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Mrbedlam

Operation: MisShen Impossible

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So in an effort to consolidate my playstyle and really get down to how to be more competitive with Ten Thunders I have decided to embark on a 15 game journey with Shenlong as my exclusive master for Thunders. The goal of this challenge is to familiarize myself with the master, help focus down on what i need to win games as a Thunders player, and in general tune up my play as a Malifaux player. The meta I'm in has gotten increasingly more competitive as we mature and I am struggling to keep up lately. I'm hoping that by familiarizing myself with the more competitive aspects of the faction I can find playstyles I both enjoy and will help my overall performance.

The reasons for starting with Shen are pretty straight forward. 1) This is a generalists meta and he's our best generalist master. 2) He has very few weaknesses and can flex strategy very easily even mid game thanks to his mechanics. 3) He provides card draw and board control. 4) His complexity means that he's probably the hardest master to master and I enjoy a challenge. 

So where am I starting with Shenlong? Well my meta tends to play very aggressively so I think I will start with a more aggro take on the Dragon. Thanks to @InvokeChaos I have a fun Shen build that rewards good positioning and can pump out some major damage. 

The base list: 

Shenlong with Recalled Training, Wandering River Style and Yang. 

Peasant

Sensei Yu with Promising Disciple

Shadow Emissary with Conflux of the Dawn

Charm Warder 

Low River Monk

High River Monk

 

The rest of the list is filled in to match schemes and strategy. SHadow + Low River gives you some serious card draw and allows Sensei to push instead of spending AP to walk when he  can be giving out pushes and fast himself. High River generally charges Shen and gives him at lest 3 burning on turn 1 then becomes a scheme runner or a surprise beater. Charm Warder keeps Shen protected after he goes in.

I've already gotten my first game in: Shen vs Resser McMourning. Shenlong killed Emissary, Sebastian, Chihuaha and put Chiaki and Doug on low wounds in a single activation leading to a consession from my opponent after McMourning couldn't land the retaliation  afterwards. Next game, I'm sure when he see's it coming I won't be that lucky. We shall see.

Anyway, comments? thoughts? criticisms? I'll be updating this post weekly with my game results. 

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I'd drop Yu and the HRM, since you should already have enough support-y options in Shen and the Emissary letting you spend those points in say a Sniper (don't play Shen without a trusty Sniper, the amount of board control he provides is insane) and something actually sturdy and kill-y (Shen and the Emissary are really not particularly effective brawlers, and their AP are much better reserved for support with the odd blow here and there). Also there are so much better options than the HRM even in the 5SS bracket. And make the Charm Warder a strong maybe rather than a core pick, giving you...

Shenlong+Wandering River Style+Low River Monk upgrade (don't forget that one, it's fun and it's free) -1SS

Peasant -2SS

Shadow Emissary+Conflux -10SS

LRM -4SS

Katanaka Sniper -7SS

...for a very effective all-round 24SS base with 6 activations. From there on you can easily sneak in 2 of Izamu/Yasunori/8-9SS beaters and have SS to spare on upgrades, cache or maybe even a little schemer. Shenlong is, at the end of the day, an enabler. And as an enabler he shines through the various models you bring with them, making sure you're getting the most out of them. With your list you don't have a lot of particularly outstanding models, instead relying on Shen's attack which is the most lacklustre aspect of his card. You'd be much better off picking models specialized in doing what they do best and let Shen have a more centralized position, allowing him to direct his crew to be so much more flexible.

As for which models you'd fill that 26 SS up with... Well, that can be pretty much anything. Izamu+Yasunori+upgrades, Izu/Yasu+8ish SS beater+upgrades/cache, 8-9+8-9+5SS+Cache/upgrades, a ballsy 8+8+8+an upgrade or two... 50% of what makes Shen so versatile is that the models he can optimally work with are so versatile. Look at what the board and pool are lacking in and only fill the list when you know what can do the most with the setting you're given.

