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Kirai, Resurrectionist Master Deranged.png


Kirai is a unique Resurrectionist whose crew revolves around Spirits instead of reanimated corpses. Unlike other Resurrectionists, corpse counters hold minimal appeal for her as she steals and enslaves the souls of any casualties (friend or foe) into her service instead.

Kirai's strategy relies on taking wounds to empower and evolve her Spirit minions, while her personal Spirit extracts vengeance on her behalf to heal Kirai and produce even more Spirits for her to evolve (and the circle continues).

Kirai is a support Master that controls her crew to do her bidding, and this is reflected in her play style. She should never be placed in the thick of melee or she will not last long. Kirai's crew offers massive damage-dealing potential to specific targets, but does not have much in the way of widespread damage-dealing options (like Sonnia's blasts or Hamelin's swarms). She is a great all-around Master to achieve strategies and schemes, as well as delivering surgical precision strikes, but despite their apparent resilience, her Spirits will die like flies if not properly played.

A tricky master to use and not newbie-friendly.


Despite Kirai's slow walk of 4", she is actually an extremely mobile Master due to her ability to move into base contact with a friendly Spirit within 18" as a (0) action (with Instinctual she can take two (0) actions per activation). Coupled with her ability to summon her personal Spirit, Ikiryo, within 12" you have a Master who is impossible to pin down and can quickly teleport around the board.

Certain abilities, like Swirl Spirits that allows her to switch two friendly spirits within 12". Ikiryo's Call Spirits and Datsue-ba's Guide Spirits make Kirai's crew one of the most mobile in all Malifaux.



Kirai's Bloody Shears are mainly for show, and it is quite rare that she will employ them - if she does, it means she is low on health and/or has no Spirits around to help her. She plays the close support role, and it is through her army of enslaved and evolving spirits that she will deliver the majority of her butchering.


Should Kirai decide to go on the offense, Chill of Death delivers a nasty penalty to its victim when fighting spirits, bestowing negative twists on Strike, Cast, Wp and Df flips against Spirits.


Another useful gift that Kirai can employ is Spiritual Combination. This allows Kirai to make a powerful minion of hers (typically Ikiryo) Reactivate at the cost of sacrificing another Spirit (such as an expendable Seishin). The death of a simple Spirit to allow a more powerful Spirit to rampage can be quite a nice trade-off. The range of the spell is 8", though with In the Spirit World it extends to 18", or even 26" should she want to cast it on a Spirit other than the one she just moved beside.


At first glance, Kirai is about as sturdy as a wet napkin. She has a low Df of 2 and only 8 Wd - most Resurrectionists tend to have low Df, but have enough tricks and wounds to be near impossible to kill. Her abilities also encourage her to stay close to the fight, making her a prime target, and as a Kirai player you must understand this is a legitimate weakness for her. If she is ever pinned in combat for long, do not expect her to survive. That being said, Kirai does have as many tricks as her Resurrectionist brethren to make sure that she sticks around at least a little bit longer.

First, Kirai is Pitiful which requires any attacker to beat an opposed Willpower duel to even target her. This applies until Kirai activates, but is renewed at the end of each round, so if Kirai acts after all her foes have moved, she will be relatively safe. Should she need to act earlier (to save herself for example), she can renew Pitiful with Uncontrollable Crying after acting. Pitiful is also useful because it forces the opponent model into a Wp duel, and Kirai has a Wp trigger (Twisted Mind) that causes 2 Wd to the opponent if Kirai wins the Wp duel with a Crow. Due to her very low Df, it is usually best to spend a Soulstone to make sure the opponent fails the Pitiful duel than to try to overcome the opponent on the Df duel. Beware of Ruthless opponents, and Lord Chompy Bits' Prey on the Weak.

Second, anyone attacking and damaging Kirai with a ranged strike will suffer 2 Wd from Immediate Revenge. This acts as a powerful deterrent, but should Kirai be low on health some may ignore this to take her out for good.

Absorb Spirit allows Kirai to regain 2 Wd, draw 2 Control cards, and gain Fast at the cost of sacrificing a Spirit. However, note that sacrificing Spirits does not activate Spirit Anchor and you will not get a free Seishin for this - targets must be killed, not sacrificed.

Seishin increase Kirai's resilience with their ability Spirit Sheath, this allows them to suffer the effects of a successful attack against Kirai instead of their master. This in combination with Kirai's Seishin Beacon will give Kirai an increased amount of short term protection.

Another form of Kirai's resiliency comes from her mobility, as In the Spirit World will move her 18" as a (0) action but also make Kirai into a Spirit, which will reduce all damage she takes from non-magical attacks that turn by half. This also makes Kirai a target for Soothe Spirit in order to heal - she has this as a (0) Ability, while her Lost Love and Datsue-ba have it as a (1) Spell, and the Seishin have a similar ability.

