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Thoughs on Hoffman


Vlad the Mad
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So, I've finally managed to paint up Hoffman and his crew, and am ready to unleash the mechanical fury on the enemies of the Guild.

However, trying to actually build a crew in my head (25 and 35SS), I always get the feeling that I have too few models, and very little board coverage for strategies that require mobility (not that this is something that the Guild specializes in anyway - that's why we have all the guns!!). Is that how Hoffman is played, like a group of few elite heavily armoured models?

I also have two models who seem under-powered and/or over-costed:

Mechanical Attendant

+ rather durable for a totem

+ shoots well for a totem

+ not Insignificant

- cannot keep up with the rest of the crew while shooting etc.

- no really useful spells of Hoffman's to use

Am I missing something? I would either run the Mobile Toolkit, or no totem at all if I feel the 4SS are too much.

Hunter

+ kind of fast, if utilized properly

+ can deal quite some damage with Ambush

+ gives three scrap counters to detonate

+ good utility weapon with the Chain Spear

- do you notice the "ifs" and "cans" above?

- about as durable as a Death Marshal

I read people writing he's good as he can operate somewhat independently from the rest of the crew, but why would I insist on a construct for that? The Watcher is better for objective runs, and I don't think the Hunter has enough staying capacity to clear a defended objective, no more then the Watcher. In the 5-7SS area you have Francisco, Santiago, Nino, Executioner, the Judge, two Guild Hound etc. - sure, I shouldn't be comparing apples and oranges, but somehow I get the feeling I'm not getting enough buck for my soulstone.

So, tell me your experiences of crew building with Hoffman, and how do you cope with lower model count and lesser mobility (I know he can be fast, but seems to be focused on one spot)? Do you hire non-constructs, and which ones and why/when?

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Ryle, the Peacekeeper, and Guardians are all really good. From what I can tell about the Hoff he's really more of an objective master then an I'm going to come over there and woop on you master. All of your stuff save for any Hunters you have stay together in one big blob. You use the Peacekeeper to drag you around really fast and do your objectives and put a hurting on anything that has the wevos to come near your blob.

As for the hunter himself has a two page thread on him alone http://wyrd-games.net/forum/showthread.php?t=21184. He is the cheapest pile of three scrap counters out there and with Hoffs ability to blow them up for ok damage this can be scary.

The Watcher is OK for the crew especially if your running Hoffs brother Ryle as he can help Ryle see his targets. But he is also a wk 7 flying non insignificant model for only 3ss. The only problem with it is it can't really do anything on its own.

All and all I feel Hoffman is the most underwhelming book two master, but can be really fun. He is one of those masters that if he doesn't fit your playstyle will be hard to learn.

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I tends to flip between the two totems. The Attendent is alright for grabbing scrap. I found with the Toolkit, I ended up just making it slow all the time and 4SS is just a wee pricey at 35SS. The Attendent is basically just Tap Power fodder for Hoff.

Not sold on the Hunter though for pretty much the reasons you give. Watchers are better objective grabbers and better general support can be garnered from Nino/Austringers.

I have two decent Hoff lists. One contains Ryle, a single Guardian along with Austringers/Nino. A typical, static gunline pretty much. My other one (and my personal favourite) is a Peacekeeper, two Guardians and the Toolkit. That gang is sooo fast its unreal. I'll chuck Ryle sometimes into that list but he often gets left behind.

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Thanks for the input.

It does seem to support my concern that the Hunter is a rather situational and hard to use piece of equipment. I would like to try a Hunter suicide run with him charging something, getting detonated by the Mobile Toolkit after that, only to leave some counters for Hoffman to detonate. Need to find a good target though... I guess I will play him a few times anyway, to see if I can utilize him well enough.

On the other hand, it seems that the Guardian is pretty much set for Hoffman, which was my impression as well. I think Hoffman needs a core component and a free component for his crew. The core consists of Hoffman, the Guardian, a big construct (Peacekeeper, Steamborg, Ryle, Mechanical Rider) and possibly a totem, while the free component would be fully adjusted to the strategies and schemes. Due to the high cost of the core, the crew will have a rather small model count, which one should try to offset by getting as much utility (for the strategy at hand) as possible from the free component.

Or that's at least how it looks in my head... lets see how my first few games with him work out.

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I knwo it might soudn wyrd but another couple of models to maybe consider are a witchling stalker or Johan.

The Witchling is cheap at 4ss, is good in melee, pretty quick on his feet and gives you a magic weapon with Cb6. Plus hes a living model so Ryle can get his pushes away from him giving him a speed boost.

Johan is only 1ss more expensive because Hoffman is MS&U and he has a lovely 3" melee and the magic hammer, plus once again living and if he is close enough to Hoffman he gets a stat bump to his Cb.

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The Mechanical Attendant can lend some ranged firepower when Hoffman uses Machine Puppet on it, but I would rather have the Mobile Toolkit for Tap Power, Detonate and its repair ability.

