Dead Rider, Resurrectionist Minion

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The Dead Rider is one of the 4 Horsemen of Malifaux (well, technically one of 5 now, with the advent of Twisting Fates).

Biblicaly the Dead rider (obviously) represents Death. Although testament states he rides a pale steed, its suggestively grey (suggesting dead and sickly flesh) and not white.

Players debate the inspiration of the Horsemen, whether based on the biblical Apocalyptic stories, or perhaps Baby Yaga’s horsemen servants. It is pretty well agreed that the Dead Rider fits the persona of Death himself, wielding the giant sickle, and cutting a swath of destruction through his enemies.

This Minion is a fairly resilient piece and a fairly reliable "tank", with several ways to keep itself alive longer than you would expect. It is also a solid combatant, with powerful options for dealing damage to your opponents, and the longest melee range of the four Riders. As with the other Riders, he has an ability that changes depending on the state of the game, and help him move faster, hit harder, or survive longer, and knowing how to balance these factors is the key to mastering the Dead Rider.


As with the other Riders, the Dead Rider has a Wk of 6 and Cg of 10, giving him a nice threat range. His Melee Range is also better than the others, effectively making him the longest reach of the Riders. His Unnatural Purpose ability (discussed in detail later), can give him access to Pass Through and Scout, as well as (+1) Fast or (+1) Melee Expert, depending on the situation. All of these can help to improve the Dead Rider's mobility and improve his total threat range.

Mounted Combat, like the other Riders, is a primary means of movement, as this generates a Push, and not just a normal move. So, this ability can allow you to move away from enemies without a disengaging strike, and can allow for some neat tricks, like getting to an opponent’s model that is hiding behind its friends.



The Dead Rider only has a Melee Attack, and no ranged offense. But in most cases, a ranged attack is not needed with this model. His Scythe has a 3" melee range, which, combined with the high movement options, can grant the Dead Rider up to an 18" threat range. Additionally, he is a solid 6 Cb, with damage of 3/4/5. There is not much you can do to improve this damage potential. However, the Destroy Purpose of Unnatural Purpose can grant Poison 2 to the Scythe attacks.

The primary mode of attacking with the Dead Rider is typically Mounted Combat. In any point of the game under Unnatural Purpose, you have good options for using Mounted Combat to either use Pass Through to get past the front line of enemies, (+1) Fast or (+1) Melee Expert for making extra attacks after the Push, etc. Particularly strong is the Drag Along trigger for the Scythe attacks. This trigger is automatically activated anytime you attack with the Scythe, and as long as you do damage, when you finish a Push from Mounted Combat, the target that you hit is automatically 'dragged along' into base contact with the Rider at the end of the Push. This can make for some nice tricks to bring an enemy model in closer to the rest of your crew, where you can more easily attack it with your other models.



This bringer of death is typically the easiest of the four Riders to keep alive. This is primarily because of the Regeneration 1 ability, and the fact that the (0) Adjust Purpose spell allows to either suffer or heal 2 Wds as you see fit. This means the Dead Rider can effectively heal 3 Wds per turn!

Hard to Wound 2

Since the Dead Rider starts out with 9 Wds, has a 5 Df, and has Hard to Wound 2 as well, once you combine the ability to heal into the mix, it can make this guy relatively difficult to kill.

Hard to Kill

To top it all off, when under the Destroy Purpose of Unnatural Purpose, the Dead Rider also gains Hard to Kill. So, if he gets knocked down to 1 Wd and is kept alive thanks to Hard to Kill, when you activate him, he will heal 1 Wd, and then you can use (0) Adjust Purpose to heal 2 more Wds, putting him up to 4. Now if he gets hit again, he will only go down to 1 Wd again, unless your opponent continues to attack him further. This can help the Dead Rider stay alive longer than you think sometimes.

Immune to Influence

Lastly, it is good to remember that the Dead Rider, like the other 3 Riders, has Immune to Influence. This will protect him against crews based heavily around Wp tactics, like Zoraida. There are lots of other spells and abilities throughout the game that require Wp duels though, so this is another ability that helps in those situations.

Grave Spirit
Hiring the Grave Spirit connected to your Master makes the Dead Rider even more deadly, adding on a +2 Armor to his Hard to Wound 2, giving him even greater resilience.

Tips and Tricks

The Unnatural Purpose ability is the primary thing to be concerned with on the Dead Rider. This ability grants additional abilities to the Rider, but is dependent upon how many Wds the Rider has remaining. Unnatural Purpose works like this:

Purpose: Seek (8-9 Wd): grants Pass Through and Scout
Purpose: Engage (5-7 Wd): grants (+1) Fast and Terrifiying -> 13
Purpose: Destroy (1-4 Wd): grants (+1) Meele Expert , Hard to Kill and Scythe: Poison 2

Remember that the Dead Rider only benefits from one stage at a time. However, the Rider does have a (0) action Spell called Adjust Purpose which allows you to either suffer or heal 2 Wds, and switch to the new Purpose as applicable. This gives you some flexibility in controlling the Rider’s abilities. You only need a 4 or higher to cast the spell, so it is relatively easy to utilize, although it must be down before any other action during the Rider’s turn.

Learning when to effectively use which mode of Unnatural Purpose is the main thing you should learn for successfully using the Dead Rider. Also remember that the (0) Adjust Purpose spell is an excellent way of keeping the Dead Rider alive longer than your opponents would like him to be.