Her final and possibly the strongest form of staying power Kirai has is her Totem, Lost Love. The first time Kirai is killed or sacrificed her Totem is sacrificed instead and Kirai remains on the board and permanently becomes a Spirit for the rest of the encounter.


Some players believe that the more familiar you become with Kirai, the less need she has for Soulstones. Nevertheless, Kirai's spells (and her crew's) are very dependent on the Control hand. Her most frequently used spells all require specific suits (In the Spirit World and Summon Ikiryo) or high cards (Evolve Spirit). Especially in your first few games, play her with 6+ Soulstones and ensure that every important spell she casts succeeds. For example, if you need an 11 for Evolve Spirit to bring a Shikome into play, with no cards high enough in hand, spend a Soulstone. If you need a 7 of Masks for In the Spirit World for the crucial positioning, with none in hand, cheat a low Mask and use a Soulstone.

By succeeding in Kirai's spells, the player guarantees that she will be better positioned and better protected by her Spirits, reducing the need to use Soulstones for defense and damage prevention. With 6+ Soulstones you can make sure that even when they're necessary, there are enough for it.

Tricks and Tips

The most effective way to play Kirai is to learn how to out-activate the opponent on the initial turns of the game. Since the Seishin and Lost Love models cost only 2 Soulstones each, you have seven models (five Seishin, Lost Love and Kirai) at a cost of only 12 Soulstones. This means that Kirai's crew will usually have more models than the opponent. The idea is to activate all your non-committing models (Seishin, Lost Love, etc) to do safe things and position themselves (or even just pass), while the opponent plays his models. After the opponent has no more models left unactivated, then Kirai can activate, summon her big Spirits and activate them in sequence without the opponent being able to respond. This is most effective on the first two turns of the game, but during the whole game, Kirai will usually be one of the last models the player will activate.

After out-activating the opponent, Kirai has several choices, including the Ikiryo sling and cycling (as described in Ikiryo's page), or by summoning the feared Shikome to take out key models in the opponent's army in a single turn. Becoming familiar with Kirai's Spirits and the usefulness of each is key to mastering the Spirit Master.

Another important factor for Kirai players to understand is that her wounds are just a resource, and Kirai needs to take wounds (and heal) all the time to do what she does. A player should never be afraid of dropping her to 1 Wd in the first turn in order to, for instance, summon Ikiryo and a Shikome that have the potential to completely cripple your opponent's crew. But the same player needs to be always aware of board positioning and tricks to avoid being an easy target for the opponent.

Kirai's main defensive tactics come through her use of her Seishin, passing on any successful attack made on Kirai onto a Seishin in base contact. Learning how she uses these will greatly improve Kirai's defenses.

Kirai's Lost Love totem also helps keep Kirai alive. Should Kirai be killed or sacrificed, Lost Love will be sacrificed in her place and heal her back to 4 Wd before dispersing into the aether. Don't forget to take him and to use his sacrifice to your benefit.

Spiritual Combination is powerful, especially when used with a dangerous Spirit like Ikiryo or a Shikome. Though it does cost you a Spirit (typically a Seishin as they are expendable), if the reactivated Spirit kills an enemy Living, Undead or Spirit model within 8" of Kirai you will immediately gain the Seishin back.

Starting with a Desperate Mercenary and Canine Remains within 8" of Kirai and keeping them in that range will summon a Seishin each upon death. Using Datsue-Be to kill them with Weigh Sins will result in either Gaki or Onryo also been summoned freeing up Kirai's Evolve Spirits for things like Shikome. (This only works fully if the number of Seishin on the board is 3 or less at the time of the castings.)

Strategies and Schemes for Kirai

There are very few strategies that Kirai can not perform well with. Anything that requires sending minions forward for objectives can easily be done by Ikiryo. Deliver a Message, Destroy the Evidence, and Plant Evidence are all easily accomplished by sending Ikiryo forward while the rest of your crew hides in relative safety. Kirai also accomplishes strategies that involve defending a single spot extraordinarily well. Summoning a wall of Spirits will make Supply Wagon and Claim Jump relatively easy as well. The strategies that seem to cause the most problems are the ones that require many significant minions scattered across the board (Reconnoiter). Due to Kirai's reliance and investment in Seishin, she generally has fewer significant minions to send towards the corners. However, she can acquire Seishin from your enemy and evolve those Spirits to create the necessary crew to scatter to the winds.

A Line in the Sand [-]

Claim Jump [East]
A strong Strategy much like Supply Wagon. Keeping as much of your crew as you can spare around the marker will prove difficult for all but the most determined foe to shift. The constant flow of Seishin to evolve should provide enough significant minions to gain the upper hand, especially in the Shared version.

