremlins can tear themselves to pieces if you are to wasteful with resources, even if you have more models.  Just like with other factions you need to manage your resources wisely.  Your example with Francois springs to mind a bit here, you said he blew himself up taking out a Minion, but unlike Bayou Gremlins he does not HAVE to declare triggers.  Meaning he can always choose to not trigger Dumb Luck.  To be honest he only triggers dumb luck with me about 65% of the time.  The rest of the time I am fairly confident I can take the model out without it so I save my wounds. 

The best suggestions I can likely give, considering you already have experience with the game and seem to have spent a fair amount of time on research would be this, is to take a step back.  Clearly your current case is not working for you whatever the cause is so taking a step back and approaching the whole issue differently might shed some light on the source of the problem and how to resolve it.  My suggestion would be to try one of these options, maybe even mix and match them, for a while and then re-examine your thoughts and feelings in light of the new data.

Option 1, if your gaming group is healthy enough, which if you have a good henchmen it might be, I would ask around and see if people will let you play some of the other factions you have been facing.  I suggest it all the time to players as it lets them see what it is like at the helm of what they often are facing.  Seeing how hard it is to pull off the stuff you thought that was simple on the other side of the table can give good insight and give you a better grasp of what they can and cannot do.  Back in first edition I had someone complaining about my neverborn saying his Guild had no chance so I let him use my Neverborn and I used his Guild in strategy and scheme he thought was perfect for Neverborn.  I ended up winning with several tricks and tactics he had never considered before.  It did not immediately fix his problem but it gave him stuff to think about.  Trying other factions also can help you test if perhaps the issue is Gremlin play style is not for you.

Option 2, Mirror Match.  This works best if you have a good player that can teach but have them play the same crew as you.  I have done this a couple times with players were I have them build their crew for the Strategy and scheme and then I take the same models and upgrades.  That way they can see how others approach their crew and reflect on it.  This basically lets you double up on lessons learned as you are seeing both sides with the same factors involved.

Option 3, try Henchmen games for a while.  It is less models, less options, and often quicker games.  By moving masters out of the game you can see if they were part of the problem and also work on your resource management as with less models schemes and Strats can become harder.  Also by having less to work with you can find out if your tactics are suffering from bloated support or misuse of models.  By being generally quicker games, if things do go wrong and it looks like it is pretty much over turn 3 it will not take as long to wrap up and you can possible get more games in.

Option 4, consider a few games of Tag Team format from the Alternate Tournament packet.  I would see if another Gremlin player is willing to team up with you for this, or if your henchmen is willing to use your models to team up with you, and get a few games in that way.  I would try to keep both teams as one faction each, to avoid crazy combos from cross factions, but this again lets you get first hand experience with another player at the helm of gremlins but not across the table from you.  Having a partner can give you another take on models and combos and a sound board for questions with out it being you asking your opponent or an third party.

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I would say that Gremlins as a whole are one of the most difficult factions to play well consistently. There are a few reasons for this:

  • First, we are built upon synergy more than any other faction (and I know that someone will poke in with a "crew x is way more dependent upon synergy than Gremlins" at some point). The layers of buffs we can apply makes decent models absolutely amazing.
  • Second, our faction is fueled by self-inflicted Wounds to elevate them above their peers. Bayou Gremlins with out Drunk and Reckless are hardly worth their SS cost. I would argue that access to either the Dumb Luck or Thinking Luck triggers also goes a long way toward making our models shine in comparison to other models in the game.
  • Third, activation order is usually far more important in out faction than in others with more "self sufficient" models. Som'er for example typically needs a Slop Hauler to heal his Bayou Gremlins before he can summon more. Som'er or his Skeeters need to go early in the turn to pass out Suits. Positioning and Activation order keep our faction functioning as intended, screw up the activation order and the crew doesn't function as well as it could.
  • Fourth, nothing in our faction can really be described as "Incredibly Durable". Our faction is really designed to be spammed, both in terms of model count and Healing. Unfortunately this edition doesn't really allow for the model count advantage (I still argue that the Bayou Gremlins should have remained 2 SS instead of 3 and Piglets should have stayed 3 instead of going to 4) that makes us less vulnerable. Additionally, "owning the middle" is a lot more important with the symmetric Strategies than it used to be when the Strategies were Assymmetric, our models don't generally do this well.
  • Fifth, the :aura or :pulse from those buffs is typically fairly confined. These means or faction more than many others is strongly encouraged to cluster around the buffing "hub" turn after turn. This, combined with the above points, means that an opponent that can quickly engage the "ball of models" with a melee big baddy (like say Bishop or Nekima) can also likely remove several of your models in a single activation (usually as fast or faster than you can replace them via summoning).

