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Order Initiates. Pre-Errata Discusion.


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I've been noticing low interest in these models. They are useful in paper to draw using Marcus' Primal Domain and may have some decent damage with Chimera Strike; however they are outclased by the other beast to any other task and not worth at 7SS imo. Maybe I'm wrong but I think they are a bit underwhelming and that a buff would suit them.

The idea is discusing whether they are balanced, if they fit in your lists and in case you think they are below the curve, changes to put them in line again.

 

I'll start with some brainstorming for changes that I think that could suit them (one of them obviously, not all at the same time XD). I've focused mainly in their supportish role:

  • -1SS cost.

Dull change but easy to implement and for 6SS they could be an option.

 

  • Demise (Shapeshifter): After this model is killed, it is instead replaced with a minion beast with cost 4 or less from this crew's declared faction without discarding any upgrades, then the new model heals 1 and gain Slow.

Cool, thematic and useful without being (probably) too over the top. This may let them die protecting Marcus (redirecting attacks to them) and be still useful after that; it's also kind of a poor's man Hard to Kill. 

For a more powerful version: "After this model is killed if it has no shapechange tokens, it is instead replaced with a non-totem minion or enforcer beast with cost less or equal to this model from this crew's declared faction without discarding any upgrades, then the new model heals 2, gain a shapechange token and Slow. During the end phase, discard all shapechange tokens." In this version the shapechange tokens are there to create a "once per turn" limitation in case an Initiated decide to be replaced by another initiate (as the new initiate would have the same Demise ability); I think an standard "Once per turn" wouldn't work here because the replaced model is a new model.

 

  • Extra Attack Action: Ancient Word. Stat5. Triggers: :tome Surge.

Fitting with their lore and would give them something more to do while they stand near of Marcus.

 

  • Extra Tactical Action: Join the Order (6’’, 5, - ,14) Friendly Living, Undead or Beast. If the target is a beast or a chimera this action gains +2 to its stat and any suit to its duel. Target is treated as having the beast characteristic until the end phase. At the end phase if the target isn’t a beast or a chimera, discard all mutation upgrades attached to the target. Triggers: :ramMend:mask Bestial Traits: Once per activation. Non-Master only. Discard a card. Attach a Mutation Upgrade to the target. At the end phase, target discards a Mutation Upgrade. :tomeSurge.

This one is a bit crazy but it could be interesting and enable synergies with OOK picks and also inside the keyword.

A chimera or beast would get one of the triggers (a heal, an extra mutation only for that turn or a card) and the beast characteristic for a 7. A non chimera or beast (living or undead) would be considered a beast for a 9 (hence being able to be targeted by Marcus, Initiates and Myranda support abilities, triggering attacks thanks to Crocket...) and could even attach a mutation for a 9:mask(and also latter in the turn using Marcus AP).

In all cases (both the mask trigger and Marcus upgrades to non-beast/chimeras), the extra upgrades would be discarted at the end of the turn (so at the end of a turn there won't be more upgrades than in an standard crew); however getting an extra upgrade during a turn could really boost a turn 2 or 3 of some beasts at the cost of having an initiate wandering around and a moderate/severe card. This also may help to the non-beasts of the crew to get some support from the crew (for example, Myranda would be able to heal himself without having to use Beast Shape or Marcus could make Paul Crockett charge).

This one wold require checking if there is any OOK model that would become too broken with mutations (Masters are good candiates so I've excluded them from the trigger to avoid it to add mutations as an OOK pick to other masters; not sure if masters and leaders should be excluded from the main ability or not). However these mutations are only for a turn and require a high card and APs from the initiate and maybe also a Master AP so I guess it'd be fine.

 

  • Extra Ability: Protector of the Wild: Once per turn. After a friendly model in :ToS-Aura:6'' discards a Mutation Upgrade during an Action that does not Attach Upgrades, its owner may attach a Mutation Upgrade to that model.

Extra punch for themselves or nearby beasts (free use of Adaptive Evolutions) and also a protection versus obey abilities that may discard those upgrades. The limitation of only working during an action that not attach any upgrades is there to avoid it to be used to increase the number of mutations in one model beyond what's possible just with Marcus (using Aspect of the Wild or Flames of Change for example).

