Malifaux July 2023 Errata Hot Take: The Buffs

Well, well, well.  Look what we have here!  A hot steaming pile of errata!  And not a moment too soon, too.  The Madness of Malifaux was a little too mad, and some of the game’s coolest and most flavorful models were sadly relegated to the shelf.

Fortunately, the Buff Fairy has flown by, sprinkling pixie dust on the most deserving little back-benchers.  Mali-folks, I have to tell you, I feel good.  I feel really good.  This errata may be the first time in almost three years that the meta is without truly oppressive outliers.  First it was Nexus and English Ivan, then before they got tweaked in February 2022 we had the Malifaux Burns titles tearing it up, and by the time they faced the music in November 2022 we had the Madness masters out in the wild.  But there haven’t been any major releases since Madness, and so the errata cycle has finally caught up to where the game is now.

There are still a few models that I think could use a bit of a buff: Wrastlers; Bandidos; the entire Syndicate keyword.  But at least some of Malifaux’s champion dust-gatherers are getting a new coat of paint, and the game is likely to be better as a result.  You can find the errata’d cards here and the changelog here.

Without further ado, let’s jump right into things!  This article will cover the buffs; I’ll address the many nerfed models separately.


Credit: Wyrd Games

Credit: Wyrd Games

This is a bit of a weird inclusion.  Guard is a fine Keyword, especially under Dashel Barker, Butcher.  And Sergeants aren’t standouts but you saw one pretty regularly.  I guess they’re even better now!

Or are they?

Sergeants have gotten a Soulstone cheaper.  Their Backup ability lets them gain Staggered instead of discarding a card to take a shot.  Most controversially, their Balanced Sword and Peacebringer have swapped stats, the sword going to stat 6 and the gun to stat 5.  That’s… not great?  I’d much rather be making Stat 6 (or 7!) shots than Stat 6 (or 7!) swings with my 5/5/7, no-defensive-tech minion.

Each attack has gained the Arrest Order trigger, which is fine, though probably not something you’re ever going to cheat for (or stone for, with Butcher).  And they’ve lost A New Horizon, an action nobody ever took, ever.  Ok, that’s not fair: A New Horizon was actually good when you could stone for it.  But generally, it’s pretty narrow.

I think this is more “mixed” than flat-out buff, since Arrest Order is a mediocre trigger and they no longer get a Stat 7 Crit Strike gun, and you really don’t want these guys in melee since they won’t survive for long against anything reasonably killy.  But you will actually use Backup now that it doesn’t cost you a card, and a soulstone is a soulstone.

Sanctioned Spellcaster

Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Errata.  Wyrd decided they were fine as they were.  Which is probably correct.

The Chimera Keyword

As I mentioned in the nerf article, the Chimera keyword underwent what I’d term a “rebalancing,” with the Cerberus getting a bit weaker (but maybe not!) and the Rattler and Mauler getting buffs to make them more compelling.

Slate Ridge Mauler

Credit: Wyrd Games

Credit: Wyrd Games

Poor burr.  The Mauler is cool and fairly iconic, dating back to early in Malifaux’s history, but has suffered from just not being very good at its role.  It’s supposed to tank some damage and then hit back, but its attack is just Fine and it’s still very easy to kill at 5/5/8.

The new Mauler has lost Hard to Wound for Warning Growl, a big upgrade in that 1) almost nothing in the game ignores it, while they seem to print more anti-Hard to Wound tech every day and 2) it’s an aoe!  The bear now keeps the rest of your models safe.  It’s lost Frenzied, too, which stings a bit, but has gained the Chimera Strike trigger – a truly scary trigger, pushing the bear up to a potential 4/6/7, which is “Seamus’s Gun” territory.  It’s also gained a point of health, and… that’s it.

Mostly minor changes, but Warning Growl is really, really, really strong.  I think you’ll see at least one Mauler in most Chimera lists now, if only to bodyguard your other models.

