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I've not seen anything good said about corrupted or guild hounds, and assume the same is true of canine remains.

So, I was thinking, as a small buff, to make better use of pack mentality, they could all gain a bonus action to move another model with the same name and receive slow.

The idea being, you move the second hound towards the same target the active hound is aiming to charge, so you get the pack mentality bonus on both hounds in their respective activations.

Adding slow means you don't gain any extra distance, although it could mean you loose a fight action from a charge.

 

The other simple option I was thinking about was removing the "during this models activation" condition from pack mentality, but the rule is shared with several other models - Bultungin who could do with a buff, but mindless zombies who I assume are fine as is (although generally use for things other than combat damage, so don't make use of pack mentality often, if at all).

 

As a side note, it would be great if Heyreddin's life from blood was any size 1 nephilim, instead of just terror tots!

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I used to take Canine Remains a lot - now I never do. They die too easy in the age of never-ending focus. Pack Mentality is nice, but as you point out, it's hard to keep the pack together to gain the bonus. It also makes them useless as solo scheme runners anymore. Maybe, maybe, if they were Versatile. I'd never take them OOK at 4SS. 

The other Hounds have similar problems, but at least Guild Hounds and Corrupted Hounds have a Stat 5 attack. 

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I've got a lot of similar experiences and feelings on the hounds. While having a non-Insignificant model with Mv 6 and cost of 3 seems great for cheap scheme running, the low durability tends to be a big liability in 3rd Edition. Pack Mentality is nice, I love swarming with Mindless Zombies, but to do so with the Hounds will cost 9-12ss and at that point I'd rather just hire a big beater. I wonder if they'd be better off with a more narrow purpose rather than expand their utility, like give them all Insignificant but them bump their Df up to a 6. No longer able to scheme, but also no longer able to be schemed upon, they could become fire and forget melee missiles meant to harass. With a focus on chasing down enemies Pack Mentality and Hunting Partner would get more opportunities to shine.

Of the 3 I think Canine Remains got the short end of the stick. Not only is it rare 3 instead of rare 4 like the others and it has the lower attack stat, but unlike most of the Undead with HtW he doesn't have the +1 wound over his cost nor does it have Perverse Metabolism like the rest of the Experimental crew. Corrupted Hound sits in between as kind of okay. Its mobility, small size, and Regeneration means if it isn't finished off it can easily hide out of LoS and heal up to be a problem late game, but the same goes for Terror Tots who have an avenue to become actually scary to deal with. Guild Hounds seems the best with Pursue allowing it to hit on a 6 and the Hold Down trigger can net you some good damage from all the ranged attacks found in a Guard crew. However when you account for summoning this inverts as Mindless and Slow cripples the Guild Hound completely, Corrupted Hounds can't be summoned so they aren't penalized for it, and Canine Remains come in from a bonus action on Sebastian so it's fairly economical to summon them in.

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I quite like the idea of Canine Remains, but can never quite fit them into a crew. It's also a shame their corpse reposition doesn't reposition corpse markers, and instead removes/then places one. So they can't ferry corpse candles and mindless zombies around.

Summoning them can be dicey, like with all low-cost models. It is not always worth a pass token to gain a model that is that weak, so even if you have the opportunity to summon one, you might just opt to take no bonus action.

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On 8/13/2020 at 1:52 PM, MrPieChee said:

I've not seen anything good said about corrupted or guild hounds, and assume the same is true of canine remains.

So, I was thinking, as a small buff, to make better use of pack mentality,

Pack mentality is not that useful in the dogs because swarming is hard and expensive (let alone Bultungins lol)... but as you point, as it is shared with other models, changing it is tricky... so I rather leaving it as it is and buff any model that needs it.

As @Maniacal_cackle points, models as squishy and cheap as those are a double edge sword; extra activations are nice for scheming and utility things but it gives up a lot of activation control; which may have an important model killed for losing the initiative (this depends on the master tho, wining initative it's not as important for some crews). Also an oponent may give himself extra activations at the end of a turn just killing one or two of those unactivated models, which is handy to score/deny points uncontested or just focus fire something.

