Malifaux: Tiny Dancers

Hello, friends!  Lostie Ben here.  You may have seen my name around here before, on the Paint the Target and the occasional Grymkin post.  I play Warmachine, Hordes, and Malifaux. And, as I know that sometimes consistency is important in these uncertain times, I am also a bearded man with a shaved head here to talk to you about miniatures.

I first got into Malifaux on an impulse.  I’d just gotten a bonus from work and was looking to get myself a nerd present, as pretty much anyone in the minis hobby would do.  I’d slightly burned myself out on Warmahordes, painting most of a Grymkin pairing and half a Convergence pairing while trying to get a toe hold into my Cygnar list.  What I hadn’t realized was that I needed an aesthetic change.  My spouse picked up the Asami starter box for the Ten Thunders faction and showed it to me, thinking that the models looked really cool and different.  That was nine months ago, and now I have a bunch of models across two Malifaux factions, and am looking at picking up a third.

Let’s say you repeated my good fortune, and bought into this wonderful game on a whim, or you’ve heard about how great it is, and decided to jump in.  What does the starter product look like?  What do you need past that to play?  And where should you start if you want to get a full crew on the table?

Fear not, I’m about to help you all of these questions and more.  I have a brand-new core box here, and I’m going to open it, build it, and paint it up for you.

I recently bought the Collette core box in the Arcanist faction.  She is one of my favorite masters in the game mostly because of her gorgeous sculpt, and I’d been itching to dive into her crew for a long time, so this seems as good a time as any to bring you along for the ride. (Disclaimer: I have not gotten Collette on the table yet, DC has been on pretty tight restrictions due to COVID, and so all of my  gameplay notions are wildly untested theories at this point.)

This is the box:

It looks like a box.  On the front, you see some studio paint schemes, as well as the symbols for the factions these models can be part of.  On the back, you have a rendering of what the unpainted models look like. Inside, the contents of all core boxes are pretty close to the same.  They will have the master (in this case, Collette), her totem or totems (normally singular, but Collette has three, the Mechanical Doves), a henchman (Cassandra Felton), and three minions of the same keyword (the Showgirls).

Inside, it looks like this:

Coming from Warmahordes, the biggest difference that surprised me was that I was looking at sheets of printed plastic instead of separate parts.  This has made my hobby knife and clippers my absolute best friends.  Wyrd likes to put the sprue connections where the model pieces connect to each other, which is kind of a double edged sword.  On the one hand, there is less of a chance of you losing detail on the model due to removing plastic.  On the other hand, if you don’t clean that model really well, it will not fit together nicely, and you’ll be breaking out your green stuff for gap filling.

You also get your stat cards and bases inside the box.  Always double check the Malifaux M3E free app to make sure that the cards haven’t been errata’d since they were printed.  They haven’t changed much, nothing in the Collette box, but it does happen.

Now, what you’ve all been waiting for when you clicked on the link: the models!

Collette Du Bois:

Collette Du Bois, the owner of the Star Theater, and the master of the Performers crew was, honestly, an easy build and a joy to paint.  She came in 11 pieces, and I was able to assemble everything before painting, as there was enough room to work around that big magic swoosh to still manage to get her face and the mechanical dove in her hand painted.   I’m also admittedly a bit biased towards this model and took a bit more time painting her, as she has possibly my favorite sculpt in the game.  Gameplay- wise, she is the star of her own show, so she looks like she wants to be up front, pulling magic tricks, popping in and out of existence, and leaving your opponent’s models distracted and stunned.

Mechanical Doves:

You always get your Master and their Totem(s) for free, before needing to buy anything else, so every Collette crew will start with four models on the table.  The Mechanical Doves are designed to get in the way, get you back resources, and sometimes even blow up obnoxiously.  Also, Collette has the ability on her card to bring them back.  As far building goes, these were also pretty easy, at six pieces (Dove A, the one with multiswirls), three pieces (Dove B, the one on the hat), and four pieces (Dove C, single swirl), respectively.  The only real challenge was dry fitting the swirls to make sure they lined up before gluing them down.  It’s not a hard match to make, but if you try to wing it, it might not go well.

Cassandra Felton:

This fiery performer (she literally breathes fire) is the box’s beatstick, as much as the Performers  have beatsticks.  She’s super nimble, very flexible, and can get in where your opponent doesn’t want her.  She can also and put out a goodly amount of pain, either with her sword or her fire breath ranged.  She’s never going to stack up to the hardest-hitting models in the faction (say, the Sabertooth Cerberus, or half of Ironsides’ or Hoffman’s crew), but she’s a solid choice on the table for her ability to get wherever she needs to be, hit, and get out.  There is a moment in every Malifaux project where I find myself looking at a model and wondering “Wyrd, why?”  With the Collette core box, the culprit was Cassandra.  She is seven pieces, but her head is two pieces (her face is one, and her hair the other) and it connects to her body between her shoulders and sword.   (The shoulders, torso, sword arm, and sword are all one piece.)  This means that the one place you want to be able to put force on the model until your glue catches is also the one place it’s really hard to get a finger to do that.

Showgirls:

Finally, we have the Showgirls, nimble scheme runners extraordinaire.  These lovely ladies are here to hand out the distraction condition like candy and move your opponent’s models around. They have enough defensive abilities that your opponent should have to commit more soulstones worth of models to remove them then you paid for them. They also have the “Don’t Mind Me” ability.  This ability, present on most Performer models, lets you break the rules and scheme while engaged, an awesome way to get the points that your opponent doesn’t want you to.  The models were six pieces (Showgirl A, hands on her hips), three pieces (Showgirl B, curtsying), and six pieces (Showgirl C, pirouetting), respectively, and were not that bad to build.  Or at least, as long as you remember the cardinal rule of everything you don’t want to nick with the craft knife should stay behind the blade.  (Don’t make my mistakes, friends.)

What do you still need past this to play?  The core box is putting you at a 23 soulstone build, which means you could either play a 25 soulstone game with a little bit of stones to use in game, or a 30 soulstone game with lots of leftover soulstones to use – Malifaux has a unique mechanic in which the soulstones you don’t use to build your crew are a resource for use in game. You will also need a deck of cards with jokers (Wyrd makes some with their custom suits, but a standard playing card deck can work just fine), the free online rule book, a measuring tape, a three-foot-by-three- foot table with a lot of terrain, and a friend with a crew of their own.

Where do you go from here?  What should you get next to fill out a full 50 soulstone crew?  Will the next blog post be just as long and rambling?  Guess you’ll just have to tune in and see.

Until next time, may you only find the black joker on truly unimportant flips.