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6 hours ago, Mrbedlam said:

So in an effort to consolidate my playstyle and really get down to how to be more competitive with Ten Thunders I have decided to embark on a 15 game journey with Shenlong as my exclusive master for Thunders. The goal of this challenge is to familiarize myself with the master, help focus down on what i need to win games as a Thunders player, and in general tune up my play as a Malifaux player. The meta I'm in has gotten increasingly more competitive as we mature and I am struggling to keep up lately. I'm hoping that by familiarizing myself with the more competitive aspects of the faction I can find playstyles I both enjoy and will help my overall performance.

The reasons for starting with Shen are pretty straight forward. 1) This is a generalists meta and he's our best generalist master. 2) He has very few weaknesses and can flex strategy very easily even mid game thanks to his mechanics. 3) He provides card draw and board control. 4) His complexity means that he's probably the hardest master to master and I enjoy a challenge. 

So where am I starting with Shenlong? Well my meta tends to play very aggressively so I think I will start with a more aggro take on the Dragon. Thanks to @InvokeChaos I have a fun Shen build that rewards good positioning and can pump out some major damage. 

The base list: 

Shenlong with Recalled Training, Wandering River Style and Yang. 

Peasant

Sensei Yu with Promising Disciple

Shadow Emissary with Conflux of the Dawn

Charm Warder 

Low River Monk

High River Monk

 

The rest of the list is filled in to match schemes and strategy. SHadow + Low River gives you some serious card draw and allows Sensei to push instead of spending AP to walk when he  can be giving out pushes and fast himself. High River generally charges Shen and gives him at lest 3 burning on turn 1 then becomes a scheme runner or a surprise beater. Charm Warder keeps Shen protected after he goes in.

I've already gotten my first game in: Shen vs Resser McMourning. Shenlong killed Emissary, Sebastian, Chihuaha and put Chiaki and Doug on low wounds in a single activation leading to a consession from my opponent after McMourning couldn't land the retaliation  afterwards. Next game, I'm sure when he see's it coming I won't be that lucky. We shall see.

Anyway, comments? thoughts? criticisms? I'll be updating this post weekly with my game results. 

I don't think the High River Monk has a core place for anyone except maybe McCabe. It's an option, but not a core. As far as giving shen burning or needing a scheme runner, he doesn't really need either of those. Wandering River Style lets you get scheme markers where you need them and Sensei Yu is Wk 7 with a free interact action so long as he has focus, which you can stack up more than he'll use on just giving models fast fairly easily between the free focus on airburst and from a (0).

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Sensai Yu and the Shadow Emissary are huge points for redundancy. Add in Shenlong and you have three models that can push and make fast, but what are you pushing? Shenlong with Yang is fun in combat, but what else is there?

 

 I'd drop Sensai Yu, and look at models like McTavish, Yas, Izamu, Strongarm Suit, Burt Jebsen, Lone Swordsman and Graves. If you are going to muck about with burning, then the obsidian statue seems like a good option but I haven't tried him yet.

 

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On 7/1/2018 at 8:04 PM, bindi said:

Sensai Yu and the Shadow Emissary are huge points for redundancy. Add in Shenlong and you have three models that can push and make fast, but what are you pushing? Shenlong with Yang is fun in combat, but what else is there?

 

 I'd drop Sensai Yu, and look at models like McTavish, Yas, Izamu, Strongarm Suit, Burt Jebsen, Lone Swordsman and Graves. If you are going to muck about with burning, then the obsidian statue seems like a good option but I haven't tried him yet.

 

That's only 21ss before Shenlong's upgrades. Still room to throw in any of them but Yas easily and still hit 8 activations(7 before you summon the 2nd peasant turn 1)

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2 games this week same pool.

Corner

Symbols

Punish, Undercover, Show of Force, Take One, and Take Prisoner.

First game vs Lucius in NB.

