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Rotten Belles - a happier redux


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The previous discussion got a bit out of hand and was closed but I was hoping that we could have a calm thread about things since I think that there was quite a bit left to discuss. If we could keep all the "l2p" -stuff and all in all dismissiveness to a minimum and respect one another's experiences.

Hopefully opening a new thread isn't against the rules. My sincerest apologies if this isn't deemed kosher.

Another thing worth pointing out from the beginning is that Justin said that Rotten Belles won't be errataed in the foreseeable future. So this thread isn't about that. Therefore calling Ca8 OP is probably not very productive and hoping for a cuddle is futile at this point.

Now, I have a lot of respect for the Chicago guys. It's a big pool of players and they have a healthy scene that has been going on for a long time. Now, the previous thread did point out that in the pictures that were shown from a tournament, there wasn't all that much terrain and it was posited that this would be a key reason why Rotten Belles seem to rule Chicago while other areas with equally active scenes haven't encountered problems. I didn't really see a Chicago answer to these claims - could you try using twice as much terrain as normal in a weekly game and see if that makes a difference or not? Also, have you found long range crews more powerful across the spectrum or is it just Belles?

What happened in the Vassal game? Mythicfox and csonti (I think, sorry if I misremember) were going to have a Vassal game where csonti would go with six Rotten Belles. How did it go?

One thing left open from the previous thread was a description of what the Chicago Rotten Belles actually do. Many people who didn't believe in the power of the list offered that Rotten Belles can only Lure and, on the

surface, that doesn't seem like it would win games on its own.

But again I wish to stress that we are talking about a big, active group whose play experience seems to differ strongly from the experiences elsewhere. Is it really simply the amount of terrain? Or is it that they have clued in into a style of play that really favours Rotten Belles?

Have you tried 6-belle lists in other places and how did they do?

Finally, please remember mutual respect. The people on the other end of the Internet (and there's people there - not just goofy names and avatars) are likely as intelligent and as experienced as you are yet their experiences may differ. And let's remember that we are a welcoming community brough together through the love of this game. :)

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I have been using Belles since I started playing Malifaux, and I have always found lure to be a very useful skill for belles to have, I have certainly found that there have been very few instances where I can attribute the use of lure to winning a game.  One of the biggest impacts I have felt from lure is that it provides tremendous versatility, both offensive and defensive.  I tend to always field 1, but I have felt in games where I invest the stones to have more than 1, I am often wishing I had something with more hitting power, or resilience.  Now the fact that Seamus can summon them, and a canine remains can give you the corpses to do so, is much more of a game balance issue for me.

 

Aside from lure, belles don't have much going for them, even when compared to other models across various factions at the same point cost.  They lack hitting power, have a low Df, no ranged damage, pretty low melee damage.  What they do have is lure.  

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I do like the Slow they can deal out, btw. In a best case scenario it can mean that some melee model is stuck just walking inefficiently for a turn or denies the use of Flurry or similar and at least it halves the efficiency of a model for a turn (unless they have more than two AP, naturally). It can have a really big impact in many cases but it seems to be forgotten quite often.

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First off I didn't get a chance to respond because the thread was closed so quickly. The one table everyone kept reposting with the Gale Force Nice Rock terrain covered the board by at least 33% which is well within the rule book guidelines of 25-50% of the board. All terrain is placed on the board in BTB to make sure it covers 25-50 during set-up for an event and we always land between 30-40 depending on each board. Also, that one table with the Gale Force Nine rock terrain was not used by the Seamus player with the 6 Belle's. That table was used by the TO playing against the players that were on bye for each round because we had an odd number of players. 

