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Hamelin: Blighted Vermin Breakdown


psychogeek
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So now we will tackle going over the rest of the crew. I won't go into quite as much depth mostly because I already did and accidentally deleted my work... oops... I will be highlighting the most prominent part of the models and any combos and things to note. 

The majority of this crew has an ability called Diseased. Use it to spread Blight and it does stack with Hamelin's ability. Position correctly to maximize the use.

So to start is the totems, The Stolen. Poor stats but good defensive abilities. They will generally be kept back behind the line so unless you are careless they should survive pretty well. They play a pivotal role in keeping Hamelin alive so be even more careful with them if you feel they will try to assassinate your master. The real value comes from their Vomiting Disease attack and their Moldy Cheese action. The attack isn't amazing, but you have three models using the attack and it can take its toll. It makes them much more dangerous that people expect. Their Moldy Cheese can give vermin fast which is a strong combo to do before Hamelin pushes them around with his Unclean Influence. Do not be sad if they die, they are just pawns and that is part of their purpose.

Next is Henchman #1, Nix. Nix is the goodest of boys and is very valuable to the crew. With decent stats, he is the best tarpit as his self healing comes in often and Incorporeal helps reduce damage. His ability to stop severe damage is a reason he is a part of "the bubble." His mele attack is good and targets WP with built in Blight stacking. He has the second strongest Bleeding Disease only beaten by Hamelin himself. Where you really see him show some strength is his bonus actions. The first is Drink Spirit which is quite a heavy drain on the opponent as they must pass a high WP check to avoid blight. I have found most people seem to just let it happen, but they then forget that Nix heals each time they fail and that blight adds up. His second ability is situational, but will shut down Deliver a Message and other schemes with good positioning. Learn to use it well and you will completely destroy your opponent's ability to score schemes.

The other henchman is Benny Wolcomb. Benny is in a weird place that you only see the depth of what he does by getting him on the table. He has average stats, but he is a rather flexible model. He is best picked to counter scheme markers as he has Life of Crime and the ability to turn markers into rats or vise versa. He doesn't stand out because how he is a tech pick. He provides mobility with a  trigger on his gun and can spread blight on his mele. Defensively he spans rats when damaged and can attack movement with vermin around. Overall he is a great tech piece in scheme marker heavy pools. 

Next is The Obedient Wretch. She is the only keyword enforcer and preforms the role of anti-armor/shielded and another source of Bleeding Disease. She has the same defensive tech as The Stolen so she can be hard to target early, but if she is hit she can die quickly. She has a poor gun action that is more about the triggers, either getting another source of Skittering Vermin or spawning more rats. Her bleeding disease might be the weakest in stats, but her Tummy Aches ability makes it more likely to succeed as your opponent cant cheat against you. She is a very large part of the Hamelin damage core so protect her until she can do her job.

On to the minions we have the Rat King. This preforms the role of fast damage dealer but is still quite flexible. It wants to engage models to try and make them slow. Its attack is a good stat and can trigger Onslaught. A decent damage track and the ability to spread blight on kills make it perfect to be a finisher. It can heal itself by eating other models (usually a rat) but you do not get the demise ability of the model when you do this. It is a fantastic anti-schemer, able to use scheme markers to move around while eating them. When it gets low, just use its ability to kill itself and spawn a rat catcher. A great flexible model.

Speaking of Rat Catchers, this is another useful minion. You may not even hire one but usually you will see one. They have average stats but can gain shielded by having rats near them. They also have the ability to spawn rats when Blighted things die near them. A big value to them is their Don't Mind Me, which unless I have forgotten something, is the only model in the faction that has it. Their attack looks meh, but gets scary. You can easily do min 4 with its built in trigger or add slow instead. It has a better stated Moldy Cheese and has a self heal. Being able to bring all rats near him closer helps add shielded as well. A wonderful and flexible model (seeing a pattern?).

The next minion is the Winged Plague, an under appreciated model. It is the keyword scheme runner, but has no real defensive abilities. If something remotely killy looks its way, it is gonna die. This is a model you want to skulk around and wait until an opportune moment to use. It is able to drop scheme markers off plagued opponents with an ability that just happens, perfect for detonate charges. That is the biggest thing about it other than the fact its vermin. As a flying model it can get around a lot easier and you can push it all over the place with Skittering Vermin. It is very easy to push the Winged Plague 14+ inches before it has even activated. Add fast from Moldy Cheese and they will get all around. Be careful using their ability to push towards a model.. it can push them out of position and get them unnecessarily killed. Worst case use them as a suicide Blight bomb

The last model to talk about is the Malifaux Rat. Now this models is interesting because it is the summon for the team but it cant activate and doesn't cause a pass token.  You can use their entire activation to just take away a pass token from the enemy. This is useful as you will have more model than the opponent. The best use of the rats is fuel for other abilities as discussed above. The perk to this is when they die you draw a card. But they have another use in that they can band together forming a new Rat King. This forces your opponent to deal with them, wasting actions on such fodder. 

