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Hired Swords- a Viktorias tactica


Rygnan
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Hi all! Been putting in a lot of time into different crews both playing and theory, and I've decided to start writing up the crews I'm playing the most at the time. Here is the first one, the Mercenary crew which I feel has been a keyword that gets less talk in 3E although they have some great power plays. 

 

Keyword abilities-

Battle Tempo- the main keyword ability, simple push of 2 inches every start phase. It lets an already fast crew move even faster, and really helps put pressure on for both scheming and combat early.  It also is a good way to guaranteed disengage from unfavourable combats at the start of the turn, forcing the opponent to dedicate more AP to lock you down (or by charging, specific actions) than they likely would want to.

Into the Fray- on Vanessa and the Viks, lets them heal 2 the first time they kill a model each turn. This is the first in a few ways I believe the Viks themselves are deceptively hard to kill, as they get free healing for doing what they're best at.

 

Keyword models-

Viks- obviously both very quick, very killy models but they run the risk of dying quickly if something puts an effort into it. This is where all the healing I've mentioned elsewhere comes into it, because if they get left on low wounds with an opportunity to heal, they'll come back from it reliably enough. Their movement together is exceptional, being able to chain activate helps take out chunks of an enemy crew, the melee is amazing and they play very well as a duo. The big weakness is they struggle vs armour or anything that reduces damage (although this tends to be where Leveticus comes to play, or even just Taelor). Movement 6 and 3AP means they can be very effective scheme runners and get where they need to be to get you points instead of just fighting (which is really the main point of the whole keyword now- points before fighting) and it also gives them an incredible threat range with their 1” melee. The Viks really badly want to be within 6” of each other (ideally 2”) so they can fire off their places and chain activations, but with all the tricks they have for movement it’s pretty easy to at least get in range of the chain activate if not the first activation place. They can give each other Shielded 1 twice a turn just by spending their bonus action within 2” of the other, or if they are 6” away from the other gain + flips to their shooting which is useful but not as nice as the Shielded. Their gun is fairly average 12” range stat 5 and 2/4/5 damage but has a good mask trigger to push a minion within LoS of the target 3” toward it which plays into the crew having a ton of movement tricks to get around. Their stat 7 3/4/5 swords aren’t what they were in 2E but they’re still really good at it using their mask trigger to bounce attacks between the two and can effectively double their offensive output in their activations which is really impressive. The main way to trigger this easily is through Dragon’s Bite which also gets around Disguised as it isn’t a charge, it just pushes all Viks within 6” of the target 6” towards the target for a 7 and has a ram trigger to make one of them attack the target. Placement on this has to be pretty careful and can be a bit finnicky, but when it works it can be hugely damaging to the opposing crew and will win games if played correctly. Last thing to mention is that it’s highly likely you’ll lose at least one of them in the course of the game because they are somewhat fragile, but that will then trigger their Demise and let you heal the other 3 and give it permanent + flips to Df and Wp for the rest of the game making it a bit tougher. In general the Viks are acceptable losses though if they take out a decent chunk with them and if that enables the rest of your crew to set up VP scoring and deny the opponent much chance of catching up.

Vanessa- the first keyword model I've been adding in every list. Another source of healing and Into the Fray, plus she’s a primarily ranged model in a mostly melee crew so she adds another element to their game plan. Tempo helps put her on the centre for the bonuses (at which point she is insanely good) but she isnt exactly tanky so like most things in the crew, be careful. Vanessa occupies a pretty great niche in the crew for everything she brings and even has a decent melee attack, but her shooting and healing is what you take her for so it’s important to try and keep her protected by something else because an isolated Vanessa is a dead Vanessa which hurts the crew a lot.

Big Jake- cheap, valuable for 5 stones. He’s a good scheming model with DMM even though he isnt the fastest, and his late game summon can get some clutch plays off (Deliver a Message being the big one but also Take Prisoner). Despite all this though I really find him not fully worth taking in the keyword, and I tend to take the Student of Conflict or a Ronin now that my game plan with Viks is a lot more ironed out.

