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Rotten Belles - better than I thought

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Belles, on paper, look like they are meant to move around in groups with other red chapel models with Scarlet Temptation. Has anyone tried giving the Belles or Doxies Touch of the Grave Spirit and running them in pairs, or paired with Bette/Sybelle? Their aura gives them a negative twist on willpower duels to get through Terrifying, as well as on flips to defend against their attacks. 

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1 hour ago, SoulGambit said:

Belles, on paper, look like they are meant to move around in groups with other red chapel models with Scarlet Temptation.

This, plus they can sink a lot of wounds for they cost, which makes me think that they were designed to walk and engage models that you would eventually like to shoot. None of these purposes is worth fielding a 5 ss model (not to say a 7ss model) with no usefull actions and abilities tbh.

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The biggest issue with Red Chapel, from my opinion, is they ran out of time.

The design team during the closed beta refused to change them for the longest time, and they were much worse mechanically overall. However there was a small amount of justification in that they had Laying in Wait then, which was an  ability that allowed Red Chapel to basically outactivate anyone, which was powerful enough last edition that an entirely new mechanic was created to stop that. That ability went away mid open and was swapped for Scarlet temptation, which at first was not an aura but was equal to engagement range. Then people complained (Rightly?) about the ability stacking, and it was changed to a 1”aura, which messed up Sybelle because a 1” aura is not conducive to using her 2” whip.

I mean in essence the crew was frozen in a bad spot for a long time, with the justification (which wasn’t without some merit) that lay in wait was super powerful. The issue being that outactivation last edition was super powerful because you could do it then get multiple best of the best models in activation one after another, which Red Chapel didn’t have. So Red Chapel’s power was entirely based on how much advantage you could get out of the 1st turn outactivation, and their signature ability mostly was pretty useless after crews engaged, so it was changed to Scarlet Temptation, and Seamus got Red Chapel Killer, and the whole crew was in the process of changing into a crew where the game plan was to engage the enemy with the minions, who would by engagement, set up the enforcers and up. The problem (from my perspective) is that this whole awesome and thematic change happened too late. Time ran out before the concept could really be fleshed out, and from a developers standpoint better to release under powered models than OP ones, which is fair.

So the crew got caught mid transition, and belles, just like the twins in 2e, got hit with the “we-hated-you-last edition-so-we-are-going-whack-you-with-this-over-reaction-Nerf” bat.

If there had been more time, and less previous edition hate for Rotten Belles, I think the crew would ultimately come out fine.

 

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Several things.

Less reliance on needing exact position to win VP. Increased mobility and threat ranges via 1 action charges.

Less ability to lock models down in melee given how disengaging now works.

Less protection from ranged icon attacks by being in melee.

Less ability to just wipe models off the table in a single rush.

Less ability to leverage lure into dmg via Hazardous terrain, falls from buildings, or pounce bombs.

 

I mean don’t get me wrong, lure is still a valuable ability. But it’s no where close to what it was in 2e, and needing to often cheat your high cards in to make it work with no built in other effects means you now don’t have those cards to actually capitalize on the model’s new position. 

Add on to that the amount of additional things that move models around that can just undo the lure, which has increased this edition, chain gang, ride with me, ride the rails, magnetism, etc... 

And additionally the increase in models that can’t be lured, the staggered condition which can shut down self lures, and so on.

Lure is a good ability, but existing as the sole reason to take a model, no, not that good anymore. And Belles don’t have enough of anything else to really make them a desired model.

 

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18 hours ago, Morgan Vening said:

I'm pretty sure @Paddywhack is referring to the "negative to damage is positive" ability of Unassuming Demeanor is the thing built in. Even without Redchapel, Stat 5 shouldn't be that hard to hit, and heck, ties are even better.

Similarly, Paddy said 5-6 damage, so I'm thinking he meant across a full activation, rather than maximizing Unexpected Ferocity. Could be wrong. Expecting a 5SS model to do 10-12 damage over two actions seems a hard ask. :)

Add in Scarlet Temptation, and Lure/Pulled + Pounce, and some decent D-tech and 7W, I honestly don't know how much more you would expect for 5SS. Just looks like Dead Doxy is better for 1SS more.

