Jump to content

How to Play Zoraida (Tactics)


Recommended Posts

(updated 22nd Sept 2010)

Sometimes when I feel like killing time, I write. As my new favorite Master I've been getting a fair number of games in with ole' saggy-bags, so lately I've been writing a tactics article for her. I hope someone gets some good use out of it. :D



Zoraida's playstyle is all about manipulation. She manipulates the deck, she manipulates everyones models and she makes sure that if anybody's going to cheat, it's going to be her. It's an unusual playstyle since aside from the odd poison counter, her offensive power comes entirely from obeying other models to attack each other. This, along with some of her other abilities, actually makes her one of the most flexible Masters in the game.

When facing a given Master you can usually be pretty sure of how that Master will play - for instance a Lilith crew will always focus on melee and a Pandora crew will always focus on damage through Wp duels. Knowing what to expect allows players to adapt their crew and tactics accordingly, but with Zoraida, the only thing you can be sure of is that she can keep her distance while she manipulates both your crew and hers. At best an opponent could take high Wp or immune to influence models, but even then she's still quite happy to just Obey her own minions instead.

What this means is that Zoraida is a blank slate - whatever playstyle you want your crew to use, Zoraida will be able to help. If you want a slippery crew that's hard to pin down, take silurids. If you want to focus on dealing damage from range then Gremlins, Jack Daw and/or a convict gunslinger will help. Resiliance? Waldgiest and Super Juju. Pure Melee? Nephilim. It doesn't matter what crazy crew or tactics you want to employ, Zoraida will be able to complement it perfectly. And likewise, Zoraida doesn't care what crew your opponent takes either - she'll be just as effective regardless.


Zoraida is arguably the fastest and hardest to catch Master in the game. The Raven ability gives her incredible mobility, and Proper Manners or Repulsive can help her escape out of melee range of an enemy minion if needed.

This mobility can extend to her crew as well. Obey will let one of your minions make an additional Wk or Cg, and Repulsive can be used to give a slight movement boost to your own minions, including pushing them into line of sight and range for a charge in their next activation.


Zoraida's mobility makes her a tricky Master for opponents to target, but even if they can their chances of actually hitting her aren't great. The :-fate flip from Proper Manners greatly reduces their chance of making a successful attack and prevents them from cheating as well. Focused/Channeled attacks will get around this, however, as will any other ability that gives them :+fate to their flip (eg. paired). If you can cast Bewitch on the attacker then that will still prevent them cheating, which is a huge help. It's also worth remembering that Zoraida's Df is well above average for a caster and her Wp is utterly obscene. So even if a spell/attack does connect, you have a decent chance of resisting it.


Most strategies and schemes are reliant on models being at a certain spot on the table by the end of the game, and Zoraida is arguably the single best master for fulfilling these.

Once again, Raven lets Zoraida get to just about any spot on the board within one or two activations, and the final 4" push with invisible servants can get you those last few inches at the end of the game, although it's rarely needed. Obey and Repulsive could also be used in this way, both to push enemy models off an objective or move your own minions into position.


The Voodoo Doll effectively gives Zoraida's spells :+fate, no LOS requirement and unlimited range. If you plan on casting spells on a particular enemy model for more than one turn, creating a Voodoo Doll to Conduit the target model is almost a no-brainer.

While Zoraida must be within 1" of the doll to get her casting benefits, the doll can be summoned up to 6" away. So if finding a model in LOS is an issue, you can summon the doll 6" away and then move the doll back to within 1" so she can target the connected model next activation.

Poison 2 is a nice ability that can soften up an enemy minion or even kill a 3-4 Wd model within two activations. One thing to be wary of are models with "shrug off" or a similar ability that could remove the poison counters. It won't remove Conduit, since it's the Voodoo Doll with the effect, not the target model. This also means that if the target model is replaced (such as a growing nephilim or a scattered arachnid swarm), the Conduit will not go over to the new model/s.

As a totem, the Voodoo Doll can also cast one of Zoraida's spells, which is most often going to be Obey. One great trick with the Voodoo Doll is to activate the Doll, cast Obey, then companion Zoraida who casts a second Obey and creates a new Voodoo Doll (sacrificing the old one). In the next activation, you can now activate the new Voodoo Doll to cast a third Obey!

The Voodoo Doll itself is surprisingly hard to kill. Despite having only 2 Wd, Df8 makes it very hard to hit and if you combine it with defensive stance, it can actually survive a few rounds in combat with almost any minion or master. I've even seen one survive two turns against Lilith!

Finally, remember that the voodoo doll is expendible! If Zoraida needs to reposition herself with a Raven and the Voodoo Doll won't keep up, then leave it behind and create a new one as needed.


Bayou Two-card is an incredible ability that makes Zoraida a very card-efficient Master, since you can effectively use a given card twice in a row. This is mainly useful for casting several spells in a row (especially the high-cost Crystal Ball), although at a pinch it can be used defensively or even in combat (eg. flip a red joker for the melee strike, then use it for your damage flip).

If you're not casting Raven, then Crystal Ball should almost always be your first action with Zoraida. It's not always necessary to successfully cast it, but unless you need to move somewhere there's no reason not to give it a try. When you do successfully cast it, the trick to using this well is to figure out what you'll be doing next, and which cards you or your opponent will be flipping for those subsequent duels. For instance if you plan to Obey a friendly model then you could place the lowest card second from the top, making that low card the resist flip for your target. You could also get around low cards in your deck by making sure you flip it on a :+fate flip (most often with Conduit from a voodoo doll).