Razorspine Rattler

Credit: Wyrd Games

Credit: Wyrd Games

Poor snek.  Why did it randomly not have the Chimera signature ability, Adaptive Evolution?  Why did it want to lock enemies in melee with Constriction and Wicked but also move freely out of melee with Deadly Pursuit?  Why was it so insanely easy to kill for 7 stones?

At least now it’s easy to kill for six stones.  It’s gone down a stone in cost, and if it hangs out near its bear friend, it’ll stay alive longer.  It has lost Deadly Pursuit but gained Adaptive Evolution (finally) and lost its anti-disengage package for the weird ability Futile Struggle; enemies touching the Rattler can’t move except by disengaging!  That’s pretty neat, actually; Disengage is an action you almost never want to take, so forcing it on people is strong.

The Rattler’s Venomous Strike has gone down to Stat 5, but it’s traded the Reposition trigger (not that useful now that you want to stay cheek by jowl with your target) for Delay, a much stronger trigger (especially when you’re forcing enemies to burn their one AP on a Disengage).

The snek has also gained a ranged attack in Spit Venom, just like the Gorar, with a built-in Infect trigger to increase the poison.  It’s also picked up Lady Yume’s Coil Around Prey, a very good way to get into base contact with someone, and this one even has a Sudden Strike trigger to get an extra attack.  And while the Rattler has lost Ambush, it has picked up a new tactical action in Onward, (a Walk action as a Bonus) which gives it significantly more mobility if you can hit the TN of 6.

I think the snake still suffers from the cheap minion problem, i.e. It Just Dies, but if you can keep it alive it actually does quite a lot now.  And six stones is easier to find space for than 7.

The Half-Blood Keyword

The Half-Blood keyword is in a bit of an odd place.  3/4 of them were released as part of a two-player starter set in Second Edition, along with the Guild’s Asylum models, and they never really found a role.  They’re kind of a prototype version of the 3E starters: a Henchman, an Enforcer, and two Minions, all with a unique Keyword and shared ability.  Tuco is sort of a weird one-off from 1E, but he got lumped in with the others mostly for story reasons.  You never saw most of these guys, so let’s see if they’re worth playing now.

Angel Eyes

Credit: Wyrd Games

Credit: Wyrd Games

Angel Eyes occasionally saw play as Neverborn’s only half-decent gun, but “half-decent” was about as far as she got.  This is a significant glow-up, though.

Let’s not bury the lede: the most important, and exciting, change to the Half-Bloods is their signature ability.  On the Prowl simply wasn’t very good, only kicking in when your undertuned models killed an enemy.  It’s been replaced with Accomplice, which is very very very good.  One of the strongest rules in the game, in fact, as it lets you act twice in a row with no interaction from your opponent possible.  This change makes me nervous, and I’m willing to give it a chance, but I think if any of the buffs went too far, it’s the Half-Blood ones.  (The Accomplice change is the only change for Bloodwretches, so they’re not getting a separate entry here).

Anyways, Angel Eyes has gone down a Soulstone, though she has lost a point of health.  She now ignores Concealment, in addition to friendly fire, which just rubs salt in the wound of the Rami nerfs why doesn’t he ignore concealment, that nerf was so gratuitous!!!  give me back my sniper boy!!!!!

She has lost the Reposition trigger on her rifle, easily her weakest trigger, and gained the Blood Offering trigger on her Sidearm, which sometimes will let a Nephilim grow but will mostly just draw you a card if you somehow kill someone with your dinky little pistol.

Most terrifyingly, she’s gained the tactical action Point Me To Them, which for a suitless 5 lets her steal a Focus from any friendly model in LOS.  She can casually stack to 2 focus in one activation, then take a 24″ Focused shot at someone, ignoring everything and even stoning for Crit Strike.  All this for 8 stones.  I am… anxious.

Tuco Ortega

Credit: Wyrd Games

Credit: Wyrd Games

Tuco has lost From the Shadows, which probably matters, and his Sharp Claws attack, which definitely does not.  He’s gained Gunfighter, so you can still attack in melee, at least.  Your melee attack is even good, now!  He no longer has Good for a Laugh on his gun, but he’s traded it for Guns Blazing, a Once per Activation double positive to his damage flip.  The damage track isn’t that impressive, but a 4 damage hit with a 3 damage blast can really mess someone up if they’re too tightly packed.

