Malifaux Burns Part 5: The Outcasts

The Burning Man’s presence has affected everyone, even the Outcasts.  Many of them are caught up in their own private dramas, but Fate has plans for them all, and the arrival of the former Governor-General has thrown those plans into disarray.  It’s not widely known in-universe that Kitchener’s folly was the result of an attempt to become a Tyrant, but the active Tyrants certainly know (and probably breathe a sigh of relief that he wasn’t able to ascend).  Since two of them are using Outcasts as their pawns, the faction is more keyed in than most to what’s really going on.  Even the others know that something is up… though for many of them, it’s an opportunity to get paid first and foremost.

Leveticus, Pariah of Blood

ronnie soak ain’t got nothing on this. Credit: Wyrd Games

Those who played Malifaux in First Edition may remember Avatars.  These big resin-and-metal monstrosities, released near the end of the edition, represented Malifaux’s answer to Warmachine’s epic warcasters and warlocks.  The difference was, you didn’t hire an Avatar… your Master “manifested” midgame once you achieved certain goals, gaining new powers (and a whole new page of rules).  The Avatars were a really cool idea, pushing the limits of what the game could do, and while they didn’t work out as designs (too hard to balance) some of the more intriguing concepts have survived into the present day.

Like this guy!  Avatar Levi was always the Riders’ best friend.  Fate has its finger on him, and he’s destined to lead the Riders in some great confrontation to save the world… or destroy it.  The ground shakes, the clouds gather, and the horsemen ride out.

Given his suitably epic model, you will not be surprised to hear that Pariah of Blood has the Horseman keyword, allowing him to hire the Pale, Dead, Mechanical and Hooded Riders.  To encourage you to do such a thing, he also has the Chosen Few rule, forbidding him from hiring anyone who isn’t either Versatile or in-keyword.  Now, there are enough Amalgams and Versatiles that you never have to hire a Rider, but really, you’re not taking this guy if you don’t intend to drop some hooves on the board.  Not to mention he actually synergizes with them really well!  Riders all generate Fate Tokens, which they can cash in for suits to power their abilities, and Levi can move those tokens around and stack them up when other models spend them.  He can cash them in for any suit (though he pays 2-for-1, instead of the 1-for-1 Riders get) and of course he has ten triggers, the most of any model in the game.  His melee attack, Malice, can even declare any number of different triggers, and it has triggers in each suit (all of which scale based on the number of suits you have).

Rounding out his power set is some condition removal (with triggers to heal or print pass tokens), aoe damage (with triggers to move models around or draw cards) and summoning.  He does everything, and as long as you’re keeping the Fate Tokens rolling in, he can force it all through.  He’s also quite fast and surprisingly resilient, which is good, because he’s lost the ability to come back to life.  Overall, he’s very strong and surprisingly competitive given the apparent “gimmick” nature of his lists.  Just don’t run all four riders… two is usually correct, sometimes three.

Parker Barrows, Dead Man Walking

gee parker, how come your mom lets you have TWO rifles? Credit: Wyrd Games

Parker’s having a pretty rough go of it.  Zipp is a fun friend, but he’s definitely not someone to rely on.  The two of them tried to steal the Hanging Tree, which was kind of a drunk idea in the first place, but when things went pear-shaped the Infamy pulled away and left Parker to be caught.  The Guild planned to hang him, and almost did it, too– his feet actually left the ground.  But then the Burning Man showed up and the sky caught fire, and everything went to hell.

Parker lived, though for a moment he thought he hadn’t.  He’d breathed in the ash of his own funeral pyre.  The experience changed him.  Gone is the happy-go-lucky bandit; Parker has always had a hard edge, but now he’s downright sinister.  He’s still robbing people of their valuables, but he’s stacking a lot more bodies in his wake.

Parker’s lost his iconic six-shooters and most of his scheme marker synergy; he’s much more interested in blood than valuables now.  He still makes you Drop It, of course, but now with a more aggressive bent; when a scheme marker is dropped within 10″ and LOS of him, it pulses out 1 damage in a 2″ pulse.  That is frankly huge and racks up a ton of damage very quickly.  The issue, of course, is the line of sight requirement; models forced to drop scheme markers by Drop It! can do so in line of sight of the model triggering it, but not in line of sight of Parker, and therefore avoid the effects of the ability.  Still, if you can drop your own markers, you can do a lot of damage… and he has a few ways to do that, including the Stare Down action, which marks one unlucky target so that your crew’s Drop It! triggers now take effect against them even if they miss.

