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"Control" masters that are fun to play against?


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Hi Everyone!

I'm planning to get started in the game with a couple of crews to be able to play against my boyfriend. I'm have much more experience than him with miniature/skirmisher games so I'm trying to pick a keyword for myself that don't end being unfun for him to play against. The problem is that by what I've read/listened/watched about the game, I liked the summoner and control masters playstyle in general. I'll avoid summoners for now, as they need most of their boxes to work well. Which leaves me with the control masters. So I would like to ask the more experienced folk, there is a control master you consider fun to play against? (or less frustrating, I aware that control tend to not be the most fun thing in the world to face)

I like most of the factions and keywords aesthetically speaking and complexity isn't a problem, so I'm open to any suggestion.

Thanks! 

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Control can mean a lot of different things in Malifaux, some of them more feelsbad than others. For example, hand control is more feelsbad than debuffing, which is more feelsbad than movement, imo. 

If you are looking for a classic control master that isnt too powerful, you could take a look at Rasputina. She focuses on ranged debuffing primarily, but has very clear counters to her playstyle so it feels like your opponent can do something about it.

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Oh my bad, I should have been more specific. I'm looking more for the aspects of creating a advantage for myself (trought card draw/selection, extra activations/positioning of specific models) and a disvantage in specific places of the board (like don't go around this model/don't hit this model). 
I'm trying to avoid denial of actions/resources as I fell it would be a little frustrating to face. Debuffing should be ok as long as there is a way around it.
An extra note, we will be playing mostly on keyword for some time (core box + a couple extra boxes).

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1 hour ago, Mycellanious said:

Control can mean a lot of different things in Malifaux, some of them more feelsbad than others. For example, hand control is more feelsbad than debuffing, which is more feelsbad than movement, imo. 

If you are looking for a classic control master that isnt too powerful, you could take a look at Rasputina. She focuses on ranged debuffing primarily, but has very clear counters to her playstyle so it feels like your opponent can do something about it.

I second Raspi. I often use her when showing the game to new players as she shows most of the elements of the game which make Malifaux what it is: one of the best miniatures games, ever.

Up to now, everybody always understood really soon what to do against her and what to avoid and she isn't complicated at all (from the opponent's perspective). I like to play her and to play against her as she keeps both players busy without necessarily getting things killed with every single activation. So, there's quite some interaction going on. 

Another relevant point is that she introduces the new-ish players to the management of limited ressources: miniatures (and thus actions), cards and Stones.

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3 minutes ago, Arzalyn said:

Oh my bad, I should have been more specific. I'm looking more for the aspects of creating a advantage for myself (trought card draw/selection, extra activations/positioning of specific models) and a disvantage in specific places of the board (like don't go around this model/don't hit this model). 
I'm trying to avoid denial of actions/resources as I fell it would be a little frustrating to face. Debuffing should be ok as long as there is a way around it.
An extra note, we will be playing mostly on keyword for some time (core box + a couple extra boxes).

Lucius. This is exactly what he is doing. I'd not consider him 'beginner friendly', though. But which Master is? ;)

Von Schtook. To a degree you get at least some aspects; card draw is obvious, some models with high mobility and some toying around with Conditions. He is rather straightforward compared to Lucius, so offers a comparably easier entry to Malifaux. 

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9 minutes ago, Arzalyn said:

Oh my bad, I should have been more specific. I'm looking more for the aspects of creating a advantage for myself (trought card draw/selection, extra activations/positioning of specific models) and a disvantage in specific places of the board (like don't go around this model/don't hit this model). 
I'm trying to avoid denial of actions/resources as I fell it would be a little frustrating to face. Debuffing should be ok as long as there is a way around it.
An extra note, we will be playing mostly on keyword for some time (core box + a couple extra boxes).

So to me (an Arcanist player) what you are describing sounds a lot like Marcus. Marcus is a utility master, who moves his own Beasts around the board and generates out of Activation Charges. He has a card draw mechanic in an Aura around himself, and puts out Upgrades that allows his Beasts to Adapt to any situation. Many of his models have Adaptive Evolution or give out Adversay, which dramatically reduces his card pressure. 

There's also a Keyword in the brand new faction called EVS, which has rapidly become my favorite and I think you would absolutely LOVE. Unfortunately, the models havent been released yet, but I recommend you check out some crews on the App and on Vassal!

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12 minutes ago, Arzalyn said:

Oh my bad, I should have been more specific. I'm looking more for the aspects of creating a advantage for myself (trought card draw/selection, extra activations/positioning of specific models) and a disvantage in specific places of the board (like don't go around this model/don't hit this model). 
I'm trying to avoid denial of actions/resources as I fell it would be a little frustrating to face. Debuffing should be ok as long as there is a way around it.
An extra note, we will be playing mostly on keyword for some time (core box + a couple extra boxes).

