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Taelor: What is She Missing?


Davos
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I've tried Taelor out a couple times now and find her lacking.  I think its mostly coming from paying for a cost for Welcome to Malifaux which rarely (never?) applies to the game.  I can't tell if she needs to get flurry, armor +1, of Df 6, but something about about her just feels.....less than what I perceive a 9ss Henchmen beater should do - She feels like she dies very fast, even with SS and H2K, and only 2 AP.

Am I just missing her potential or have others found similar things?

 

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She is one of three ruthless models in the faction, so that is a factor.

She can also bash summons and end conditions, so has some tech appeal. Plus she can ignore two types of damage reduction and has four useful triggers. And a stat 7 attack!

With battle tempo and rush, she has an extra 4 inches of move.

So overall she has some uses, but you have to be careful with her because she is so squishy. EDIT: Due to battle tempo, she can really abuse her 2" engagement range, so that is part of how you keep her alive.

That said, she does appear to be second class when it comes to 9 stone models. She isn't bad, but she isn't great from what I have seen playing against her (though she can single activation a lot of manipulative models).

EDIT: also Rusty Alyce is nuts at only 10 stones, so I wouldn't be surprised if she was a more popular general pick.

EDIT2: Another factor is that Mercenary doesn't really reward you for staying in keyword. For any keyword that doesn't reward you for staying in keyword, you can usually find stronger picks out of keyword.

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I only pick her against normal summoners, where she performs exceptional (I cannot wait to see how she performs against Umbra models). She is a tech piece.... albeit a very expensive tech piece, but a tech piece none the less.

If you're not facing summoners, just take Johan(a) instead: flurry, same hammer damage track, remove conditions on other people.

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Yeah, even her use against Summoners is marginal. With Ruthless and Welcome to Malifaux your first thought is that she'd be a great include into both Tara and Dreamer, but both of them Summon in a way that prevents Welcome to Malifaux ever triggering so you're only getting half that package. And between them they represent, what, about 25% of normal summoning Masters? Pretty big hole for a tech pick to have.

 

I think she could certainly use something more on the defensive front, Mercenary as a whole is pretty squishy and it would be nice to have a tank. But if I had to pick one change, I'd make Welcome to Malifaux trigger on either enemy models being placed (if we want to make her a tech pick that actually works as that tech pick) or make it a crazier version of Why Hello Love and have it trigger any time an enemy model moves outside their activation (which I think means it would still work on every summoner bar Tara, since the models get placed outside their activations). The latter would give her a lot more board control, shutting down plenty of effects like Butterfly Jump and Scamper and similar defensive triggers, a number of Bury/Unbury effects, Obeys, and similar.

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That's not a problem, that is the point :D Taelor's current niche is a weak subset of summoners. Compare her to Anna Lovelace or Aerik, who provide a harder board denial (cannot be placed versus takes 3+ damage means the board is far more comprehensively shut off) against a much broader set of targets that also happens to include Taelor's niche. Expanding the size of Taelor's niche is the feature, not a bug.

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In which case Welcome to Malifaux needs to be changed to something entirely different conceptually, or just cut from the card to make room for buffs to Taelor to make her a competitive generic attrition piece. Even the above suggestions still make her a weaker tech piece than Arik. 

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1 minute ago, Azahul said:

In which case Welcome to Malifaux needs to be changed to something entirely different conceptually, or just cut from the card to make room for buffs to Taelor to make her a competitive generic attrition piece. Even the above suggestions still make her a weaker tech piece than Arik. 

You could always make Welcome to Malifaux into a bonus action that places and attacks, but only if they have a summon upgrade (assuming they also errata-ed the rules so all summoned models have a generic summon upgrade that does nothing if they don't get another summon upgrade).

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3 hours ago, Azahul said:

Is that still an effective niche? For her price as a beater you'd expect a way to make three attacks to be the baseline expectation, I'd have thought, and removing the board control aspect of Welcome to Malifaux doesn't seem like much of an improvement in most cases.

The problem with this is you end up in the first edition mindset that if a model doesn't have an extra action it is no use.  There certainly should be space for a good beater to exist without 3 attacks.  Id probbaly do it by making it highly mobile, and make sure that its 2 attacks will have good effects. Whilst Taelor may not quite have reached the bar most people set, I personally believe the attitude that "just give a beater an extra attack and its fine" is lazy and boring.  

If the aura  symbol was removed from "Welcome to malifaux" so you couldn't hide the summons, would that help? I personally don't think welcome to malifaux is a lot of what you pay for, partially because its generally a very easy ability to counter and only effects a small subset of crews anyway

.  Prehaps putting a crow trigger so she will always get a trigger regardless of your card would be enough.

I hire her expecting to engage enemy models and in effect make them slow each turn because they have to spend an action to reach her to hit her and that will happen every turn. 

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I'm not sure what she needs to be honest. She's a bad mix of abilities. Access to extra AP is dangerous because of the Student. Better raw stats is hard to balance in a crew full of good raw stats. 

