Malifaux Burns, Part 2: The Resurrectionists

Today we’re going to be seeing how everyone’s favorite gang of puckish, mass-murdering scamps is handling Malifaux’s outbreak of mind-melting insanity.  Spoiler alert: not well!  You’d think Resurrectionists thrive on chaos, but they’ve already got an otherworldly patron, the the Burning Man represents interference into some long-term, carefully laid plans.  Gang Green isn’t the most organized bunch, and so they’re not handling this well.  But how poorly varies by individual.

this image has nothing to do with the ressers, but shows some burning man cultists fighting against, uh, deep ones and cthulhu i guess. Credit: Wyrd Games

Yeah, I know this isn’t the same order I did the Faction Focuses in.  Tough.  If you have a picture of any of the pictureless models, send it my way and I’ll swap it into the article.

Dr. McMourning, Insanitary

we love arms, don’t we folks? and we have the best… the best arms. everyone says so. Credit: Wyrd Games

Dougy’s in a bit of a rough spot.  Lady Justice blew up his lab, and that daffy minge Molly let a bunch of his prize creations out of storage.  What’s an enterprising bio-artificier to do?

Innovate, that’s what!  Experiment!  And if your test subjects have all run away or melted into bubbling pools of slime… experiment on yourself!

This version of McMourning is learning to do more with less.  No longer the melee monster he was, he now focuses on relentless self-improvement.  His signature move of stitching three Corpse Markers into a Flesh Construct is still here, but it’s much easier for him to scrounge up the parts – whenever a marker would be removed within 8″ of him, he may either drop an identical marker where it was or draw a card (a maximum of once each per activation).  He also gets a free Scheme or Corpse Marker when a model with Poison +3 or more dies near him.  This lets him drop lots of corpses quickly (plus his melee attack has a built in trigger to drop a marker of the sort the target would drop if it’s killed).  So what can he do with all these markers laying around?

Use them!  His signature Desperate Plot ability lets you push a friendly model, give it poison, and remove a marker it crossed over to attach an Appendage.  There are four of these – extra fat, extra arms, extra legs and an extra head.  Each grants a stat bonus (+2 mv, +1 df, +2 wp or +2 to simple duels) and a second ability, and each type of upgrade can be discarded to reduce the damage of an incoming attack to 0 and drop a marker of the type that was used in their creation.

This ability is awesome.  McMourning’s been errata’d since it dropped so he can only have one Appendage on a given target, but the ability to patch up a model is extremely handy.  Kentauroi can go to Mv 8.  The Corpse Curator (below) can go to Df 7.  The sky’s the limit here, so get creative!  He can’t stitch himself up (sadly, despite his art) but he can still do a lot.  And that’s not even to mention his Plastic Surgery ability, which lets him staple an action from any model within 8″ and grant it to a friendly Experimental model.  Have you ever wanted a Canine Remains with the bite of a Rogue Necromancy?  Now you can have… that!

McMourning was busted at launch due to the combination of multiple Appendages on one model and an unintended interaction with original Seamus, which was quietly fixed.  He’s merely very good now, but you better be ready to track a lot of markers!

Molly Squidpiddge, Chaotic Conductor

and step and kick and skewer and step! Credit: Wyrd Games

Molly’s probably having the best time of all the Ressers.  She’s made so many new friends!  Lots of them were locked up in nasty old basements, so Molly has let them free.  And organized a parade!  Her gang of ghouls grows every time she busts open some necromancer’s secret lock-up, and while her new friends tends towards the hulking, hair-raising and horrific, at least they’re learning to use the buddy system.

New Molly’s a bit of an odd duck.  She has some card draw, but not nearly as much as her original.  She does have the ability to let them cheat off the top of the deck, which alleviates hand pressure a bit, but those Fading abilities are a lot more costly when you’re not replenishing your hand the way original-Molly could.  She’s also quite a bit less killy, losing her irreducible Disturbing Story and Lethe’s Caress.  What she gets instead is the ability to resolve other models’ Fading abilities when she discards cards, and the unique Parade Route action, which pushes a nearby model (friendly or enemy, though you have to make an attack flip against enemies) up to 5″ through models and terrain and can either deal damage to them or make them Interact while engaged.