Activation control is something you'll likely love, where you can guarantee yourself last activation (Molly, Tara, Colette, Nexus, Mah, etc).

Unfortunately that is an extremely brutal strategy to play against. Maybe do it as a second crew?

For a 'weak' form of positioning control, consider crews that make lots of markers (Rasputina, Zipp, Kaeris, Reva, Titania, etc). Setting up terrain markers allows you to control the board in a way that can be played around (they can walk around your markers).

Bonus points for destructible markers (like Rasputina or Zipp), because it feels like you can do more against those markers (even if it isn't really true).

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2 hours ago, Mycellanious said:

There's also a Keyword in the brand new faction called EVS, which has rapidly become my favorite and I think you would absolutely LOVE.

You are absolutely right! EVs is probably the keyword I liked the most after reading the lore and seeing the cards on the app! If they would be released this or the next month I would totaly get them, but sadly with no release date on the horizon I will need to get something else...

I like Marcus himself, but the other models look a little bland (mostly seens like they move and they attack).

2 hours ago, Maniacal_cackle said:

Activation control is something you'll likely love, where you can guarantee yourself last activation (Molly, Tara, Colette, Nexus, Mah, etc).

Bonus points for destructible markers (like Rasputina or Zipp), because it feels like you can do more against those markers (even if it isn't really true).

Rasputina is one of the few masters I don't like the models, so will probably pass her. Zipp looks funny, I will give him a better look.

The activation control looks really interesting, and I really liked the Obliteration models and thematics. Sadly taking models off the board and hitting them + generating pass tokens for last activations sounds as unfun as you can go.

2 hours ago, Harlekin said:

Lucius. This is exactly what he is doing. I'd not consider him 'beginner friendly', though. But which Master is? ;)

Von Schtook. To a degree you get at least some aspects; card draw is obvious, some models with high mobility and some toying around with Conditions. He is rather straightforward compared to Lucius, so offers a comparably easier entry to Malifaux.

Cool both masters were high on my list! I will give a better look at both of keywords to see which ones wins by aesthetics.

2 hours ago, Maniacal_cackle said:

Also a helpful tip - you'll likely get hooked and buy way more than one crew.

Try to find a faction you like instead of just one crew.

Oh I definetly will keep this in mind. I need to see which Master him ends picking, maybe we can get two keywords in the same faction and start exploring some versatiles earlier.

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56 minutes ago, Arzalyn said:

Oh I definetly will keep this in mind. I need to see which Master him ends picking, maybe we can get two keywords in the same faction and start exploring some versatiles earlier.

One thing to watch out for is that if you both play the same faction with a shared pool of models, you may compete a bit over models (for instance, Yin is a good tech pick for Take Prisoner, so there'll be times when you both want Yin).

It may pay to have one faction each, so you can grow your options for each of you (and then when you have something too strong for him, he can try to find pieces that are strong against it).

57 minutes ago, Arzalyn said:

Cool both masters were high on my list! I will give a better look at both of keywords to see which ones wins by aesthetics.

Just a heads up that Von Schtook is a very powerful master/crew. It is hard to see a new player beating Von Schtook, so I would avoid him potentially. He's not particularly bad in terms of abilities, just the overall sheer power level can be frustrating. Just IMO.

If you do play Von Schtook, maybe make sure your boyfriend has some stuff that ignores hard to wound or armor (or both).

Another thought that occurs if you can narrow it down to one or two factions you like, we could give a lot more precise of suggestions :)

Finally, Malifaux is so cheap to get into. There's no harm in just buying a few crews and seeing how you go!

 

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A few different looks at control (largely based on starting crew box, and not the only way to play the crew). Some are obvious, others are not always the common way of looking at them. 

Guild -

Nellie- Controls the enemy models ability to score points by getting advantages when the enemy takes Interact actions, can also gain control of theenemies interaction actions. Uses the Distracted conditon to debuff the opponent

Lucius - AP moving model. He is all about making models take actions outside of their activations, gaining cards as they do so. (Also Neverborn)

Sonnia - Not commonly viewed as control, but can add terrain to the table, and reduce enemies ranges by setting them on fire

 

Arcanist

Rasputina - Adds ice pillars around the board controlling that way. Can use them as attack vectors Gives out lots of slow to the enemy (often halving the effect of most models)

Marcus - Moves his crew to the right places and gives them extra powers to achieve what he wants. 

