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What exactly makes the 'Zamu so powerful?


Mordeqai
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First off - I am by no means defending Izamu here by asking "Why's he OP?". As someone who plays him very frequently, and in my humble opinion, fluently, I still recognize his overall power level being a bit high, especially for the same cost as Rogue Necromancy/Dead Rider. Neither of those models come CLOSE to his killing and surviving capability.

So, that's stated. I, with many others, think Izamu is either undercosted (I'd still take him at 13SS), or just flat out too powerful.

What I want to know, is everyone's specific opinions on WHY he is this way. The healing flip on severe? [+] on damage? Riposte? Negatrigger? 3" melee? Object 2? There's so many things going for him, but I have yet to hear a consistent opinion on what ability tips the scale to make him an auto-include for a majority of Rezzers.

Further, how to exploit them. I have not personally found a weakness in Izamu, but if there is one, I want to know, almost purely for the sake of metagame sportsmanship. I always feel kinda terrible about throwing him on the board, but without him, it's difficult to feel very competitive.

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All you really have to do is attack him.

I've played with him, and against him, albeit only with Ressers. With Doug, it's as easy as two, possibly three actions to kill him. With Nicodem, I simply paralyze him, then throw punk zombies on him. Another thing is throwing Whispers From Beyond on him from the Hanged, which negates all healing on him. That hurts most strategies involving Izamu. I know from experience that Collette just laughs at him with Dissapearing Act.

If anything, I think Izamu is going to make Resser players worse at the game by using him as a massive crutch. He's good, yes, but he can and will die. And when he's dead, that player is going to flounder, even if playing Yan Lo. That 10+ Crow isn't always going to be in your hand.

I'm actually not that big of a fan of Izamu. I love him with Yan Lo, but would rather take the Dead Rider in most situations with our other Masters.

Edited by Mehter
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Yeah, his Immune to Influence is going to negate almost all of that. And how exactly would Doug go about killing him in an activation? His damage spread is only 2/3/6, which gets reduced to 1/1/4, due to Object 2. Note that McM does not ignore Object. And a good Zamu player will negate his Mask Scalpel Magic Trigger (Perhaps his A Piece for Me too), so the only way I can see McMourning killing Izamu in 2 actions is by dealing Severe melee, then severe dissection, and those are not things to rely consistently on. Maybe Master Surgeon and Dissection?

Edit: And the mannequin trigger can be reliably negated by cheating an Ace of Tomes. It's literally impossible for Collette to get her trigger if you keep any Tome in your hand.

Edited by Mordeqai
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And its not as though a resser player will just throw a 10 stone model into the fray without supporting the push. If my opponent is focusing on the armour, that means I'm completing objectives or picking off their models with ease. Its not that Izamu will be a crutch, but rezzer players just need to learn how to use him as the tank he is(and not take wp duels). He's the first real sturdy model rezzers have now and aren't used to that.

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I tend to find the object 2 isn't too difficult to get around. It's when he becomes a spirit and gets armour as well as object that he becomes silly. I definitely struggle against him with arcanists. The only reliable thing i've found is to tie him up with Mei Feng, but that only ties him up, it doesn't get rid of the problem.

With 10 thunders however, it's a totally different ball game. Just decapitate him with misaki, or mash him with ototo. Even then though, you need to have one of those 2 in your crew, without knowing if you're actually facing izamu or not.

So in summary, he's a tough cookie, but there are ways around him

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Edit: And the mannequin trigger can be reliably negated by cheating an Ace of Tomes. It's literally impossible for Collette to get her trigger if you keep any Tome in your hand.

I don't need the Mannequin Replacement trigger to go off to make the spell worth it. Its a little more resource intensive to have to do it every turn but I'd settle for burying him every turn if I have to. He might not be dead but if he isn't on the table I still don't have to care. But that's probably one of the "easiest" counters.

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Further, how to exploit them. I have not personally found a weakness in Izamu, but if there is one, I want to know, almost purely for the sake of metagame sportsmanship. I always feel kinda terrible about throwing him on the board, but without him, it's difficult to feel very competitive.

This is one of two reasons I find him OP. He has no weakness. The dead rider, for example, is 1ss less and far easier to kill. It has a lower defense and cannot heal itself, not to mention the fact Izamu is also an object....?!

He can heal himself....ok....has riposte....ok....can be resummoned by Yan-lo or turned into a spirit by Kirai....had DF, unsual for a killy beat stick...ok.... but why does he have object 2 and not the construct characteristic...? Object 1, armour 1 and construct would make him FAR more balanced. He would still be Immunune to Influence, would still take 2dg off of incoming attacks and would still be worth every point., and more, of his ss cost but....(dramatic music que) he wuld have a weakness...