There’s some play there- pushing a model and then letting it Interact even while engaged can secure you points, and points win games.  The Forgotten crew is a bit of a Rube Goldberg machine, and it’s hard to see how the machine works without the lynchpin of Original Molly; this version’s best abilities aren’t keyword locked, so you might just see her hiring a gang of Resser all-stars.

Seamus, AKA Sebastian Baker

basically the worst bumble date of all time. Credit: Wyrd Games

Sebastian Baker is a familiar name to the up-and-coming strivers of Malifaux’s stage.  He’s the Star-Maker, a talent agent par excellence.  More than one career has been made beneath Baker’s sunny grin!

And he’s also Seamus, but you knew that, didn’t you?

Turns out the old “shower and a haircut” trick works wonders.  Seamus knows better than to Just Be Yourself, especially if Being Yourself makes the lovelies run screaming.  These days, with the streets in tumult and the Guild on the warpath, it’s better if Malifaux’s most wanted serial killer ditches his signature hat.  He hasn’t given up on his hobbies, though; once he’s got a talented star in the making under his wing, a quick chop is all that’s needed to get them ready for their curtain call.

First things first: Seamus has put down his gun.  No more 4/6/8s.  I know, it’s been fun.  He’s also lost Cause for Celebration, meaning he has to limit himself to 3 AP per activation like everyone else.  Finally, he has lost Secret Passage.  Sebastian Baker can’t be seen gallivanting around dark alleys.  So what has he gained?

Quite a lot, actually.  His Df and Wp have switched places, making him actually somewhat durable if the enemy can hit him.  He’s traded Hard to Kill and Terrifying for Stealth and Laugh Off – he’s distinctly more vulnerable in melee than he used to be, but much tougher to kill at range, and Laugh Off somewhat makes up for his low Wp (as many Wp targeting attacks move the target).

This time around, he’s far more focused on melee combat and Distracted.  Thanks to Right Behind You, if his target is isolated from its crew (no friendlies within 3″) then he gets a +twist on all attacks against them.  As for the second half, the first time each activation an enemy engaged by Seamus takes an action, they get a Distracted.  His melee attack, a 2/3/4 stat 6, also inflicts Distracted.  And he has a nifty tactical action that puts up a 6″ aura within which enemy models that gain Distracted take a point of damage.

Oh, and he summons now.

That’s right! Once per activation, Seamus can discard a corpse marker to summon a Belle.  He needs a 10 of crows to summon a Belle and an 11 to summon a Doxy, but if the corpse marker was dropped that activation – say, from the Amputate trigger on his melee attack – he gets a +1 to his duel and a built-in suit.  And critically, he still has Why Hello Love, which lets him make a free attack whenever an enemy ends an out-of-activation movement in his engagement range.

There’s a lot of potential here.  Seamus has a couple ways to push enemies around during his activation, and with a nearby Redchapel minion putting them on a -twist to Wp duels with Scarlet Temptation, he’ll be succeeding a lot… and generating a lot of attacks.  His damage track is a lot lower than his initial form, but the combo potential is incredible.  And the aforementioned tactical action has one other bonus – on a mask trigger, until the end of the turn, enemy models are never counted as being in other enemy models’ auras, and enemies take a -twist on duels targeting each other.  This is a massive ability, a totally unique form of hate, and one that just hellishly punishes some crews.  Stick him in the middle of a Jedza bubble and watch her cry.

Reva Cortinas, Luminary

her new henchman is JFK Jr. credit: Wyrd Games

Remember when I danced gently around the term “cult leader?”  Well grab your ivermectin smoothie and hold on to your thetans, because Reva’s here to spread the Good News.