 

In the past week we have ran Tara with 4 Belle's and Seamus with 6 Belle's and went with 50% terrain. It almost got to a point that if someone ran one or two 50mm base models you were going to have a very difficult time moving them around the board unless they had flight or incorporeal. I ran a Perdita list that I had yet to lose against Neverborn and Outcast in the last 7 games with a mixture of Masters from each faction. Most of the games were very close, no blow outs. The Perdita list lost 8-1 to Seamus and his 6 Belle's. What was more disheartening than the score was I finished the game with one model and he finished with 5 Belle's, Sybelle and Seamus. He summoned three additional Belle's in the game. I realized at the end of the game that even though I had experienced great success with Perdita against other Factions that she wasn't the best tool in the Guild's Box to go against Ressers. So I plan to put a Lady Justice list together for the rematch.

 

That brings us to Tara who ran 4 Belle's, a RN and two Convicts against a Lady J with a Judge, Exorcist and I don't recall what else I didn't play the game but watched a bit of it. I asked how the game went after they finished and the Guild player was just shaking his head as he walked out of the store. So now I don't even know how I am going to fair against Seamus and 6 Belle's with Lady J for my rematch but I am still going to give it a shot anyway. 

 

We are attending a Tourney up in Milwaukee this weekend. I am sticking with the Guild. Joe will be playing that Tara list and Victor with his Seamus so I am sure I will run into one or both of them before its over. I will check back in after the weekend with some detailed results. 

 

Even with pushing the boards to 50% terrain which looks very cluttered IMO has not stopped the Belle's from luring models either to be killed or just placed out of position to score VP. It is very easy for them to lure models that have already activated into non vp scoring positions. The game I lost 8-1 we played Reckoning as the strategy which I felt initially was more in my favor than Seamus. I want to also add that it didn't help that Seamus had the Aura that prevents me from not only wound preventing but healing as well when I had the condition from the Brutal Effigy. 

 

I agree there could be many factors that would take an algorithm to prove one way or another. Victor could very well be someone who just plays the Seamus and 6 Belle's to an extremely high standard. He is one of our best players and has been for the last 5 years. It could also be that people outside of our area do not play a list like that to his level of expertise and they lose so they think the list isn't that powerful. It could also be that we have not come up with the right crew created to stop it. I am not referring to a crew created just to stop him specifically but a strong anti resser crew in general. Another factor is he has not played against every single combination of masters from every faction yet. So there could be several masters/crews that he has not faced that would force defeats. 

 

It is very early but on the surface something seems rotten in Denmark and it appears to be Rotten Belle's :) 

 

Lastly, unfortunately players coming in for Adepticon won't be seeing Victor because he has a prior engagement taking him out of town for a week. One of our players will be there playing Tara and 4 Belle's and if I can get up to speed in the next few weeks I may play the Seamus and 6 Belle's but I don't know what that will prove since I am not an expert like he is at the list. Hopefully over the next year this thing shakes out. If it doesn't maybe Justin and Co. will be willing to address it a year from now. I am more than willing to answer questions but I am not going to be arguing any points. The last thread has drawn the battle lines and we know who is on which side and for what reasons. 

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<mod hat>

 

As the last thread on this topic was locked last week I'm going to give y'all the friendly 'play nice kids' warning we normally give now.

 

So with that warning already given if this thread goes over the line I'll just proceed directly to mod-stick and ban-hammer.

 

You have all been warned.

 

</mod hat>

 

On a personal note the game mentioned in the OP did happen and I'll post some thoughts later today. Csonti may beat me to it though. :)

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I have struggled against a good friend of mine for years when playing Seamus V. Perdita.  I will try to get a game in with him this week or weekend, and I will use the Seamus w/6 belles and report back as to how this goes.  I have actually played many games against his Perdita list, and have not yet won a single one with Seamus, so if nothing else this could help me finally defeat him.

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I have yet to experience such a match-up as many of the gamers in our Malifaux community (be it fairly young and small group) don't see Malifaux as the sort of game for this type of power gaming or play style. It does however remind me very much of certain other gaming systems with very similar problems. For example Dwarves from Warhammer 7th edition. They did 2 things and two things only, shut down your magic hard and shoot you full of holes. They wouldn't move and only engaged you in combat if you forced them too. It's neither fun or original and really drains fun from the game when you come across these sorts of lists.