 

  • Extra Ability: Directed Evolution: After a Friendly Chimera or Beast in :new-Pulse:8'' declares an Action, this model may choose one of its own Attached Mutation Upgrades to give that model a:+flipor any suit to that Action’s duel. After resolving the Action, discard the choosen Upgrade.

A different version of the above ability but more oriented to support other beasts, the idea is being able to use the mutations they add with Aspects of the Wild to give bonuses to other beasts. In this case it's an (:+flipOR any suit) instead of an AND, so it's not as good as using adaptive evolution with the beast itself.

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Card draw is nice. Situational min3 is nice, if a bit taxing on actions positioning. They're not sturdy, but at least their health=cost and df5 so they aren't "below the bar". Even if the bar itself is somewhat fragile.

They've got things going for them, so I wouldn't go adding lots of stuff. Mutations on non-beasts/chimeras in particular. That's the kind of thing that'll break something. I'd let that thing lie.

___
IF Wyrd decides to change them, I always prefer minimum required errata. So a simple -1ss could very well do the trick. It'd not be quite so competing with many quality 8ss beasts, and assuming it kept health 7 it'd be a bit more durable for their cost. I don't think that'd change them into autoincludes or even frequent models to grace the top tables, but I'd be fine with that. They'd feel more like their own model and less like a bad bear or whatever.

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Don't get scared about the brainstorming above, I just didn't want to start a conversation about buffing a model without giving some ideas. The SS cost adjustment is the easiest way, but I wouldn't mind some models getting some extra changes in their profile, especially in cases like this one where the profile is so uninspiring.

11 hours ago, Nikodemus said:

Card draw is nice. Situational min3 is nice, if a bit taxing on actions positioning. They're not sturdy, but at least their health=cost and df5 so they aren't "below the bar". Even if the bar itself is somewhat fragile.

They've got things going for them, so I wouldn't go adding lots of stuff.

I guess if you think for 6SS they would not be even frecuent models, then you should agree they are underwhelming right now. But some counterpoints:

The min3 is very situational because stampede require both charging and reaching b2b (so only once per turn), and as a Mv5 model they will be in a range disadvantage with most models, requiring wings to not being "outranged" by a mv5 model with :melee1''. That min3 also requires them to sacrifice 1 Wds and they have no way to recover Wds.

They are bellow the bar in chimera, every other beast around their cost have something else keeping them alive (Terrifying, Df6, being fast, H2W, Juggernaut, Manipulative...); they could theoretically get 1 more mutation than other models, but those are mutations not buffing models with a better base profile. Plus they have to sacrifice Wds to make their min 3 attack.

The only 2 saving points are the card draw and the Chimera strike in latter turns, and those aren't enough to make them worth 7SS imo.

11 hours ago, Nikodemus said:

Mutations on non-beasts/chimeras in particular. That's the kind of thing that'll break something. I'd let that thing lie.

This one is true that would need to be handled with care and be playtested well, and maybe Masters should be excluded at all. However, I'd at least consider it.

Which models do you think that would be over the top with a Mutation? Taking in count it'd need a 9:maskor a 9 plus a 7, in an ability with range 6 (so it'd require cards and actions from the Initiate) and that those mutations would get discarted in the end phase (So it'd require a 7SS model following that model around and using a 9:maskeach turn).

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For reference, they can be min 4 if there are three upgrades on them/around around with the mask trigger and then get the +1 from stampede. 

I’ve found them excellent for their points in the two games I’ve played them since release. Their ability to gain mutations independent from Marcus and have two mutations on turn 1 is the biggest thing that is different for them than any other beast.

That saving of master AP and game pace has been much more impactful on table than I expected from card reading.

The addition of Beast to their card between beta and release makes it work. Let’s them get “Call of the Wild”,  use Adversary, Myranda healing, etc.

 

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13 hours ago, Nikodemus said:

They're not sturdy, but at least their health=cost and df5 so they aren't "below the bar". Even if the bar itself is somewhat fragile.

I've always thought of the bar as health equal to cost +1 for a vanilla model. I think a lot of the problem with Marcus's crew and the Order Initiates could be solved by increasing the rare limit on the mutation upgrades. I find it really hard to justify an Order Initiate just on the grounds that they can give themselves upgrades when the upgrades I'd most want them to have would be better served on a Cerberus, Scorpius, or Blessed.

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5 minutes ago, Jinn said:

I think a lot of the problem with Marcus's crew and the Order Initiates could be solved by increasing the rare limit on the mutation upgrades.