She’s had a tough life.  Malifaux’s not a forgiving place, and Reva deliberately seeks out the lost and the damned, people who’ve lost everything – including, in some cases, their lives.  She tries to her best to give them a good life, but it’s hard.  Nobody understands that the dead only want peace.  Her little group of followers took up residence in an underground reservoir for a while, a safe place with fresh water, but even that proved no sanctuary.  Some mysterious foulness desecrated their water supply and the cult began to grow desperate.  Reva, uncertain of how to save her people, was tormented by terrible nightmares… nightmares that featured a voice in the darkness, whispering her name, and a tiny, nascent light.

Reva pushed back against the darkness, but it seemed fated to swallow her whole… until the light grew, and she accepted it into her soul.  Channeling a new flame, she scorched away the corruption, and declared to her followers that they were done hiding.  It was time to see the sun again.

Reva may be well-intentioned, but she’s channeling the Burning Man’s power now, and that can lead nowhere good.  She’s lost her horse and her spectral scythes and gone all-in on Burning and Pyre Markers.  Pyres have always been a subtheme of the Revenant keyword, but title Reva really accelerates them.  Whenever a pyre marker is dropped in her line of sight, she can push all nearby models 2″, ensuring that they get to dance in the fire – and when models within 8″ gain Burning, she can either heal them or ping them for a damage.  She can shove pyre markers around and even let nearby models hitch a ride on them.  And when enemies really need to die, she can burn them out with Immolate, dealing up to five damage based on their Burning condition (and potentially summoning a Lampad if she kills her target).  The most unique ability on her card, though, is the Luminary’s Chosen trigger on her Lantern’s Light action – she can give one lucky model a 4″ aura in which nearby friendlies with Shielded deal an additional damage with all attacks.  That’s monstrously strong, allowing Vincent St. Clair to deal a potential 5/6/7 damage with his crossbow (three shots per turn!), though it will take a significant resource investment to make that happen.

Jack Daw, Ensouled

a screaming himbo with a paper bag on his head. Credit: Wyrd Games

Never trust a betrayer.  I mean, really – given Jack Daw’s whole, you know, thing vis a vis guilt and punishment, you’d have to be really stupid to turn your back on him, right?  Or desperate.

Well, Kirai’s not stupid, but I guess she was pretty desperate.  Hoping to resurrect her lost love, Francis, she enacted a ritual that would open a tunnel to the afterlife and return him to her: not undead but alive.  Part of the ritual required a lot of killin’, and Kirai accepted Jack Daw’s silent offer of help.  Foolishly, as it turns out – as the ritual reached its climax, Daw interfered, casting Francis’s soul back into the abyss from whence it came and retrieving his own instead.  Daw’s got his mojo back, which apparently means he’s ripped as hell and managed to pull his bag-mask off by like 30%.  I mean, I don’t make the rules, guys, I just report.

The most notable difference in this Daw is the loss of Undying and his various noose attacks.  He’s got a real health pool now, and he’s Incorporeal, which makes up a bit for losing Undying.  The other thing that’s changed is that he’s fast as hell now.  The Burst of Speed and On Your Heels triggers mean that he’ll fairly fly across the board, and thanks to his Last Words ability, if he moves through an enemy they have to pass a movement duel or be pulled long in his wake.  Once he’s in the thick of things, he can use Draw Them In to pull nearby enemies towards him, and the Guilt of the Many trigger to deal as much as 4 damage in an aoe.  In addition, his melee attacks give enemy models a new Betrayer upgrade, making the area around them Hazardous – so once enemies are clustered up, they’ll start hurting each other.

It’s a very neat package of abilities and pretty strong; Original Flavor Daw is quite polarizing, almost auto-winning some matchups and auto-losing others, whereas this one has quite a bit of play into a wider variety of enemies and pools.  Mobility is king in Malifaux, and Ensouled has quite a lot.

Prof. Von Schtook, Stargazer

there’s definitely something seductive about that telescope-zombie’s pose. Credit: Wyrd Games

God, I just love clenches fist celestial phenomena.