All of these factors make consistently playing Gremlins well (and by that I mean winning more than losing) more difficult than with other crews or factions. The play style is not for everyone, but win or lose I have never had a bad game when piloting the little fellars (and I have been singing their praises far longer than most). Personally I enjoy the more cerebral play of the Gremlins than the other more straight forward crews/ factions.

What I would offer in terms of advice is If  your games are consistently being decided by turn two regardless of strategy/ schemes/ opponents crew choice, then it is likely you are running them way to hot (i.e. wounding them to much) and screwing up either your positioning, activation order, or both. The faction as a whole is very unforgiving of these things and makes your opponents job significantly easier.

I think these factors are one of the primary reasons Wong is such a popular choice in the competitive fields. He and his crew typically suffer the least from them.

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There are a lot of excellent points here. Particularly that I may "run them to got". That is most likely entirely correct. I tend to get aggressive to early for sure. 

Are there certain schemes/strats that get you to pick certain models and for what reason? This tends to me my analysis paralysis in crew building as I'm pretty sure i'm lacking in enough experience to make those calls, specifically because my games rarely run long enough to find out if my plan would work. 

I've tried using vassal on my desk top but the file doesn't work. I will have to try it on my laptop then maybe get some games in that way. I think it would help to get some immediate constructive criticism as I play. Can someone post here the link to the vassal download site? just in case I'm going to the wrong place (which may be causing my issues on the desktop)?

My Local Henchman is great, very patient and we play a ton since I own the shop he works from but he doesn't play gremlins. He plays mostly guild and some neverborn and arcanists. He gives excellent advice as we play but has been unsure how best to keep me from losing so badly, just how to better use some of my models and make the best of some situations. 

Looking back to some of my games I tend to have the worst ones against any heavy hitters (peackeeper, ice golem, or masters with tons of damage) and never enough/good enough cards. I understand the randomness of card draws/flips (like red/black jokers at bad times) but I tend to never have a high enough card or enough of them to make a dent. I've noticed that if i draw a hand of moderate cards with only one or two 12-13's this tends to be the turn that most of my problems happen, especially if my opponent has even a decent hand. It it happens two turns in a row then I just can't get it back in general. Are there a lot of card draw/manipulation that I'm possibly not taking advantage of? With so many models I find that I'm out of cards long before I've done most of what I need to do for points. 

Thanks again. 

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I do understand your point about often feeling like an uphill battle - gremlins can be quite explosive. Personally I tend to play where I lose a ton of models and power, but I score big and I score early on schemes and then just scrape by on the strategy. If you start going downhill too quickly it can be a crushing defeat and that's not fun. I'm not sure I'd really recommend my style to everyone (or maybe anyone) because the number of times I've won or lost games on the flip to see if there's another turn is ridiculous.

Anyway, I think I can help decently with the card question, and it's about balancing out models that suck up cards with models that are pretty hand-independent. Any model that tends to be bigger or more important also tends to be a bit card hungrier, but it's not necessarily totally linear. Higher cost models, models with lower stats, TNs, discard effects, and Reckless/(0) actions with duels will generally be more card hungry. It's fine to have some card hungry models, even necessary, but you have to balance it out with models that don't need any cards to still work.

Francois, for example, is a great model, but he's also quite card hungry - he has low Df, and he's an important model because he's probably a good chunk of your damage, so you want him to actually be hitting. He's also going to be taking up to four actions a turn, which you might want to cheat (if only for Dirty Cheater). So to balance that out, you're going to want some less card hungry models.