In general she dies too easily and isn't a massive threat. So whatever helps there.

Maybe change knock aside to shove aside..

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Maybe give her the Exorcism trigger on a :crow and give her some healing with a Trusty Flask action.

Increase the stat on Bring It so she has a shot at using it against enemies.

Finally change Welcome to Malifaux into a once per turn ability that works on out of activation moves and places, now it works on all summons and functions as a better pounce that she can use on an enemy she lures in (which sounds hilarious to me).

Mercenary wouldn't really have a way to abuse megapounce but some of the other keywords could, so limiting it to Once Per Turn seems necessary.

But that all seems kinda complicated, maybe just bump her Bring It up to stat 6 and replace Welcome to Malifaux with Pounce.

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It's a difficult question, IMHO. 

First, I would avoid that "extra attack" Mindset. It could be improved many ways. 

Give her Hammer a suited ram. 

Improve her Bring It stat and give some trigger with extra attack (rip & tear, for example) 

Change Welcome to Malifaux for "Whenever a model is summoned in this model's LoS, this model may discard a card to push up to 7" Towards that model and take an attack action against that model"

Probably the last two together would make a good deal. 

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Well, like I said originally, giving her an extra attack isn't my first preference. My first preference is to make Welcome to Malifaux actually fit for purpose, the way I described in my original post.

 

If I have an issue with limiting Welcome to Malifaux to Once Per Turn it's that it kind of turns into a bad version of giving her an extra AP. If it's unlimited then, yes, it is punishing to a number of crews. But it means she's a zone of board control, rather than a three attack model where your opponent gets a great deal of control over that third attack.

 

I'll note that I don't necessarily agree with the argument that Welcome to Malifaux would be too punishing to too many crews if it worked on all movement effects outside of the model's activation. How many crews get punished by Lantern of Souls, for example? It's not like it's a hard counter either, with the 6" bubble limiting where it can impact on the board and the fact that the negative result is an attack most models will survive allowing opponents to treat it as a calculated risk. It could even be baited out, moving Taelor away from where the actually important out-of-activation shenanigans are going to happen (or if the Taelor player doesn't take the bait, you still get a free use of some out of activation movement). But I can empathise with the argument that having that ability in a faction that already has Gravity Well could be a bit much.

 

And if that is the case, then Taelor needs a new niche that doesn't have anything to do with Summons, frankly. Because Gravity Well is already an anti-Summon ability, and if having two such abilities in the one faction is too much then there's really not much point tweaking her abilities within that niche. Either her abilities remain weak, and she will be too corner case and never be taken the way she is now, or they'll actually be relevant on their own and thus too much in concert with Arik. In terms of new roles, I could see her gaining Armour 1 and Take the Hit and becoming something of a defensive model? Making Bring It actually have a worthwhile Stat isn't a bad idea either, to go along with those. You could make her more of a support Henchman and give some kind of benefit to nearby Minions, similar to Yamaziko or Toshiro, which would have the nice side effect of implicitly encouraging Mercenary to play in Keyword a little more. But I don't think there's much point in tweaking Welcome to Malifaux unless it's enough to actually have a significant impact on a decent number of Keywords, because the current mild impact against a handful of Keywords approach clearly hasn't worked.

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3 hours ago, LexLock said:

 give her some healing with a Trusty Flask action.

 

I like this! Hpw about Trusty Flask with Drunken Stumble on a mask (not built in) plus High Tolerance (no poison damage) and Too Drunk to Care. I don't think there's a lot of poison generation in Outcasts, so she wouldn't be walking around with a bunch, but from time to time she would be able to not only heal with the flask but mitigate a point from Too Drunk to Care. 

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1 hour ago, Maniacal_cackle said:

The principle of 'do 3 useful things a turn' is a good one, but I agree a third attack is quite boring.

How is her leadership abilities in the lore? Could be sweet if she had an aura to double battle tempo to 4 inches, or some other buff that only helps keyword?

I don't know Taelor's lore overmuch. But if the consensus is that she should be more than a beater, she needs something she can do. And one of the issues with Mercenary as a Keyword is that they're all just beater models with (ironically, the exception of Taelor) ways to get 3 AP worth of attacks, meaning there's little to no reason to stay in Keyword.

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I also find her lackluster but I should note the #2 Outcast player in the UK plays a nearly fixed list with both Taelor and Bishop and the combination of them with the Viks causes a force multipler effect with the threat saturation. I haven't tried it yet but she talks about it on Tabletop Talk (and further apologies I can't remember her name).

 

My own personal beef with Welcome to Malifaux is that in addition to being niche it's too expensive. Who wants discard a card to bash a Bayou Gremlin or even a Gamin that's going to turn into a golem right after. I think it should also apply to models that are unburied and replaced (thematically all models that need a good welcoming party) but not all places.

I don't know what would be a good lower cost than a card to pay, maybe gains Distracted after the action happens?

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