 

Personally I discourage these sorts of lists before playing a game, especially with new opponents because if they turn out to be as troublesome as many posters have suggested it comes down to one thing in my opinion.... Bad Sportsmanship. At the end of the day we play these games to have fun. In the interest of looking into this a friend of mine and I will try to get together for a game. He is a big Seamus fan so I'll lend him my 3 Belles and we will see what sort of shenanigans he can pull against me with a list with 6 Belles, Seamus and Sybelle or whatever takes his fancy. Personally I'm not relishing the thought of playing such a list but it will certainly open my eyes to the problems it could/will raise. On a side note if I can find a way to utterly brutalize such a list I will be happy to post my findings so that it may benefit the community as a whole. If we can find the time I'll even try to get a battle rep up so you guys can comment on the pro's and con's of the match. 

 

Perhaps somebody could give me an idea of what the typical Seamus, Sybelle, 6 Belle list looks like. Any note worthy upgrades that are often included etc so my friend and I can replicate the list and give it a good run down. If we have the time I will suggest we both try the list for the purposes of balanced testing to see if one player can spot things the other didn't. 

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As the guy who ran the four bells and tara I can give an wee update ;)

 

Turn 1: I lured and killed a witchling. Even with all dat terrain, he couldn't hide ALL his models from my Bells. Plus Tara gave two the Bells fast so they could walk up and get double lures off.  Keep in mind this was turf war, so my opponent had to hang way back and seek out cover while I just move up a little, close enough to easily start scoring turn two. He on the other hand had to be very careful where he stepped.

 

Turn 2: I lured and killed two witchilng with two bells and two convicts. Lady jay and her student got a sneaky bit of fast off and she made a hit n' run that silenced at least one bell.

 

Turn 3: Lady Jay charges into another bell and kills it. My 2nd bell lures the rogue necro towards here and then lures her, triggers smell fear and he gets a bite.

Fransico wanted to give Lady J her stat buffs but she had been lured away. The Guild Exorsist did a little damage to a bell before being lured up by one and into combat range of a convict gunslinger then killed. Necromancy and Tara finished off lady J.

 

Turn 4: Fransico tried to run off but got lured back and finished off.

 

 

My opponent never caught a break no matter what he did. Bells everywhere, getting fast, luring with an irresistible cb 8. I felt dirty ;D

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Thank you, Sharpobjects, for the comprehensive and very informative post! It was a very nice read :) And it's great to hear that you tried a game with a lot more terrain. Out of interest, do you have severe terrain? Not saying that it is the answer or anything (I can see Lures taking advantage of such, in fact), just wondering. I know that we didn't use much of "non-cover providing yet severe" terrain until lately but it really changed the feel of the game.

Could you elaborate a bit on what the Belle list does? I don't expect a blow-by-blow account, but if you could describe in broad strokes how the Perdita game went for example, I believe that would be very educational.

Edit: Also thanks to E.T.A. Hoffman - a very interesting read!

Edit2: oh, and also thanks to Mythicfox for allowing this thread to prosper as well as for taking the time to test playing against the list on Vassal - much appreciated! :)

Edited by Math Mathonwy
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Are there enough Stubborn and/or Laugh Off models available in any given faction with which to build some kind of a (viable) counter to Lure shenanigans? I don't know if this was discussed in the previous thread (10 pages is a lot more than I'm willing to comb through), but on paper these two special rules seem like something that might at least help against being Lured all over the place.

 

I now defer to the expertise of people who have more experience than I do.

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From the Arcanist perspective, off the top of my head; 

 

Mei has [-] cast flips aura,

Tina and Ramos and all the Henchmen have access to Counter Spell,

Molemen can prevent themselves being moved,

Mech Rider has stubborn,

 

Also remember Sue hands out [-] cast flips

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Are there enough Stubborn and/or Laugh Off models available in any given faction with which to build some kind of a (viable) counter to Lure shenanigans? I don't know if this was discussed in the previous thread (10 pages is a lot more than I'm willing to comb through), but on paper these two special rules seem like something that might at least help against being Lured all over the place.

