WMH November Update: Burn Notice

While COVID may have many of us staying away from tabletop around the tabletops (depending on local gathering restrictions and the contents of your bubble/pod), make no mistake: We still sit around thinking about how to fine tune our lists, searching for new combinations, and otherwise seeking the road to victory for the day when we can once more push army mans around the table and fling dice. Last week Privateer Press dropped the November Update for Warmachine and Hordes, codifying the results of the Trollblood CID and updating a number of other models. Players from the Kriels are no doubt wrapping their brains around the changes to the Trollkin, but anyone who’s spent any real time around the Lost Hemisphere knows that the Protectorate’s where I call my home, so there was one model update in particular that I’ve been staring at.

One of my favorite burny boys has received an update, and is ready to set the world ablaze…

Malekus the Burning Truth

Gain the Divine Passages ability and sub-menu

Divine Passages – Once per turn at the start of this model’s activation, it can use one of the following effects:

Fable of Ash – While within this model’s control range, friendly Faction warrior models gain Ashen Veil. Fable of Ash lasts for one round.

Hymn of Might – This model can cast one spell this turn without spending focus.

Verse of Cinders – Friendly Faction warjacks activating in this model’s control range gain Blazing Wrath. Verse of Cinders lasts for one turn. (A model with Blazing Wrath can charge enemy models suffering the Fire continuous effect without spending focus.)

  • Remove Immolation spell
  • Gain Brand of Fire spell

Developer’s Notes:  Malekus was missing a bit of versatility in the options available to a player each activation. We specifically were looking for a way to increase player agency when running Malekus and also to increase his fire delivery methods. His new Divine Passages offer a set of powerful and interesting options for a player to choose from each turn, while swapping Immolation for Brand of Fire (which can potentially be cast for free each turn) means Malekus has a bit more control over his fire effect allocation.

Much of Malekus remains unchanged, but adding in the Divine Passages plays into the same concept exemplified by the Choir of Menoth – the ability to manifest divine magic effects through hymns and prayers to Menoth. In Malekus’ case, we now know why he’s holding aloft his text. We already know from his backstory that Malekus isn’t possessed of a shrewd intellect like our boy Vindictus, so he clearly has trouble remembering all the words. Hence, the book.

He still has Ashen Veil, he still has Scourge for knockdown, Banishing Ward for protection or to hinder enemy buffs, Ignite for an attack buff and potential fire source, Open Fire for additional attacks (more Vanquisher pie plates?).

Brand of Fire adds a new way to toss fire about the board as a RNG10 POW14 spell, setting the target and d3 nearby enemy models on fire. Given Malekus’ fondness of warjacks, a FOC3 spell might not see a lot of play, but – BUT! – thanks to his new passages, if he opts for the Hymn of Might he can cast it for free. Given that he can subsequently use the Verse of Cinders to let his warjacks charge the now-burning enemies for free, it lends some significant mid-late game focus efficiency.

The other thing to be mindful of is that this also plays into his feat, Raging Inferno. The more things that you’ve managed to set ablaze, the more mileage you’ll get out of the feat, with each burning model taking an additional dice of damage on their fire damage rolls, and those same fire rolls not expiring in Malekus’ control area.

Malekus may be a battlebox model, but Privateer has always impressed me with their dedication to keeping their starter models relevant, not just something you can use to learn the game and then shelve as you move on to more complicated, difficult models. High Exemplar Kreoss remained in my play roster for years after I’d adopted Amon Ad Raza as my MkII main, and Malekus continues to be a part of my plans. The Flameguard may not be my favourite subsect of the Protectorate’s military, but Malekus is putting the rest of the Iron Kingdoms on notice. On Burn Notice. (See what I did there? I kill me…)