Ronin- hands down one of if not the best scheme runner in Outcasts. They're not cheap at 6ss, but they're damn quick with good stats, and their attacks are both good (especially built in armour which fills a niche in keyword). They’re also not exactly easy to kill for their cost which is a big factor in their versatility and usefulness. The option of killing themselves to supply cards or soulstones is also great, but something that will usually only factor in late game once they've already scored you VP (although it can swing the game in later turns)

Desperate Mercenaries- they're cheap and ok at shooting, but with their victim stats they have to have babysitters to work without immediately dying. They have uses, but most of the time I'd rather grab a Student for the same cost, or spring a bit extra for Big Jake or a Ronin

Student of Conflict- cheap, fast and significant. Counter scheming in a couple of different ways (one of which gives Fast on a 6 from possible 12" away), pulls things around as a bonus and it can potentially ignore armour not that she wants to be attacking. The main reason you take the Student is for Mv6 and not Insignificant for 4 stones, because she can run schemes for you and it becomes a great chance for easy VP despite her only being Df4 with 4 wounds.

 

The 9 stone niche-

This spot is both Taelor and Bishop, and I feel like both are super dependent on the opponent. Outcasts in general have a lot of strong 8-10 cost models but they are all somewhat situational in when they get taken IMO

Bishop- Another native 3AP model is fantastic, and everything else on his front of card is well worth 9 stones. Chain Gang is extra movement which is not needed, but welcome nonetheless. Challenge isn’t always amazing, but in a crew like the Viks it can take the heat off of other models or just plain drain an opponent’s hand. It also has 2 amazing triggers for Bishop, is a high stat and combos well with him hitting Cage Fighter to hurt opponents if they do attempt to hit him. His melee attack isn’t fantastic for a 9 stone model, but you pay for the versatility it brings rather than raw power. Adaptive gives him whatever suit he needs for that activation and honestly, I find myself taking Critical Strike less than I would expect because built in Delay is just as good. Staggered+Slow is hugely debilitating to an opponent and between those and Cage Fighter you will almost guarantee that Bishop can lock down enemies when he needs to

Taelor- Both the henchman and power hitter of the crew, Taelor has a definite role but it isn’t all the time. She is amazing against crews that have Terrifying, Manipulative or summons (a lot, but consider Ruthless for anti-Dreamer or WTM anti-Kirai here), has a large threat range (9” threat is up there with A&D for reach) and is tough to kill. Shrug Off is good when it comes into play, and she has no other bonus so it isn’t like she’s losing out in doing it. Bring It is a good way to draw in potential weak links to an enemy crew, especially support pieces which tend to be low damage and thus won’t have as much of a negative effect on her before it gets killed in return. Her hammer though is her big appeal, with a great damage track at stat 7 and ignoring Shielded she puts out tons of hurt where needed. The triggers, particularly the ram ones, are amazing, and she is definitely a consistently good 9SS beater model.

 

OOK/Versatile models-

I'll start this by saying I don't think that many options here are fantastic because they can't reliably keep up early game, so their impact is lessened, and that must be kept in mind. The ones I do list all have value for what they provide in the crew but aren’t necessarily always takes

Prospector- always good. Feeds stones to the crew which is essential and gives a lot of valuable counter scheming where needed.

Hans- this is purely to counter the heavy ranged and shockwave matchups, where I've personally found Viks struggle a bit more. He's reliable shooting with decent damage and a good range, that's about all he needs to be

Barbaros- someone I've personally grappled with a bit regarding his value in the crew, he’s another one of the 9ers but gives a bit of a different niche to either of the others. His ability to drain down enemies while tanking their attacks is second to none in Outcasts, and he has a definite role in taking the heat off the squishier models in the crew while dishing out damage. The combo of Bring It, Challenge and Cage Fighter puts him between Taelor and Bishop in those regards, lacking the finesse of either of them but making up for it in being simple to use and reliable. My only issue is in him keeping up with no Battle Tempo, and he really does need to be in the thick of it alongside the rest to do work.