 

I now defer to the expertise of people who have more experience than I do.

There are some auras floating about that could be of use. Vent Steam for Mei feng-players, for example. Counterspell aura for Sonnia. I'm sure there are more.

 

EDIT: Bah, ninjad. Mythicfox' response was better anyways!

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From the Arcanist perspective, off the top of my head; 

 

Mei has [-] cast flips aura,

Tina and Ramos and all the Henchmen have access to Counter Spell,

Molemen can prevent themselves being moved,

Mech Rider has stubborn,

 

Also remember Sue hands out [-] cast flips

 

Bleeding Edge Tech has a small aura of [-] cast flips, though you obviously need to be in the thick of things for that to work.

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Ok, here I'm with a quick report of the game we played with Mythicfox.

 

But first I would like to make some notes in advance to illuminate my stance before the game.

 

- While I was also in the camp who think Belles do a bit too much for their money, I didn't think that they make the game blatantly unbalanced. But since nobody took the gloves I stepped up to play kind of devil's advocate.

 

- I didn't go with a 6 Belles spam because I firmly think that including a heavy hitter is a must to utilize the Lures' full potential. We agreed with Mythicfox that starting with 4 Belles could be treated as a spam list so I built my team with that in mind.

 

- Mythicfox did NOT prepare at all against Lures. Actually he restricted himself even more when he brought a ToMB list.
 

 

Deploy: Standard
Strat: Recconoiter
 
Scheme pool:
A Line in the Sand 
Assassinate - Seamus
Protect Territory
Plant Evidence - Kaeris 
Murder Protege - Both announced
 
Seamus -- 4 Pool
+Sinister Reputation [1]
 
Madame Sybelle [8]
+Bleeding Tongue [1]
+Not Too Banged Up [1]
 
Copycat Killer [3]
Nurse [5]
Rogue Necromancy [10]
Rotten Belle [5]
Rotten Belle [5]
Rotten Belle [5]
Rotten Belle [5]
 
 
Kaeris -- 7 Pool
+Blinding Flame [1]
+Grab and Drop [1]
+Imbued Protection [2]
 
Fire Gamin [4]
Fire Gamin [4]
Fire Gamin [4]
Gunsmith [7]
Gunsmith [7]
Soulstone Miner [6]
Freikorps Specialist [9]
+Imbued Protection [2]
 
Starting position:
belle_start_1.jpg
 
I don't have the time to do a full report but here are the highlights:
 
Turn1:
The Arcanists mostly advanced slowly and behind LoS blocking walls. The Specialist was Lured deeply by a Sybelle move-move-Call Belle-Lure-Lure combo. Seamus used Back Alley to get a shot on the only agressively approaching Gamin at the left side and finished it with a moderate flip on a negative damage (luck). Kaeris flied near Sybelle at the top of the hill and took the Belle beside her to a sightseeing flight and dropped it beside the hazardous terrain (6+2 damage -> Belle is out of the game). However she could not avoid being in LoS to an unactivated Belle who Lured her near the Rogue Necromancy. Charge was no option because of terrain so the later moved once and hit Kaeris who used SS to prevent most or maybe all of the damage. 
 
Turn2:
Initiative was cruicial here and I was the winner of it. Nurse started, gave +2 Dg to the RN and tried to use some sedatives on Kaeris (to trigger Smell Fear) but she resisted. Then RN activated thx to Accompliance and hit Kaeris two times with Ml7 [+] Attack, [+] Damage on a 5/7/8 Dg track. With 4 Stones used, Kaeris stayed alive relatively in a good shape (on 7 Wds or so) and hit back the RN to trigger an effect to push away the RN and the nearby Nurse. Kaeris tried to flee and meanwhile gave a quick lesson about aviation to Sybelle who was fortunately too fat to be lifted in a considerable height.

