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What crews are at their strongest in-keyword?


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I quite like thematic crews, but it always feels bad to take a thematic crew and have in the back of your mind that it would be just so much stronger if you took X, Y, or Z. Which got me thinking - what crews DO work in keyword?

What do people think are the sorts of crews that just work well when they're in-keyword and are one of the best ways to play the crew? Either because the versatile and OOK options just don't mesh with the crew, or the internal synergies are so worthwhile that you build to maximise on them.

I imagine crews like Hamelin or McMourning might fall into this category? Von Schtook to a degree? Who else? I can't imagine a single arcanist crew skips their versatiles.

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Hamelin certainly is up there, but his keyword is so cheap (8 stone Henchmen, 5 stone Enforcer, 7 stone or less Minions) you almost inevitably have Versatiles because you've already hired the critical mass of keyword models. By and large though the Versatiles I do take, Prospectors and the Child, kind of still work thematically so it doesn't feel like such a reach.

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In Bayou the Big Hat is the keyword you looking for. Som'er can be fully inside his keyword without losing any efficiency, as long as not playing into Symbol. Some players(including myself) bring Big Brain Brin into the crew, but the crew preform perfectly fine without him.

I feel like Ulix and Sooey can as well play with pure keyword, but am not familiar enough to place the statement.

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53 minutes ago, LeperColony said:

I think Zoraida probably is best with a heavy keyword-based slant.  

Why is that?  I always thought that the keyword that work the best together were the one that are really synergistic. 

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10 minutes ago, SEV said:

Why is that?  I always thought that the keyword that work the best together were the one that are really synergistic. 

Without laying claim to any special expertise (I've only played her twice, and against her a few times more), the ability to obey through her models seems pretty important.

Since Colette's defenses don't work against friendly models, I think Zoraida might be a sleeper pick against her.

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The Tri-Chi are at their best fully in keyword.... because anyone else usually gets hit with the randomly sprayed Poison that gets everywhere, then dies.

Nephilim for the same reason but with Black Blood.

Qi & Gong needs to fully take advantage of Leverage and out of keyword models yield fewer pass tokens.

I assume the same goes for Frontier as Home On The Range adds up, but I have yet to play as or against them.

As already mentioned, Plague, Tormented, & Sooey... but like Sooey does Chimera also require the in keyword (or just Beasts I guess count)?

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I don't think that any crew is at its very best when you only use keyword models, and I think that's intentional. Keywords should have strengths and weaknesses, and the ability to hire outside the keyword should give you the option to  mitigate those weaknesses. 

That said, I'm sure there are times when pure keyword is the best choice for that game

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I find that Kirai works best staying in keyword. There's enough Adversary: Urami being tossed around that I want to maximize that value, and between her core of enforcers/henchman and her summons, I don't feel like I'm lacking anything tactically. I imagine Lord Cooper will be similar regarding Adversary: Apex, but versatiles for defense's sake might be necessary.

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Ironsides and Sandeep both like Heavy keyword focuses to get there best out of Unionised and Mantras and so i tend to only play 1/2 out of keyword models with them (and when i do it tends to be something like a medical automaton in ironsides or something that synergies with the elementals im hiring, so carlos/elijah/silent one in sandeep)

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6 hours ago, Regelridderen said:

Both Woe and Nightmare prefer playing in keyword. 

Woe can go largely out of keyword pretty easily. Dopple pairs really well, Hooded is always solid, Changeling pairs well, and Serena is Serena. If your only keyword models are Candy and the Poltergeist you can have an arguably stronger crew depending on pool and match up.

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In my relatively limited experience with it, Guild Hoffman very much likes his keyword, though I expect that's more due to the lack of OOK constructs in the faction than specific keyword synergy. They do somewhat struggle against WP focused crews, though.

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3 hours ago, Xekros said:

In my relatively limited experience with it, Guild Hoffman very much likes his keyword, though I expect that's more due to the lack of OOK constructs in the faction than specific keyword synergy. They do somewhat struggle against WP focused crews, though.

From my understanding, Phiona Gage is basically mandatory in that crew for competitive play (although from the perspective of some players, it sounds like Phiona gage is mandatory in EVERY Guild crew xD).

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15 hours ago, Maniacal_cackle said:

Phiona Gage is basically mandatory in that crew for competitive play

Unfortunately for me, I got her built right before the plague, so I've yet to actually see her on the table. I can definitely see her being exceptional is most crews, though.

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10 minutes ago, Xekros said:

Unfortunately for me, I got her built right before the plague, so I've yet to actually see her on the table. I can definitely see her being exceptional is most crews, though.

Ah, rough!!

Definitely a tricky year for our community.

Vassal is soooo good for playing if youre stuck inside. I highly recommend giving it a go if you're aching for a game.

Not nearly as good as the full experience with beautiful Wyrd models, but great for covid times.

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On 11/18/2020 at 3:05 AM, Maniacal_cackle said:

What do people think are the sorts of crews that just work well when they're in-keyword and are one of the best ways to play the crew? Either because the versatile and OOK options just don't mesh with the crew, or the internal synergies are so worthwhile that you build to maximise on them.

Maybe it's my playstile, but I can't think in a single crew that is better in keyword; even very synergistic (or limited) keywords like Nightmare or Chimera gain a lot from OOK/Versatiles.

Viable crews in keyword there are a few and maybe in some games some full keyword list could be a good contender; but ignoring the entire tech/good models of the faction won't work every time.

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3 minutes ago, Ogid said:

Maybe it's my playstile, but I can't think in a single crew that is better in keyword; even very synergistic (or limited) keywords like Nightmare or Chimera gain a lot from OOK/Versatiles.

Viable crews in keyword there are a few and maybe in some games some full keyword list could be a good contender; but ignoring the entire tech/good models of the faction won't work every time.

True, I guess I could probably phrase it as what crews don't have any OOK/versatiles as their 'core.'

For example, my first impression of McMourning is you don't auto-pick OOK and versatiles, but you do if the situation calls for it.

Whereas with Reva, my assumption is I'm taking some of rider, golem, toshiro, noire, etc. It is just a question of which ones for which games.

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7 minutes ago, Maniacal_cackle said:

True, I guess I could probably phrase it as what crews don't have any OOK/versatiles as their 'core.'

Ah ok... then from NVB I'd say Marcus, Dreamer and maybe Nekima... Serena being the only decent healer/cleanser make most crews reliant on the versatile pool. In case of Dreamer she has the keyword so it wouldn't count as versatile, Marcus might work without her with Myranda (+ EM in rabbit in case of expecting conditions) and Nekima has BBS and corpses... but she is still a good pick there.

From TT... same case than ARC, with the strong versatile pool and some great OOK picks it's hard to think not picking a Tanuki, Samurai or Minako... maybe Mei Feng or Yan Lo but I don't play those so not 100% sure.

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23 minutes ago, Cedar said:

For ES, the top keyword in terms of synergy are Cadmus (obviously), followed by DUA

Apex have quite a lot in the form of Adversary. Although I guess it doesn't hinder support roles coming from else where. 

I would actually not be surprised to see an outside form of healing in Cadmus quite a lot, since its often easy to get the heals to the places that need healing (or the damage to the models that you can heal if that's easier), the effigy looks like it will make a lot of their lists better with its Aura of courage. 

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