To somewhat counter Hoffman's lack of activations, what I did was to include a Steampunk Arachnid Swarm. It Walks once, Scatters. You can then activate the three Steampunk Arachnids that come from it one by one. Not only that, you also got some handy Constructs to have when you're preparing for Open Circuit (which I found really handy when dealing with masses!). The biggest problem however is that once one Arachnid dies, they can't get back together...

For 25ss, I used a starter box set of Guardian, Hunter, Watcher and Peacekeeper. I've also used a more radical version of Peacekeeper, Steampunk Arachnid Swarm, 2x Guild Hounds as well. At 30ss, I add in a Mobile Toolkit.

Edited by TalonRaven
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I had a chance to play a few 25SS games with Hoffman, and he is quite straightforward top play, as he probably should be considering he is a Guild master. I've had no problems with him so far, but that might be in part due to the fact that I chose to re-flip any strategies I considered hard to achieve (Destroy the Evidence etc.). I hope the Warden from Twisting Fates will add another alternative to the Hunter as a model to run away from the core group and complete objectives.

I always played the boxed set + Peacekeeper or Ryle. The Peacekeeper is a beast with Hoffman, and the Watcher did so well I decided to use it with Sonnia and LadyJ on occasion as well. The Hunter, despite still being a sub-par model IMO, did have it's moments of glory, managing to drag a December's Acolyte and a Silent One off a building to their deaths in a game against Rasputina among others.

I've now gotten my Ramos stuff, so once I have it painted I'll try playing with other options as well.

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The Mobile Toolkit is incredibly useful. Not only for a convenient Tap Power target, but also for that +1 to Hoffman's cast. That plus Weld Together and another link in the Protect chain are well worth the 4 stones.

The Hunter is nice because its a great independent operator in a crew that tends to stick together. I'll probably be retiring him for Santiago or Nino in the future for our 35ss games.

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I've had no problems with him so far, but that might be in part due to the fact that I chose to re-flip any strategies I considered hard to achieve (Destroy the Evidence etc.).

I consider destroy the evidence one of the better strategies for a Hoffman crew actually - Hoffman and a PeaceKeeper can take out the central one and move 5" back towards your board edge on turn 1!

The Watcher can also be useful for this, as its fast enough to get between evidence markers in one turn and can fly over pretty much anything - I find that a Watcher out on its own can often be ignored in the early stages, because it takes a dedicated effort from your opponent to take out Hoffman and the main chunk of the crew...

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The Hunter is nice because its a great independent operator in a crew that tends to stick together. I'll probably be retiring him for Santiago or Nino in the future for our 35ss games.

This is my feeling as well - I don't have any massive complaints about the Hunter, but I'm trying out Nino in a 35ss game this week, so we'll see if I prefer that...

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I like the Hunter and I lament myself everytime I play Hoffman for not painting my second one. As an ex-MTG player I find the main value of the Hunter lies in forcing your opponent to make decisions. It places alot of pressure on them when activating models to either eliminate the Hunter before it can utilize its sizeable bonus, manage their objectives, or deal with the Hoffman cluster.

Of course there are always those players that fold under pressure and make catastrophic decisions... In which case 6ss for a hobbled opponent is an extremely good price.

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I don't understand some of the 'bleh' regarding the Hunter. I have two, and their :+fate comes in quite often. They are good out on their own, can flank, can set up charges and generally force your opponent to deal with them. Yes, Hoff+Peacekeeper will kill whatever they hit, but I find Hunters to be well worth including in my lists, for that extra option. Taking more living models means Hoffman can't be as efficient, and eliminates options.

I've taken Ryle before, and he's good, but him never being a friendly model can be tough to get around.

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Maintain Machines gets around it easily though, so this really shouldn't be an issue for a Hoffman list, as long as you keep him near the pack...

No, because Ryle is never considered a friendly construct, so Maintain Machines wouldn't be able to go off, as it specifies 'friendly'.

Edited by Wulfen
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No, because Ryle is never considered a friendly construct, so Maintain Machines wouldn't be able to go off, as it specifies 'friendly'.

Actually, if you read the whole "Can't Connect" rule, you'll see that Ryle is never considered friendly to his crew "when selecting a target for talents or spells" and then only. So he's a friendly model whenever you aren't trying to select him to be a target.

You'll also notice that "Maintain Machines" does not target...

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That's what I get for going off memory and earlier versions of Can't Connect. I think my point still stands, not sure I'd want too many high-point models staying very near to Hoffman.

What effects are you worried about him not being friendly for? The main reason to take constructs in a Hoffman list is to get the benefits Hoffman grants them, which requires them to be close in anyway.

Unless you play Hoffman with minimal constructs, I wouldn't be worried about keeping Ryle in close to Hoffman - indeed he actually adds a ranged aspect which most of the standard Constructs lack (although Hunters, PeaceKeepers and Watchers do have ranged attacks, none could be considered ranged damage dealers) and Machine Puppet can be used to make his shooting output very high...

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