Obey is what Zoraida should be casting the most often. You can either Obey your opponents minions to beat on each other or pull them out of position, or you could obey your own minions for an extra charge or (1) action. When picking an Obey target, keep an eye out for models that have a high damage output (Nephilim), have a spell/ability that can only be used once per turn (Copycat Killer) or have an ability that will damage themselves (Punk Zombies). On the latter point, just remember that you can't deliberately kill a model by obeying it. So self-detonating spiders are out, but jumping off buildings is fine (since it's not a guaranteed death). ;)

Bewitch is an excellent spell that can seriously disrupt your target model's capabilities for a turn. If they can't cheat, their chances of winning any duel becomes much lower. It reduces their offensive abilities (especially if they want to use a high-cost spell) and it makes them very vulnerable to whatever you're trying to attack that model with. Never underestimate this spell.

For all it's potential, Hex tends to be a very situational spell. Against some minions, Hexing away a talent or spell can effectively eliminate them as a threat (eg. Bete Noire, Jack Daw, Candy). You can also use it to remove negative abilities from your own minions (eg. Gremlin and whoops, Hans and Sniper rifle, Jack Daw and Betrayed/Betrayer). However the high casting cost and the fact that it's a (2) action means that you need a very good reason to use it. If the Hex is going to kill or otherwise neutralise an enemy minion then by all means, do it. But generally I find that Zoraida tends to have more important things to do.


Nobody really expects Zoraida to perform well in melee. She's very good at avoiding it too - between raven and repulsive, most melee fighters will find it very hard to pin her down. But in some cases getting her into melee can be a good idea. She's not likely to do alot of damage but with proper manners, Df5, Defensive Stance, the Regret trigger and some soulstones, she's pretty capable of holding up an enemy model who'd otherwise be causing all sorts of trouble with the rest of your crew (mostly ranged minions/masters).

If Zoraida absolutely needs to kill something in melee (it won't happen often, but it will sometimes), the combination of bewitch and crystal ball with her Voodoo Pins and the Maim trigger can give her a respectable punch in combat.


When it comes down to it, Zoraida doesn't need her soulstones anywhere near as much as most other Masters. She's very difficult to hurt so she rarely needs Soulstones to boost resist flips or make a damage prevention flip. She might like a Soulstone or two to boost her damage in melee but as above, Zoraida rarely needs to make melee attacks against models herself.

For the most part, that leaves Zoraida free to burn soulstones to boost her own spells. This isn't likely to be something you need to do regularly - with Bayou Two-card and her high Ca you'll probably have a high card for the flip anyway. However if you really need to get off a certain spell, such as Bewitch on a Master or a particularly critical Obey, then you should definitely not hesitate to burn a Soulstone for it.

Other than that, the only other need Zoraida has for her Soulstones is reflipping initative (which can be invaluble sometimes) and resummoning Super JuJu, which I'll discuss later.


I haven't ever tried using Zoraida in a Brawl match but with her tendency to complement whatever crew she's with, she would be an excellent choice for a Second Master. The best way to use her would be to spend the entire soulstone alotment on a crew that will work best with your first Master, and then add Zoraida as the second master. That way you are able to use a single, synergised crew rather than two diluted crews with limited interactivity between them (which is what would happen when pairing Lilith with Pandora, for instance).

When paired with Lilith, Zoraida is probably going to get by unmolested while your opponent concentrates on the ultra-fast, ultra-destructive Nephilim. Raven will allow her to keep up with the rest of the crew and she'll still be able to obey any friendly minion for either a Grow effect or a charge/melee strike.

With Pandora, Zoraida will be able to add damage to her Wp-based spells from a fairly safe distance. Of perhaps more importance is that you'd be able to take advantage of Pandora's The Box Opens ability to Obey models who would ordinarily be immune to influence. In terms of your own crew this means you'll be able to Obey Teddy, Super Juju and the Hooded Rider. Of those, Teddy probably gets the most benefit from this, since the Hooded Rider would probably prefer to hit and run with Mounted Combat and Teddy's potential damage output is higher than Super Juju's. Of more relevance is being able to Obey your opponents Immune to Influence models. I haven't yet looked into the potential for this, but it's definitely not a bad thing.

The Viktorias tend to take a crew of expensive specialists, so Zoraida will simply enhance that. The Viktoria's tend to be a bit of a glass cannon, so Zoraida's ability to obey enemy models out of position or bewitch potantial threats will help alot with the Vik's survivability.

My experience with or against So'mer Teeth Jones is limited to a single game thus far but I imagine the same basic principle would apply for using Zoraida and So'mer together. Obeying Warpigs to charge what you want and bewitching targets for the Gremlins to shoot and actually have a chance of hitting seem like the most obvious benefits. You could also use it it help the mosquito's get off parasitic infection, by using obey to get the mozzie into range and then bewitch to minimise your opponents chances of resisting the attack.


Your choice of minions will have alot to do with what sort of strategies/schemes you or your opponent have, the terrain you'll be playing on and what crew you think you'll be facing. If you're playing exactly according to the encounter rules in book 1 or 2 then you shouldn't know about your opponents crew, but realistically this isn't often the case, due to either house rules or the fact that you know what's in your opponents Malifaux collection anyway.

