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Well one of the biggest strengths is that she can take 8 attacks in her turn. 

Puppet is a wide keyword, and allows you access to the emissary of your choice ( hire the effigy and then upgrade it).

I'm not sure where I would want to combine puppet and qi and gong, but there are probably some interesting ways to do so. 

You've chosen her to be a leader, so there is probably already a reason for that. 

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Puppets are a great keyword and now that Collodi is DMH Hinamatsu is the only way to hire a lot of them in the same crew. To really take advantage of the Puppet keyword you really need Vasilisa to hand out staggered at the start of every turn, then in faction you have Stitched (OP AF... again) and Wicked Dolls/the Effigy, I'd only hire the Wicked Dolls if you are also hiring Widow Weaver for summoning.

Out of faction the Coryphee Duet gives automatic activation control and a lot of AP and the various Effigies are small and tanky enough to be perfect for Vasilisa's stagger ability.

Overall you're not generally going to be as good as a true Master led crew, but I think you could really compete with some of the lower end ones and you'll blow most Henchman led crews out of the water.

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Take a look at this thread, I had the same idea than you:

I played her after that thread a few times that and she is indeed leader material. She gives the faction a lot of things that are scarce/out of the faction:

  • Schemers: Coryphees + Duet are very good models, combinable with WW + Bandersnatch in the same crew for only +1SS tax.
  • Armor heavy crew
  • AoE healing and Take the hit.
  • Bodyguard aura from Bill (way better than Maurice's one as it's always active and Bill is better all around)
  • Demise denial (Lantern of Souls)
  • Distraction Auras in a model with Combat Finesse (Kabuki)
  • Vasilisa + Effigies/Puppets for a lot of staggered (this could be done with Dreamer tho)
  • Activation Control (Leverage + Duet)
  • Access to all effigies (which are good for 4SS) and any emisaries from turn 3.

There Qi and Gong models are worth including in the right game (as long as the other player is mostly mele, most of those models die to gunlines very easily). For example, the 4SS Geisha is annoying and the aura can enable very nasty things, the Kunoichi can let you stack Focused in relevant models while being a jack of all trades or the Kabuki is an Distraction aura on a decently sturdy model versus mele models (again, do not pick him versus guns or spells). The Distraction aura is outstanding with all the good Wp attack NVB has (paired with Serena or Candy for example)

I play her mostly in games where I can take advantage of the mobility of the schemers (Coryphees and/or Spiders), with some shenanigans around the Distraction aura or a lot of focused growing a Mature using Vasilisa + Kunoichi, usually also getting an emissary in turn 3 (Arcane and Lucky are great; and the new Explorer's emissary looks also legit). I don't use stitcheds on this crew (unless I summon them) because the lack of a lot of LD make them too hand hungry and that 6'' range hurt; plus I rather focusing on things I don't have in the faction; but maybe in a crew around Lures and Distraction auras (now than GYL is a Wp attack) could work well. Also don't overlook the Duet healing, very powerful when well used.

The TLDR would be a fast schemy crew with some atrition and combat potential and a lot of versatility and shenanigans with all the out of faction tools (plus all the mindgames of being able to field models from 2 very different keywords like Qi and Gong and Puppets). Hinamatsu with 3 AP is good, but it's not the third AP for what I pick her as a leader. I have to test her against gunlines (not a lot of them in my meta) but I think she should work well there.

It's not as powerful as the top dogs, but it's easily on par with other masters for how versatile the crew is (and I'd even rate her above some of the most undertuned masters).

For example, a list I played recently with both Puppets and Qi and Gong models that got good results and that could show you the kind of things she could do as a master (Vs Colette in Corner Symbols):

  • Hinamatsu
  • Mysterious Effigy
  • Vasilisa
  • Coryphee
  • Coryphee 2
  • Arcane Effigy (Effigy of Fate)
  • Wicked Doll
  • Black Blood Shaman
  • Kunoichi
  • Geisha
  • 4SS

Being Corners, Symbols and Colette I expected low agression (also my oponent was a good player, but he was still learning Colette so I wasn't expecting anything too fancy) so I went for a greedy opening of BBS into Mature in turn 1 PLUS EoF.

The Coryphee Healing was key on turn 1 to heal the chip damage from the Kunoichi, the BBS knifing and Mature with only 6 Wds. After that both the Duet and the Mature were 2 very mobile models that I could use for symbol hunting or combat (for example, I managed to snipe a turn 2 symbols with the Mature after a Lure into accomplice from the Mysterous Effigy, after using the self-adversary trick). The Arcane Effigy was in reserve to punish models going too deep into my crew after turn 3. The Kunoichi, Hinamatsu, Vasilisa, Mysterious and Geisha were also more into defense, support and scheming duty and controlling the center (tho I was ready to use Vasilisa and the Mysterious effigy to dive for symbols if needed), Lures were used both offensively and defensively/utility. A funny fail: I tried to Lure the enemy coryphees to distrupt the duet reforming, but a well positioned Maneequin was in the way. Hinamatsu with a few lucky triggers almost killed the duet (7Wds) after this one tried to kill her and got saved thanks to my opponent Presto-Changing him into the backline to patch him (which was good because it gave me extra time).

Hope it helps!

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9 hours ago, extremor said:

Whats the reason for you to play arcane effigy over shadow effigy? The Dragon seems very strong with staggered... 

Playstile preference and how I designed this crew mainly; It could had been a pick.

In my case I don't really like the Dragon for a combat role... Maybe versus lot of chaff, but I wasn't expecting that and even in that case the Lucky Emissary with Make Way would be a very solid conteder. Neither did I need Flight or wanted him for Symbol hunting. The Arcane Emissary between the aura, max damage 6 (which I could reach because I got 2 Focused supports this game and he spent the first 2 turns chilling) and 3 good triggers is quite dangerous and that's what I was looking for in the emissary this game.

I also wanted some condition removal in the crew (at least in the first 2 turns) in case Colette tried to disable some of my models. The Arcane Emissary is also a construct, so he can be healed by Vasilisa and drop scrap. I was between him and the Lucky Emissary this game (who is tankier and also a construct), but Dispel Magic tipped the balance in this case.

In other game I could had picked the shadow effigy (but without EoF) to pair with Vasilisa; "remember the mission" is a poor's man "don't mind me", quite handy to snatch some protected symbols. But in this game being corners I really needed to advance the Mysterious Effigy to advance key models with Lures to have a shot to reach a Symbol in turn 2.

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