Anything with naturally high stats for its cost, Bayou Two Card, or just passive auras are generally going to be less card hungry, as well as models you bring for scheme running instead of fighting. So Bayou Gremlins aren't very card hungry because they're cheap so you don't care so much about an individual's AP, and also because they can Bayou Two Card bad results. Or Lightning Bugs have a nice high Ca6 on their attack which is pretty good for a 5 stone model. And someone like Lenny or Old Cranky is always useful because they don't need to do duels to be useful, they just need to stand there and look pretty.

It's not a specific hard and fast rule of "I brought X card hungry models so I need to bring Y card light models" but it can help to make sure that your crew isn't going to want 12 cards a turn when you only have 6 in hand. Also, focus! Focus is so useful, particularly when you're out of cards, or for moderately useful models that you want to hit, but you don't want to necessarily drop high cards on.

 

--

 

As another point which is partly to do with cards but also partly to do with playstyle and it's something you might consider is to pick schemes which don't require any real level of success at duels. Killing stuff allows your opponent to spend resources to stop you. Instead, I prefer generally to pick schemes that can happen with as little chance for your opponent to mess up as possible. The most egregious is imo Public Demonstration, which is almost an automatic 3 points with a few lightning bugs and the pigapult. I'm also a big fan of the Distract type schemes because most interacty schemes require you to spend AP to move your own models into position, then AP to interact, but Distract type schemes make your (melee) opponents spend their own AP moving into position, and you punish them for it. The cards bit comes into play because you don't need to hit any TNs to interact or to move around, so if you mostly aim at those schemes then you can save those cards for defense or to take out key models that aren't necessarily scheme targets.

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I would strongly recommend taking Joel up on his vassal offer. If you can't find a convenient time for the two of you, I'll play you. Having players who win often and are able to articulate how they win in real time is a very good way to get a whole bunch of knowledge in a short time period. 

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Hi! I am another gremlin player, and in our community we had a campaign where I ended up on the 3rd place. I see gremlins as a really versatile faction, but  they are very high risk, high reward.

With Reckless, you have an additional AP, it can be used to place your models, intracts or attack. Even a it seems awesome, use it only when needed, because if not, you will end up taking a lot of punishment. Before activating, make shure that extra AP is really worth it.

I tend to be tabled away a lot, so, when choosing schemes, often choose the ons dont require me to have models left (some scheme markers are possible, but models is more difficult) and try to complete tem really fast, before my crew self destructs.

Even if you have very killy models aand enemies in range, dont forget you need VP, not kills. Many times, after killing someone, I realised I needed him alive to score for plant explosives. Your big killers tend to have 3 AP, so are good interacting.

Include some healing options! if your opponent is not damaging you, you are, so a slophauler or quality mash liquor can be really good to mess up with your opponent. One game, I had all my crew near Lenny and my opponent was trying to kill trixie. between the armor aura, her defensive tricks, a sloppy, her gremluring opponents out and her upgrade, she resisted 3 turns the enemies entire crew focusing fire

 

Hope this helps and welcome to gremlins!

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On 12/24/2016 at 7:19 PM, Maroon Core said:

Looking back to some of my games I tend to have the worst ones against any heavy hitters (peackeeper, ice golem, or masters with tons of damage) and never enough/good enough cards. I understand the randomness of card draws/flips (like red/black jokers at bad times) but I tend to never have a high enough card or enough of them to make a dent. I've noticed that if i draw a hand of moderate cards with only one or two 12-13's this tends to be the turn that most of my problems happen, especially if my opponent has even a decent hand. It it happens two turns in a row then I just can't get it back in general. Are there a lot of card draw/manipulation that I'm possibly not taking advantage of? With so many models I find that I'm out of cards long before I've done most of what I need to do for points. 

Thanks again. 

Perhaps try the "punches in bunches" approach, instead of trying to have your Gremlins or pigs deliver a big knockout blow. I tend to favor this approach.

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3 hours ago, Maroon Core said:

I'm playing tomorrow and will be trying out some of these ideas. I also started independently going through the schemes and strats to see what models would work best with each so that I can make better list decisions while building crews. Does anyone else have any good experience going about it this way?