In any case, given Zoraida's role as a support caster, your first choices for her crew will often be minions that can deal damage for her. It doesn't matter whether they're ranged or melee, Zoraida does just as well with either. This doesn't mean other 'support' models that don't purely deal damage (eg. Hamelin, doppelganger) have no place in a Zoraida crew. There are plenty of schemes and strategies that don't require actually killing your opponents crew at all, and in such cases just disrupting your opponents crew could be all you need.

One thing to keep in mind is that Zoraida cannot obey models that are immune to influence. So if you include minions like Super Juju or the Hooded Rider in your crew, make sure you have a reason for taking them over non-immune to influence minions like the Mature Nephilim. Naturally, the main reasons for this would be either fior their other talents (eg. Super Juju's effective immortality) or because they're immune to your opponents Wp-based duels.

Edited by Rathnard
Link to comment
Share on other sites



I've already discussed the value of the Voodoo Doll, suffice to say that there is no reason why Zoraida should take any other totem. The only other thing to mention is that like most totems, their Magical Extension spell tends to be limited by the high casting cost of most spells you'd want to cast. You can help mitigate this by Channeling Magical Extension, which would hopefully reduce your chances of having to spend a card or soulstone to boost the casting duel.


As seems to be typical for it's kind, a Mature Nephilim doesn't mess about with what it's supposed to do. It is a dedicated killing machine, and it's arguably the best minion in the Neverborn faction at it. Paired claws at Cb7 gives it the best chance of hitting a target, and with a weak damage of 4 you can be sure that it will put a large dent into whatever it hits. With Wk6 and Flight it's also very fast, and with Knock aside enables it to charge twice as far to get to what it wants to kill. Keep in mind that you can even choose to charge one of your own models, then trigger Knock aside to push the hapless (and unharmed!) minion a few inches and charge the real target.

Defensively, Diving Charge can keep your Mature Nephilim out of sight until the moment he charges into melee, and Black Blood will punish any models that hit it in melee. Having Armour 1 makes the Mature Nephilim particularly handy for taking out minions that can detonate, like Ice Gamlin or Steampunk Arachnids. But as tough as he is, just be warned that like any model, he will quickly go down if your opponent gets a chance to focus most of his crew on him.

His two main combat tricks are Drain Blood and Carry. The former is worth remembering if you've also taken a Young Nephilim or a few Terror Tots, since those blood tokens he's bound to get will be needed for the Grow or Mature spells. Carry can be very useful in pushing Zoraida into a better position early in the game, especiually if she wants to create a voodoo doll but will otherwise have trouble connecting that doll to any opposing minions.

Perhaps most importantly, the Mature Nephilim isn't immune to influence so Zoraida is free to obey him. In fact, a Mature Nephilim is often one of the best targets for Zoraida to Obey. This admittedly makes him vulnerable to your opponent's Wp-based spells and abilities, and you can fully expect that any opposing model with Obey will be trying to do the same to your Mature Nephilim.


The short version of what I'm about to write here is that Teddy and the Mature Nephilim compare very well in their role as large melee face-beaters. They're both tough to kill, do alot of damage in melee and can move quickly into melee. So when it comes down to it, the main factor that will influence whether you take Teddy or the Mature Nephilim, then, is that Teddy is Immune to influence. As I've said before, this is something of a double edged sword for Zoraida. On one hand she can't obey Teddy, but at least your opponents won't be able to affect him with Wp-based abilities either. Now...on to more detail...

Teddy's damage output is enormous. His Claws deal damage about on par with a Mature Nephilim but if you don't mind the lower Cb then his Teeth attack is brutal, especially if you get the chance to cheat out a Red joker on the damage flip. While not as quick as the Mature Nephilim, gaining Flight from On Dreaming Wings gives him some respectable mobility. If he's away from your own minions, Out of Control can improve both his speed and his damage output - it can allow him to either Charge twice (ideally with a Toss trigger so you could charge the same minion!), Charge and melee strike or even just extend his charge range (by Walking before you Charge).

Defensively, Teddy is about on par with the Mature Nephilim. Hard to wound 2 makes it very difficult for your opponent to cheat the damage flip and Regenerate 2 will help him heal minor damage over time. Basically then, Teddy will more often take Weak damage than the Mature Nephilim, but he has no armour to reduce that damage (like the Mature Nephilim does). One with the Night effectively gives him Df7 against most Ranged weapons, which helps make up for the higher speed and diving charge that the Mature Nephilim has to keep him safe at range. Of course like the Mature Nephilim, none of this will help much against a concerted attack from multiple models, but he's certainly not easy to kill either.

One thing that sets teddy apart from the other large melee tanks (specifically the Mature Nephilim) is his synergy with Terrifying. Terrifying -> 13 combined with Smell Fear ensures that if your opponents minions Fall Back, Teddy will take advantage of it. Zoraida can help this along with Bewitch, which will greatly increase the chance of that model falling back against Teddy.

If you do take Teddy, you should definitely consider taking Baby Kade. Both are meant for melee and they complement each other very well. While Kade is hard to hit but has few wounds, Teddy has an average Df but can soak up the kind of damage that Kade can't deal with. Kade can support Teddy's "Smell Fear" with "Kids got a Knife!". Best of all, Kade's "Where's Teddy?" ability can enable you to both pull Kade out of danger and swap Teddy right into combat for a Flurry.