The arrival of the Burning Man has set the heavens of Malifaux ablaze.  Portals fill the sky, chaotic new stars and windows to distant realms.  Von Schtook is Von Shook by it all, regaining the sense of wonder that brought him to Malifaux in the first place.  He turned his back on the stars once, but never again.  Is he giving up the “turning people into horrible abominations of flesh and metal” game?  Not one bit, but he’s encouraging his Students to take a look skyward.  The stars are right, apparently!

Stargazer is very cool.  He no longer summons or pulses out Focused, but he’s learned some new tricks.  First of all, whenever a friendly Transmortis model within 6″ fails a duel, it gets a +twist on all subsequent duels that activation, which is bananas.  He also makes excellent use of Scheme Markers; his now project a 3″ aura in which his crew can treat their targets as having one of Beast, Undead, Living, and Construct.  An Achilles’ Heel of the Transmortis keyword has always been that some of their abilities are locked away behind Characteristic restrictions (e.g. Construct only).  Now you can get around that!  To help his crew make use of this ability, he has a Shockwave – a huge and fairly impressive one – that drops a Scheme Marker instead of a Shockwave Marker.  He’s also got a neat melee attack and the very cool Study of Anatomy action, which allows you to resolve up to four effects, one for each Characteristic on the target.  Some are good and some are bad, but if you’re targeting your own zombies near a friendly Scheme Marker, you can place them 3″, make them take a non-Charge General Action, and either end a condition on them or give them Shielded +2.  That’s a lot of value out of one AP!

He’s also got a hilarious bonus action which effectively inflicts Insignificant on an enemy model, which is absolutely great – points win games, and this turns off an enemy’s ability to score.

Stargazer is very strong, probably an upgrade on the original, which is no small feat given how strong the Transmortis keyword is.  You have to plan ahead a bit, but he’s got a great toolbox and can really punish enemies once you’ve got your Scheme Markers in place.

Kirai Ankoku, Envoy of the Court

five seconds after the mask mandate is repealed and she gives you this look. Credit: Wyrd Games

Kirai, as has been intimated above, has not had a good few months.  She traveled to Earth to study with the Court of Two, a secretive organization led by a Malifaux doppelganger who decided infiltrating Earthside politics would be a quicker path to power.  With the Court, Kirai honed her necromantic abilities, raising an army of spirits and binding them into service.  The Court uses her talents for mercenary work, raising their own power and profile towards their inscrutable ends, but Kirai got what she needed from them, too: the secrets of life and death, and the key to bringing Francis back to her.

She took a pretty big L on that one, but at least let’s give her points for trying.

Now she’s back in Malifaux, and the failure of her scheme has left her bitter and cold.  Francis is at her side, but soulless; he’s not the man he was.  Kirai hasn’t given up hope of restoring him, but she knows she’ll need everything she learned from the Court and powerful allies besides.  And she’s smart enough not to trust them, either.

This Kirai is, uh… she’s a lot.  Let’s not bury the lede.  I think “best master in the game” is not a question susceptible of a single answer, but if we did want to have that conversation, Envoy would be in it.  She no longer summons spirits the way she did – instead, her signature rule is Join Us.  Whenever a friendly Urami moves through an enemy, that enemy model must pass a TN 13 WP duel.  On a failure, you get to summon an Urami minion of cost 4 or less (so a Gaki or Enslaved Spirit) into base contact with them.  A given enemy can only give rise to one summon per turn, but this is otherwise uncapped; if you move a single spirit through three enemies, they take three tests and summon up to three dudes, and if any of them pass you can take your second AP to do it again.

Kirai absolutely drowns the board in spirits, regularly summoning 30+ soulstones of models per game with no AP expenditure on her part, and her summons tend to snowball – especially because Enslaved Spirits have Chain Gang and can use it to push themselves and their friends through more enemies.  To help out with her summons, she has Swirling Spirits, which lets her push any number of nearby models up to 5″ (plus herself, on a trigger).  The TN of the action scales with the number of spirits you’re pushing, but you can push up to 19 stones’ worth with a 13 in hand, and that’s a lot of friggin’ spirits!  Even a lowly 8 in hand can push a Gwisin and the Ikiryo, which means your heavy hitters will Sadako right up into your enemy’s face, popping out baby spirits as they go.  Oh, and Kirai can also let her spirits pass around healing between themselves (keeping both her and them healthy) and treat their Crow cards as any suit, which makes triggering Onslaught, Puncture and Flay a lot easier.