 

Upgrades-

Servant of Dark Powers- must have for the Viks. Puts them very far up the table and lets them heal 4 on their first kill a turn (half their wounds is great). Mainly take it for Herald though because they hurt against massed guns that they can’t engage quickly

Wanted Criminal- Swagger is fantastic on any minion, and Expert Thief is useful in such a stone-hungry crew, but Protection Money is pretty much only a Bandit-relevant ability (because you don't want to buy an upgrade on the off chance someone has taken marker schemes)

Soldier for Hire- Decent for giving Hard to Kill to the Viks or Bishop, but otherwise not amazing. The other abilities will be rarely used (This Will Fetch A High Price- which Prospectors already have if you must have it) or not worth the cost and packing on redundant abilities (Bounty Hunter- great on Ronin but not worth 2SS when the other abilities aren’t useful)

 

Deployments-

Standard- Consider this deployment 10 inches up the table with a Mercenary crew, because that’s effectively your deployment. Easy to engage, but not as beneficial to the Viks as certain others with their ideal scheme set. In any case it isn’t a huge disadvantage but not a big advantage either.

Wedge- Good for a spearhead Viks list going elite-heavy, but not good at all against other heavy melee damage crews where you can’t decide engagement as easy.

Corner- Not bad but not fantastic. Against gun-heavy crews it isn’t good because it tends to mean more AP spent to engage, but otherwise they have the same advantages as in Flank.

Flank- Their best deployment. Long centre line gives great flanking potential for offence and marker schemes, while they’re further up the table natively than in Corner so can challenge positioning early on.

 

Strategies-

Plant Explosives- Not a bad strategy for them, but not fantastic (done better in Outcasts, but not by many). They’re quick and can spread out easily, plus they’ve got the damage to punch out enemy bomb runners before they can drop theirs. Ronin should absolutely have bombs here, probably also the Viks themselves too.

Reckoning- With their damage it’s easily doable, but at the same time they’re fragile and can give away unnecessary VP if you aren’t careful. I would leave Taelor at home here most of the time as despite her being a big damage piece, she’s another source of extra Reckoning Points to the opponent. Her big use is if the opponent declares a summoner, where Taelor has huge value and can destroy things almost as soon as they appear. Enforcer-heavy crews with Vanessa, Bishop and Hans/Stalker are great here as well because they’re elite and high damage while still staying low on Reckoning Points so as to give away less to your opponent. All in all, Viks are somewhat middling in terms of Outcasts as a whole here, as they are nowhere near the effectiveness of Leveticus or Von Schill (even Parker can dictate engagement from a long way away with his shooting). Corner is where they really shine here, because of their speed over the others.

Corrupted Idols- Not fantastic for Viks, they’re probably one of the worse Outcasts here (I’d go for Tara, Leveticus or Von Schill myself). They’re too fragile to justify taking them here because they need to be taking damage to push the idols is my main issue, while other crews can get the healing (or summoning) they need to keep on top

Turf War- This one is where I feel Viks do best. They have the mobility and aggression to put pressure on an opponent early and can relocate easily to get to their own markers (Battle Tempo to put models on your 2 markers before the game starts in Standard or Wedge). Fragile crew means the potential is there to have your markers flipped back, but they should be threatening an opponent’s zone anyway so it’s less of an issue.

 

Schemes-

Detonate Charges- With Ronin and Big Jake it’s not a bad scheme to take if you have a plan for it, but it tends to be more effort than it’s worth and other schemes are easier to guarantee VP without having to jump through hoops.

Breakthrough- With the speed and ease of disengaging in Mercenary this one is actually pretty good to take depending on deployment. In Standard or Wedge I would definitely consider it more often than most schemes, same with Flank, but it’s too unreliable in Corner with the distance to cover.

Harness the Ley Line- Not a bad option, it’s not too hard to score but it’s easily telegraphed

Search the Ruins- Got a slight nerf from GG0 but it’s still definitely playable and Viks can do it well. Their inherent speed lets them get to the opponent’s table half early and start threatening to score

Dig Their Graves- 1st point is dead easy with Jake, 2nd not so much. Dig is a hard scheme to get both points for, and it’s doable with Viks, but isn’t reliable enough that I would take it often.