I'm not sold on giving the Belles the Lure suit built in, but I do think giving them a :ToS-Fast: that made it more likely, wouldn't be that bad.

Some ideas... Either none, or some relatively trivial (Stat 6-7, TN10) target number.
1) Macabre Burlesque - When declaring Triggers, this model may use the suit of the top card in their discard.
2) Mutual Feelings - When declaring triggers, this model may gain Distracted+1 to gain a Mask to their duels.

3) A Little Bit of the Ripper - When declaring Triggers, this model may treat Crows as Masks.

The problem is distracted isn’t nearly as good as it’s weight in the system. It requires AP to put distracted out and most of the time you need a trigger to do it. One decent assist flip on a garbage model, mindless zombie or goblin for example takes it away. There’s not enough distracted on the field for it to make the difference most thinks it will. 

Pounce is very meh, even more so on that weak attack, the lure is weak, and that’s it. They’re somewhat tough, but other than that they don’t fit well. 

 

Everything about seamus’ crew fights against itself to be good. 

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I have found lure to either be  it worth doing at all or useful to pull my models back. There are a lot more movement bases and repositioning abilities in the game now, and luring a model doesn’t really do much anymore. I would consider it better if it had a built in mask for the distract, or just had the distracted in it with a chance to add another distracted in a mask trigger. Stunned takes that away, an assist removed distracted and any type of condition removal as well. Focus and doing an action does the same. 

Whatever formula that was used to determine how good or bad a model is simply doesn’t apply to red chapel and most of the crew. I’ll agree they were in a bad spot due to a complete overhaul but it had to be done. Lying in Wait was a terrible noob trap and I fought hard for it to be changed in closed. 

I tested running Sybelle with two Belles and two doxies next to her most of the time, I’ve played this crew probably 20 times since the change in closed and it’s still not good. The Belles aren’t the tar pits or damage dealers they’re made out to be.

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To be fair, distracted was over the top in effectiveness for a good portion of the beta. It was changed in the open beta and mitigations to it were added because they needed to be. The issue is crews like Red Chapel that were trying to leverage it were still based on the old concept of it when it was basically a reverse focus, and was still given out irresistibly on other models, and then when it was changed (which it needed to be) those crews weren't updated to a new costing structure.

As said the biggest issue with Red Chapel as a whole was the refusal for months during the closed to re-examine them, and then the lack of time to finish the sanding and polishing once they were changed.

Seamus and the CCK came out pretty good I'd say, the rest of the crew got frozen out before the finishing touches could have made their way to them.

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Points of comparison, if the opinion of Belles are so low, what are your thoughts on a similar model in TT, the Geisha? Are they also useless? 
And why are Beckoners good but Belles aren't? I think I like the Belle's kit way more on paper but perhaps I'm missing some key piece of information. 

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Beckoners are good because they are more than their lure, belles are nothing but the lure.

Beckoners firstly set up their crew just by existing. They put out a brilliance token without resistance due to Remember last night.

Their defense is tied to brilliance tokens which the rest of the crew is also geared to hand out. Which works on ranged attacks or close combat attacks.

They also continue to set up their crew in a larger range than belles. Their, The Party never ends is a 6” aura where if you cheat you get a brilliance token. 

Their Rig the Deck ability is always useful no matter where the model is positioned.

Frabtic Flailing isn’t as good as a belles attack, sure, but they aren’t orders of magnitude different.

They both have Lure, but the Beckoners has a built in trigger that always fires if the attack connects which again either continues to provide set up for the rest of the crew via automatically giving out brilliance tokens, or allowing the Beckoners to reposition 3”. That’s a much better value than just getting the lure effect and is worth actually spending a card for. 