Here are some very important things to note about the rats:

  • They can use the "assist" action
  • They can remove destructible terrain (generic action found under Destructible Terrain in the rule book)
  • They do not have engagement range
  • Their base can still get in the way of charges
  • If you have many swarmed they can be very.. very unexpectedly dangerous.. but its rare

And that is the crew. Next I will discuss how the crew preforms and its ups and downs.

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So the Plague crew is one that likes the long game. It takes time to build up the Blight that this crew revolves around. Summoning is a thing but if you spend all your actions trying to create the M2E rat engine, I am sorry, but you are wasting actions as there is little to no benefit. Rats are more of a side effect of what this crew does. They will be on the table and you will be able to do some tricks with them, but the Plague strategy is not based around them.

This crew is one that rewards forward planning. Do not try to alpha strike or score early unless the opponent made a mistake you can capitalize on. If you rush this crew, you will lose.

This crew is a generalist crew, more so than any other crew in the faction other than maybe the Freikorps. Unfortunately, Hamelin has no fancy flashy gimmick that gets people going "oh that was cool." Playing the Plague crew means you care about those small details no one notices. The combination of small pushes, those extra two stacks of blight setting up the one-shot kill, the sudden suprise damage or unexpected scheme. This crew is not straight forward nor easy to master. It is taking time to learn its little nuances even for someone who has heavily played him both in M2E and M3E. Hamelin plays for the win, not for the death of an entire crew.

Deployments where Hamelin shines are Corners, Flank, and Wedge. These are prove the chance for his high mobility to shine (even if unconventional).

Strats are pretty flexible with Hamelin.

Corrupted Idols can be a bit of challenge due to a lack of healing, but using Rat Kings and Rat Catchers, you can do rather well here. Rat Catchers can still interact when engaged giving them the ability to tie up enemies while still being able to move the markers.

Reckoning can be rough if you play carelessly as even the "suicide" abilities of this crew count toward the strategy. You must play more of a shell game, possibly adding in Pride for a heavier defense. Pick your kill targets carefully and don't offer up too many free kills. Hamelin's Lure is your best friend here.

Plant Explosives is probably Hamelin's best strat as he can send his vermin quite a distance. His mobility is the strength here.

Turf War is another strong one as the crew is one who can actually control the center of the board rather well. 

Schemes that work well in Hamelin are as follows:

  • Detonate Charges: Winged Plague make this super easy as a late activation.
  • Outflank: Again, Winged Plague can fill this role rather well for cheap.
  • Power Ritual: Again, Winged Plague and the ability to push them around help this a lot.
  • Claim Jump: Nix is easy to get into the center and keep alive if you crew bubbles up correctly.
  • Vendetta: relatively easy if you can lure in the target and use the Wretch as the Vendetta model. Just know, they will gun for her and she will be hard to fully protect adequately. Rat Catchers can be a good option too if adequately protected and possibly have Soldier for Hire. Also Plague does not have many good options for opponents to pick.
  • Deliver a Message: Do not take it, but this is a good choice to pick the crew for as Nix can keep them from being able to do it.

Schemes that I think are not so good to choose with Hamelin:

  • Breakthrough: While the crew is mobile, it usually cannot move enough on its own fast enough to drop enough markers. It causes the crew to over extend a bit much.
  • Take Prisoner: Plague models are too fragile to do this reliably, but using Hamelin to Lure them in "might" work, but in my experiences it is not the easiest option.
  • Hold Up Their Forces: Again, too fragile to try and just sit next to models. But this is even harder than Take Prisoner.

 

Overall, A very flexible crew. The overall effect is the opponent doesn't normally understand whats going on until its too late. The crew has strength in mobility, flexibility and disruption. The weaknesses are durability and having no real "beater" in the crew for explosive early game damage. Many people haven't really grasped him yet because of all the subtleties of the crew but I honestly believe Plague will have his day as 3rd edition continues to grow!

Models I like to add in and reasoning:

  • Ashes & Dust: a great flexible beater that can both scheme and kill, possibly even summon other minions! 
  • Prospector: A great addition if you are trying to defend against Breakthrough. Benny preforms a similar function but Prospectors are more cost effective.
  • Pride: This is my go-to defensive model in all my crews and he doubles down in Plague. He can shut down cheating which can spell death for any model stuck in the blight bubble.
  • Midnight Stalker: This is the one model than can make many "ok" schemes quite doable. Not a bad scheme runner killer either.
  • Hodgepodge Effigy: I like this model more than the Emissary due to cost and purpose. I do not thing the Emissary adds much to the Hamelin crew but cheap targeted healing is useful. I never take the Effigy upgrade.