After an initial poor showing, Bad Juju has since fared much better in games after renaming him Super Juju, so the name has stuck. :D Our favorite mudman is similar to Zoraida in that he's more of an objective claimer than an outright face beater. If you are looking for the latter, then definitely take Teddy or the Mature Nephilim instead, both of which have some better damage potential and more useful abilities and triggers for getting to and killing enemy models. Super JuJu is at his best in Strategys and Schemes that just need a model to be somewhere, like Reconnoite, Treasure Hunt, Claim Jump, Breakthrough, and Stake a Claim. In these, he can help fulfil the strategy by either protecting the treasure counter on turn 1 and not dying for a few turns, or just ensuring you'll absolutely claim a specific table quarter/terrain piece/deployment zone at the end of the game (thanks to Eternal).

The best way to use Super Juju is to think of him as having two different roles during a game. His first role, when you initially place him on the board, is to distract and kill your opponents crew. Ideally you want to kill whatever you can and make sure your opponent has little choice but to devote some of their crew to stopping Super Juju. Once he dies Super Juju is considerably less resiliant in combat, thanks to the much lower wound count. At this point his role should move towards either fulfilling your or disrupting your opponents schemes and strategies. Since alot of the scenarios require models to be in certain positions at the end of the game, Super Juju's ability to redeploy almost anywhere on the board is excellent for this.

Landslide is a hard spell to justify using. The damage can finish off enemy models and Slow is good for reducing the attacks dealt to Super Juju in their next activations, but you really need to be sure you can cast the spell with a high card. Otherwise your opponent will just resist the spell and you'll have wasted 3 wounds.

Finally, Super Juju is Immune to Influence, which you'll need to take into consideration when deciding whether to take him with Zoraida. I don't think I need to say anything more on that matter.


While I've used almost every other model here in some sense, I've never actually seen or used a Hooded Rider in any Crew. On the whole, he comes across as a fast yet vulnerable hit-and-run type minion. His abilities make him great at charging out and neutralising single models, but if he stays in one spot for any length of time he's likely to get swamped and die. Once a model becomes available I look forward to using one, but until then I don't feel right saying anything more about him.


On the whole, Candy makes for a great supporting minion with some very good damage potential. Her most obvious supporting ability is Sweets - and I really shouldn't need to explain why. ;) But another, potentially more powerful ability is Pacify. With Pacify, you can force a particularly threatening enemy model to activate after most or all of your own crew has activated. This gives you the time to either kill that threatening model or just get out of its way while you deal with the rest of the enemy crew. Pacify is especially useful when facing models with spells and auras that boost their own minions, such as Ramos's Arcing Screen.

With Harmless, a very high Df and a decent number of wounds, Candy is not easy to kill - certainly enough so that your opponent will be reluctant to target her over other minions. Sweets can also be used to heal herself and if she's in trouble, run away home will help her get out of it.

As far as actually dealing damage is concerned, Wail and Scissors tend to be a rather poor attacks and while sours is great for some difficult-to-avoid damage, Candy's best offensive ability by far is self loathing. Generally, this is the spell she should be trying to cast as often as possible, and her ideal targets are fragile models with a high-damage melee weapon. Any weapons that have a high weak damage, or gives :+fate for damage flips are especially good.


The Doppelganger effectively lets you double up on a specific model each turn. With Zoraida, she can mimic Raven for a 20" move or mimic Obey/Bewitch and either Bayou Two-card or Use Soulstone to help her cast it. She could also copy Casting Expert, Candy's Self Loathing, Kade's Lure, the Mature Nephilims Paired Claws and Suppressive Fire or Paired Pistols/Trigger Happy from a Convict Gunslinger. That's just a few examples, but there's plenty of others. If she just needs to stay alive, you could mimic Proper manners and/or a high Df value from Kade or Candy. In addition the :-fate flip for initative is an excellent boon for your crew - you can't rely on it to give you initative every turn, but it goes a long way in helping.

As good as mimic is, it tends to enable her to be great at one thing for a turn, but pretty poor at everything else. Even with Mimic Heal she's not too hard to kill if she hasn't used mimic for protection, so you need to keep her safe.


Sorrows are considered to be a minion exclusively for Pandora but this needn't be the case. A Zoraida crew with Candy or Kade can definitely get some benefit from a Sorrow, and not just by being a damage soak for the two kids. A Sorrow is still useful for linking to enemy models and adding wounds from the Wp-based spells/abilities from Zoraida, Candy and Kade. And even without the Wp-duel insanity that comes with Pandora, those extra wounds can add up.

Sorrows are about as tough as you'd expect for a 3 soulstone model. It's Df is merely average and being linked to a model should help it use defensive stance for some extra protection, especially if it's linked to an enemy model. It also has the advantage of being a very low threat in a crew without Pandora - most of the time people would prefer to target something else.

The Sorrows selection of spells is actually very strong for such a cheap minion. Doldrums will keep a model out of action for it's next activation and Melancholy is fantastic for weakening a models offensive and defensive abilities. The most obvious use for Siphon Magic is to cast Self Loathing from Candy, but if you don't mind taking a wound you could link the Voodoo Doll and cast Magical extension for another obey or bewitch. You could also Siphon Magic an enemy linked model, but the usefulness of this is obviously dependent on what spells your opponents crew has available. The only negative to the Sorrow's spells is that they're difficult to cast. Siphon Magic can be boosted with a Soulstone which is very handy when you consider Zoraida's low requirement for soulstones. Also Melancholy can be Channeled, but otherwise you'll often need to cheat the casting cost for the Sorrows spells.