Additionally Beckoners have an additional ranged action they can use if they don’t find using lure advantageous, in dispicable promises, which again sets up the rest of the crew with brilliance tokens, and hands out distracted.

Top it off with a bonus action which puts up a big aura that doesn’t require a TN, card, or suit to activate, which lets the Beckoner put up an anti interact aura and capitalize on the brilliance tokens that are handed out.

I mean to me I can’t even see how anyone can honestly say they think a belle who has a slightly better melee attack, no baked in triggers on the lure, and about equivalent defenses but no other actions or bonus actions, had a better kit than a Beckoner, especially since the exact action you are hiring her for, Lure, is antithetical to her best defense, disguised.

And Geisha are indeed better than belles, and they are cheaper. 

Both have disguised,

Distraction is vastly better than Scarlet temptation even though the end result is the same. 2” range as opposed to 1”, and affecting all wp duels as opposed to only those created by other models.

Leverage is an ability that stacks usefulness no matter where the Geisha is. 

And their Melee attack is much better than the Belles, taking away an AP, which itself is always going to benefit from their distraction aura, which also allows slightly better odds to actually cheat their triggers.

Belles don’t give a crew wide benefit just for existing in the way both Beckoners and Geisha do through Remember Last Night, Rig the Deck, The Party Never Ends and Leverage do.

Belles don’t get to benefit themselves from their own abilities the way Beckoners and Geisha do.

Belles often stand around with nothing useful to do because a Lure isn’t really something you want to do every turn, I’ve many many times just had a Belle concentrate and then not do anything else because I didn’t want to move them, didn’t want to lure, and had nothing useful to do with them. I’ve never had that issue with any other model.

 

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How are Doxies, and is it worth throwing Grave Spirit on them for the Regeneration + Terrifying + Scarlet Temptation?

 

How about Bete Noir and the Mourners (not mecessarily together)? I don't see them mentioned one way or the other.

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My opinion, Doxies are the best model in Keyword outside Seamus and the CCK, and they are still kinda meh. I’ve toyed with giving them The Grave Spirit’s Touch and I’m not sure what I think on it yet.

Bete Noire should probably be brought if there are a number of scheme marker schemes in the pool to help strangle the opponent’s options, and left at home if not. She’s fast, and resilient, and can eat opposing scheme markers and that’s pretty much the only thing she’s good for I find for the cost she has.

Mourners I find to be Meh. They are useful to have a keyword model that can bring a corpse at the beginning of the game to use Grave Spirit’s touch to pulse out a crew wide focus, but I very rarely find their bonus action all that useful, and next to belles even with their feed on sorrow attack, I find they often aren’t doing anything useful.

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2 hours ago, Fetid Strumpet said:

Belles don’t give a crew wide benefit just for existing in the way both Beckoners and Geisha do through Remember Last Night, Rig the Deck, The Party Never Ends and Leverage do.

 

I disagree. I think that Belles, particularly in combination with other Belles and Mourners, are impressive for a 5 stone paygrade. Once two Belles gang up on someone, a couple of 5 stone models can put out a lot of punishment by attacking into a negative flipped willpower with probably-6 AP because of Pounce. Mask triggers in a melee also can hand Seamus free AP with Hello Love. Unexpected Ferocity is just bonus. 

The biggest difference for me though is that Belles are waaay tankier than their counterparts. Beckoners have Df 5 instead of Df 4, but lose hard to wound AND 2 wounds! Don't Bite the Hand actually provokes focus-swing attacks, and plenty of models can deal 5 damage on a single blow with focus. As a dedicated servant of God-Empress Nekima, I can tell you that a Beckoner would be one half of an AP spent to Shove Aside into models with actual defense after removing the Beckoner with a moderate damage (brought to you by Blasphemous Ritual on Shamans). Belles on the other hand, frustratingly can't be charged, and can cheat even half-way decently to avoid getting straight-flipped from Focus because Hard to Wound is so useful. And even then, on a straight flip, Nekima can't drop them short of a Red Joker. Neither can the Plethora of 3/4/6 beater tracks in the game, either. They're actually not super unlikely to have to burn even 3 AP, which out of a 10 stone model, is a fine ask for a 5 stone minion, considering models only usually get 10 AP a game, assuming they even survive the whole time. 