Be giving him construct and object 1 armour 1 he can be targeted by some masters, such as hoffman, collodi etc, who can deal with constructs. To keep Izamu alive players would have to expend card resources- like every other model in the game. SOme opponents would also be able to negate the armour ability, a small but balanced weakness.

The other option would be to strip some of his abilities off and make them conditional: 'when included in a crew containing Yan Lo this model gains'... this would allow him to stay the same in his 'original' crew but have less synnergy with other crews. Nephilim, gremlins, dolls, nightmares...they all lose something when not used with their original master. For me losing reliquries is not enough.

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This is one of two reasons I find him OP. He has no weakness. The dead rider, for example, is 1ss less and far easier to kill. It has a lower defense and cannot heal itself, not to mention the fact Izamu is also an object....?!

He can heal himself....ok....has riposte....ok....can be resummoned by Yan-lo or turned into a spirit by Kirai....had DF, unsual for a killy beat stick...ok.... but why does he have object 2 and not the construct characteristic...? Object 1, armour 1 and construct would make him FAR more balanced. He would still be Immunune to Influence, would still take 2dg off of incoming attacks and would still be worth every point., and more, of his ss cost but....(dramatic music que) he wuld have a weakness...

Be giving him construct and object 1 armour 1 he can be targeted by some masters, such as hoffman, collodi etc, who can deal with constructs. To keep Izamu alive players would have to expend card resources- like every other model in the game. SOme opponents would also be able to negate the armour ability, a small but balanced weakness.

The other option would be to strip some of his abilities off and make them conditional: 'when included in a crew containing Yan Lo this model gains'... this would allow him to stay the same in his 'original' crew but have less synnergy with other crews. Nephilim, gremlins, dolls, nightmares...they all lose something when not used with their original master. For me losing reliquries is not enough.

That's all very valid, but I'd like to keep this thread away from what Izamu is not, and how we would hypothetically balance him. The fact is, he's a bit unbalanced, and I'm more concerned with finding a way around it than asking for a cuddlebat. You're completely right that the construct characteristic would provide many more weakpoints, but unfortunately, he doesn't have the characteristic, and we can't theorycraft for a particular weakness he does not have.

On the note, I've heard wonderful stories about Clockwork traps agaisnt Izamu.

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That's all very valid, but I'd like to keep this thread away from what Izamu is not, and how we would hypothetically balance him. The fact is, he's a bit unbalanced, and I'm more concerned with finding a way around it than asking for a cuddlebat. You're completely right that the construct characteristic would provide many more weakpoints, but unfortunately, he doesn't have the characteristic, and we can't theorycraft for a particular weakness he does not have.

On the note, I've heard wonderful stories about Clockwork traps agaisnt Izamu.

Which is fair enough.

Neverborn:

I believe Coppelius, when used with Zoraida, can have up to 5 attacks so could paralyze him. Paralasis seems to be the only way to counter him fully. It would be unlikely that he could cancel ALL of the triggers. Insidious Madness can strip Immune to Influence from him, as can Pandora. That being said, Pandora seems to be pretty much he only master who can stand upto him at the moment.

Arcanists:

Dont union miners have an ability/trigger to ignore object on models, or is it hardness?

Resses:

McMourning- Would seem to have all the tools in the box needer to kill him in a single activation, spirit or no...

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Which is fair enough.

Neverborn:

I believe Coppelius, when used with Zoraida, can have up to 5 attacks so could paralyze him. Paralasis seems to be the only way to counter him fully. It would be unlikely that he could cancel ALL of the triggers. Insidious Madness can strip Immune to Influence from him, as can Pandora. That being said, Pandora seems to be pretty much he only master who can stand upto him at the moment.

Arcanists:

Dont union miners have an ability/trigger to ignore object on models, or is it hardness?

Resses:

McMourning- Would seem to have all the tools in the box needer to kill him in a single activation, spirit or no...

Yeah, I can't see anyone having 5 masks in their hand (Also given that Coppelius has a +1 cb vs Zam's Df), AND spending all on Df flips. Luckily, Izamu could throw down a 13 of Masks to negate his trigger, and get Riposte all at once. But that's a "Super lucky" thing that we really shouldn't rely on. I guess the only real comment on it is the same as Willie's - Kill the counter ASAP.

Union Miners: Kinda. They get [+] and +1 Dg for Damage Flips vs Object. Mostly negates.

Rezzers: I genuinely don't see it, with Negatrigger and Riposte (Also, McM won't ignore Obj). But I honestly mean that, I just don't understand. Can you explain this in further detail?

