Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Schemes and Schematics: How I learned to love the Hoff-ball.

The Man, the Legend, the Ball-Baron

Well figured I’d get some posts on this blog about our beloved Malifaux.

Just a quick run down of strats and schemes and how effective a Hoff-Ball would be at running them and also defending against them. I will  rate the strats and schemes on Great/Good/Average/Bad/Horrid for both getting points out of and denying points in a format like this Great-Bad, meaning great for scoring points, but bad in that the opponent can score points from it also.

I will obviously put in the caveat of take all this with a grain of salt, it depends on what else is in the pool, what is facing you across the table etc.

Also my ‘average’ Hoff Ball usually consists of:

-Field Mechanic
Brutal Emissary
-Conflux of Amalgamation (so much yes!!)
Witchling Stalker
With remaining stones generally adding to scheme/strat necessities.

Never leave home without the Emissary


GG: Extraction – Just like the classic Turf war, this is great, it involves the Hoffball in the middle, bullying the other player off the marker, factor in if you win it, you can put it behind the ball to be even more annoying. Great - Great
VN: Turf War – The classic ‘Hoff loves’ strat, nothing better than putting the hoff-ball on the point and saying ‘come at me braux’ to the opponents. Great - Great

GG: Guard the Stash – Not ideal for Hoffman due to needing to spread out, but you could easily deny the enemy points here by locking them out of one marker. Bad - Good
VN: Reckoning – Killing things, this is what Hoff loves (albeit indirectly), factor in also his models are generally hard as nails, you won’t be giving up points easily. Good - Great

GG: Interference – Generally bad for Hoff as you want numbers, and to be spread out. Doable if you want to ‘hump’ the line with your Hoff-ball (sounds hella suss now) but you also have to keep out of the middle..so..blergh. Bad - Horrid
VN: Reconnoiter – Exactly the same as it’s GG stable mate. Bad - Horrid

GG: Head Hunter – Hoff-balls generally aren’t shooting power houses, but love a close beat down, and again having few, but highly survivable models stops a lot of heads dropping, and Hoffmans out of sequence actions allowing picking up of recently deceased heads pretty easily, also Austringer. Great – Great
VN: Squatters Rights – This is generally an easy 4 points for a Hoff-ball, but at the same time is generally easy for the opponent also. Good - Horrid

GG: Collect the Bounty – Great for Hoffman, all about killing things and keeping yours alive. I realise if we drop an enforcer or henchman, it stings a lot more, but generally do not have a lot of minions floating about in harms way. Good – Great.
VN: Stake a Claim – Requires large numbers on enemy half, while defending your own. Short of 2 Watchers with Hydraulics and Programmed Directive, this one isn’t ideal. Average-Bad


GG: Convict Labour – Use your upgraded Watcher to crap out markers. Should be able to score points on turn 2 if using an Austringer also. Good-Average
VN: Line in the Sand – You can easily get enough markers across the board by the end of the game, but the opponent knows about it etc.. Average-Average

GG: Take Prisoner – Horrid for Hoff as you want to kill things, and your things generally stay alive. Horrid-Bad
VN: Distract – Similar to Take Prisoner. Your business is killing, not leaving things alive to score points on. Although with upgrades, Machine Puppet + fast shenanigans, you can defend against this one pretty well. Bad-Good

GG: Exhaust Their Forces – Not as bad as Distract, simply for the fact you can force this action through with machine puppet and programmed directive, especially if a model has already activated. Not too hard to remove the condition also, as generally you can squish whatever gave you the condition then you can remove it with a Machine Puppet/Austringer push. Good - Good
VN: Breakthrough – As with most vanilla, declaring isn’t great but this isn’t too hard to get with ..you guessed it.. an upgraded Watcher. Although a bit harder to defend against due to the location of where a Hoff-ball’s power is usually seated. Good-Bad

GG: Hunting Party – Yes, Yes a thousand times yes!! Enforcers and Henchmen killing things for points, Hoffman loves this and at the same time, generally only having 1 or 2 minions can really stop the enemy scoring points. Just keep an Austringer squirrelled away somewhere. Great - Great
VN: Assassinate – If the enemy leader is going to come straight for you (Lady J’s etc) it is good. But you actually having to come to grips with the opponent if they don’t move in it can be an issue. All the while Hoffman using stones, defensive triggers and a stupid amount of available heals is very hard to bring down. Great/Good (dependant on leaders) – Great

GG: Show of Force – Again, sitting in the middle bullying is what the Hoff is about, and if you just chuck out some cheap 1SS upgrades on your beaters, you’ll be set. All the while shoving the opponents out of the centre (be aware of Hans though!!). Great - Great
VN: Bodyguard – Moving up and keeping alive, easily doable for the Hoff, although can be hamstrung if strats/schemes require you sticking to the centre. Stopping someone’s cheap enforcer bolting down a flank can be a little harder. Good - Bad

GG: Leave Your Mark – Watcher…who would of thought. With use of extra minions + Austringer not too hard to stop: Good - Average
VN: Protect Territory – Hoff’s game yet again, you get this on Turf War and you’ve probably got a cheeky 7 points. Bit harder to go after the enemies due to lack of mobility. Great - Average

Watcher - A great scheme runner, one of the best when with Hoff

GG: Covert Breakthrough- Watcher up the back again. Not great defensively as generally Hoff is a middle board power house. Good - Average
VN: Cursed Object – That whole keeping alive vs killing the enemy thing again, not great. But is pretty easy to defend against (especially if rocking a Witchling Stalker). Bad - Good