This is definitely a big factor. Also a reason why I very rarely go 100% theme list with Marcus, just so I can have some independently awesome models that don't eat up a mutation slot.

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Imo every Chimera beast shouls have adaptive evolution. I cant afford to put 2 Mutations on an Initiate, because whatever I put on the Rattler, The Beast, Paul, Molemen, or the Jackalope is stuck on them for the game. I mean, Surely Marcus himself should get it? The Jackalope in particular really sucks up Mutations because you want to put one on it per turn to increase its duel totals. So the rarity of most upgrades becomes Rare 1 by turn 3 because the Jackalope is carrying them. 

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1 hour ago, Jinn said:

I find it really hard to justify an Order Initiate just on the grounds that they can give themselves upgrades when the upgrades I'd most want them to have would be better served on a Cerberus, Scorpius, or Blessed.

^This. The point about the Limitation(2) in the mutations is probably what is hurting more the initiates; as you said it's awful having mutations on them but that's what they do and what fuels their abilites, hoard mutations.

If this is one of the main points that is holding them back; What about an ability in the initiates which expand the mutation pool just for them? Something like this:

  • One with Nature: When attaching mutation upgrades, this model ignores other model's attached Mutation Upgrades. Other models ignore Mutation Upgrades in this model when they are attaching a Mutation Upgrade. When this model is targeted by Chimerancy, the resolving model may add a :maskto its duel.

Ignored mutations shouldn't count toward plentiful (2); this will give them the ability to get extra mutations, without giving the entire crew Limitation (3) that could be used to put Armor or Butterfly jump in 3 top notch beasts.

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43 minutes ago, Ogid said:

^This. The point about the Limitation(2) in the mutations is probably what is hurting more the initiates; as you said it's awful having mutations on them but that's what they do and what fuels their abilites, hoard mutations.

If this is one of the main points that is holding them back; What about an ability in the initiates which expand the mutation pool just for them? Something like this:

  • One with Nature: When attaching mutation upgrades, this model ignores other model's attached Mutation Upgrades. Other models ignore Mutation Upgrades in this model when they are attaching a Mutation Upgrade. When this model is targeted by Chimerancy, the resolving model may add a :maskto its duel.

Ignored mutations shouldn't count toward plentiful (2); this will give them the ability to get extra mutations, without giving the entire crew Limitation (3) that could be used to put Armor or Butterfly jump in 3 top notch beasts.

Ignored is the wrong game term because Marcus and Myranda have effects based on the targets attached upgrades. A better way to make this idea work would be to word it as, "Mutation Upgrades attached to this model do not count against the Upgrade's limit."

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8 hours ago, Mycellanious said:

Ignored is the wrong game term because Marcus and Myranda have effects based on the targets attached upgrades. A better way to make this idea work would be to word it as, "Mutation Upgrades attached to this model do not count against the Upgrade's limit."

I've tried to adress that with the "when attaching mutation upgrades", that way they are only ignored when it matters but it should still interact with the rest of the abilities. The above is another way tho, but I think that one will prevent an upgrade to be added in there are other 2 upgrades already in models.

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I play with one in Neverborn and add Inhuman Reflexes to him for Blade rush and Mobile Warrior... Butterfly jump is nice too... . This ups his damage pretty drastically. He is a late game beater that hangs around Marcus early and moves other beasts into position. Then, when something comes into Marcus, he can command the Initiate and then Accomplice into him for quite a bit of damage. 4 of which is singular pip damage from 2 stampedes and 2 blade rushes. At stat 6 he should be hitting too. If done right a ram should be available to heal that stampede damage.

Not a bad model for 9ss, just gotta keep it safe early, which isnt difficult. Just dont over extend early.  The card draw and ability to command beasts on turn one is big for me. I like to seed early points with a Cerebus on a flank and the initiate helps me to do that early with a call of the wild. 

I think they're fine models for 7ss. I wouldnt hire multiple though... 

 

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Agree, in NVB they are be a better than in ARC. IR is very good in minions giving them Mobile Warrior and Blade Rush so they may charge while engaged and get 1 extra damage. NVB doesn't include Pact that much (unless maybe idols) while ARC usually include Magical Training, so the extra card per turn is usually more valuable in NVB.