One major factor that works against taking a sorrow is it's insignificance. This tends to be more of a problem for Pandora, who often wants to take 2-3 sorrows and tends to be otherwise made up of expensive minions. Still, when using any strategy or scheme that doesn't simply involve killing your opponent's models, you'll need to weigh up whether the Sorrow's insignificance is going to be a problem for you.


With scout and sprint, the terror tot makes for a very cheap and fast melee minion. His resiliance is about what you'd expect for a 3SS model (ie. non-existant), although the Flay trigger gives him some very high damage potential for his cost. In combat he's best used to sweep in and finish off enemy models. That way you can hopefully avoid his resiliance issues and it often gives you a blood token to attempt to grow him with. Still, the main reason to take him is because you need something cheap and fast that's not insignificant. So for non-combat strategies/schemes like reconnoiter and breakthrough, the Terror tot is a good minion to have around.


Silurid are absolutely incredible at performing hit-and-run attacks. Just using Leap and a charge lets them come out from behind some terrain and hit a model 20" away. With survival instinct they can slip out of combat or even use another enemy model to extend their charge range by 6". If your target is within 11", you could even (2) charge for some damage, then (0) survival instinct and (0) leap to get back into safety.

Pack effectively lets you use multiple silurid as a single entity, which is great for when you want to alpha-strike a single model and/or escape before your opponent can react. Bloodlust can allow the silurid to do quite alot of damage against Df living or undead models, although unsurprisingly they're less effective against armoured models and constructs.

Silent is an important ability to keep in mind, since it prevents your opponent from hitting them while outside LoS (eg. Young/Mature Nephilim, Guild Austringers). Amphibious can also be great for getting an added movement boost, but I find that it's rarely needed with their already ludicrous mobility.

The main disadvantage of silurid is that they're fragile - if your opponent can start hitting them consistently, they're going to get themselves killed. Their hit and run abilities can help alot with that, so be sure to take maximum advantage of survival instinct and Leap for that reason. You should also take advantage of any cover or their Camoflage ability to keep them safe from ranged attacks. Their low Wp also means that you really want to avoid engaging models requiring a Wp duel, like Pandora or models with terrifying. One thing to be wary of is if you're planning to leap with a pack of Silurids, you may need to spend some control cards to do so. This can be a problem if you want those cards for other things, so it's something you definitely need to prepare for. Finally, Unstable Evolution is something you need to be wary of. Unless the board has alot of water terrain, you'll probably need to take two or three Silurid to avoid them taking wounds every turn if you're planning to use any at all.


I'm discussing all three of these at once because as 6SS melee minions, they effectively compete for the same slot in a Zoraida crew. Fortunately they all compare very well to each other. There are situations where one will outshine the others (such as the Waldgiest with forests), but they're still all great melee fighters. So when it comes down to it, you really can't go far wrong with whichever one you choose.

With nothing more than his characteristicly Neverborn Wk of 5, Kade tends to be slower than the Waldgeist and Young Nephilim. Cb7 combined with Backstab makes him very good at hitting things, but he tends to need his Sweetbreads trigger to deal any meaningful damage, especially if you didn't Backstab. Kade's very high Df can keep him safe against most melee and ranged attacks (especially when combined with defensive stance), but you need to be very wary of abilities that bypass his Df, like self-destructing spiders, black blood or Wp-based attacks. Harmless and "Kids got a Knife!" are generally defensive abilities but you can't rely on them - they're most effective at occasionally forcing your opponent to cheat down a high card to hit him.

As a minion who normally pairs with Pandora, Kade has a good selection of Wp-based abilities. If you have a :crow on hand then Lure is a very long ranged spell that can pull enemy models off objectives, into dangerous terrain or even just into range of the rest of your crew (the latter is great for when you've taken a crew with lots of ranged attacks). Incite is another great ability that can really mess with your opponents activation order - something you really shouldn't underestimate.

If you've decided to take Teddy, Kade should almost definitely be taken over the Waldgeist or Young Nephilim. "Where's Teddy" offers some very obvious synergy between the two models, and swapping Teddy into melee for a Flurry is quite good.

The Waldgiest has the lowest potential damage output compared to Kade or the Young Nephilim, but he doesn't require any spells or triggers for it so he can at least deal his damage consistently. He makes up for this by being the toughest of the three (thanks to Armour 2) and having some fantastic forest-related tricks.

Moving forests around to block/unblock line of sight and Entangle enemy models is hard to pass up, and when he's within a forest, he's harder to hit due to Perfect Camoflage and he's able to make melee strikes against enemy models whilst safely out of sight and range of retaliation.

A Waldgiest is still definitely worth consideration without any forests on the board. He is still quick, can dish out some respectable damage in combat and most importantly, is still very tough. Armour 2 helps quite alot against exploding minions (Ice Gamlins, Spiders etc) and other damage effects that would normally get around Df duels. Against crews with those sorts of attacks a Waldgiest could be worth taking just for that purpose.

The Young Nephilim is a bit of a glass cannon - it can charge from outside LoS and will deal more damage than Kade or the Waldgeist, thanks to his flay trigger and black blood. The Young Nephlim is also the fastest of three with flight and a high Wk/Cg. His disadvantage is that the Young Nephilim is no good at anything else other than beating face. He's not as hard to kill as Kade or the Waldgeist and outside combat, the only trick he can pull is Mature, which is already difficult to achieve in a Lilith Crew, let alone with Zoraida. Basically then, a Young Nephilim is quite one-dimensional in what it can do. If all you want is a pure killing machine then this is probably your best choice. But as you can see with Kade and the Waldgeist, it's certainly worth considering taking a minion that can do more than just kill things.