There was some fire and Lure battle over the board and the Specialist (the target of the Murder Protege) miraculously survived a Smell Fear attack from the RN while he was Lured before it. But later got some friendly fire from a Gunsmith who hoped to hit the RN in melee. Near the end of the turn the Kaeris crew ran out of cards so Sybelle went for the kill with her trigger. From two attacks only one landed so the last 2 SS was burned to keep Kaeris alive.
 
There was also some tricks and tries to get and deny point for the strategy but both of us failed. The Miner appeared on the board at the end but since I dominated 2 quarters with 2+ superiority it could not achieve a draw in numbers.
 
Turn3:
With 0 stones and Sybelle in melee Kaeris again desperately need to win the init. And again it was the Ressers' turn to start. Sybelle's hits lowered Kaeris wounds to 2 so she called a Belle again who activated instantly and finished off Kaeris with a focused strike and moderate damage. Here Mythicfox resigned.
 
Map at the end:
belle_end_1.jpg
 
Conclusion
 
Maybe some of you think that this is a good proof of the OP Belles but neither me nor my opponent came to that conclusion. Here is the reasons from me:
 
1. The game favoured my list in various ways:
 - while the terrain was plenty, there were a lot of good, long open lanes that was essential for Lures
 - most of my opponent's crew had a Wp4-5 with no direct defensive counter in his bag (terrain placement, Counterspell etc.)
 - the strategy and even the scheme pool was ideal for me
 
2. I had luck in critical situations. Most notably at the initiative flips of turn 2 and 3.
 
3. My success was less based on so many Lures but the proper use of the Sybelle-RN-Nurse trio. I firmly think that with 6 Belles I could achieve a lot less. And maybe I could get an even better result with only 2 Belles and say a Bete Noire.
 
4. Mythicfox is a really good player and I hope he will not take this as an offence but he made at least one critical mistake in this game. Namely bringing Kaeris too close to me so early. Without that it would be a much closer game.

So that was it. You can start to throw the stones and forks now! :)
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I just think there needs to be some counter or cost to the effectiveness of Bells. And the real issue here is the NPE. Ca 8 and spammed makes people unhappy. lol I feel like ressers have more NPE than most other factions and they aren't even OP! Seamus for example, his back alley and focus shoot a model dead turn one. It's not broken, it's just kind of unfun to deal with time and time again with little ways to counter it. But, I digress, this is about Bells.

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lol.

 

I wouldn't add much to what Csonti said re the game.  I certainly blundered brining Kaeris up, I was relying on my effective Df7 to do more than it did. Far from my finest hour play wise.

 

Had I not chosen to try an 'unprepared' list I would have fancied my chances much more. For example my default Recon list vs Resser players is something like;

 

 

Ramos -- 7 Pool
+Combat Mechanic [2]
+Under Pressure [2]

 

Arcane Effigy [4]
Electrical Creation [4]

 

Johan [7]
+Imbued Energies [1]

 

Joss [10]
+Imbued Energies [1]
+Warding Runes [1]

 

Moleman [4]
Moleman [4]
Soulstone Miner [6]

 

In the same scenario this list would have been very tough for the Belle Lure list to have taken points from.

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Victors Seamus list

 

Seamus - 7SS

Upgrades: Bag O Tools, Unnerving Aura, Decaying Aura

 

Madame Sybelle

Upgrade: Not Too Banged Up

 

Rotten Belle

Rotten Belle

Rotten Belle

Rotten Belle

Rotten Belle

Rotten Belle

Copy Cat Killer

 

My List

 

Perdita - 7SS

Upgrades: Os Veo, Trick Shooting, Aura Ancestral

 

Francisco

Upgrade: Wade In, Tormenta De Plomo

 

Papa Loco

Santiago

Brutal Effigy

Guild Hound

Guild Hound

Guild Hound

Guild Hound

 

 

Assasinate wasnt in play so I opted not to take Vengeance Bullet. I normally dont like to spend AP going after Seamus if there insnt any Vp involved because of how elusive he is and able to easily heal up from models losing wp duels near him. I took plant the evidence and entourage. With two hounds on each flank of the table I have a very high success rate at accomplishing plant the evidence with at least one pair. With their walk of 6 its easy to hold them back out of Los until late game where my opponents usually dont have the resources to stop the dogs streaking up the sidelines. 