However I still find them lacking there. For doing something like the above I rather having a Rougarou. The wolf may use Intimidating Roar to push model forward (if it's not minion that model may be pushed directly; if it's a minion then push Marcus/Myranda and use their call of the wild), they are also terrific with IR, as long as they also have horns they will probably get moderate or severe damage; that's 5 or 7 damage and in a model with 2 extra Wds, H2W, Eat your Fill and Deadly Pursuit (df4 tho). The extra card per turn of the initiate is good, but it doesn't worth it for me.

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looking at their stats they compare to a lot of other 5ss minions, and you're getting a free chimera upgrade so I guess 6ss could be good. The real problem from my perspective is that they don't excell at anything to build off of or do anything novel. Other beasts have great offenses or mobility to capitolize on so your upgrades have a greater effect, or they do something really unique and powerful.

Even if they cost 6ss I would probably still skip them

EDIT:

so I was thinking about these guys this morning while walking the dog (all the best ideas happen on walks) and came to the conclusion that if they dropped to 6ss (maybe drop wounds to 6 to match) and gave them a built in mask for chimeric strike. Making them reliably get that bonus puts them more into the mechanical themes of the chimera keyword and allows their unique feature to have a reliable impact. Athough the suit should probably be changed to a tome or crow, otherwise they also get built in onslaught from horns; although that might not be bad to have the choice between two low damage attacks or a single ramping damage attack.

I would absolutely take a 6ss minion that can get powered up to a 3/4/5 damage track and hangs its slow butt near marcus for some protection. At that cost they fill a void that other chimerae and beasts don't quite cover: babysitter

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  • 2 months later...

Isn’t their strength that they get a master AP and a 4 or 5 card (i.e. possible deck drain/ black joker)? Secondary strengths are two upgrades turn 1, ability to move self/others, damage without a flip (stampede).

 

Is that enough? I need to test more. Also, people that are better than me should probably figure that out for competitive world.

 

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1 hour ago, Stumpyfjord said:

Isn’t their strength that they get a master AP and a 4 or 5 card (i.e. possible deck drain/ black joker)? Secondary strengths are two upgrades turn 1, ability to move self/others, damage without a flip (stampede).

 

Is that enough? I need to test more. Also, people that are better than me should probably figure that out for competitive world.

They dont get 2 upgrades, they attach one for free and then their bonus lets them discard one (if they have one) to put on another. This is good for drawing cards near Marcus, but you could also just use a Beast with Adaptive Evolution and also get something relevant out of it. 

Call of the Wild requires a card, preferably with a suit, in an already incredibly card hungry crew. In addition, both Marcus and Myranda have the Action. Its kind of like an Obey, it amplifies another model... but it needs another model to be useful. If you hire Myranda and 1-2 Initiates, you probably only have the stones for 1-2 other Beasts to actually USE Call of the Wild on. 

Chimera Strike is fine, but you only have 2 copies of any one of Marcus' upgrades. Its very easy to get them "stuck" in places you dont want, esspecially since you want to leave some for Marcus and Myranda to flex to (Armor / Wings). The Jackolope wants 1-2 also. So really, you only have like 6 upgrades to work with, many of which are your last copy of that upgrade. Am I going to give my only copy of Wings to an Initiate, or to my Cerberus? This problem is compounded if you want to take other Beasts w/o Adaptive Evolution who cant even get the upgrades off unless they die. The fricken Rattler is in his Keyword and came in his 2E box so everyone has it, and it cant get rid of upgrades. So while freely getting upgrades is nice in theory, it ends us more of a sink where you end up throwing w/e you dont need on the model as opposed to what would be useful, and you dont want to cycle too much because you can only draw from it once per activation.

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Would their base attack getting a built in mask help enough? Or chimera strike being per upgrade, rather than per two?

 

As a separate note, molemen lack a way to shift mutations as well on the beast front, and so do Paul and Ferdinand as pure chimeras.

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11 hours ago, MrPieChee said:

Would their base attack getting a built in mask help enough? Or chimera strike being per upgrade, rather than per two?

 

As a separate note, molemen lack a way to shift mutations as well on the beast front, and so do Paul and Ferdinand as pure chimeras.

What would help would be lowering their cost to 5 or 6, even if that means nerfing them. Marcus' Keyword hires rn are:

4, 6, 7, 7, 7, 8, 8, 9, 10

7 is just a super saturated cost for him rn

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After playing McCabe a few games, I really notice how much more clunky mutations are from artifacts. I don't want to de-rail the conversation from Initiates because I also think they are overcosted and bring very little of what is actually needed in a Marcus crew. However I will say that I feel like Mutations in general probably need a rework in order to make the rest of the crew work more optimally. 