On the whole, Zoraida tends to do just fine without taking any out-of-faction Wp 4 models. But there are a few that can work very well with her or at the very least, should be good fun to try out. Here's a few that I've come across;


He's a cheap, non-insignificant shooter, and that can actually be pretty useful for Zoraida. At 3SS the only equivalent alternative tends to be a terror tot, but there's some situations where you really don't want another melee-oriented minion in your crew. His biggest liability (Whoops) can be mitigated with either a Hex or just by keeping the voodoo doll as the closest target (and a low card to cheat down the damage). And with a high Ram, he can deal a huge amount of damage by sacrificing himself for "Watch this".


A viable choice - Zoraida can potentially hex away his negative abilities and bring on the destruction with his dynamite. Just watch out for his abysmally low Wp and the fact that he might possibly throw dynamite at your own crew on occasion.


Part of a great combo with Papa Loco. Just dose Loco up, activate Loco for some extreme destruction shenanigans, and then at the end of his activation(s) use "Shrug Off" to remove the sacrifice effect/s. Other than that, she could also dose up some terror tots for the same or get utilised as a healer, but she's still not as useful as she is in a Ressurectionist crew.




Your go-to guy for shooting things. He's quite good at what he does, and his only real negative is that he's such a popular choice. His damage output is fearsome and suppressed fire is very debilitating if your opponent decided to bunch some minions together. Throw in some obeys from Zoraida and her Voodoo doll, and you've got a very frightening ranged minion.


Another shooter, but not as popular or effective as the convict gunslinger. Still, he's got a fearsome range, headshot and with Zoraida, you can Hex away his sniper rifle rule to let him move/target different models at will. Generally, his main benefit comes from his range and the headshot trigger. The former complements Zoraida's own long-distance spell slinging (especially if you are regularly obeying him), and the latter is very useful for draining your opponents hand of cards.


Similar to Zoraida, Hamelin's role is mostly about disrupting your opponents crew. I've already discussed the sorts of things you can do with Obey, but his other two control-type spells are quite excellent as well. Pipers Lure can potentially walk someone off the board in the first turn before they even activate, and you can take advantage of your opponents fear of board edges by keeping your own models quite close to the edge. Irresistable Dance will effectively take a model out of action for an entire turn, which is great for neutralising the more damaging minions but also for preventing key models from using (1) interact for fulfilling objectives.

Hamelins other spells and abilities give him some helpful options in the right situations. Hungry Rats can cause alot of problems for summoner-type masters like Leveticus and Nicodem, and the Pestilent trigger can seriously disrupt your opponents chamces of fulfilling their strategies/schemes. With so much of the neverborn faction being living models, Black Death is usually going to hurt you more than your opponent. But with no resist, it can offer you a guaranteed way of killing off key enemy models. Growing influence doesn't really offer much for Zoraida - most of the best Ht 1 minions seem to be from the Neverborn faction anyway.

Hamelin's Wd and WP stats give him some respectable resiliance and while Bully can keep him safe in some situations, you definitely want to keep him out of harms way.

Another similarity with Zoraida is that Hamelin doesn't really deal any damage. For such an expensive minion this could be a problem for Zoraida, who tends to need a few decent, offensive minions to do most of the killing for her. This doesn't make him a bad choice for Zoraida - what he brings to the table is still quite excellent. You just need to weigh up whether his disruption and control spells are worth the loss of, for instance, a Mature Nephilim.


Mr Daw is all about control cards and damage (or rather, it's absence). He'll be regularly spending your cards for protection or burning up your opponents cards with his attacks. Conversely, most of his attacks deal almost no wounds and actually hurting him is a challenge for most opponents. Fortunately, Zoraida is arguably the best Neverborn Master for him, since she's already very card-efficient and she can obey him for extra ranged attacks.

Jack Daw's unique resiliance to most attacks usually makes him a very difficult to kill, but it also gives him some very big weaknesses. So long as you have cards in hand, Jack Daw is almost invincible. So any model that can drain your control hand is very dangerous to him (notably So'mer, but also anyone with a headshot trigger or the like). Spells or triggers that sacrifice or kill a model will also get around Jacks immunities.

I've found that Betrayed is rarely a big deal (Jack will usually only care about resists if the attack has a kill or sacrifice effect), but Betrayer can definitely be an issue. If you can keep the Black Joker in your hand or only activate Jack after you've flipped the Black Joker you can avoid triggering betrayer, but a Hex from Zoraida (if you have the spare AP) would also negate any risk of Jack going mental.

Jack Daw seems to work best when he's well away from the rest of your crew, aside from Zoraida (if she keeps a respectible distance). This lets him take full advantage of Doomed or Severed ties without hurting your own models, yet you'll still be able to Obey him. Also if he does hit a Black Joker, your opponent won't be able to do much damage to your own crew (Zoraida's Wp will keep her pretty safe, as will your control hand). If that's not good enough, you could even just connect Jack to a voodoo doll (Jack's immune to the poison counters) and stay the hell away from him.