My list was: Shen (Yang, Wandering), Yu (Disciple), Shadow (Dawn), LRM, 2 Yokai, Peasant, Crime Boss (Smoke Grenades)

His list: Lucius (deep pockets, surprisingly loyal), Nekima, Vogel, 2 Austringers, Beckoner, Puke Worm, and Terror Tot

Game wasn't as bloody as the first one as I played Shen a bit more defensively. Took Entourage on Shen and Show of Force. I ended up getting his first Authority Marker on top of turn 2 thanks to the incredible movement shenanigans of a Yokai. Then on turn 3 Crime Boss killed Vogel, Shen and Emissary killed Nekima and the game was down hill from there. 9-4 my win.

Second game. Same pool. Same list for me. Opponent took Lilith (SOng of Blood, not sure about his other upgrades), Nekima (THousand faces), Dopple (Thousand faces), Lilitu, Terror Tot, Serena with her upgrade, puke worm and a terror Tot.

I took Undercover on Yu and Take Prisoner on the Dopple. Same thing happened on turn 2 with Yokai placing to grab a marker. Then my opponent spent way too much time trying to kill Emissary, tossing Lilitu into crime boss' range and scoring him 2 points for Take One as I brutally murdered her. Meanwhile I just moved yu up, had Shen charge in to kill Nekima and take prisoner on Dopple. Lilith tangled and got 2 points for Undercover but Sensei countered that by scoring 2. Ended up 8- 4 in my favor.

take aways here are that Yokai are amazing when given fast and sent out to grab objectives. for 5 points they just do a lot of work.

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On 6/27/2018 at 4:22 PM, Tokapondora said:

I'd drop Yu and the HRM, since you should already have enough support-y options in Shen and the Emissary letting you spend those points in say a Sniper (don't play Shen without a trusty Sniper, the amount of board control he provides is insane) and something actually sturdy and kill-y (Shen and the Emissary are really not particularly effective brawlers, and their AP are much better reserved for support with the odd blow here and there). Also there are so much better options than the HRM even in the 5SS bracket. And make the Charm Warder a strong maybe rather than a core pick, giving you...

Shenlong+Wandering River Style+Low River Monk upgrade (don't forget that one, it's fun and it's free) -1SS

Peasant -2SS

Shadow Emissary+Conflux -10SS

LRM -4SS

Katanaka Sniper -7SS

...for a very effective all-round 24SS base with 6 activations. From there on you can easily sneak in 2 of Izamu/Yasunori/8-9SS beaters and have SS to spare on upgrades, cache or maybe even a little schemer. Shenlong is, at the end of the day, an enabler. And as an enabler he shines through the various models you bring with them, making sure you're getting the most out of them. With your list you don't have a lot of particularly outstanding models, instead relying on Shen's attack which is the most lacklustre aspect of his card. You'd be much better off picking models specialized in doing what they do best and let Shen have a more centralized position, allowing him to direct his crew to be so much more flexible.

As for which models you'd fill that 26 SS up with... Well, that can be pretty much anything. Izamu+Yasunori+upgrades, Izu/Yasu+8ish SS beater+upgrades/cache, 8-9+8-9+5SS+Cache/upgrades, a ballsy 8+8+8+an upgrade or two... 50% of what makes Shen so versatile is that the models he can optimally work with are so versatile. Look at what the board and pool are lacking in and only fill the list when you know what can do the most with the setting you're given.

I'll be honest I haven't gotten the work out of snipers that most people seem to. Its the same with Yasunori. Maybe its just my play style but they tend to just waste AP and SS for me that seem to go better elsewhere. Likewise, The Crime Boss and HRM that people don't seem to be too crazy about tend to pull quite a bit of weight for me when I take them. THough after my recent game with Yokai that might change. at least for HRM sake.