 

Write a battle report.
Bring a camera and a dictaphone (ie your cellphone), make a photo every turn. Record every play with the dictaphone (or write it down, takes more time tho. Maybe you have an eidetic memory and dont have to do any of that :P)

If you do you can write something like the batrepps here: https://viefaux.wordpress.com/

Then we can read and see whats going on. ;)

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12 hours ago, Maroon Core said:

I'm playing tomorrow and will be trying out some of these ideas. I also started independently going through the schemes and strats to see what models would work best with each so that I can make better list decisions while building crews. Does anyone else have any good experience going about it this way?

 

While that is definitely a valid approach (btw have you taken a look over at the Pull My Finger wiki? Many of the entries have that kind of information) I might offer a bit different one.

Why not try building a "core" crew of "Staple" models (read as those that can fulfill several different roles) that you can then augment based on strat/scheme instead of trying to create the perfect crew of unfamiliar models for every Strat/ Scheme pool. The advantage to this is that it lessens the amount of models you need to learn and recall each game. I cant recall the number of times I have forgotten some critical ability (read as the primary reason I hired said model) until it was too late.

Many of our Masters are designed around their cores, and many of their staple models are versatile enough to adapt to different roles. Ulix and Somer are probably our best in this regard.

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12 hours ago, Maroon Core said:

I'm playing tomorrow and will be trying out some of these ideas. I also started independently going through the schemes and strats to see what models would work best with each so that I can make better list decisions while building crews. Does anyone else have any good experience going about it this way?

 

Since you mentioned you enjoy playing Ulix and I happen to play it quite a bit. I will drop a couple random tips below:

  • Corn husks + piglets = free VP in a bunch of schemes. Distract, cursed object becomes super easy because you can walk + charge + interact(0) to distract them. Or charge + interact + go into defensive stance. They will become a pain to get away from, and you cannot remove distract while engaged if I recall correctly. Also, I try to do that to high profile targets, because the 2AP to remove the distract becomes so much harder to justify by the opponent.
  • Don't forget that just because you *can* do interacts as (0) doesn't mean you *have* to. In other words, you can (0) drop a marker, (1) walk/charge and then (1) drop another marker.
  • It took me quite some time to get the activation order right in ulix crews. You must do the whole "drop 3 markers" 1st, then make sure you have the big pigs close by for summoning and rides, but not so close you cannot move them around each other, etc.
  • Merris Lacroix is a great help for summoning Ulix. If your 1st turn hand does not have a 12 for a warpig summon, you will have a bad game. Therefore I stone 1st turn if I dont have one and, if I still don't have one, I use Merris to take 2 cards and put 3 on the top of the deck. I also use her to drop 1 or 2 markers for the 1st turn warpig summon.
  • If you can summon a warpig + 2 piglets on 1st and 2nd turn, your opponent will feel overwhelmed. This is actually the reason I stopped playing summoner Ulix, because my opponents were getting too frustrated playing vs it, and I didn't want to turn new players away from the game so soon :P
  • Penelope's movement to pigs aura is amazing. +1 to wk to every pig in a 6' bubble is amazing
  • Beware Wp targetting attacks. I found the hard way the whole ulix summoning crew sucks big time vs Wp attacks.

 

That whole thing said, I always pick schemes that benefit from massive AP advantage for me. In other words, either interact schemes or scheme marker dropping schemes.

That way you get to put enormous pressure on your opponent every time you drop a marker or do an interact, because he must spend the same AP or more to counter your move.

That said, I dont find this a killy list, despite what people say. You spend too many resources just summoning and I feel that pigs need too much of a synergy bubble in order to do good damage.

 

 

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The best thing you can do is find that core people are talking about and adding the rest as a response to the schemes and your opponent's faction.  I try to keep it around 25 stones, sometimes 30, and that leaves me another 20 stones for upgrades and extra models.