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I think what throws him over the top is the combination of I2I and negtrigger. The fact that he is tough to kill isn't much different then all the other tough to kill models. The fact that he can completely negate anyone's ability to do anything "above and beyond" damage (through the combination of those two talents) means that the normal weakness of "tough" models is bypassed. His damage is on par with other beatsticks and his ability to heal and counter-attack make him resilient, but the OP bit is that getting off a paralyzed or any other "ignore this model" ability is neigh impossible.

As for his weakness I think that it has already been stated. He is so good compared to other Resser models that he becomes a crutch. He is by no means invincible and anyone that can remove I2I can mess him up bad. Death by a Thousand cuts is also super effective. Also, it's important to remember that Izamu is ultra hand dependent. He must have matching suits (to enemy triggers) in high numbers to not take damage. For example, a Convict Gunslinger with 2+ high Masks Rapid Fire's against Izamu. That's 3-5+ attacks. Either Izamu is taking damage (3-5 wounds) or using his high cards to avoid it. That's high cards that other models can't use and he no longer has to defend with.

I am by no means saying that calling him OP isn't justified. But I think he is possible to take down. And because he is a crutch, taking him down means it's that much easier to then beat your opponent.

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for the same cost as Rogue Necromancy/Dead Rider. Neither of those models come CLOSE to his killing and surviving capability.

RN is a bad comparison as his SS cost is silly. He is a summons... Period.

I would agree that Dead Rider cannot kill or survive as well, BUT his purpose is SO MUCH MORE than that. (And he is pretty good at killing stuff too!)

Izamu has one role... Period. Killer Tank. He offers NO other utility to your crew. For 10 points, a model with no other utility had BETTER be FANTASTIC at its single role.

He walks 4...

With Soul Porter(And therefore Yan Lo) he can haul armor. Kill Soul porter. Stay away from Izamu.

I've had him killed and occasionally soul-caged him because he was close to death and I wanted to prevent Kill Protege. With Yan Lo, he comes back, which can be frustrating for my opponent... No doubt.

I've killed him with LadyJ and had him killed when I was playing him by Viks that swapped out and by Chompy. (With the help of the cursed Insidious Madness)

Still won most games with him to this point, but to this point most of my wins have had more to do with the surprise of my opponents at the speed with which Yan Lo with some decent Chi and Izamu could be in their midst wreaking havoc. And to be fair, Yan Lo has tended to be the true beast. No doubt fed by Izamu, but once Yan hits boiling point, he just explodes the enemy crew.

I have confidence in our players to come up with ways of more consistently handling him better than what has happened to this point.

He is a beast... No doubt.

But there are plenty of beasts in the game and clever people have thought of all sorts of things to take them on.

Outcasts have pinged him quite a bit with Convicts and ronin having him at half wounds before any sort of melee engagements.

A matchup I have not had yet that makes me worry is Sonnia... The problem I envision with her is that she can be nuking the rest of the crew and dropping templates on him over and over to lower him over time until she is ready to focus him.

Taking out the Soul Porter off a template or two and suddenly Izamu is half as fast. Thats a pretty big deal.

Edited by Gruesome
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I really don't think he's too powerful unless he gets turned into a spirit. I've played against McMourning and Izamu a few times, and don't seem to have too much problem with him. You need to focus on him with a few models, but 3 or 4 models (usually including your master... Depending on who they are) will get rid of him. It's when he becomes a spirit and/or gains armour from the grave spirit that he gets very good.

Don't get me wrong, for his cost he's good, but he's not super overpowered mega-filth.

An easy way round his anti trigger defense is to use lots of triggers with the same suit (critical strike, i'm looking at you) as he'll quickly run out of that suit. Also Izamu isn't a crew on his own. If the opponent is saving cards to defend izamu with, just attack other stuff. If the opponent uses their hand to defend other stuff, attack izamu.

If izamu has become a spirit and has armour, then you've got problems. He'll usually take 1 damage from any given attack, so you need to figure out first, whether you actually have to kill izamu, or can you ignore him, and second, if you do need to kill him, how do you go about it?

There's a few ways around this. Either hit him with lots of rubbish attacks, hit him with a few good magical/armour ignoring attacks, or hit him with a trigger which will kill him (once you've got his hand down far enough that he can't just discard cards to ignore triggers).

So if i see i'm playing against izamu and i'm using misaki, i'll take kill protogee and laugh all the way to the vp bank.

He's only as bad as the twins, just more defensive and less killy

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So if i see i'm playing against izamu and i'm using misaki, i'll take kill protogee and laugh all the way to the vp bank.