Attack-wise, Parker’s got an Ashen Rifle, which is only a stat 5 (though it has a native +twist) but has a trigger to get ++twists to the damage flip, thereby making it much easier to hit that Severe 6 damage.  Mostly, though, you’ll be attacking with his Broken Man’s Lasso, a 10″ stat 6 attack against Movement that pushes the target 4″ and staggers them.  That’s a lot of displacement, and Staggered means that it won’t be easy for the target to get back somewhere useful.  It even has an Execute trigger.

This Parker can debilitate enemy crews, isolating key models and spreading tons of ping damage.  He lacks the easy cards and soulstones of his former incarnation, but his attacks are much more high-impact… be sure to bring some card draw, just in case.

Von Schill, Iron-Heart

do not, my friends, become addicted to soulstone. Credit: Wyrd Games

Von Schill has bigger problems than the Burning Man, if you can believe it.  Freiholt was doing so well: attracting merchants, earning money from mercenary work, becoming a real town.  And then Plague had to go and ruin it all.  The Tyrant attacked with an army of Stolen and blighted supplies, and only with tremendous effort and sacrifice (and the help of Obliteration, a Tyrant counterweight) did the Freikorps manage to hold him off.  Von Schill was grievously injured and sickened during the fight, but he can’t afford to rest.  Not with Freiholt teetering on the edge of disaster.  Hannah designed him a powered exo-suit that can make up for his body’s frailties, and so he’s back on the warpath.  The Burning Man’s arrival has been a business opportunity for Freiholt, as the wealthy need bodyguards now more than ever, and Von Schill takes the field himself.

If the original Von Schill was a jack of all trades, this version is a master of one: pummeling the absolute crap out of people with a stat 6 2″ 3/4/6.  He can give himself equipment with the Adaptive Armor trigger, and make excellent use of it with Instinctual, which lets him take two different bonus actions in one activation.  Whenever he is done with a piece of equipment, he can toss it to another Freikorps model within 8″.  And he loves getting stuck in, since once he is other Freikorps can shoot his target, ignoring all penalties.  He’s even got Ruthless!  Nothing stops this guy.

Iron-Heart is about as subtle as a freight train, but sometimes that’s what you need.  He can remove markers and extricate himself from combat with Bulldoze and can heal other friendlies with Foul-Mouthed Motivation (giving them Focused on the bargain) but mostly he’s just going to be charging in there and pounding things flatter than hammered shit.

Viktoria Chambers, Twin Blades

we wear each other’s clothes! and swing each other’s swords! Credit: Wyrd Games

Viktoria’s problems are mostly of her (their) own making.  The twins took out a contract on the life of Titania, the Autumn Queen.  An ambitious job, but if anyone could do it, Viktoria could.  To help seal the deal, they recruited Killjoy, an outcast Neverborn cursed to undeath.  Raising a mercenary army, they invaded the forest, fighting all the way to the Autumn Throne.  Titania, ancient enemy of the Tyrants, recognized Shez’uul and the threat it posed, but it still looked like the twins might pull it off… until they summoned Killjoy, and he recognized and bent the knee to his Queen.

Only a handful of mercs made it out of the forest, and they did so without the Masamune Nihonto.  At first Viktoria was traumatized by the loss, but she came to see it as a blessing: Shez’uul had its hooks in her soul, and separating her from the sword likely saved her life.  Plus, without the sword getting in the way, now her bond with her sister is stronger than ever!

Twin Blades is another Avatar throwback: both Viks on one base.  The most obvious difference is you don’t get two of them anymore.  To make up for it, you get a free Student of Conflict, which means you sort of get a totem.  She also doesn’t die to stiff breeze anymore, though she’s still pretty fragile; Bulletproof +2 is some protection against ranged attacks and Combat Finesse helps her in melee, but she’ll fall over if you poke her hard enough.  Her melee attack is still a 3/4/6, but only Stat 6 now, though it does have a +twist.  She’s also got Diving Charge, which helps her get and stay in melee, and a couple of interesting abilities: Treasure Seekers drops a Scheme marker nearby and pulses out Focused, and Combat Maneuver lets her move models around, friendly or enemy.  She can even make the area around her Hazardous, really punishing enemies who want to engage.

She suffers from a lot of the same problems the original Viks do, and while her glass cannon is a little less glass, it’s a lot less cannon-y.  Still, the model is gorgeous, and if you’re stick of losing a Vik on the first or second turn, you should give her a try.