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3 hours ago, Mrbedlam said:

I'll be honest I haven't gotten the work out of snipers that most people seem to. Its the same with Yasunori. Maybe its just my play style but they tend to just waste AP and SS for me that seem to go better elsewhere. Likewise, The Crime Boss and HRM that people don't seem to be too crazy about tend to pull quite a bit of weight for me when I take them. THough after my recent game with Yokai that might change. at least for HRM sake.

Sniper my wife often use one with Shenlong and it tend to be useful; but she does have a really aggressive play style. If i'm not careful it is likely something will get killed of severely maimed T1 from it. It's not always the 2 focused shot: combined push from Shenlong and Yu + fast can put it in range for 3 normal shot while totally changing sniper position to get unexpected angle. I'm with you for High river monk, I think they are now decent hire for 5ss. The 3 attack charge (4 if fast) can dish good amount of burning (help killing stuff with armor or incorporeal) and the push 2 can be quite useful if you need disengage to drop scheme or be able to charge.

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14 hours ago, Tendrepie said:

Sniper my wife often use one with Shenlong and it tend to be useful; but she does have a really aggressive play style. If i'm not careful it is likely something will get killed of severely maimed T1 from it. It's not always the 2 focused shot: combined push from Shenlong and Yu + fast can put it in range for 3 normal shot while totally changing sniper position to get unexpected angle. I'm with you for High river monk, I think they are now decent hire for 5ss. The 3 attack charge (4 if fast) can dish good amount of burning (help killing stuff with armor or incorporeal) and the push 2 can be quite useful if you need disengage to drop scheme or be able to charge.

5 is a tough slot for Thunders. Warders, Yokai, Bros, HRM, Rail Workers (not you Tanuki) are all really decent models for the price. Which is why HRM and Rail Workers get left behind and honestly Bros now too. I find i take them less and less.

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I'm interested in following your progress here. I really enjoy Shenlong since you can do a bit of everything with him. You've got alpha capability with Yas, snipers, card draw, scheme running, etc... I might have to break him out again. 

It surprises me that you don't get much work out of the snipers. With the card draw and the 2x focused shots a sniper can do a lot of work on turn one! Katanaka snipers aren't too shabby in melee either. 

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While I think Snipers are great for Shenlong (2 plus flip focus shots across the map are rather insane), taking two seems like it takes up too many resources - namely both peasants, one of which probably wants to give Shenlong focus in one manner or another. 

To be frank, Shenlong is a force multiplier, making your other models perform better by giving them mobility, bonus AP and free focus, but all this has been stated above by other members. 

I think the Samurai isn't half bad in a Shenlong crew, and is stiffer competition to the Sniper than one would think. For once, the Sniper technically also costs 8ss since you're using a peasant to provide focus (although that extra activation is of course great on its own). They're both sh5, and the Samurai flips 1-2 more cards per attack. Armor 2 is great, especially considering that you likely have some heals in the way of Shenlong, the LRM and others. The Samurai will likely do less damage per attack, but has the opportunity to attack again using the walking fire trigger, and honestly has outshone the Sniper in terms of Dpa in most of my games. Of course you're gaining extra range with the Sniper, but the Samurai has a deceptively high rg, and as such cannot be underestimated. 

I'll be honest, what the Samurai really wants in a kick in the ass to propel him forward and give him fast. One could argue this is more resource intensive than a Peasant activation, but to be honest, Shenlong can usually kick two models in a turn (especially early ones), and as such you aren't giving up too much. 

@Mrbedlam

I think Rail Workers have their niche, especially with McCabe. I like taking them into Vendetta pools, giving them the Sabre, reactivating, using their 0 to make, Sabre attacks at ++/+. Build-a-beater, if you will. 

And I'll never give up my TTBs I think, they're my favourite minions. I will admit that Warders are likely better, but I think they occupy different enough roles to warrant and inclusion of either in different pools. 

Do you hire Yokai often? I can see them work, but feel like their expiration date and fragility make them questionable (although they are definitely good). 