Hold Up Their Forces- Not bad if you’re taking the cheapest models in keyword. Otherwise (most of the time) it’s not fantastic because of how much easier it is to score against you, which plays into Viks wanting to kill off the cheaper models early

Take Prisoner- Really great take for Viks. Even though they like to straight up murder things, being engaged is what they do and they can easily dictate engagement through their movement so they can make sure Take Prisoner is really hard to counter against them. It is also easy for an opponent to get 2VP with how they like to be in combat.

Power Ritual- Like any other time I would see this in the pool, only on Corner or Flank. But with that said, Viks do it pretty easy and are more reliable at it than most.

Outflank- Pretty good, the elite options can stay around long enough to get VP for it. Better on Flank or Corner than Wedge or Standard, but always doable. I find teams of 2 (usually Ronin/Big Jake and Ronin/one of the 9ers) to be more than enough to guarantee this will be scored for 2

Assassinate- Not a great scheme to play Viks into because they are still squishy, but this combined with their healing means the opponent has to get through a lot more than they would expect to in scoring both points. They themselves can score it really easily too depending on matchup so consider it, but keep in mind there are better choices than Viks at this (Von Schill and Leveticus)

Deliver A Message- Another one where you can easily score at least 1 (because of Big Jake semi-reliably 2) but in return you’re giving up easy VP having 2 Masters base. Be careful here is all I’ll say

Claim Jump- Not great honestly, I find Viks as a crew want to be moving around the flanks more and needing models unengaged in the centre isn't that easy to do in the crew. The fragility of most models means they won't survive long enough to score both VP, and the first one will be difficult to score as well. 

Vendetta- With the amount of good damage options at higher cost in Mercenary, this is well worth taking. With the GG0 change to the scheme it becomes even better now that Bishop/Taelor will be able to hunt 9SS models for it, but Ronin are also great choices for it.

 

Overall, the Mercenary crew have places where they are well worth taking, but at the same time they are usually playing to reach small differentials rather than have guaranteed blowouts like in 2E. They’re a fast crew that can easily react to board state, but they suffer against heavy terrain crews or gunlines because it plays into their inherent weaknesses.

 

 

GG1

Strategies

Symbols of Authority- Defence might get a bit tough, but they have the potential to put lots of pressure on the opponent for their own defence that they might be able to slip through without dedicating models to keeping your board half safe.

Recover Evidence- A crew that are insanely fast and really good at melee? Recover Evidence is a Viks strat plain and simple. They’re probably even the best suited to it overall in Outcasts I would argue despite being fairly fragile.

Corrupted Ley Lines- Speed is your best trick here, cause Viks don't place they just move very quickly. They're not subtle about it but they're just good

Public Enemies- So long as you can kill faster than you can get killed this is a pretty great Viks strat. Pick your battles, guarantee kills where you can and try not to die if possible

 

Schemes

Breakthrough, Take Prisoner, Vendetta, Assassinate, Claim Jump- Unchanged, and the crew haven’t had any erratas to affect them. See above for my thoughts.

Hidden Martyrs- With a stable of excellent cheap models that are also squishy you can quite easily do this scheme if you leverage the crew right. Even the 9 cost models combo with the Student to make 13SS total so really anything is fair game. 

Sabotage- Ronin and the Student are pretty great at it. Same as Search the Ruins with them

Catch and Release- With all the movement tricks this is pretty good, but you're squishy so will rarely get the second point IMO. 

Let Them Bleed- You can do this fairly easily so long as you keep in mind the standard Viks weaknesses (shielded and armour). Taelor is good here to get through more problematic models

Leave Your Mark- Don't do it. I hate this scheme with a passion

Research Mission- Viks don’t have any special markers to play with which makes this difficult, but you can attempt it if you need to. I wouldn’t though

Spread Them Out- Easy. Run around drop markers, that’s it and you’re fast enough to do it

Runic Binding- Not terrible, but as usual the 2nd point is difficult with placement. As with the other Outcasts I feel like the Emissary is a must and the Student is nice for Subterfuge potential, but Big Jake is the biggest one here

Edited by Rygnan
Updated to GG1
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Did we not mention The Midnight Stalker because everyone takes him anyway or because you don't think he's useful in Mercenary?