The - aura to Wp duels synergizes not only offensively, but defensively, amping up the model's inability to attack the Plethora of Terrifying models (Ruthless being taken away by Mourners!) in the keyword. Doubling-up with Belles also means that the model in question is much less likely to escape on a disengaging strike, because the Belles will disengage against their neg-twisted Wp, with a positive to damage on the move reduction because Belle teamwork. 

Love your belles, man. I think they're lowkey strong. Not faction-alteringly broken like they used to be, but strong.
 

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Being defensive doesn’t win games. Disguised doesn’t protect against ranged attacks most of the time. And a model I NEED to have in close proximity with another model to have any real effect, as most of your examples do, is a bad model. 

Belles are not strong. At all. They are on the weaker end of meh at best.

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22 hours ago, Morgan Vening said:

I'm pretty sure @Paddywhack is referring to the "negative to damage is positive" ability of Unassuming Demeanor is the thing built in. Even without Redchapel, Stat 5 shouldn't be that hard to hit, and heck, ties are even better.

Similarly, Paddy said 5-6 damage, so I'm thinking he meant across a full activation, rather than maximizing Unexpected Ferocity. Could be wrong. Expecting a 5SS model to do 10-12 damage over two actions seems a hard ask. :)

Correct! I didn't' worry about the Distracted thing as I had no other ways to hand it out. However, if you could hand it out and get them to attack, ouch. Anything with Hard to Wound is just giving you plus flips on your Dmg flip. I'm not saying they are great, but for 5/6SS they did a lot more than I anticipated. The one I had also soaked up a good bit of damage before killing off the Judge. 

For 5SS they seem OK. 6 is a little harder sell, but after that game I am seeing them more useful than before. I wish they had gotten a small tweak, but I don't think they are useless. It's just that Lure isn't the end all/be all anymore so it's hard to see what else they do. I'm going to think of them as mini-beaters and Scheme runner hunters. With Lure and their damage output, they should do well in that role. 

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16 minutes ago, Fetid Strumpet said:

Being defensive doesn’t win games.

Being alive has a high positive correlation with victory, however.

16 minutes ago, Fetid Strumpet said:

Disguised doesn’t protect against ranged attacks most of the time.

But being in melee does. Lures! 

16 minutes ago, Fetid Strumpet said:

And a model I NEED to have in close proximity with another model to have any real effect, as most of your examples do, is a bad model. 

Melee beater crews are archetypically defined by being in close proximity with other models to have real effect. No one in the Austin meta complains of the weakness of melee crews, I assure you.
Seriously, I'm asking you to take on the somehow insurmountable task of having two Belles attack the same target. Surely you can finesse that somewhere into a game. 
EDIT: Tell you what, I'll try running a Redchapel game this Wednesday, I'll post the batrep and see what happens. I'm more than happy to admit I'm wrong.

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My opinions on belles are from pushing on plus 65+ games with them. They are without question the weakest model in red chapel, a keyword that is filled to the brim with meh models.

And you misunderstand my point. If I spend 10 stones on two models that are only good when in proximity to each other, I can get better results by just hiring a good 8+ stone model that is good by itself, and better when in proximity with something else.

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Beckoners vs Belles is a silly debate, and its not even close. Belles are clearly the worst, if not one of the worst 5 stone models in the game, and beckoners are one of the best. 

Beckoner put you at neg flips... defense 5 and hands out brilliance, with the potential to hand out a lot. Also has a lure, a great card cycle mechanic, a pretty darn good zero, and has brilliance on itself which other friendly models can use to do neat things... 