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5 hours ago, lusciousmccabe said:

Every time I see this thread I am a little bit disappointed to remember it's not about converting up a female Shenlong model. :) 

They could just do a Miss Shen couldn't they. Would it be Miss sion? 

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@Mrbedlam Awesome! I'm making a Grand-Master Bushido Brown conversion myself. Just need to figure out how to do the glasses and afro. 

Warnin': Not necessarily for the sensitive of tongue. 

 

I think these models might be a good base to start out with. Does raise the issue of not being official Wyrd models tho, but then you'll likely have OG Shlongo as well if someone opposes. 

yuuki_promo.jpg?itok=KgH5NHc-kira_promo.jpg?itok=vAhQ6joDharu_tor_promo.jpg?itok=_a4mRtdB

 

 

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I did get a Shenlong game in this week:

Shenlong - Wandering, Yang, Peaceful

Peasant 

Emissary - Dawn

Yasunori - Smoke 

Monk of Low River

Katanaka Sniper

Charm Warder

Shadow Effigy

It's a really fun list to play since it has considerable threat range with Yas+fast+pushes, 2x focused sniper options, card draw, and plenty of flexibility. Normally I would have activation parity if not superiority with this list since I get an extra peasant round one, but this game was against Hamelin. It was a bit of an ugly game that I managed to eke out a win with, but the cards were really on my side this time. 

Perhaps the only event worthy of note was that I elected on round one to hold back a fast, disguised, focused Yasonori who had been pushed twice! It's a very hard decision to make when you have that much firepower waiting to be unleased, but he had activation control in this game and Killjoy waiting underground.   

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So I got game number 4 in yesterday. It was vs a Neverborn player bringing Titania

Corner: Public Executions, Eliminate, Dig Graves, Show of Force, Set Up, and Recover Evidence

I brought

Shen (Yang, Wandering, Recalled)

Peasant

Sensei (Promising)

Izamu (Smoke Grenades)

Crime Boss (Servant)

Charm Warder

Sniper

He brought; Titania, McTavish, Dopple, Lilitu, Primordial,  Emissary and Changeling.

Turn 1 was a bit of a range testing phase. Where I kept things outside of McTavish's 14 inches and the sniper picked off a summoned Changeling. Sensei and Shen pushed people into position and gave out fast where needed.  Turn 2 he hadnt advanced enough for me to kill him. So I brought everyone up to the right spot for turn 3 to go off, dragging enough markers to Set Up McTavish. He attempted to Lure Shen, but the Charm Warder's aura flipped me some tasty 13s while he wasted high cards on Vanishing. Dopple grabbed Ret's Eye and McTavish's shot on Izamu but Smoke Grenades prevailed. As Turn 3 loomed, my partner realized he was about to get fully blitzed and called the game. So Sadly I didn't get to finish but I'm pretty confident it would have gone my way very quickly. He had most of his models in a pretty tight ball perfect for shen to blast through like butter and Izamu and Crime Boss were in position to charge a juicy target and take them down.

I didn't take Emissary or Low River and I don't know that i missed it too much. Knowing he might pick Titania skewed me into thinking that Crime Boss + Yu might draw me enough cards once we got close enough to brawl,. Unfortunately didn't get to see it play out. Opponent's response was: Let me know when you are done playing Shen.

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Wow, that doesn't sound like a very fun opponent. His crew isn't exactly poor at taking a charge and reacting well, and you weren't playing an overbearing crew by any stretch of the imagination. Shenlong is good, but not crazy. I would have liked to hear how it turned out. It sounds like you positioned your crew well and would have done well, but you never know. Too bad. I hope you have other opponent options! 

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I do I think he's just frustrated because our last few games have turned into a rout. He was my opponent in the first 2 games and hasn't had a good record vs Shenlong in general.