And she still summons the Ikiryo!

Envoy is nasty and, facing her, you have to have a plan to either deny her those summons or clear a ton of little ghosts at once.  About the only saving grace is that summoned spirits can’t interact with Strategy markers… but that’s cold comfort if they’re just, you know, murdering you.

White Rabbit Co.

Somewhat at Wyrd really likes rabbits.  We’ve got the War Wabbit, the Eggapult, Easter Angelica, Luther, Fluffernutter, and now these guys.  Not that I’m complaining – I have a pet bunny and she’s the best.

Anyways, there’s no actual rabbits here, that’s just branding.  The White Rabbit Co. is, of all things, a hat company, which makes their allegiance to a cabal of necromancers and undead monsters a bit of a hard sell, but let’s just roll with it.  Seamus is one of their best customers, of course, but they’ve also made some inroads on the Bayou. They sell hats to Som’er Teeth Jones himself, and can be hired into his crew as well.

On the table, the Co. can push enemies (and friendlies) around with Beckoning Call and attack with Needle and Thread, but what you’re really here for is their Tailored Fit bonus action.  This allows you to bestow a Comfortable Hat upgrade on a friendly model.  Once behatted, that model counts as a Scheme Marker, though they cannot be removed by your enemy’s anti-marker abilities.  They can also, in extremis, ditch the hat to save 2 incoming damage.

This ability is both bizarre and awesome.  You want to score Breakthrough?  Stick a hat on someone and just walk them into the enemy deployment zone.  Death Beds?  Just kill your target in melee.  It gets even weirder when you start usingw abilities like Drag Along (just drag the friendly model behind you!) and the like.

You get one hat per turn and can have a total of 3 out on the board at once, so you might as well cash them in to score some points.  The Co. is also reasonably annoying to remove with Manipulative and Innocent Bystander and have some ability to disrupt the enemy crew with Chatty and Beckoning Call, so they’re not just a hat factory.

Corpse Curator

There’s a lot of weird stuff under Malifaux.  Malifaux City, in particular, sits atop a sprawling Necropolis, a maze of tunnels and tombs that’s just crawling with undead – some from the many Resurrectionists who lair in the sewers, and some of, uh, older vintage.

Lucas McCabe unearthed the Corpse Curator in one of his grave-robbing, I mean, archaeological expeditions.  It didn’t seem hostile – just curious.  It can’t talk, but the two were able to communicate after a fashion, and fashioned an entente.  The Curator has been in the Necropolis a long, long time, and it knows where the juiciest treasures lie.  When McCabe’s not around, the Curator wanders into McMourning’s territory, and it turns out the good Doctor has just as much use for fresh bodies as McCabe does for ancient treasures.  Everybody wins!

So what do McCabe and McMourning have in common, besides the Hibernian ancestry manifested in their surnames?  Well, they both love markers, for one – McMourning turns Corpses into soldiers, while McCabe turns Scrap or Corpses into relics.  The Curator provides both.  Friendly models can treat it as a Corpse or Scrap Marker, and if that marker would be removed, instead the Curator takes 2 irreducible damage.  It can also pull markers with it as it moves.  But the marker fun doesn’t stop there – it can push markers around and attack through them with Dredge Up, or use triggers on its bonus action to create Scrap or Hazardous Sludge Markers that hand out Poison.

Poison is its other source of synergy, as it turns out – while the Curator is poisoned, it can choose to either heal from the poison instead of taking damage, or pass the damage onto a nearby model.  That used to be a lot nastier before the February errata capped poison damage at 5, but 5 damage with nary a flip in sight is nothing to sneeze at.  The Cursed Sludge action also gives it a 2″ aura in which nearby Poisoned enemies are never treated as engaging friendlies, which is pretty nice for scheming purposes.  The Curator’s a little fragile with 6 health, but Df 6 is above average and it does have some armor to blunt incoming damage.  It’s nothing too flashy, but it’s a solid workhorse that enables some truly insane marker play from both of its Keywords, and I expect it to see lots of play.