GG: Undercover Entourage - Great all the way down to horrid depending on other strats and schemes. You can easily keep Hoff alive and moving, but if you also need to hold the centre area, or protect your own area, is not great. Again if the enemy is happy using a cheap henchman down a flank, they’ll get their points. Great(to Horrid) - Bad
VN: Outflank – Not ideal, needs spreading out. Same for defending against, you’ll be able to probably block one side, but definitely not the other. Bad - Bad

GG: Neutralize The Leader – Easier points to grab than from Assassinate. Similar to Assassinate, except they can probably get Hoffman down to half wounds at some point, so not as easy to block as normal Assassinate. Great(to Bad) - Good
VN: Plant Evidence – Watchers are life, Watchers are love. Can be hard blocking the enemy if they get a Terror Tot running rampart in your back line. Sick a bird onto him asap. Good - Average

GG: Catch And Release – Keeping things alive and tagging them, no thanks. Can again be easy to remove those conditions for the Hoff-ball. Horrid – Good(to Great)
VN: Entourage – Same as Undercover Entourage, except the enemy knows it’s coming now.  Great (to Horrid) - Bad

GG: Frame For Murder – Similar to Vanilla, just need to have it killed by turn 3 instead, send out a random dog or something, or if against a killy master, put it on your biggest nasty they will try and kill. Stopping points it’s not too bad for Hoff as it is normally enforcers doing the killing (just be careful if using Joss/Ryle etc). Average - Good
VN: Vendetta – Not generally ideal for Hoffman, but as Guild an Austringer is generally great for this. Defensively I doubt someone will put this on a beater, so just look after you easy-kill targets. Average - Good

Peacekeeper - A core component of the Hoff-Ball

GG: Detonate The Charges – The enemy will probably throw stuff at you piecemeal and if you don’t have a lot of scheme runners, you will suffer for this, not the worst, but not great either. Defensively this is horrid for the Hoff, all your big nasties are right next to each other, if this is in the pool, be very, very careful. Watch out for anything with ‘Finish the Job’. Also Never forget the Peacekeepers anti scheme pulse. Average - Horrid
VN: Plant Explosives – Exact same as DtC. Average - Horrid

GG: Set Up – Pretty similar to DtC again, these 3 are pretty rough for the Hoff. Average - Horrid
VN: Make Them Suffer – Not anywhere near as good as Hunting Party, but still easily doable, just maybe have Ryle and Joss in the line up. Again, with the generally elite Hoff crew, you should only have a few minions, just make sure they’re kept safe. Good - Great

GG: Search The Ruins – Watcher territory again, with the added benefit you can do this while holding down the centre area with your Hoff ball (in you Turf Wars etc). Defending against it will rely on how well you can kill the scheme runners, or chew up the markers. Average - Average
VN: Deliver a Message – Great for Hoff with the Programmed Directive, you can bluff people with a suss looking Watcher, or hold out and pop Programmed Directive on any of your beaters and Machine Puppet “purple moneky dishwasher” to the opposing Leader. A lot of options here to use. Defensively you should be killing anything that comes near you, that and your big nasties can close up rank around Hoff and completely block him off from the front, so not too bad to defend against, just be aware of LoS etc. Great - Good

GG: Mark For Death – Something killy, with cheeky interacts involved? Yes please! Another great one for a Hoff ball, especially coupled with Programmed Directive and Austringers. 0 Action interact, then a Peacekeeper flurry..boom..thats a point! May not work multiple times though haha. Good defensively for the Hoff as generally with high armour, DF6 across the board and heals, you can keep marked models alive pretty well. Great - Great
VN: Take Prisoner – Keeping things alive? Nope. But can generally kill things that are trying to tie you up. Just be careful of your Watcher getting snagged somewhere and hugged until the end. Horrid - Good

GG: Public Demonstration – Not good, you are low on minions as it is, and most of them will be boned if they’re within 4” of any big nasties. Defensively you’re boned also, the enemy will be able to out activate you normally and will run the named models in late. Also factor in a 4” bubble around the Hoff-ball (which is all master, enforcers and henchsmen) is huge. Horrid - Horrid
VN: Spring the Trap – Just like Detonate the Charges, except harder for a Hoff-ball to get (unless it’s a fighty leader but at the same time you’d want them dead). Defensively, just as crap with the small caveat you probably won’t outnumber your opponent, so they’ll need the 3 markers for full score. Bad - Bad

GG: Inspection – Passable if you have some spare minions, but still, not ideal. The enemy will probably trump you on this, unless you hunker the Ball in one of the edges to block them. Bad - Bad
VN: Murder Protégé – You kill things real good like, again this is great, but the fact you need to declare for full points isn’t great, as they can probably avoid that model going in if they really want to cock-block you. Defensively, good for Hoff, if they declare the scheme, Weld some extra armour on old mate Peacekeeper, have fun killing that. That and you heal stuff up well. Average - Great

GG: A Quick Murder – Same as Murder Protégé, with the benefit of not declaring, but the negative of needing to be quick about it. Realistically you’d need to be able to kill that model (probably a Soul Stone burning Henchman) in 2 turns, so you better have your beaters ready if they close in. Again, if it is in the pool, and there is a lot of hate going in on the Peacekeepr , up armour him and keep him healed.
VN: Frame for Murder – This is the most ‘Malifaux-e’ scheme of them all. Same as GG but you get an extra turn to do it in. Average - Good

GG: Occupy Their Turf – Crap for Hoff unless you’re running some weird Watcher flying circus, or have turned your crew into dog city. Defensively you should be able to stop them getting full points in a single turn just by killing their models. Horrid - Average
VN: Power Ritual – Not Bad if your Watcher can make it into their backline unmolested, out side of that or having a 2nd Watcher… it will be a bit difficult. Defending will be hard if you need centre board control, so be aware of that. Average - Bad

Hopefully this horrid wall of text hasn't scared you off and you've gleaned some knowledge my depraved rambling. 


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