Master-Specific Tips

The Dead Rider can be hired by any of the Resurrectionist Masters, or it can be hired by Leveticus because it is both Undead and a Construct.

Dr. Douglas McMourning

The master surgeon may not have the most synergy with the Dead Rider, but there are certainly a few interesting tricks. You can do simple things like attack the Dead Rider to gain Body Part Counters, and then use McMourning's (0) action to heal the Rider back up, plus its own healing abilities. Overall though, a solid use of the Dead Rider in a McMourning crew is through the Drag Along trigger, to get models closer to the Doctor so he can carve them up with his scalpel.

Nicodem, the Undertaker

Unfortunately, because the Dead Rider is Unique, Nicodem cannot summon him. However, as with the Dead Rider's theme, it excels at causing other death and destruction, and so in that way, can be a good piece to get extra Corpse Counters on the table for Nicodem to work with. Nicodem's Decay spell and (0) Bolster Undead action can really help the Dead Rider survive. Also, the +2 Cb from Bolster Undead is certainly not something to be ignored.

The Dead Rider can also be used to mitigate Nicodem's speed problem. Hiring a Grave Spirit and linking it to Nicodem will give Nicodem +2 Armor. The Dead Rider can then use Drag Along during a Mounted Combat action on Nicodem to turbo charge Nicodem's movement! Likely inflicting minimum damage means Nicodem will be able to move 10+ inches at the cost of a mere wound. For extra fun, Nicodem can subsequently target the Grave Spirit with Decay and blast onto himself and the Dead Rider to do some major healing!

Nicodem gains the ability to heal the Dead Rider, again utilizing the Grave Spirit, by targeting the Grave Spirit with Decay then blasting onto the Dead Rider for an extra 2 wounds per cast. Remember, you cannot Decay the Dead Rider as it is resisted with Willpower and the Rider is Immune to Influence.

Kirai Ankoku

The synergy in this crew is not so much with Kirai herself, but through her Lost Love totem. The Lost Love has a spell which takes away half of the Riders Wds, but turns him into a Spirit. Even if turned into a Spirit on Turn 1, between the Dead Rider's innate healing and Soothe Spirit from models like the aforementioned Lost Love, Datsu-ba, or Kirai herself, the Dead Rider can be back on its feet in no time. It then has the Spirit characteristic for the rest of the game, which when combined with Hard to Wound 2, self-healing abilities, and not to mention the fact that Kirai could heal it as well, and it becomes a very fearsome piece.


At first it does not appear that there is much synergy between Leveticus and the Riders, but all you have to do is look at Leveticus, Avatar of Entropy from Twisting Fates to see why you would want to include the Dead Rider in a Leveticus crew. With the Dead Rider in play, Leveticus' Avatar form becomes much more resilient, gaining Regeneration 1, in addition to the fact that Avatar Leveticus heals Wds any time a Rider in his crew kills an enemy model. The Dead Rider also has some nice synergy with Leveticus even before you Manifest, since it starts with a Crow on its Cb. Leveticus can then cast his Blessings of Desolation spell on the Dead Rider to give him a second Crow to his Cb, which will allow him to create new Steampunk Abominations every time the Dead Rider kills something! Since your opponent knows you are trying to manifest, they will likely attempt to kill the Dead Rider as quickly as possible, so be sure to protect it well until you manifest and really start to create chaos.

Leviticus has interesting mobility granted by his Hollow Waifs, but the Dead Rider increases Levi's mobility a great deal. The Drag Along trigger is normally not something one would use lightly, but since Leviticus is trying to kill himself anyway, there's very little downside to yanking Leviticus to where he wants to be most. Just be sure to activate your Hollow Waifs beforehand if you plan on moving Leviticus a great distance.

Seamus does not have the best synergy with the Dead Rider but that does not mean it is not useful in his crew. If you like to run belles the belles could easily lure a baddy out of position then bring in the dead rider to pull your enemy even further out of position with mounted combat and his drag trigger.

Minion-Specific Tips

The Dead Rider does not have any specific synergies with any other Minions within the game, but that does not mean it cannot work well with various other crews. The Drag Along trigger in particular can be very helpful for positioning an enemy where you want them, or drawing something into be hammered by some other big melee piece. In addition, there are countless ability combinations which can be explored.

The Grave Spirit can greatly increase the Dead Rider's survivability, granting him an impressive Armor 2 in addition to his Hard to Wound 2 and self healing capabilities.

Playing Against [Minion]

As a 10 Soulstone cost model, the Dead Rider is certainly a powerful minion. As with many other minions in this kind of category, a key to killing them is to focus your efforts. This is even more important with the Dead Rider with its abilities to heal itself, or oftentimes get healing from other pieces in the crew. Since it has Hard to Wound 2 and a decent 5 Df, you will want to have some of your more powerful pieces focus on it. If you can manage to have a model with minimum damage of 3 or 4 attack the Dead Rider, then you can finish it off in only 3 hits.

Also be wary of the combination of Mounted Combat and Drag Along. It can really mess with any plans you may have, or move a key model out of position from the rest of your crew. You thought a model was providing an Aura of some sort for the rest of your crew? Think again, the Dead Rider just moved it 6" out of position! So this is a tactic to certainly be looking out for, and protect yourself against. If you can't stop the Dead Rider from pulling off something like this, at least make sure he can't get too far away. Also keep in mind the Dead Rider can pull friendly models around with Drag Along. Typically one does not want to hit their own models for damage, but slow models like Nicodem or Leviticus can get a huge boost from Mounted Combat followed by Drag A​long​.

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