For example, my Mah Tucket crew is 23 stones of melee devastation, and the rest of my stones are all for scoring points and reacting to my opponent.  If they declare Outcast or Guild, I might bring a bushwacker or two, maybe McTavish, because they can all generate cover for me.  If it's ressers or Neverborn, I'll make sure Mah has our Willpower upgrade to help the crew a bit.  If I need scheme markers, I'll bring Fingers or Merris, maybe the First Mate to stop their scheme markers.  The key to getting good at Malifaux is to have that core crew for your masters, and being able to be flexible on the rest.

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Actually in our local meta gremlins are one of the strongest factions. I think what you described was true in wave 1. Gremlins died left and right and none of your models survived the whole game. A lot of things happened since than. You don't even have to use models with negative triggers anymore, we have so many overpowered models in our faction. Last time for example I placed 2nd in our tournament with gremlins, and I usually place around that level.

I think the root of your problem is that most of the crews you described are using uncontrollable models as their core. Ulix uses the pigs and I would guess you use the bayou gremlins for Somer (I almost never take them, they are very unreliable). The other problem might be (I know no one likes to hear this) that you haven't grasped the nuances of Malifaux yet. Things like proper hand management, positioning, etc. I assume this because if you would people would cry when you hire Francois and burt at the same time, and that's only just the beginning of a crew (also you know that Francois doesn't have to activate his trigger, right? He shouldn't die while killing a minion).

What I would suggest is to forget about the minion spam playstyle and try the - drumroll - elite gremlin army. I would suggest 2 masters for this playstaly:

1. Wong - just hire McTavish and give him the magical condition. Also hire a bayou even though I just said you shouldn't, but his only job will be to place scheme markers for Mctavish to use his 0 action (and keep low rams to cheat in). Next step is throwing Wong's totem into the bin since she is ugly and burt can use the same enemy pushing ability she can, but he is a melee monster in the same time. Add Old Cranky as a totem and Francois with stilts (to cancel his self damage one time) and you are set. Fill the rest with something that helps your game. Merris for scheming, Gracie or Mancha for beating. Lightning bugs as minions. Wong crew is especially great against Arcanists and Ressers since your magical figure rips them apart with ease. Lightning bugs can also ignore armor.

2. Somer - Somer elite list is very fun aswell. I like to take my 2 totems with him and abuse the triggers as much as possible. The figures are mostly the same as with Wong (I don't use McTavish with him that much without the magical condition). Let's check the triggers:

- Mask trigger makes almost your whole team get their def triggers, no one will want to charge you and waste their APs when you can push away after the 1st hit. Mask also lets Lightning bugs get their healing blast automatically.

- Ram trigger makes your damage output explode. Somer gets huge shots with blast, Burt will have +2 damage from his crit trigger AND an auto def trigger if the enemy doesn't hit him, Gracie gets +2 damage and becomes a monster, mancha gets +damage flip (and he is quite survivable if you make him def 7), Trixie gets her auto trigger to her melee to let a friend make 1 additional attack (and you are full of beaters with huge damage, that could be 3 extra big attacks per turn). This is usually so much fun, but positioning is key. With gremlins you usually want to attack first to maximize your damage since they can't take the beating as much as other factions. There is a trick with somer to hand out mask with one of your totems and shoot him with your bayous or something (but don't hit him), so he pushes up the board and when he activates give him ram, so he can shoot the enemy on turn 1. Either with 3 min 4 damage shots or 1 big focused shot for 8 damage and 2 blast markers for 4 damage.

- Crow trigger is a little weaker than ram but it can lead to fun games. Basically what it gives is an infinite shot trigger for Francois. While you hit the enemy you can than always make one more attack after it. If you attack something with low def you could kill it with 1 AP. The other use of the crow trigger is handing out slow. Lightning bugs will slow the enemy with every hit. Trixie will slow the enemy with every push from 18 away. So they have to push their charge value away and than walk back from their 1 ap loosing their whole turn.

 

I hope it helps a little, I would try these 2 crews instead of the usual unreliable minion builds. You can use your soulstones to keep your henchen alive since you will have more henchmen in these games.