 

Belles... hard to wound. Fast if you get it to go off... yay! def 4 wp 4, a garbage lure, probably the worst in the game, the corn flakes of attacks (its bland), but hey, 2 more health! Its not even close... when you have to have 2 other models within an inch or two to be effective you're a bad model. Plain and simple, and even next to them they're a bad model. Hard to wound is a decent defensive mechanic, but it doesn't make up for all of the other bad things this model has. I could see the model being good if it had a tarpit ability like m2e. The ability to do something like embrace reducing the ability of another model getting away, or giving a model slow with undress. Hell, add that as a trigger to the lure and make the lure give out distracted along with the move and the model moves up a tier right there. Not great, but not the dumpster fire it is right now. 

If a Belle could place Sybelle in base contact, I would try it out. Belles are missing a big piece, they're half a model. 

 

 

   

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I ran one tonight because I already had 2 x Doxies and a Nurse in my list and was choosing between a Belle and a Dandy. It was Idols so I went with the Belle as she has more wounds to push a Idol with and can pull things in to trigger free attacks with Seamus (which never came up from her). 

As @Fetid Strumpet mentioned she is one of the only models in the game where there were turns where she had absolutely nothing productive to do. Her contribution to the entire game dropping a scheme marker in my deployment zone (Flank Deployment) to contribute to the second point for Power Ritual and she killed a Mindless Zombie on Turn 3. Any other model could have dropped the scheme marker. On turn 2 there was literally nothing for her to do except Focus and walk forward about 3"......

She only made my list because I already had already maxed out the FA on Doxies and didn't have the extra points to upgrade her to a second Nurse or something bigger. In retrospect I probably would have been better off just saving a stone and fielding the Carrion Effigy instead.....or some other cheap model that could have done the same scheming and maybe contributed more elsewhere. She was one of the only models in my crew that didn't have a purpose each turn. With most models you know, turn to turn, exactly what that models role is and how they should be performing it. With her each turn was a case of trying to figure out what she could do that was productive. On turn 2 she almost Lured my Copycat....but that wasn't really to put him in a more advantageous position it was just to do something so I decided against it as there was no gain over just Focus and moving about 3". 

I do have to acknowledge that from first turn on everything of significance was happening on his side of the board so maybe if I had played more reactively and let him get into my side of the board she might have been able to contribute more but that would have compromised my plan for the game. 

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@thewrathchilde How much use are you getting from “Hello Love”? I need to try a dedicated build for it, but every single time I’ve left Seamus out on the table in a position to potentially use it he always gets hit with a massive spike of dmg. Df 4 is just asking for a focused shot to the face, and at least to me, it always happens.

I don’t think he’s been hit for less than 5 any time he has been hit, which I admit is rare, since I don’t generally leave him on the table for easy reprisal.

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1 hour ago, Fetid Strumpet said:

@thewrathchilde How much use are you getting from “Hello Love”? I need to try a dedicated build for it, but every single time I’ve left Seamus out on the table in a position to potentially use it he always gets hit with a massive spike of dmg. Df 4 is just asking for a focused shot to the face, and at least to me, it always happens.

I don’t think he’s been hit for less than 5 any time he has been hit, which I admit is rare, since I don’t generally leave him on the table for easy reprisal.

Terrifying 12 is an awesome defense. And you can use the belles to give a :-flip to the Wp if you take 1 as a "escort". Not saying they're good tho, but 7wd for 5ss with disguised and HtW is quite tanky.

What I'm really missing on them is an utility :ToS-Fast: action or at least more triggers in the lure (or lure +1/2"). A trigger like "Disgusting surprise: If the model ends in melee range of this model, it gains stunned". After all, at some point, the poor victim has to realize that they're zombies lol

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1 minute ago, ShinChan said:

After all, at some point, the poor victim has to realize that they're zombies lol

Hopefully BEFORE favors have been exchanged.

"Wait, what do you mean, she’s dead? But she... we... OH MY GOD!"

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16 minutes ago, Morgan Vening said:

Hopefully BEFORE favors have been exchanged.

Really tells you more about when this trigger wouldn't be declared.
"I knew she was dead, but you can't be too picky these days."

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