 

Victor did get very lucky I will admit in that he drew the Red Joker on turn 1. I went with the Brutal Effigy first giving Perdita the healing condition and then walked him up staying out of Los of the Belles. He made a bold move and did a 16 inch back alley and a focus shot on Papa Loco at my deployment zone. He killed him with the red Joker and did splash damage on Perdita and Francisco. I did a wound prevention on both models. Because of the non healing aura I decided to go with Francisco, handed out the +2/+2 and walked up once and shoot scoring a severe which he prevented 2. Then Perdita companioned pushed up to Francisco and shot at Seamus 3 times. One of the shots he was able to wound prevent all the damage. I think I got him down to 4 wounds left. 

 

I did consider there was a chance that if I charged and got the built in Ram along with spending a stone for a Ram I may have killed Seamus but with wound prevention and hard to kill in play it wasnt certain. I also would not have healed up the two wounds I had on Perdita with the effigy condition. After that he lured Seamus back to safety and later in the game healed him to full with a ton of Wp losses on Lures. The dogs actually killed 3 Belle's and wounded Sybelle but were not able to drop the scheme markers because of being blocked by Belle on the flanks. Perdita killed a Belle and wounded a Belle and dropped some scheme markers. Santiago was lured up and killed, and Perdita and Francisco were eventually killed by Seamus with the assitance of Belle's and the Copy Cat Killer. He was also able to pick up the plant the evidence markers I dropped with Perdita and Francisco. Since Perdita was dead I could not score for Entourage. Vengeance Bullet would have helped me kill Seamus or maybe make him think twice about the power move on turn 1. Also placing papa loco behind Perdita and Francisco would have helped as well, staying out of Los

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The reason I love 6 bells is the fact you start with a woping 48 wounds on the table that your opponent has to chew thew even if he landed all his hits. This gives me the option of seperate and kill his key pieces while luring/slowing and tying up in melee the rest of his crew

 

From then on I look at the completion of schemees and strategies and how to deny as much points as possible. Making sure that even if I commit to a trade I come out on top. I will often rush up a unwounded belle to a side and lure a beatstick model, then slow him and forget about him for at least 1-2 turns.

 

Positioning is what wins games, model stats are important but with a stat of 8 casting it makes sure I am olways at least at a +1 adventage to anything in the game. This makes it rather easy to justify my reasoning that if you are planning to get away from the lure you have to burn a high card you would use otherwise when defending agains seamus or sybelle.

 

This also means that a lure is equally valued in some instances as much as a master attacking you. That in its own right makes it very powerfull as it does not depleet masters ap pool.

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If you're really wanting to hard counter the Belles with Arcanists (worthwhile if Ressers are dominating your meta with Belles), you can make a pretty nasty Ramos list:

 

Ramos

-Combat Mechanic

-Under Pressure

 

Arcane effigy

Joss (Bleeding Edge Tech, Warding Runes)

Mechanical Rider

Steam Arachnid

Firestarter (Powered By Flame, Warding Runes)

 

7SS cache

 

Not a bad list overall. Aside from the effigy, everything has Wp6 or higher, and everything more than 4SS has stubborn or counterspell. Has everything you need to get the Ramos engine churning and make up for the early lack of models.

 

You could also drop the rider (less summoning) for a few mages with the doom ward and one of the other wards, to add some shooting and make the henchmen more resilient. 

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