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Ranking the most competitive Guild Master/Keyword?


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I know its still early in the edition, but of the crews I've played I've noticed that I like Hoffman's playstyle a lot better than Perdita's new one. I was a die hard Perdita player before, but when I played her she didn't have all the movement tricks I'd surprise my opponent's with to shoot her up the board. Hoffman on the other hand is more versatile, his crew getting power tokens to use for :+flip and suits. In addition the Guardian got a major boost and armor is all around more useful than last edition.

Personal experience wise I'd put Hoffman above Perdita. 

Theory-Faux has me ranking from highest to lowest master and crew: Dashel, Lady J, Hoffman, Nellie, Perdita, Lucius, Sonnia, and Basse. But honestly I haven't played the rest of the crews yet.

How do the masters/keywords match up in your opinions?

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I think my experience playtesting has my rankings sitting here, but no competetive play yet to back it up.


Lady Justice

Lucius (needs the new releases)


Nellie (also needs the new releases)

Basse (will need new releases desperately, but likely jump up a few spots with a deeper model pool)



Overall the faction is too weak for me to take in a tournament because the few crews that are really really good are countered hard by people in my meta, but I think Hoffman, Lady J and Lucius are generally enough to get you there if you play smart.

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I'm still pretty light on games and experience, but I think my theory-crafting is something like this: Lucius, Dashel, Hoffman, Nellie, Perdita, Basse, Lady J, Sonnia.

Allllll of the below said, I think that Lucius and Nellie look much stronger with taxed-in or versatile pieces, while Lady J or Perdita can create all-comers lists that you can learn deeply so that you're able to play strong games against a variety of opponents. Hoffman is going to be consistent in-keyword, and Basse shows a lot of promise, especially if he gets one or two more pieces.

My brief analysis:
Lucius is flexible and card efficiency means you should be able to make the most out of AP for whatever you build in, even if you're having to go out of keyword a bit. Obey and Hidden Sniper give you a lot of flexibility about where your actions go and what they do. Keyword defense is slightly sub-optimal but it's flexible so you're paying the card for it when you really need it.

Dashel's core mechanic of dueling bonus vs activated models is a strong basic efficiency. Although the ideal is obviously to kill UNACTIVATED models, a general gaming reality is that your opponent will be looking to get value out of their activation first, so having a bonus against what they're likely to present you with remains pretty strong, to my mind. Summoning is good, and units like Mounted Guards and Guild Hounds seem like they can get really efficient in-keyword.

Hoffman is interesting ... all of the armor is a huge help: even where enemies can pierce it, they're often planning card resources for that pretty heavily. He's good points-denial in a Reckoning match, but that's also a matchup I expect people to know well. I think the Schemes and Stones podcast did a good job covering two possible strategies: armor-balling up or keeping Hoffman with a central power (Peacekeeper, surely?) and letting Hunters and Watchers run schemes, while your armor forces the opponent to tax into off-faction models to deal with your armor.

I keep wanting Nellie to do just a little more hard-stopping of the opponent's scheming, but I think her crew just doesn't keep up with her. I think she's probably pretty significantly stronger in Nellie/Good-Stuff instead of Nellie/Journalist crew, and of the masters, Nellie is the one I'd consider taking into another crew as a second master, because she's good and disruptive, and hard to whittle down when her interacts auto-heal 2. Plus, until a rules errata I'm pretty sure she auto-counters the Deliver Message scheme, since she controls interacts within 2". Undercover Reporter is a really fun denial unit in-keyword; the other keyword units may not be as efficient, though Phiona has a number of tech uses vs defense and positioning.

Perdita has powerful range and some nice scheme marker control on her personal free action. If you can get your sight lines to work, the crew's move-and-focus mechanic is potent. And always having the option to finish up a target with your next-sibling-down at the cost of a low-card discard is an easy option to learn and capitalize off of.

Basse has soooo much free movement in his crew; it's just largely out-of-activation, which can put you either a half-step ahead or a half-step behind, but makes for really interesting pacing mechanics.. The notion of starting forward by a handful of inches while your opponent has to sink AP into removing trap spam has a fair amount of appeal.

Lady J is a reliable beat-stick, and even better vs undead. The amount of condition removal is really solid against a variety of things, with maybe a Honeypot/Brilliance exception. Basically, her crew is consistent and durable in an "all comers" kind of way that means you'll probably get opportunities for counterplay in most situations.

Sonnia seems fair enough; it's mostly that other things look better. Dashel looks to be a better summoner with stronger keyword models, and that Arcanist burning master seems point-for-point better. For area control, I'd rather take two Domadores into Marshal and have Lady J and Judge clean up after some Decay spamming, or have Basse or even Nellie's Phiona henchman pull people out of the armor ball or Bayou Bash or whatever.

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I think Hoffman is top-tier for all the reasons mentioned, plus he has a great heal; 3 wounds with no TN.

Sonnia, Lady J, Dashel, and Lucius round out my list because I have not played or faced any others in M3E.

Sonnia can erase models, as can Lady J. Dashel's summoning is not as powerful as I would like, but there is a ton of synergy, and his crew can really move around. Lucius is probably my favorite, and his mechanics are quite powerful situationaly.

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Just played Dashel vs Hamelin. Very interesting match up, but Dashel couldn’t compete with Hamelin’s model count. I needed some shockwaves to take out the rats. But otherwise I was able to get the schemes before the rats overran me. 

I could see Dashel’s crew being good against elite crews, but swarm crews seem to be a hinderance to him. 

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