Tara, Timeless

“you can’t be in two places at the same time!” “i could try being in the same place at two different times” Credit: Wyrd Games

The Burning Man is obviously messing up Malifaux’s skies and raining chaos on its streets, but he’s also having a significant impact on the fabric of space-time.  Tara feels that more than most.  She’s used to slipping effortlessly between moments, but now it takes effort.  She stutters and flickers like a J-horror movie, forced to relive moments over and over until she gets them right.  It’s frustrating for her, but especially for her enemies, who are forced to deal with an enemy who has mastered the “save point.”

Let’s get this out of the way now: Timeless is bullshit.  She does a lot of cool and unique stuff, but she also has a particular combo with her new Enforcer, Thirty-Three, that lets her Bury an enemy model, lock it away, and then teleport safely back to her deployment zone.  It’s not a rules gimmick, it’s just far more powerful than it was intended to be, and it needs to be nerfed soon.

That said: this Tara trades away the double-activation, endless leaping and summons for a more nuanced suite of powers.  Her Lost in the Moment ability allows her to control the activations of nearby (or Buried) models, ending a condition on them and taking a point of damage to force the opponent to pass instead.  This means she can keep a Buried model locked away so your whole crew, most of whom can attack Buried models, can whale the tar out of it.  She also has the very cool and unique Rewind ability, which lets her drop a marker near the target; whenever any model ends its activation, she can fling the Rewound model back to its marker.  This has a million applications, of which kidnapping the enemy Master is the most boring.  Tara even has a pretty cool Obey variant in Expedite, which only targets Buried friendlies and pops them out within 6″.  Sure, they gain Slow, but they get to immediately take a melee attack or General Action.

And, to top it all off, this Tara prints Pass Tokens with a trigger on her Stutter Time ability!  She’s very cool, and it’s a shame about the dumb kidnap.

Hamelin, the Piper

merry pipe tune [degenX hardstyle remix] [10 hours] Credit: Wyrd Games
Hamelin was on the way up, but Tara had to harsh his buzz.  Her Talos construct trapped a piece of the Tyrant’s essence and Plague had to sever it to stay alive.  He’s nursing his wound now and nursing a grudge: against the Freikorps, against Obliteration, against everyone.  But he’s going back to basics.  He’s got a pipe, he’s got a tune, and he’s got an endless supply of rats.  Only a matter of time.

Original Hamelin had some interesting play with Blight Tokens, but getting them onto enemies was always more of a hassle than it was worth.  New Hamelin just spews them everywhere.  All of his attacks have a trigger that can add or spread Blight Tokens, and whenever an enemy model dies, up to three of its Blight Tokens spread to other enemies.  He can also cash in Blight Tokens off of nearby enemies to steal their card draw.

The big allure on his card, though, his Obey.  That’s right: he’s an Obey master.  He’s also still got Bleeding Disease, and both his Obey and Disease have an Immediately trigger (that is, a trigger that does not need you to win the duel to go off) that pushes the target 2″.  I heard that unresistable pushes from 12″ away are pretty good in Malifaux, can anyone confirm?

You barely need more than that, though he of course has a bonus action that Stuns and lets his crew build in triggers against a specific target, and marker removal that summons a rat.  Mostly, though, you’re just vomiting Blight everywhere and making your enemy’s models dance to your tune.  Super powerful, super cool, and he makes great use of the Disease Containment Unit, too (see Guild).

Soul Battery

The Soul Batteries are those unlucky individuals who can accumulate magical power but not use it.  The stuff builds up in their bodies until they explode… unless harnessed by an outside force.  Jakob Lynch and Leveticus are two such individuals.

Soul Batteries are “batteries” in a very literal sense: they can hand out Fate or Brilliance tokens.  And… not much else. They have auras that damage nearby enemies and heal nearby friendlies, and they give friendlies that spend a Soulstone nearby a neat little bonus, but they’re only four stones, so don’t expect too much.  I think they’re a bit fragile (Wp 3, though they do have 5 wounds and Hard to Kill) to really play as far forward as you want, though they can do their thing from 8″ away so you don’t have to walk into melee at least.  They’re cheap, but it’s hard to see how they’ll really work in a game, unless you’re super starved for Fate Tokens.


surprisingly casual outfit for someone who works with metal for a living. Credit: SoylentRobot

This lady, on the other hand, is quite respectable.  Inventors flock to both Charles Hoffman, the master of machines, and the Freikorps, who pay well for innovations.  Metallurgists support both and collect a handsome paycheck doing so.  Their signature Enchanted Steel ability lets nearby models reduce Hazardous, blast, pulse and shockwave damage to 0 with their armor, which is very nice as many of those types of damage come in increments of 1; that’s one way to patch a hole in an armor crew’s weaknesses.  The Metallurgist itself lacks armor, but does have Arcane Shield, and can collect Power Tokens for activating near constructs.  Its attacks aren’t too impressive, though it does have Command Construct with a useful trigger that makes a model’s armor unignorable, and the Like Clockwork bonus action moves you around and lets you hand out Equipment or Power Tokens, making Metallurgists useful in both crews.