As others have pointed out, not having a way to pitch the upgrade sucks so bad. McCabes upgrades have the ability to toss the upgrade on the actual upgrade. If Adaptive Evolution was simply another built in ability on the actual upgrade, it would free up a ton of room and work universally on all chimera. 

The other thing I noticed is how amazing or useless his mutations are depending on the model they are attached too. This may seem obvious, but I often find it so difficult to put anything on a moleman. Onslaught on a moleman is still pretty trash, but onslaught on a Cerberus is fantastic. So why am I bothering putting good upgrades on crap models. Again McCabe does this better but giving full actions instead of triggers or stat boosts. This gives all his models the same ability regardless of who has it. Maybe it doesn't make sense on all models but it at least gives you reason to put things on chaff models and have them still contribute. 

The initiates are simply in an awkward spot IMO. They are sort of support but also sort of a beater, however the two don't particularly mesh well together. They don't often get to benefit from both support/beater and they don't pull their weight when looking at either of these in isolation. They are expensive models in an already top heavy keyword. I don't really want another beater, Marcus is really lacking in everything OTHER than a melee beater role. I would much rather see them pushed more into the support/scheme role. 

 

Also as a side note. I would like to put it out there to get the "beast" keyword on the Poison Gamin. Arcanist Marcus is desperate for a cheap general purpose model such as this. Molemen are trash in anything other than scheming. Besides Neverborn has so many more options available compared to Arcanists. I think this would go a long way for him  

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4 hours ago, Jordon said:

The other thing I noticed is how amazing or useless his mutations are depending on the model they are attached too. This may seem obvious, but I often find it so difficult to put anything on a moleman. Onslaught on a moleman is still pretty trash, but onslaught on a Cerberus is fantastic. So why am I bothering putting good upgrades on crap models. Again McCabe does this better but giving full actions instead of triggers or stat boosts. This gives all his models the same ability regardless of who has it. Maybe it doesn't make sense on all models but it at least gives you reason to put things on chaff models and have them still contribute. 

The thing you have missed here is that the value of an action isn't equal in McCabes case either. It is flipped the other way. The upgrades that give a full action are worth more if you put them on a bad model than if you put them on a good model (or in this case,. as they are all bonus actions, the upgrades are much stronger on a model like Luna with no bonus action that it is on Desper, with Leap as a bonus action so you are often going to want to take that instead) (of course if you're just doing pass the artifact for fast, then Fast is better on a stronger model, but again, its more likely to get "stuck" on a good model that has another use for the bonus action)

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Fair points @Jordon. I definitely agree about the Initiate, pricy half-support/ half-beater and mediocre at both. Seriously, one of his main selling points is his Call of the wild, that is a worse version of Guide Spirit, an ability in a summonable 2SS model! The ones in Myranda/Marcus are decent because they can make the model Charge, need a 6 instead of a 7 and both have Accomplice. Good suggestion about putting Adaptive Evolution in the upgrades.

Knowing which mutations are good for each model is part of the learning curve of the master, that's not really a bad point... and even while stacking mutations in 4-5SS models is not a good idea, sometimes 1 mutation can make that model much better; Camo make the Moleman a headache to catch and Wings may transform the  Hoarcat in a really mobile and stealthed model for example.

However I don't agree about making Marcus mutations McCabe-like; each crew has their own mechanics and that give each crew their own theme and flavour. Also McCabe needs scrap (so AP and in some cases suits from other models) and can only attach 1 artifact per actiion; Marcus can put 8 or even the 10 mutations in the table the first turn (10 require Myranda and 2 initiates tho). What I dislike a bit about McCabe is non-keyword minions getting full advantage of artifacts with how good some of the artifact (and extra Actions) are; that is going to break something or is going to limit how good TT/EXP models are going to be.

About Poison Gaming... that won't break anything but I don't really think it's necessary. From Marcus pow, ARC Marcus doesn't need any help vs NVB Marcus, ARC Marcus has the upper hand in both upgrades and versatile pool (where there are also models from 3 SS to cover those roles); from Sandeep pow, he is quite good and already synergize with half of the faction, he doesn't really need synergies with another master.

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