** As a warning, Hamelin can have a hard time into Ten Thunders due to charm warders and some very bad matchups (Shen Long). Just be warned they have many tools to cause Hamelin problems.

Ok this has been my overview of the Keyword! If you have any opinions or points of discussion please share! I will also be sharing my games going forward to help explain how the crew works in practice.

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43 minutes ago, mrjasonguy said:

Thanks for all this. Hamelin has more hoops to jump through than say a Parker crew, but thematically I love Plague. They are so much fun.

 

So I take it turns 1 and 2 you are stoning or cheating as much for skittering vermin as possible?

No not at all. If you over extend turn one and two it can cost you. Turn one and turn is about setting and positioning. I tend to burn through my stones turn 4 the fastest. Turn 3-4 is when you start to move on your schemes unless you have an early opportunity that doesn’t sacrifice positioning. Turn 1-2 is also about Counter engaging. Most of the time the opponent will engage with a beater in turns 1-2. If you can position correctly you can effectively stop that alpha strike and set up the kill on that model. 1-2 is when you set up the long game at strategy, start picking who will need to die, etc. 

an example was in a previous game vs mei feng. She had moved to one flank to defend against my positioned ashes & dust. I instead moved ashes to the other flank, eating scrap along the way and effectively neutered the efficiency of his models movement. Even after mei feng got into my deployment zone, I knew she wasn’t a kill target when she was forced to try and score breakthrough turn 4 (which my prospector stopped). By shifting my focus away from her and that side of the board, my Blight bubble was able to focus, taking down the metal golem and hooded rider. 
 

that is a simple example of shifting your game plan and picking priorities early. The metal golem got into me turn 1 but died turn two. I was patient, chose my point of defense, and made my opponent play the game on my terms. Turn 3 I dropped the two scheme marker for detonate with the Winged Plagues ability, and had the rest of his relevant crew not only locked down, but at a disadvantage in regards to the schemes and strat. Turn 4 I shot my Winged Plague across the board 17” (before its activation) and prepped it for outflank. He was able to deny one point of my outflank, but at the end I wa going to have 6-7 points vs his 4-5. 
 

it’s all about the setting up for that late game

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1 hour ago, Zato said:

How big is your Soulstone Pool with Hamelin usually? Is this a Crew that enjoys a lot of them, or can they manage with a lesser amount?

I have a habit of wanting between 5-7. I cant really justify more since it means sacrificing model slots and less I don't feel comfortable with. I find you will use them differently each game and as such I like to bring several just in case. If you bring in a prospector I would be comfortable with running with maybe 4 stones. As it is, Nix and Benny do not have much defensive tech to defend against a well placed alpha strike. This makes having some extra stones important for defense as well as triggers. 

The crew is flexible enough that I think you just need to experiment. I wouldnt go less than 4 stones though, if only a personal preference.

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Nice writeup and thanks for sharing! I too am experimenting with Hamelin. Wish/expected be would be more about the rats.

A 'trick I use sometimes is to stone for a crow on his lure. With a crow card added in it can add 3 blight with one action. Sometimes that's the difference to kill something that more efficient. I stacked enough blight to one-shot a full health peacekeeper on turn 2, once.

 

So far I have tried two different lists. Blighted beater (ashes and dust, two rat kings with servant of darkness upgrades, midnight stalker and nix) and played it aggressively. The amount of movement made it easy to score both schemes turn 1 and then up the threat!

Other list I've tried is summoning with Benny. Idea is to make scheme markers yourself to turn into rats. Not sure how effective it is, but it's sure fun and an entirely different list. Gets you into the rat mobility. 

Next up is to try a more rounded list. So far I have seen a rat catcher on the table or reformed rats into a king. Things either tend to last the game or die before I can react/reform.

 

What would be typical Hamelin lists that you run? Also I wonder what the most possible range to (counterscheme) is when at end of turn you kill two of your own stolen for 4 rats.

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My typical list is as follows

hammy

3x stolen

nix

wretch

1 rat king

from there I change what I do a lot. Vs heavy scheme marker crews I will often do 2x ratkings and Benny, or just Benny and a rat  king, plus prospector. Ratcatcher I hire if corrupted idols are there. I use ashes and dust for a good beater and he is valuable vs crews that use scrap (mei feng). Upgrade also vary. 

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