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20 hours ago, Mrbedlam said:

I do I think he's just frustrated because our last few games have turned into a rout. He was my opponent in the first 2 games and hasn't had a good record vs Shenlong in general.

Do you do a thorough debrief with him after the game to help him? Otherwise, the standard advice is to swap crews with him? 

It's always easier to see a crew's weaknesses when you're playing it. 

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10 hours ago, Da Git said:

Do you do a thorough debrief with him after the game to help him? Otherwise, the standard advice is to swap crews with him? 

It's always easier to see a crew's weaknesses when you're playing it. 

We've talked about it since. He knows how to get it done, I think he was more frustrated with not landing any attacks in turn 2 or 3 that mattered. There was a turn where he attempted to lure Shen in the warder's bubble. He could have cheated to win it but decided to use her next AP isntead, giving me another chance to flip high with the Aura whereas if he'd cheated the first one, he would have been able to lure Shen away from the bubble and easier to lure him again. 

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Game 5 vs Guild!

Standard Supply Wagons

Guarded Treasure, Dig Graves, Search Ruins, Undercover Entourage, and Hold Up Their Forces

He played Dita, Enslaved, Brutal Effigy, Peacekeeper, Abuela, Investigator, Monster Hunter and Queller.

I played Shen (Yang, Recalled, Wandering), Yu (Promising), Peasant, Emissary (Dawn), Crime Boss (smoke grenades), HRM and Charm Warder

So there was a large piece of severe terrain in the middle of the board, leaving only a few lanes open. He deployed his wagon first, so I put mine in the same line seeing that he really only had the peacekeeper to push with I was about 90% sure I could beat him to the center line and stop him from scoring.  First turn everyone just kinda dicked around, pushed up their markers. Hunter stalked Emissary but wasn't able to land a shot. I dropped enough markers for Search and sent them up the board with Mighty Gust. Turn 2, a fast Shen rocketted up the board charging Abuela and tying up her, the investigator and the peacekeeper. He didn't kill anyone but put dita on half wounds, abuela on 1, investigator on 1 and managed to get in such a way that the peacekeeper couldn't attack back but was in his 3" engagement, also he was in front of the Wagon marker.

Turn 3, Dita does end up killing Shen but the damage is done. My Wagon is over the line and blocking his along with Crime boss. Yu is in position to easily score entourage and I have all my markers in place for Search the Ruins. He can only damage control Search. Turn 4, Dita misses some shots, Peacekeeper fails to kill Yu. HRM has been tying up Abuela, Brutal, and Queller. He kills Monster hunter and the Emissary kills Brutal and Investigator. Queller ends up killing the HRM.

Turn 5, Yu moves to score 2 from Entourage, DIta has to fly across the board to score his 3 from entourage, I fail to get to his markers thanks to dumb terrain on the board (but he only has 1 on my side) and his Wagon never gets across the center line.

We end up with a 8-5 victory for Shenlong.

Take Aways: the board did him 0 favors in that game and he put so many points into a peacekeeper that did nothing but push the marker around and get stuck thanks to its base size. Sensei continues to do work in my crew and Shen is so versatile that I can shift what I"m doing mid game. He gave himself up early but Dita got some damn good flips despite Recalled Training and  High River Style.  I got lucky that he didn't suss out Sensei as my Entourage or I would have lost him.

 

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Nice battle report!  Sounds like he misplayed Perdita in this mission though.  She's great at killing things, but when it comes to Interaction heavy missions, they're not her forte.  McCabe, Lucius or even Nellie would've given you a bit more of a challenge.

Which is one the best takeaways from Shenlong, imo.  His versatility allows for mid game changing strategy pretty well, provided he's got the support he needs.  I feel you could've benefited more from a Wandering River Monk than a HRM in this case, but it seemed to do the trick well.  I'm currently toying with the idea of playing him in "Ours", to see how he does in more "tarpity" type scenarios.  Interested in seeing how you do with him in a similar strategy as well.

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