Ironsides - Pulls enemy models into her bubble, and stops them leaving it.  

 

Neverborn

Zoraida - AP moving model, uses both your models and your opponents models for actions, also gives lots of negative conditions out. (Also Bayou)

Lucius - see guild 

Pandora - Uses debuffing condiitons on enemies to move and damage them. Controls activation order and peanalises people as thye activate.

 

Reserectionist

Seamus - He is a lone hunter picking off models whilst his crew lure enemies into place and hold them their

Jack daw - Pulls enemies into an area and stops them leaving, watchign them slowly die around him (also outcast)

 

Outcast

Tara - summoner - can bury models to move them around the table. Can control acivation order and get last activation.

Vics - Use mobility and long engagement ranges to control the fights and deny the enemy the ability to do what they want

Jack daw - see reserectionist

 

Bayou

Zoraida -see neverborn

Brewmaster - uses levels of poison on people to effect what hey can do, and what you can do to them 

 

Ten Thunders

McCabe - move his own crew and gives them extra powers to do what he needs. He can give out conditions to a wide range of enemy models around him

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Is speed control? I mean you can control the pace of the game with it, but that feels like saying damage is control because if your opponent has fewer models you've controlled them. I get that it's a bit shaky to try and nail down a definition, but I would normally consider a Control Master as one that reduces the opponent's options (generally via debuffs, card discard, etc.). Seeing the Viktorias or Marcus on the list feels really weird to me.

 

I think one option that hasn't been mentioned is the Crossroads Seven. I'm unsure whether to recommend them though. They are extremely hard denial/control of the exact sort you said you didn't want to touch, but at the same time they're generally quite a fun crew to both face and play thanks to the strong theme.

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5 minutes ago, Azahul said:

Is speed control? I mean you can control the pace of the game with it, but that feels like saying damage is control because if your opponent has fewer models you've controlled them. I get that it's a bit shaky to try and nail down a definition, but I would normally consider a Control Master as one that reduces the opponent's options (generally via debuffs, card discard, etc.). Seeing the Viktorias or Marcus on the list feels really weird to me.

 

I think one option that hasn't been mentioned is the Crossroads Seven. I'm unsure whether to recommend them though. They are extremely hard denial/control of the exact sort you said you didn't want to touch, but at the same time they're generally quite a fun crew to both face and play thanks to the strong theme.

engagment ranges are controlling, against many options in the game. if I can engage you outside your melee range you can't do the following with the first action. Attack me with a melee weapon. Attack me with a ranged weapon, interact, charge another model, go where you want. 

Marcus was more there in his ability to give out AP, The viks were there because battle tempo allows them to re-apply the control of the engagement every turn easily. 

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I feel 2" melee ranges are more controlling than Battle Tempo, but the Mercenaries only have Taelor for that. I don't know that I've ever seen Battle Tempo used by anyone else in the keyword to the effect you describe, and crews like the Last Blossom have way more 2" melee and are better at controlling by that metric. That's kind of why a bit more precise definition of Control feels appropriate here, the one we're using allows for a remarkably broad swathe of the game to be defined as such.

 

Marcus can give out AP, but does that Control? He doesn't influence the opponent's board state with most of the AP he hands out, he just scores or kills with it. He doesn't fall into the same class as the Obey Masters and Keywords I think, which are as liable to manipulate the opponent's position with their powers.

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11 hours ago, Arzalyn said:

Oh my bad, I should have been more specific. I'm looking more for the aspects of creating a advantage for myself (trought card draw/selection, extra activations/positioning of specific models) and a disvantage in specific places of the board (like don't go around this model/don't hit this model). 
I'm trying to avoid denial of actions/resources as I fell it would be a little frustrating to face. Debuffing should be ok as long as there is a way around it.
An extra note, we will be playing mostly on keyword for some time (core box + a couple extra boxes).

 

3 minutes ago, Azahul said:

I feel 2" melee ranges are more controlling than Battle Tempo, but the Mercenaries only have Taelor for that. I don't know that I've ever seen Battle Tempo used by anyone else in the keyword to the effect you describe, and crews like the Last Blossom have way more 2" melee and are better at controlling by that metric. That's kind of why a bit more precise definition of Control feels appropriate here, the one we're using allows for a remarkably broad swathe of the game to be defined as such.

 

Marcus can give out AP, but does that Control? He doesn't influence the opponent's board state with most of the AP he hands out, he just scores or kills with it. He doesn't fall into the same class as the Obey Masters and Keywords I think, which are as liable to manipulate the opponent's position with their powers.