I think he's invaluable and with a potential 3 action plus Leap, keeps up with the crew's movement shananigans quite well. 

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9 hours ago, Jesy Blue said:

Did we not mention The Midnight Stalker because everyone takes him anyway or because you don't think he's useful in Mercenary?

I think he's invaluable and with a potential 3 action plus Leap, keeps up with the crew's movement shananigans quite well. 

I didn't mention the Stalker because I don't think he's that good in Mercenary. He's another high cost, fast melee model and that's not exactly a niche that needs filling in keyword so I don't tend to spring for him when I can get Hans or Barbaros who do things I have more use for. 

 

7 hours ago, psychogeek said:

Just pointing out, dreamer summons don’t trigger welcome to Malifaux. His and taras are summoned buried. Good overall thoughts though

Edited for clarity (and added Claim Jump which I missed)

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  • 4 weeks later...

I know that Malifaux should be adaptive and..... But I wanna know what is your typical turn 1 and 2 because I tend to be playing them like M2E and honestly I don't have great success with them. 

I like the model and the keyword as a whole but I can't get it on the board :) I need a little help cause it's been 3 games that I lose with them.

My typical crew is 

 Viks x2 w/ servants of dark powers

Tealor

Vanessa 

Ronin x2 

Student 

Midnight stalker

Ty in advance from a fellow mercenary Wyrdos! 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Running the Viks today in to an Ophelia crew. Turf. Detonate harness outflank assassinate claim jump.

Im trying this out because I want to see how vulnerable to assassinate they actually are. I have bought extra healing in the effigy to help them and I plan to play them on a flank quite defensively. 
my list:

viks SoDP

viks

vanessa

mad dog

taelor

propsector

ronin

effigy

mad dog provides some nice blasting and gun, plus he has some scheme denial and a way to go fast through his denial. Honestly I think he’s one of the strongest OOK models outcast have. Also with his run and gun he is able to keep up with the crew where as I find Rusty would probably be too slow with the crew.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Interesting read thank you

Love the viks, played them in to 3 tournaments exclusively, won 8 drew 1. So versatile as I seem to play them completely different

 

Overlooked model is the malifaux child, copying students fast can end up with us having 5 3AP models 

General Vik tactics were to keep it simple, hold a bit turn 1 loading up on fast and focus (fast goes to Vanessa, ronin, depending on S&S and if I want to kill something armoured)... Turn 2 I always aim to remove as many AP from my opponent as possible, ignoring their master, so that scoring vp for them is extremely hard. Then if my key pieces die who cares as long as my scoring ones survive n do what they are wmant to do. 

So so fast... Plant explosives is my fave with them

Can also outshoot a lot, throw in rusty alyce and make her fast along with Vanessa and the viks and hurt them as the come towards you if the pool allows. 

 

I could type for ages about the viks, my faves 

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

A quick question about the Viks. I am about to play them in a local tournament and I have not understand whether they both count as the leader of the crew or not. So, for my opponent to score the assassination scheme, do they have to target any of them, or do I specify which one of the two is my leader and my opponent has to target that specific one? 

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  • Adran pinned this topic
3 hours ago, touchdown said:

One of the biggest reasons to take Hans for me is that he can generate pass tokens so you can safely send the Viks in at the end of the turn (and just having your Viks unactivated will change how your opponent plays)

Bishop can also generate Pass Tokens.

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9 hours ago, touchdown said:

Hans can do it from 24" away. You don't have to endanger any models

For this you will need an extra Focused to increase the range and a Tome card for bonus action. And you only have two actions. Bishop gets Tomes for free and also gets Fast for free. So he gains more tokens when you need it.

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