Contain Power [Difficult]
Probably the weakest Strategy Kirai can flip. While killing the enemy master is rarely an easy feat at the best of times, having Kirai deal the deathblow is almost suicide, even for Kirai. Always reflip this one if you can unless you feel up to the challenge.

Deliver a Message [-]

Destroy the Evidence [Easy]
As a very mobile Master Kirai can complete this strategy in the first 3-4 turns if not sooner. Moving forward via In the Spirit World then summoning a Shikome close to the objective usually gives the opponent only a single activation to kill the Shikome before it interacts with tan Evidence counter. This tactic is even more useful in the Shared version as the Shikome can be summoned within range to move and interact with almost any of the markers even with it being a (2) Interact.

Distract [-]

Escape and Survive [-]

Plant Evidence [-]

Reconnoiter [-]

Slaughter [Difficult]
One of Kirai's weakest Strategies. Her reappearing low cost minions soon add up, especially when they are evolved. Although she performs better in the shared version it would be a Strategy worth reflipping if you can afford the Soulstone.

Supply Wagon [Easy]
Possibly Kirai's favorite Strategy. Crowding her Spirits around the wagon will pretty much mean the only way to stop her completing this is to block the Wagon itself which is no easy task. Keep a few Spirits ready to block any models that might attempt to delay the wagon.

Treasure Hunt [Moderate]
Although the treasure removes her ability to move her crew around quickly with Swirl Spirits and her ability to use In the Spirit World should she pick up the treasure, she can still do very well with bringing the treasure back to her deployment zone. Using a Shikome to retrieve the treasure will allow the treasure to move 12" in a turn, or more if you move twice and pass it to another model so the Shikome can do the tasks its better suited to do.

Turf War [-]

Player's Choice

Kirai in Brawls

Kirai works well with almost anyone as she has no limitations on what she can bring to the table. She works particularly well with the other Resurrectionists as she has no interest in their corpses (although her Gaki do), meaning she can rip the souls of her enemies out and enslave them while her allied undead-summoner revives and transforms the body into their own minions - share and share alike. The other good thing about having Kirai in a Brawl is that she can severely raise the survivability of non-Spirit minions as long as she brings the Lost Love totem with her.


The Hatter with the Handcannon loves the ladies. He gets on very well with Kirai, as both Masters want to be in the faces of their opponents and to get killing as quickly as possible. Any time a Living or Undead model is killed within 8" of Kirai, she summons a Seishin. Whenever a Living or Undead model is killed within 6" of Seamus, the Hatter will heal 2 Wd and draw a Control card, and be in range to summon a Rotten Belle. This pair will find some very enjoyable mutual benefits when walking side-by-side through a killing field.

Typically you should have Kirai act before Seamus. She can get herself into position for the Hatter to follow up and start executing everything (yup - let the man do all the work). Once he has done his thing, getting Ikiryo to follow up his activation can result in even MORE death which both Masters will reap rewards from.

Furthermore, Seamus's army of undead hookers are always of use. Have them Lure foes towards you, forcing them to break rank and become vulnerable for you to then kill them soon afterwards.


There is a lot of synergy between these two Masters. First of all, if a Living or Undead model dies within 8" of Kirai, you could potentially get 2-3 models out of it, more if it's a larger model. This gives you real versatility, with options such as turning Punk Zombies into Spirits (still affected by Bolster Undead) and Swirl them into position. Kirai also helps offset Nicodem's lack of mobility.

A common tactic when these two pair up is a summoning engine where Mindless Zombies are dying all over the place, ensuring that there are enough Seishin that Kirai can add a few of her better spirits each turn. (Ever try getting two Gaki and a Shikome each turn? Talk about a swarm list.) Nicodem can also take the excess corpses that get dropped and use them to help flesh out Kirai's impressive force even more. The only problem with this crew is the ramp-up time, which can take up your first and second turns. However, if your opponent can't break through in that time, then chances are slim that they will ever overcome your horde.


McMourning also benefits from Living and Undead models dying near Kirai as Nicodem does, gaining up to two models with each death, plus the body parts.

The Dreamer

Yes, The Dreamer is a Spirit. The combined mobility of these two Masters is astounding, especially since Kirai can focus on movement and the Dreamer can focus on combat. That being said, there is only a very small list of models that really synergize with both Masters. The list of Spirit Nightmares is limited to about three models other than Dreamer.

The Viktorias

Generally there is no synergy between the sisters and Kirai.