It's not hard to see that Killjoy is an absolute monster in combat. He's quite expensive and not as fast as a Mature Nephilim, but whereas models engaged with a Mature Nephilim are in deep trouble, the fate of anything engaged with Killjoy is often a foregone conclusion. 12Wd, Hard to Wound 2 and Feeding Frenzy means that anything hitting him will most often be flipping weak damage (and won't be able to cheat), and every model Killjoy eliminates resets his Wds back to 12. It makes him almost unkillable in combat although as with anything, he's not invincible if your opponent is able to focus everything he has on him, or has a melee-specialist master with a fist full of soulstones. His Terrifying-->13 is pretty potent - Wp 6 models will need to flip a 7 to not run away so you're opponent will likely need to burn a few control cards if they want to swamp Killjoy with living models. One thing to be aware of is that you need to discard a control card to activate Killjoy. With Zoraida's card efficiency this usually won't be a problem, but you'll need to keep it in mind if you're facing a crew that will force you to discard cards (convict gunslinger, any models with headshot) or you plan on needing alot of those cards yourself (leaping Silurids).

Killjoy isn't picky about who he's killing so you really don't want him anywhere near your own crew, especially considering his charge bonus against Neverborn. The trick, then, is to get him placed within melee range of your opponents crew but well away from your own. Fortunately, Killjoy can be obeyed! Since you can use it to charge whatever target you want (rather than the closest), this can be a great way of getting him closer to your opponents crew and away from yours.

If you take Killjoy, you really need to ensure that you build a crew around him. At the very least you need a cheap minion or two to summon him from, but having a decent number of such minions can help ensure that your opponent will have activated most of his crew before you place Killjoy down. This leaves them with little opportunity to either kill or escape from killjoy before he wades into combat. If Killjoy is low on wounds against a particularly tough model you could run another of your cheap minions up next to KillJoy, then activate Killjoy at the next opportunity and use your last melee strike to eat your minion and restore his wounds. It's a desperate tactic, but it might be what you need in some situations. Don't go overboard on the 3SS minions however - you'll usually want to ensure you have a few more solid minions to support Killjoy while he's rampaging around.

The ideal target for Blood Price, for cost and speed, is a Terror Tot. If you can sprint one out of cover and activate Blood Price then you should be able to get him close enough. Bayou Gremlins are almost as fast thanks to Reckless, although they're also easier to kill and lack scout. A voodoo doll is another (free!) option, but it's trickier to pull off given that Zoraida is almost always going to be nearby. Still, in the right circumstance you can activate the Voodoo doll, companion Zoraida and then Wk and sacrifice the doll to place Killjoy. Zoraida will then activate straight after, allowing her to obey KillJoy for a charge and possibly use Raven to pull back. That should put Killjoy well in amongst your opponents crew and a safe distance from Zoraida. ;)

Edited by Rathnard
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow, this is great. You have brought my attention to a new master. I am now dying to play her as she seems really fun from your write up. I had over-looked Zoraida and have yet to play against her at my LGS as no one has her in their collection.

I need to get Lady J as my second crew to have a more straight forward group for friends to demo and play. However I am now looking seriously at making Zoraida my 3rd Master instead of Pandora or Lillith.

Great Write-up!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the feedback! I initially got Zoraida because I wanted a more challenging Master to use than my first, Pandora (this was pre-errata, when Pandy would move 20"+ and drown the enemy crew in failed Wp duels).

After figuring Zoraida out she's definitely become my favorite. She's got a very unique playstyle, I can run just about any zany crew I want without feeling as though I'm wasting my Master's potential, and forcing an enemy crew to kill each other is great fun. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Would be nice to have a read but that annoying pink text seriously hurts my eyes...

Any chance you could change the text colour to make it readable? ;P


Haha, yeah, I am in a cubicle at work with the screen shrunk down so no one can see that I'm not actually working, and bright pink text makes it kinda obvious that I am not doing my real job =)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why not just open a word document, copy the text, paste it into the blank sheet to turn the font into a different color that you like more?

GREAT stuff here. The things I'm doing wrong were already covered generally. I'm really looking forward to seeing more extrapolations.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As new malifaux player who started with Zoraida, I am really looking forward to the second half of this. So far I have been using only the starter with an extra Doppleganger once in a while.

So far my only real problem with playing Zoraida is the vast irritation of not having a voodoo doll totem in the starter box grrr...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

About Bad Ju Ju:

I am still waiting for my extra models to arrive so I have had a moderate amount of practice with the starter box. Initially I was pretty underwhelmed by Bad Ju Ju, but with some practice have come to rather like the big steaming pile. Here are my 2 guilders on the subject:

Eternal Dixie Cup

Unless the other crew has Slaughter he is a total recyclable dixie cup. Use once throw away, use again throw away etc. Although I have yet to Eternal him more than twice. That being said, since he is such a big beat stick its nice to throw him back into the action. Plus its demoralizing for the other player :)


His use is really dependant on his deployment, but since you can deploy him almost anywhere this is a good thing :)

The real trick is to find a place where he is:

A. Out of LOS against shoot crews (Guild goody goodies). This is so they dont just shoot him to death the turn he arrives.

B. Near enough to enemy troops to be a threat but out of their charge range, be careful if the other side has hard hitting flyers/Jumpers like Mature Nephilim or those Cerebus kitty things. This is so they have to deal with him, but can't get to him easily.

C. You want to deploy him on the way to where ever the other guy wants to go, but off the direct path. Or failing this on the way to where your opponent knows you want to go, such as when you have declared a "Stake a Claim" or a "Breakthrough". The important thing here is that your opponent must feel the need to contest BJJ's deployment due to suffering a severe VP penalty if he doesn't. The real sweet spot is where it will take them a turn to get to him without any real chance of hurting him, since that will make sure that if they survive against BJJ it will take them at least that long to get back in the action. More than a turn away and he will be too far to act as a threat/lure/diversion.