For combat... if they may access Focused, the moderate/severe part of the damage track is good for a 3SS model; but their survivability is very low and any kind of area damage just destroys them, which makes them a gamble for this role. They might have some minor utility here with things like Annoying, hunting partners or scheming, but again is hard to make good use of that when they can be dispatched with 1 attack. As they aren't insignificant, they are a big no-no in some strategies and also OOK are a questionable choice for 4SS.

All the above make in general a bit hard finding a role for them imo... maybe being summoned they could be worth it in some cases, but I'm not sure about paying SS for them.

 

About the 3 kind of hounds... comparing models in a vacuum is fun, but to see how useful they are it's better done within the context of the faction. So I'll focus on the ones I know better, the corrupted hounds in NVB:

  • With most masters that will have to pick them OOK, 4SS for them is hardy a good deal when Wicked dolls are a better hounds for scheming, there is really no point including them for combat at that price tag. Plus corrupted hounds' BB may damage allied models so the positioning is even harder.
  • With Marcus they don't synergice that well with the crew, BB may damage other models, the crew don't have a use for corpses, Marcus don't have an easy way to give them Focused, they are not worth a master AP for commanding or being upgraded with mutations and they don't benefice from Myranda aura. For combat other beasts are way better (and NVB Marcus is better for pools around mobility than for fighting anyway). For scheming at 3SS again dolls outperform them being safer without a mutation. And Wisps are so much better for only 1 SS more.
  • With Nekima they have more synergy with the crew, BBS may give them Focused, BB doesn't damage other models and they may attack other friendly models (or being dropped with fly with me) to trigger it, the corpses they drop (rip) may be used for other models for healing and it's a crew that like to fight way more than Marcus... so in theory they might be good here. However Nekima is one of the masters that need to win the initiative the hardest for how squishy she is; that makes adding extra cheap models hardly worth it for her as she relies in doing a lot of damage with two back to back activation and either cripple the other crew enough to not be a threat anymore or use part of the second activation to reposition into safety before she is blown up. Also now that she cannot charge with Enraged by Insolence, they aren't even worth including to have the chance to give her extra attacks.

So at least in NVB the only master they could be worth it is Nekima and in my opinion they aren't (specially when multiple are considered, I'd pick a BBS over 2 hounds any day for example). However she isn't my most played master and if I pick her, odds are I'm rushing so maybe other Nekima players with different playstiles may have an use for them... If someone use them (with either Nekima or Marcus), I'd really like to know about the lists, pools and roles they pick them for.

On 8/13/2020 at 1:52 PM, MrPieChee said:

As a side note, it would be great if Heyreddin's life from blood was any size 1 nephilim, instead of just terror tots!

I kind of like this, tots are even worse than them XD. But as tots are worth 4SS... I'm not sure I'd chose them over the tot tbh, the dog is more useful, but the tot may hope to live a bit longer.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I was thinking about this some more,

Hounds could gain a new ability, fetch, where they can move a scheme, corpse or scrap marker with them when they make a walk action.

This would give them some utility, and could be paired with insignificant to stop them being schemed on, but make them a useful tool for other scheme runners.

Combine that with making them versatile, and my two pack mentality changes, and I think it's a winner?

Quite a hefty change though...

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  • 4 months later...
On 8/14/2020 at 6:34 AM, KingJocko said:

Of the 3 I think Canine Remains got the short end of the stick. Not only is it rare 3 instead of rare 4 like the others and it has the lower attack stat, but unlike most of the Undead with HtW he doesn't have the +1 wound over his cost nor does it have Perverse Metabolism like the rest of the Experimental crew.

Canine Remains _do_ come with Perverse Metabolism. In a McM Crew this makes them rather suvivalbe; they can have their place as scheme runners as they can take a hit from most other models about 1-2 stones above their weight and they can be summonend. I still would prefer them to come with the usual +1 Wounds, of course but tbh if a Min3 beater spends an activation to get rid of my Canine I usually am quite happy about that. 
For the DrM crew the Canines are a good way to force the opponent to spread his damage which helps the crew a lot (if you mainly stay in keyword). 

The Canines are in fact the only Hounds I ever use and even hire (outside a totally relaxed friendly game). The Carrion Away ability can really be useful for the occasional summons the DocM crew offers. If you ever successfully drag the 3rd Corpse towards the good Doctor you will most likely be in a very good spot.