Building a Crew

It is best to round out your crew with a bit of range, a bit of melee, a bit of staying power, and more support if necessary. Luckily, staying power is granted to just about everything in Kirai's crew due to their Spirit nature. Each unit's abilities should therefore be considered in accordance with your strategies and schemes.

Starting with Seishin, putting them in your crew is wise as they are the foundation of Kirai's defense and survivability. Every Living, Undead, and Spirit model that dies within 8" of Kirai will produce a Seishin, so make sure you have five models available - they are Rare 5, so you can never have more than this.

The primary offensive unit of Kirai's crew is Ikiryo, which you never have to buy with Soulstones as it is summoned. Just make sure you have the model with you when you start the game!

Datsue-ba is a very useful minion for Kirai as she has the ability to create more Onryo and Gaki, and can allow Kirai to work elsewhere. Datsue-ba also has both healing and movement spells, which help Kirai control the board while giving her suit diversification.

Having at least one Shikome is important because they make excellent summons and cannot be affected by Slow (meaning they are summoned with their 2 general AP plus Nimble), are brilliant at locking opponents into combat, and can always get to where they need to be.

Lost Love, Kirai's totem, has some merit as well. For a cheap 2 Soulstones he can easily be bought to replace of one of your Seishin, and his presence improves Kirai's survivability (should she die while he lives, he will sacrifice himself to restore her back to 4 wounds). He can also assist in evolving Seishin into more aggressive and powerful Spirits, and heal damaged Spirits (including Kirai on any turn she has used In the Spirit World).

Kirai's Detached ability allows her to hire Spirits from any faction without paying any additional cost. This is a great ability as at least two Spirits from other factions have great synergies with her crews: Jack Daw (Outcasts) and the Insidious Madness (Neverborn).

Other models to consider are Jaakuna Umbume, Canine Remains and Desperate Mercenary (see Tips and Tricks).

Starting Kiraiexternal image p-16327.jpg

Kirai's box comes with Kirai, Ikiryo, Datsue-ba, two Onryo, and a Seishin. You will want to expand your collection of Seishin immediately with another two clamshells. Kirai's Lost Love totem is amazingly synergistic with Kirai and is a great early addition; he also helps provide a nice safety net as you are learning. From there, your play style and size of encounter will dictate your purchases. Gaki are a useful purchase because Kirai can summon them in two ways (Evolve Spirit and Spirit Food) and they can also be summoned by Datsue-ba.

Playing Against Kirai

Kirai has a number of challenges that are always facing her:

1. Control dependency. Almost every trick that Kirai has depends on her Control hand: Summon Ikiryo, Into the Spirit World, Twisted Mind and Don't Blink all have suit requirements. When you put Datsue-ba down on the table you will end up wanting at least two decent Masks in the first turn to pull off the things that you want to achieve, as well as a 5+ of Crows. While killing her Spirits hurts Kirai substantially, when she has the Control hand to deal with it she can rebuild almost seamlessly. More effective is ruining Kirai's Control hand and then going after Spirits; it makes Onryo much less threatening, and it shoots down the more powerful abilities of almost every model in the crew.

2. Onslaught. This trigger absolutely ruins Kirai. Lady Justice getting in her face with 5 attacks will almost always smack Kirai down, and the same goes for Lord Chompy Bits. Sustained pressure applied to her while the rest of her crew is ignored will completely destroy her.

3. Blasts and pulses. Having models with blast markers stretches Kirai's defensive tricks considerably. Every time a model with blasts activates, Kirai has to decide if she wishes to sacrifice a Seishin to protect her from pulses and blasts. If you do it well, you can force Kirai to sacrifice Seishin for non-existent threats.

4. Magic weapons. Since Kirai's crew relies heavily on the Spirit attribute for resilience, crews that deal heavy damage with magic weapons (notably the Viktorias) can destroy her crew in melee. A few Whirlwind triggers from a well-placed Viktoria will decimate a Kirai crew.

Go after Kirai in melee, as ranged damage will always hurt you for 2 Wd per hit. Kirai will seek to prevent this with an escort of Seishin but don't be worried about it. Go after the Seishin. Kirai can only have five on the field at a time, and they don't produce a new Seishin when they die unless Kirai employs Seishin Beacon which will hurt her instead (which is a good thing for you).

Don't give up a kill in fear of a wound. If Kirai is very low on health, take a shot with a ranged attack. Her death will greatly underpower her forces (though it won't necessarily win the game). If you can take a shot to take her out, take the shot.

Ranged auto-kills are your friend, so take models like Nino Ortega, Hans and Rusty Alyce if you can. Kirai often has trouble holding onto her cards so a Headshot can often end her unless she has some spare Soulstones. Furthermore, a ranged auto-kill doesn't cause damage, so it avoids the 2 Wd from Immediate Revenge.

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