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Heya!  Keep at it, it will eventually click.  IMO, Gremlins have a very narrow band of models worth taking, and its a steep drop-off.  I also don't play with a lot of synergy or cute combos.  I get about as cute as using a iron skeeter to deliver frank/burt.  I also don't use a lot of supporting models outside of slop haulers and skeeters as for the same points you can just take another model to do damage.  Finally, the models I consider good, generally have a statline similar to other models in other factions but are usually discounted in price and have reckless (most models I consider worth taking have reckless).

 

At that point I generally look to trade up.  IE: use an iron skeeter to deliver a fast reckless frank to a howard or mech rider.  Frank will probably die in the followup but he's probably killed 4-6 more stones than he's worth and ate up a number of AP.  Screen somers hitters with some cheap bayou gremlins and if they come in to you, send out Burt with min damage 4.  McTavish with Glowy is a monster (and is also capable of an extra AP).  Imo games are won by whoever has the most AP (and uses it well).  Gremlins have the potential to generate a lot of AP on potent models.  They also have cheap scheme runners.  That is their strength imo.

 

My personal list of models I only consider taking (YMMV, others may have other preferences):
Zipp, Wong, Somer, Frank, McTavish, Iron Skeeter (1), Earl, Old Cranky, Burt, Taxidermist, Merris, Slop Hauler, Bayou Gremins, Skeeters, Swine Cursed and stuffed piglets (maybe roosters post cuddle). 

I generally don't bother with the rest.

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1 hour ago, Dogmantra said:

No.

latest?cb=20140523152605

 

But note that you really don't need more than crimzzen's list. Heck, if you read Joel's Zipp thread, you can see that you can prune away about half of even that and dominate the UK scene (if you've got mad skills, naturally). But I believe that this is true of basically any faction - Papabox Sonnia basically won the biggest tournament in the US with a fixed list two years running.

But you could add to the list very easily. For example, I don't understand how he can include Swine Cursed but not the Hog Whisperer. He is also missing Trixiebelle, Sammy, and Fingers - all of which I consider pretty "essential". But that's his style and it must serve him well. Besides, it's better to learn a limited number of models really well rather than try to handle absolutely everything equally.

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lol I was on my phone, so I was going to come back and add stuff but Math got there first

 

but it does show how a decent amount is down to personal preference, because I couldn't see rocking up to any game without my lovely lightning bugs just in case, whereas I've never felt like I needed a Hog Whisperer at all

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This is the great part of this game.  I haven't used Lightning Bugs in forever, but I used to bring them a lot.  Pretty much anything in this game can be made to work.  Obviously there will be others that might be more of an uphill battle in terms of getting them to work as opposed to something else, but that doesn't mean it can't be done if a certain model fits your style and preference better than something else.

Personally, I'll still take the First Mate in most of my lists, but Trixiebelle has fallen off.  Haven't really used her since September when Zipp came in.

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12 hours ago, Math Mathonwy said:

latest?cb=20140523152605

 

But note that you really don't need more than crimzzen's list. Heck, if you read Joel's Zipp thread, you can see that you can prune away about half of even that and dominate the UK scene (if you've got mad skills, naturally). But I believe that this is true of basically any faction - Papabox Sonnia basically won the biggest tournament in the US with a fixed list two years running.

But you could add to the list very easily. For example, I don't understand how he can include Swine Cursed but not the Hog Whisperer. He is also missing Trixiebelle, Sammy, and Fingers - all of which I consider pretty "essential". But that's his style and it must serve him well. Besides, it's better to learn a limited number of models really well rather than try to handle absolutely everything equally.

Yeah, as I mentioned that's my personal preference and fits my style.  I don't value trixie, sammy or fingers as for me personally, I'd rather just take another model that can do damage than support models.  I find if I lose my damage dealers and just have support left, my options become very lackluster.  Reactivate on swine cursed is neat but I'd rather just take another swine cursed (I realize there's a SS difference there :P).  Then I'm not beholden to models needing to operate in specific areas for my combos to work.  Someone like fingers is just too pricey for what he brings in my eyes.  Id rather just have 2 bayous to do what I'm planning on doing with fingers or merris.  But yeah, personal pref and local meta.

 

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