Speaking of punishing people for castling, he’s gained Willie’s (and Papa Loco’s) Throw Dynamite, complete with Willie’s Fire in the Hole trigger built-in to push friendlies out of blast range.  It requires a 7 to go off, so you won’t necessarily just toss the stuff around like confetti, but a Damage 3 shockwave is a rare thing.

You can’t even be too sad about losing Good For a Laugh since it’s just moved to Disillusion!  Some strong changes here, and while the fact that Tuco has to get really up close and personal to do stuff does drag him down a bit, I think he’s at least worth a try.


Credit: Wyrd Games

Credit: Wyrd Games

I don’t think I’ve ever seen this guy on the table before?  It was tough to notice what changed.

His Backup got the same change the Sergeant’s did, which means you might actually do it now – the first one each turn is basically free.  (Once you’re already Staggered, you can’t Stagger yourself again as a cost, so you have to discard).  He’s gained Bodyguard, giving nearby models Cover.  He no longer needs Low to the Ground, so it was replaced by Foul-Mouthed Motivation, complete with Reposition trigger.

Maurice seems… really friggin good now!  Accomplice is a nutty strong ability, and Foul-Mouthed Motivation is pretty much the best possible action to take advantage of it.  Give a model a Focus, heal them, then immediately let them activate.  Maurice can even shoot a nearby enemy with Severe Injury to set up an attack run.  For 7 stones – and with the added benefit of aoe Cover – I think you’ll see him a lot.  Especially given how tanky he is between Hard to Wound, and Evasive.

Corrupted Hound

Credit: Wyrd Games

Credit: Wyrd Games

These poor little doggos were a total joke.  There’s a limit, in Malifaux, to how good a cheap minion can be if it just dies when someone looks at it funny.  Sure, you only paid three stones a pop, but I just spent one AP on a 6 stone model to kill a dog, and I have a whole AP left.  Also, personal gripe, I find the whole “good boy” thing to be totally played out.  No, I don’t care about the Arbites Cyber-Dog, or the Cities of Sigmar hunter dogs, or even the Kroot Hound.  I do not give a shit that your unit comes with a little canine mascot.  The crab is cool, I guess.

Anyways, these dumb dogs.  Whoooooooo cares.  Maybe you?  They have 4 health now, which means it’ll take a 6 stone model’s whole activation to kill one, instead of just one AP.  Regeneration +1 remains silly on a model with so little health.  They’ve lost Pack Mentality, which probably doesn’t matter because their melee attack is very very bad, and gained Nimble, which actually does matter.  They’re 3 stone significant models that can cover 18″ of distance in one activation with no flips of any kind required.  That’s your selling point.

They still have an attack, and now it has the Blood Offering trigger which only goes off when they kill a model, which feels like Wyrd taunting you.  They’ve traded Annoying for Obnoxious Barking, which requires a suitless 6 to go off instead of happening automatically but has double the range of the old version.  And they’ve gained a bonus action in Fetch, which effectively lets them pick up and then put down a corpse marker, but it has a crow trigger to summon a new Hound which is very funny even if it does come in Stunned.

Ok, I guess these guys are maybe worth trying now?  Beware: the wording on Fetch requires you to remove the Corpse Marker as a cost, but you have to hit the TN for the ability to go off, and if it doesn’t go off you don’t get the marker back.  You do not want to be throwing away your limited corpse markers fishing for a potential Corrupted Hound summon.

Overall, I like most of these buffs.  The Chimera ones I’m most excited to see on the table.  I am nervous about the Half-blood buffs; Accomplice is way too strong an ability to hand out readily, but I guess if anyone needs it Half-Bloods do, so let’s see what it does before we get mad.

That’s all for this article!  If you haven’t yet, check out my companion articles on the nerfs and the FAQ.  And let me know in the comments which newly adjusted models you’re most looking forward to playing with!

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