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On 9/9/2020 at 10:26 PM, MrPieChee said:

Hounds could gain a new ability, fetch, where they can move a scheme, corpse or scrap marker with them when they make a walk action

Canine Remains already do exactly this. And this can be a huge deal for undead crews (see Gravediggers free move/pulsing Focus/Summons/etc). I'd really see the doggos become versatile. In my book they look like one of the most suitable/fitting type of Minion for this label.

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Maybe build in a free chain activation to Pack Mentality? Go with one and then go with another, then your opponent discards a pass token. Pretty strong, but I really don't see another way for cheap models to see play without being super over-tuned like Necropunks/Crooligans.

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Don't forget that not all games have to be tournament-style competitive play. 
I just started a campaign with the Shifting Loyalities rules set (modified where necessary) and this is a totally different world. Maybe the game designer have another plan than just making every single model in the game equally valuable for tournament play (which isn't possible, anyways).

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Guild Hounds are best summoned for bodies to throw in front of the Dispatcher, which then become Corpse Markers, which then become Soul Stones.

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5 hours ago, Harlekin said:

Canine Remains already do exactly this. And this can be a huge deal for undead crews (see Gravediggers free move/pulsing Focus/Summons/etc). I'd really see the doggos become versatile. In my book they look like one of the most suitable/fitting type of Minion for this label.

Yeah, if the hounds were versatile they'd see a lot more play. I would have tried them with Reva.

38 minutes ago, Jesy Blue said:

Guild Hounds are best summoned for bodies to throw in front of the Dispatcher, which then become Corpse Markers, which then become Soul Stones.

In general, the marker a model leaves behind is a big factor for a 3 stone model, so this seems like a big deal.

Same way dolls in Neverborn leaving scrap makes a difference, or even corpses from Draugr at 7 stones.

So great tip!

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13 hours ago, Harlekin said:

Don't forget that not all games have to be tournament-style competitive play. 
I just started a campaign with the Shifting Loyalities rules set (modified where necessary) and this is a totally different world. Maybe the game designer have another plan than just making every single model in the game equally valuable for tournament play (which isn't possible, anyways).

Trust me, the designers don't have to try to make a model bad, it's a natural part of the development process in a small game like this. Balance doesn't have to be perfect, but obviously bad models are a good candidate for changes that breathe more life into a game and let people feel like they've got their money's worth.

3E as a whole has problems with cheap models that can die in 1 AP, they almost invariably aren't worth hiring. Perhaps this can be fixed with a later GG but there is still a lot of room for balance changes due to the power disparity between cheap models.

At the end of the day more competitive models lead to more variability in list building which leads to more interesting games.

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Nothing wrong about that @LexLock. I'm just mentioning that there always will be a shortlist of hot models for competitive play and those left out. 

On a more general level I am totally in the boat with the 'make cheaper models more valid, please' side of things. 

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2 hours ago, LexLock said:

Trust me, the designers don't have to try to make a model bad, it's a natural part of the development process in a small game like this. Balance doesn't have to be perfect, but obviously bad models are a good candidate for changes that breathe more life into a game and let people feel like they've got their money's worth.

3E as a whole has problems with cheap models that can die in 1 AP, they almost invariably aren't worth hiring. Perhaps this can be fixed with a later GG but there is still a lot of room for balance changes due to the power disparity between cheap models.

At the end of the day more competitive models lead to more variability in list building which leads to more interesting games.

My personal view is that this weakening of cheap models from the M2E heyday has come about for 3 reasons. 

Obviously the rules have now removed the "out activation" advantage that outnumbering gave, but if you don't try and use your out activation advantage, you potentially give the initiative advantage to your opponent. This was an expected and intended change I think, and the "value" of a cheap model should cover this. 

Secondly, We don't have outnumbering strategies. Previous editions have had stratergies like Reconnoitre which gave an advantage to the number of bodies, since it was who had the most people in each table quarter and as long as you had the most in 2 quarters, you scored. I think that there was also a greater number of schemes that you could get "last" activation, which also helped power the out number. This could easily be changed in a future gaining grounds, and I would imagine a lot of the "useless" 4 SS models would see the table in Reconnoitre style games.