To an extent I'm sort of aiming for fitting the original posters aim for "control" quoted above, which does include some positioning effects, and doesn't want to focus just on the straight forward denial of resources.  

I had forgotten that the Viks were only 1", so there is not a lot of chance to deny enemy melee, but if the enemy isn't melee it is pretty useful. And the start of turn move can be critical as it makes getting that free activation much harder. 

I think all masters have some degree of control, because the nature of the game is that you do need to try and stop your opponent as well as do your thing. Exactly how they do it varies, and do you count that as "control" probably depends on what you mean by control.

Its also quite hard to consider Obey as a form of control, but not count Issue command, or call of the wild just because they only affect friendlies. Obey may be more versatile because you can effect both sides, but I don't feel its just the ability to re-position the enemy that makes it control.   

 

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Interesting. I'm personally inclined to think that Obey's ability to reposition the opponent is the only reason it's considered Control, since otherwise it's typically a fairly inefficient means of generating an attack or a way of getting an Interact action at range. And that the ability to do either of those things is what sets it apart from Issue Command (though I would consider Lucius a Control Master for several other reasons) or Call of the Wild.

 

You're right that the OP's definition is pretty broad and that most Masters have an element of Control by those metrics, I still think a more defined sense of Control is more useful for actually coming up with something that might suit their preferred style of play.

 

I agree with those who have suggested Lucius, by the way. He's not super heavy on the denial but he's absolutely about sculpting the battlefield into the shape you need it to be in, even if he is on the complex side to learn with.

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1 hour ago, Azahul said:

You're right that the OP's definition is pretty broad and that most Masters have an element of Control by those metrics, I still think a more defined sense of Control is more useful for actually coming up with something that might suit their preferred style of play.

I think the problem with the definition is happening because I'm trying to avoid the denial aspect of control, that is generally important part of the startegy. On a broad sense control for me would be a strategy focused on dictating what happen in the game and when. To archive this you generally try to stop your opponent actions, react undoing what they did or make them inneficient. Together with this you generally try to make your actions more efficient, by generating more resources than your opponent, to make sure you are in a better position to keep your control of the game.

As I'm trying to focus more on the second part and less on the first, I can see that I may lead more to keywords that are better at generating resources/movement in general than properly trying to control the flow of the game. 

 

3 hours ago, Adran said:

A few different looks at control (largely based on starting crew box, and not the only way to play the crew). Some are obvious, others are not always the common way of looking at them. 

Thanks for the summary! Some of the keywords you suggested I wouldn't have expected on a first glance.

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That definition is why I think Lucius is a good pick. He certainly has aspects of traditional denial with negative conditions and card drain and offensive Obeys, but he can also be played with more of a focus on his own crew where he has considerable card draw and the ability to manipulate his own board state. I think there's a lot to dig into there, so long as you're prepared for a rather complex Master.

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8 minutes ago, Arzalyn said:

Thanks for the summary! Some of the keywords you suggested I wouldn't have expected on a first glance.

Although, as has been pointed out, My way of viewing/playing them may not be the same as others. (Or even the way I suggested here, as that might not be the way I would normally play them), so they might not quiet do what you want, (Or its possible that everything does what you want, if you play it that way...)

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6 hours ago, Azahul said:

I feel 2" melee ranges are more controlling than Battle Tempo, but the Mercenaries only have Taelor for that. I don't know that I've ever seen Battle Tempo used by anyone else in the keyword to the effect you describe, and crews like the Last Blossom have way more 2" melee and are better at controlling by that metric. That's kind of why a bit more precise definition of Control feels appropriate here, the one we're using allows for a remarkably broad swathe of the game to be defined as such.

Most of the Tri-Chi Keyword have the 2":ToS-Melee: action Take A Drink which comes as a shock to a lot of people for mostly Sz 1 models.     

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7 hours ago, Azahul said:

That definition is why I think Lucius is a good pick. He certainly has aspects of traditional denial with negative conditions and card drain and offensive Obeys, but he can also be played with more of a focus on his own crew where he has considerable card draw and the ability to manipulate his own board state. I think there's a lot to dig into there, so long as you're prepared for a rather complex Master.

That sounds like exactly what I'm looking for, so I'm in for the challenge!

 

7 hours ago, Adran said:

Although, as has been pointed out, My way of viewing/playing them may not be the same as others. (Or even the way I suggested here, as that might not be the way I would normally play them), so they might not quiet do what you want, (Or its possible that everything does what you want, if you play it that way...)

Oh I see, but I think it is an interesting way to show that the game system allows you to play in a diferent way too. Like, even if a model has a big sword it can be used to control the board in other ways than just attack everything until your opponents models die.

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