Unless you have already killed Soul Porter, the opponent should Soul Cage Izamu before he dies, stealing Kill Protege from you.

If you HAVE killed Soul Porter, not only is Kill Protege available to you, but you just cut Izamu's speed in half... Soul Porter, at least in games I have played with and against him, has been a real linchpin for the crew.

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I'm looking forward to eventually using my Som'er crew against someone running Izamu. I can't see anything about his three staple models (bayou gremlins, piglets, and mosquitoes) that makes them any less effective against Izamu than against just about anything else for what they can reliably do. Plus, sacking a mosquitoe to, in most cases, make the opponent discard his entire hand before throwing a dozen attacks at Izamu should be entertaining.

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Interestingly, I've never played against Yan Lo. It's been either Kirai (hence the spiriting) or McMourning.

Maybe Izamu gets super over powered with Yan, and that's just not how I've seen him?

I think there are some crews which simply can't deal with spirit izamu no matter how hard they try. For instance I used a Mei feng crew vs Kirai with izamu. He got spirited and armoured, and therefore Willie became redundant (on severe damage he would do 2 wounds!) and even kang doing red joker-severe damage would only do 2 wounds (12, halved to 6, reduced to 2 by object and armour), and no instant kill triggers. That crew had nothing which could deal with him. So instead, I threw Mei at him and they just sat there being a rock and a hard place failing to hurt each other.

If you can't beat it, ignore it.

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I really get tired of this "you're using him as a crutch" arguments. That assumes that there is a correct way to play and that this pure method of play is interfered with by using this prop up model. If a faction has a "crutch" model I would argue it's because the faction as a whole doesn't therefore have the models to prop itself up without said model.

For example in NB if I'm using the Twins, Stitched together, Tuco, Coppelius,The Ganger, or Primordial magic am I using a "crutch"?

The reason Izamu feels so powerful is because he is the first really good general combat model that the ressers have had. He feels really powerful because he has survivability and strong offense. Most Resser models in the past have had one or the other. Punk Zombies are really strong in Melee, but they are slow and easy to kill, Flesh Constructs can do alot of dmg if they get their trigger off, but they die really quickly. The Rogue Necromancy is a killing machine wrapped in in a squishy shell, as I've rarely ever had one survive past the turn it's summoned.

Izamu is not Overpowered, he's just really really good in a faction that doesn't really have options other than him to replace him with. The best way to deal with him is the way you'd deal with the Rail Golem, focus your attacks on him.

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For example in NB if I'm using the Twins, Stitched together, Tuco, Coppelius,The Ganger, or Primordial magic am I using a "crutch"?

I would say yes. A crutch is something that allows a player to do a specific thing easier (like walking in real life). That does not automatically make it bad (as crutches in real life are great). However, it could be argued that "crutches" require less skill.

Like real life crutches there is a tendency to put so much weight on them that when they are swept aside the player can't stand on their own right. This is the case with a number of models (not just Izamu) and has to do more with how well you play the game vs how well you play models.

Frankly, as is the case with most crews, if a player is in the habit of using a crutch they're not that hard to beat if you can figure out how to remove/nullify it. But that is the case with any game, not just Malifaux. If they don't use crutches, it will be significantly harder to beat them, especially if they are using good models like Izamu.

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I'm looking forward to eventually using my Som'er crew against someone running Izamu. I can't see anything about his three staple models (bayou gremlins, piglets, and mosquitoes) that makes them any less effective against Izamu than against just about anything else for what they can reliably do. Plus, sacking a mosquitoe to, in most cases, make the opponent discard his entire hand before throwing a dozen attacks at Izamu should be entertaining.

He is not terrifying and must target a single model at a time. I am not particularly familiar with that sort of gremlin crew, but I actually think that a gremlin gunline would wipe him off the board simply by number of attacks. Accepting that you will not do more than 1 point of damage most of the time, the question becomes, how quickly can I hit him 10 times?

---------- Post added at 11:42 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:41 AM ----------

Maybe Izamu gets super over powered with Yan, and that's just not how I've seen him?

He stays the same... He just comes back. :)

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To reply to the Immune To Influence thing from my first post, don't underestimate our Effigy. He may not survive long, but he can screw up a turn or two for your opponent if played correctly.

And on what I said about Doug, you can most certainly rely on severe damage on Dissection. Between Stones and Rancid Transplant, I killed Izamu (twice in a game, thanks Yan Lo) by Slinging to him, (2ish damage), Rancid Transplant for one action, then Dissect once or twice. You don't need his trigger to go off. In fact, I can't remember the last time it has.

But as I said before, you just need to attack him. Or ignore him, if you can.

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