Thirdly, and I think this was the least expected one, the focus rules have had a huge effect on the durability of cheap models. In previous editions where focus ended at the end of each turn, it was rare to get cheatable damage flips. there were times when focus then attack was better than 2 attacks, but it was a lot lower. It also pretty much completly took out the enemy model that went after yours, not least because charge was 2 actions that gave you 2 attacks, so if you had to move to hit a model, you couldn't focus even if you wanted to, but even if you didn't need the move, that was all their activation spent on eliminating that cheap model. Now you can have loaded them up with Focus earlier so they only need 1 action to kill the weaker model, and they can still do something else useful that turn. It makes a huge difference on the perceived effort to kill a model with 5/6 wounds, and when they are easier to kill, they will die more.

I'm not sure if anything will be done about 3, but I wouldn't be surprised to see something done about 2 at some point during this edition, not least because I like the challenge of having to tailor your lists for the game at hand, and I think its one of Malifauxs strengths, (and from an company view point a very good way to make people want to buy more models, yes you can play when you only own 8 models, but if in 20% of the games you want these 5 different models and 20% you want those 5 different models, then they start looking much more like worthwhile buys. and all of a sudden the person has 18 models not just 8). 

 

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You know what might help all the hounds - a special form of Companion or Accomplice that only worked with friendly Hound models. That could help them make use of Pack Mentality a bit and make them function more like a pack. 

I am anxiously awaiting GG2 as I'm a little bored with current schemes. 

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16 hours ago, Paddywhack said:

You know what might help all the hounds - a special form of Companion or Accomplice that only worked with friendly Hound models. That could help them make use of Pack Mentality a bit and make them function more like a pack. 

I am anxiously awaiting GG2 as I'm a little bored with current schemes. 

That's basically what I'm suggesting, but Accomplice means the first hound wouldn't be able to use pack mentality.

A bonus action that moves another hound (perhaps at a cost of slow), means you can activate a hound, bonus move another hound into melee, then charge that target, and attack with pack mentality. Then you activate the second hound and also get to attack with pack mentality.

Your opponent could activate in the middle, but you've made use of pack mentality already. I guess this would be slightly less powerful than accomplice, but that's probably a good thing. If the bonus action has no cost, then it's much more likely to make hounds a consideration in crew building. Having to discard a card for a pair of 3/4 SS models is a very high cost.

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Also,

Adding carrion away to all hounds and making it "all 30mm markers" would be great (at a minimum, scheme, scrap and corpse markers, but "all" opens up some huge utility). Being cheap and weak means it's easy for your opponent to remove them if it's too costly, so I can't see it being too powerful.

I think versatile for all is needed too. I think generally most low cost models need versatile simply because as a percentage of their cost the one SS tax is huge.

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1 minute ago, MrPieChee said:

Also,

Adding carrion away to all hounds and making it "all 30mm markers" would be great (at a minimum, scheme, scrap and corpse markers, but "all" opens up some huge utility). Being cheap and weak means it's easy for your opponent to remove them if it's too costly, so I can't see it being too powerful.

Love the idea of a dog carrying an ice pillar xD But seems a bit off.

1 minute ago, MrPieChee said:

I think versatile for all is needed too. I think generally most low cost models need versatile simply because as a percentage of their cost the one SS tax is huge.

I think keeping versatile off low cost models is an effective way to ensure you don't have packages that end up everywhere (for example, Archie + 1-2 crooligans would have been everywhere in GG0 if crooligans had no tax). But definitely makes sense for models like hounds.

I quite like your direction of making pack mentality relevant. In general, pack mentality needs that to be viable (you see the same problem on Bultungin).

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Hadn't thought of ice pillars! That's a good point!

I think most 4 and under minions being versatile is a good shout, but rats and crooligains are some that it wouldn't work for.

But hounds definitely seem like a good shout both mechanically and thematically.

Bultungin definitely need a buff, and it might be interesting if it got the same bonus action I suggested for hounds, but not convinced it would make them any more attractive in crew building because they are used as lone scheme runners.

On that front - hounds/Bultungin could get an ability that makes additional models of the same name cost one SS less? Not really sure that helps, but does mean that 3 or 4 might be more popular.

I find it generally weird that most minions are taken as ones but they are sold as 3 or more.

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