Coming out of her box and she’s been doing just fine. Credit: Wyrd Games

Thirty-Three was one of the first Death Marshals.  Nobody knows what came between her and Lady Justice, but the Lady stuffed her into her own coffin and left her to rot.  Justice decided to retrieve her own coffin, but stopped along the way to check in on her oldest prisoner.  Her time in the Void had altered Thirty-Three beyond recognition, but the two women came to an accord, and she’s free once more.  Tara, too, makes use of her; she has an innate connection to anyone who’s been in the Void that long.

Thirty-Three might well be the most powerful non-Master in the book.  What she basically is is an upgunned Death Marshal, Pine Box and Peacebringer and all, but she’s a lot more.  For one thing, she’s Incorporeal Mv 6, making her a lot faster.  For another, she’s Slippery, and can only be targeted be melee attacks if she’s in base contact with her attacker.  Her Two Places at Once trigger also has a nasty effect on enemies that are trying to fly or teleport around her; anyone Placed within 6″ can be Placed a further 2″ by Thirty-Three’s controller (including herself).  She’s even got the Year in a Minute tactical action, which forces nearby enemies who Bury to discard a card or gain Slow (and has a built in trigger to draw two cards from your discard pile of value 7 or less).

Her attacks are insane, though; her Pine Box is Stat 3, meaning you can guarantee it goes off against all but the largest foes, and her Lost Peacebringer lets you discard a Pass Token for a +twist to the duel or damage flip.  It also has nasty triggers, ignoring undead or buried models’ Hard to Kill, Hard to Wound and Demise abilities or simply teleporting the target 6″.  Thirty-Three is a key part of the kidnap strategy discussed above, but she’s also just a nasty model and one you should expect to see a lot of.

Yannic Waller

L-R: Catalan Rifleman, Catalan Brawler, Yannic Waller, Catalan Rifleman. Credit: SoylentRobot

Like the Neverborn, the Outcasts get their starter box contents in this book.  The Catalans are an odd bunch; they’re Versatile, so any Outcasts can hire them, but they also have the Syndicate keyword… which is an Explorer’s Society keyword.  Weird!  They represent the Catalan Company, a storied mercenary band who serves as the security on Condor Rails.  Yannic is their leader, a slight woman with one high and a potent shotgun.  Mostly, though, you’re taking her for Ingenuity.

Once per activation, when a model within 6″ would discard a card, that model may remove a friendly Scheme Marker within 2″ to draw a card instead.  This ability is bananas and frankly serves as the engine that makes lots of crews work.  Turning 1 ap and a discard into a card draw is really, really, really good, and it breaks the card economy of some crews in half.  Yannic’s also got Shouted Orders, letting nearby Syndicate models discard a card to Concentrate as a bonus action; the synergy here is left as an exercise for the reader.  Her gun is pretty cool, she can push friendlies around and heal them, and the Democratic Elections ability is a very strange aoe heal/damage pulse, but you take Yannic to draw a ton of cards and she doesn’t disappoint.

Catalan Brawler

The Brawler’s a fairly bog-standard melee beater.  He’s mostly relying the signature Condor Security ability; if a friendly within 2″ is also within 2″ of a friendly Scheme Marker, they cannot be targeted by enemy attacks if the Brawler is valid target.  His melee attack is reasonable, but beyond that he’s a bargain-bin Mancha Roja; he’s got the same Cage Fighter trigger and Juggernaut and Toss in the Mud actions, but you’re taking him as a bodyguard.

Catalan Rifleman

Rounding out the gang are Catalan Riflemen, cheap and cheery snipers with the interesting Fore the Corps! ability that lets them discard a card to Interact as a bonus action.  Once again, see Yannic for synergy.  At five stones, they’re actually quite good; 14″ is a long long range, and while their stats are poor, they have a Warning Shot that can hand out Distracted (and trigger “I Meant to Do That,” which lets them get a +2 on their next shot as long as this one failed).  They’re even Hard to Kill!  Don’t think too hard about them, but definitely do take them if you need guns and scheme runners; they won’t let you down.

That’s all the Outcasts!  Join us next time for a trip to the Bayou, where we’ll see just what the gremlins have been up to with all this fiery foolishness about.

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