Noxious Nephilim

he’s totally ob-noxious Credit: Wyrd Games

There aren’t that many undead Nephilim.  Among the Nephilim themselves, there’s a strong taboo against necromancy.  Their memories of Titania’s betrayal run too deep to allow such blasphemy.  Human Resurrectionists occasionally laid hands on a Nephilim corpse and raised it themselves, but the bodies are hard to work with.  Black blood sears human flesh just as easily when its owner is dead, and Nephilim zombies can’t be restored with grafted parts from other species – their bodies reject the grafts.

Nekima’s been slowly working on reversing the Nephilim ban on the walking dead.  She’s more of a pragmatist than her sister (or perhaps just more ruthless).  And Molly’s been on the lookout for escaped or lost undead, including those rare Nephilim zombies whose human creators either abandoned them or were killed by them.

The Noxious Nephilim, serving both Forgotten and Nephilim crews, stand about halfway between the two.  It’s a bit slower and easier to hit than a Mature Nephilim, although Hard to Wound does help keep it alive.  It’s got every bit of the Mature’s combat punch, though.  But the Noxious’s signature action, Last Memory, is designed to work with both crews.  Once per turn, the Noxious may take a point of damage, discard a card and draw a card.  And whenever it takes damage from any other source than that, another friendly Forgotten or Nephilim within 4″ may take the Last Memory action as well.  This triggers Black Blood for Nephilim, Fading for Forgotten, and cycles your hand – it’s a great piece of cross-crew synergy and it’s easy to trigger it a lot.  The Noxious can also barf up corpse markers with Regurgitate and draw enemies in with Bring It, giving it a bit of utility, but mostly it’s a savage melee beater with self-damage and cycling synergy – not a bad place to be.


Kirai is the other half of the Other Side starter set, so like Sonnia Criid she doesn’t get a named enforcer – just a couple of Versatile minions.  Unlike the Guild Mages and Gatling Gunners, the Gwisin and Enslaved Spirits actually have the Urami keyword, but they’re all versatile and I’d expect to see them out of keyword just as often as in.

Gwisin lean hard into the J-horror look, being mutilated Silent Hill torsos with hair like Sadako from The Ring.  On the table, they lean towards the defensive, with Take the Hit allowing them to throw their Incorporeal bodies in front of their friends.  There’s a bit of anti-synergy there with Vengeance, since you don’t take damage if your attack was redirected into a Gwisin, but it’s always better to make your opponent hit your expendable Incorporeal minion than your Master’s fragile face.  Offensively, they have a reasonable 2/3/5 stat 5 attack with Tear Off a Bite to keep healthy, and Threaten for some debuff action – and if your opponent is dropping scheme markers, they can eat them with Trail of Gore to gain a pseudo-third AP.  They’re solid workhorse roleplayers and they’re going to show up a lot; Versatile Take the Hit is quite good, and they’re priced to move.

Enslaved Spirit

Speaking of “priced to move,” Enslaved Spirits are dirt-cheap and worth every stone.  They can barely attack, but that’s not what you take them; you take them because of Chain Gang (a bonus action that lets you push other friendlies around) and because they’re three-stone significant models with incorporeal.  They have some cute text on their card – Chained means that enemy models within 3″ can’t spend their Focus – but they really make it into lists as cheap-as-free scheme runners and mobility boosters to the rest of your crew.  They’re very fragile, but when they die, they even get to drop a Scheme Marker nearby – and they can choose to kill themselves at any time with the Doomed trigger on their ranged and melee attacks!

Do not sleep on these little guys, folks.  They rule.

That’s it for now – join us next time to see how the Burning Man’s arrival has shaken up the mad mages and hard workin’ union folks of the Arcanists.