If you have done all of the above your opponent MUST go after BJJ, and this means that either his force is split or diver it entirely from its main function. Both are good for you. Since the Zoraida starter box force is the most maneuverable in the game you can exploit either situation, either by ambushing the weaker portion of the opposing force, doing a straight up objective grab or picking off exposed stragglers... and there is always at least one.

Over/Under Reaction

It is almost impossible for an opponent to give the correct level of response to BJJ. If they send enough guys to totally murder him, have him fade back and after wasting a turn or two fight a glorious first stand and maybe kill a couple of opposing models. While this is going on you should have local superiority else where. On the other hand if your opponent underestimates the threat, kill off whatever is sent off after BJJ and then either have him hold the objective or trudge towards the wherever the rest of the action is. Both of these options means he will probably be healed by the time he has to fight again. While this is going on I usually try to con my opponent into another over/under reaction while BJJ is still wounded and thus "vulnerable".

Using Landslide

This does seem like a bit of rip off at first glance, but again after some practice I can understand why it auto wounds BJJ (in addition to it being quite cinematic in having him puke out parts of himself on the enemy). There are four main cases where this spell is golden:

1. You have opponent down to 3 or less wounds but are out of attacks. Odds are any opponent can do at least 3 wounds to you, so you are better off using mudslide even if it "kills" BJJ. The reason for this is that the opponent is permantly dead and you get to redeploy BJJ and recycle that dixie cup. Essentially this keeps you from having to use other resources to clean up BJJ's left overs.

2. When facing multiple opponents its always worth your while to landslide. I will usually landslide first and then Flurry afterwards, this makes it very likely that you will kill most mid level minions with a single blow, which in turn gives you the realistic potential to outright kill 3 fresh models in a single turn.

3. Cleaning up annoying low wound explody things like Witchling Stalkers, Ice Gamin and Steam Punk Arachnids. Its also handy against any kind of hording troops like Steam Punk Abominations as they tend to be in groups and are thus quite vulnerable with any survivors becoming the target of some close combat quality " swamp luvin' " from BJJ.

4. When an opponent overreacts to BJJ, the landslide and Flurry combo followed up by a bunch of Blood Lustin' catfish men can be a nasty combo. This is especially if you get to go first, as you can potentially get 4 attacks from BJJ and another 18 from the catfish men with your opponent only getting one activation in the middle.

So between points 1. and 2. you have your plan set for single tough or multiple weak opponents, of course if you are attacked with both BJJ will die. Now that is a case where they have overcommitted to attacking him, and so you will try and draw out the fight as long as possible by forcing them to chase you for a turn or two before you pile drive in Landslide and do as much damage as possible... Then Eternal back onto the board to grab an objective/treasure/quarter/deployment zone/opportunity to kill a hard to reach critical target etc etc etc :)

I guess to sum up my BJJ strategy, you always want to force your opponent into reacting to him through cunning deployment and then you always want that reaction to be either too much or too little. Once they overreact in one game, the beautiful thing is that they are almost guarenteed to underreact the next and vice versa.

I read elsewhere that BJJ was overcosted, but I really dont think so anymore. Hopefully a few of you will feel the same way.

Edited by Axhead
clarity and more gibberish.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

One note here: after the errata to link, sorrows will never start their activation linked to a model unless they received reactivate. So, unless you can reactivate your sorrows, I wouldn't count on siphon magic...or that ability that wounds a model it starts linked to. Forget what that one's called.

Oh, and great write ups!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One note here: after the errata to link, sorrows will never start their activation linked to a model unless they received reactivate. So, unless you can reactivate your sorrows, I wouldn't count on siphon magic...or that ability that wounds a model it starts linked to. Forget what that one's called.

Oh, and great write ups!

As has been said elsewhere, if they've completely removed the ability to use life leech or siphon magic, that's a serious blow to Sorrows. Has a rules marshal commented on the intent behind this somewhere?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As has been said elsewhere, if they've completely removed the ability to use life leech or siphon magic, that's a serious blow to Sorrows. Has a rules marshal commented on the intent behind this somewhere?

Not directly in reference to siphon magic and life leech.

But during the beta I was told by the dev team that the removal of the timing on link was very much intentional.

No rules marshals though.

But whatever the intent may be, until we hear otherwise, we only have what is written.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Or you could just play the ability in a way that makes sense and is clearly supposed to work: The errata only replaces the effects of Link but not the limit of only 1 model linked to and the duration.

Bending of wordings and taking advantage of obvious typos is behavior typically found among 12 year old GW gamers. I have always thought this game has a more mature community.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Or you could just play the ability in a way that makes sense and is clearly supposed to work: The errata only replaces the effects of Link but not the limit of only 1 model linked to and the duration.

Bending of wordings and taking advantage of obvious typos is behavior typically found among 12 year old GW gamers. I have always thought this game has a more mature community.


The duration is a part of the effect of link, and is therefor replaced.

I was told specifically that this was no typo. Otherwise I would agree with you.

All I am saying is: based on what I have been told, the language on link is staying. As such, my guess is siphon magic will be getting a change.

What that change is (or if that change will come at all) I have absolutely no idea until we get a ruling or errata. But until then, how to use siphon magic is actually fairly unclear. Now, I actually had no intention of turning a great tactics thread into a rules debate. I thought giving the author a heads up would be helpful, as I was under the impression he didn't know. My apologies to him for sidetracking.

Edited by Justin
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information