Hamelin, Outcast Master

Hamlin.jpg

"In the year of 1284, on the day of Saints John and Paul, on June 26, By a piper, clothed in many kinds of colours,130 children born in Hamelin were seduced, and lost at the place of execution near the koppen." - The Lueneburg manuscript (c. 1440-1450), translated from German

Overview

No longer the overbalanced version of version 1.5, Hamelin is a defensive control master, able to move friendly and enemy minions around the board. Over the course of the game, his influence grows as more Malifaux Rats are created and combine into Rat Kings, and as enemies accumulate more and more of the Blighted Condition.


Mobility

Hamelin has a Wk 5 and a Cg 7. With 3 AP, he general has the ability to move around well enough, and generally has above-average mobility.

Hamelin does not have many movement tricks of his own, but can assist the mobility of the rest of his Crew in several ways. He can use (1) Pipes to pull friendly models toward him. Alternately, with his The Piper Upgrade, he can use (1) Obey to move other models into position. Hamelin can also use these abilities to pull enemy models into position.


Offense

Hamelin has some direct damage potential, but a great deal of his attack capability is more indirect.

His Black Staff melee attack has a decent Ml and low damage. It can give Blighted or raise damage by the existing amount of Blighted through the Taint and Black Death Triggers, both of which have the required suit built in. It is worth to note that Black Death doesn't increase the attack damage total but makes the target suffer up to 3 damage separately after inflicting attack damage. This can be a problem when hitting Soulstone users, since they will dodge the damage from the Trigger if they prevent all the damage from the attack, so try go for severe damage if you're worried about that. It also makes the Black Death less useful against things with armor, since they will discount their armor from both the Trigger and attack damage.

With his Tools of the Tyrant Upgrade, Hamelin's Black Staff attack gains two triggers: Unhealthy Pallor, which heals him, and Contagious Touch, which gives Blighted to another nearby model.

Hamelin's Pipes ranged attack is mostly useful for dragging models to where you want them, but it can also do a small amount of damage as an automatic Trigger. With The Plague Upgrade, Pipes gains another automatic trigger that gives Blighted, which can potentially mean more damage later on through Bleeding Disease.

His The Piper Upgrade gives him Obey (with a better casting than most of his Ca actions) which gives a wide array of attack options depending on the situation.

The biggest source of damage from Hamelin is from (1) Bleeding Disease, an indirect and cumulative attack that rewards synergy with the rest of his Crew. This attack, which is on several of his models' cards, does damage equal to the value of the target's Blighted Condition. As the game progresses and more and more enemy models gain higher levels of Blighted, this attack grows from useless to very deadly. See Blighted Tips and Tricks below for information on how to make this work. This attack has a long 12" range and is not affected by cover or engagements. Once an enemy model reaches Blighted 3 or 4, they're generally very easy to kill with repeated uses of Bleeding Disease.


Resilience

Hamelin's Df is a decent 5, but he has a very high Wp at 7 and a solid Wd 12. Hamelin's resilience is much greater than these stats may indicate however, because he has many resilience tricks.

First, Hamelin is protected by Lure of Emptiness and nearby The Stolen. If he is killed or sacrificed, he may instead sacrifice a friendly The Stolen and heal 4 damage. It is therefore very important to keep The Stolen close to Hamelin whenever he might be at risk. Fortunately, Hamelin can summon a The Stolen in base contact every turn with (0) Lure Malifaux Citizen and an 8 card or better. With a soulstone spent and an 8 or higher or Masks or Tomes, he can cast the spell again to summon a second The Stolen in a single turn. As he has no other (0) actions on his base card, it is almost always helpful to do this if he has fewer than 3 The Stolen in play.

Keeping The Stolen around can make attacking Hamelin seem futile and discourage assassination attempts, but Hamelin needs to be careful to protect The Stolen, as enemies are likely to target them first or try to get rid of them with blast damage.

Second, Hamelin is almost completely immune to most attempts to debuff or impede him. His Nihilism ability makes him immune to any Conditions he doesn't want.

With his The Pipes upgrade, Hamelin offers some protection to himself and all nearby friendly models: Enemy models cannot end a charge within 6" of him due to Irresistible Dance.

Additionally, Hamelin can extend his life with the Unhealthy Pallor Trigger on the Tools of the Tyrant Upgrade. This Trigger on his melee attack requires a Ram, and heals him 1 damage for each model with Blighted within 3".

One notable weakness: Hamelin has the Tyrant Characteristic, which gives attackers with a Relic Hammer (Johan, Taelor, and The Captain) a positive twist to damage against him. Watch out for them, as Relic Hammers are nasty and they're likely to target him!


Upgrades


All of Hamelin's available Upgrades are useful, and can be combined freely based on personal style. Because they enhance his abilities, it's often worthwhile to take the maximum of three Upgrades on Hamelin.

The Plague: Prevents models from removing the Blighted Condition within 6" of Hamelin, and gives several Blighted-related Triggers to Pipes. Useful if you plan to have Hamelin attack at range and focus on Blighted. A very useful Upgrade if you're playing against a Crew with good Condition removal (Ortegas, Monk of Low River, Johan).

The Piper: Enemies can't end a charge within 6" of Hamelin and he gets to have Obey. It's difficult to imagine a game where you won't get good use out of this Upgrade.

Tools of the Tyrant: Gives healing on melee attacks, and spreads Blighted. Also makes it harder for enemy models near Hamelin to take Interact actions. Great for Turf War and other situation when Hamelin needs to stay close to the action and live.

Sewer King: Lets Hamelin hire up to four Lost models (Candy, Baby Kade, Iggy, and the Crooligans), and to sacrifice friendly models for cards (and Stolen for spreading Blighted). Useful if you want the Crooligans for Objective-running or Candy for support and control, or if you have friendly models you really want to sacrifice (such as Ashes and Dust).

Infectious Melodies: Friendly Minion and Peon models in LoS can gain Fast and die at the end of the turn. Hamelin or Nix can take this Upgrade. It's probably better to put this Upgrade on Nix if possible instead of Hamelin.

Survivalist: A general Outcast upgrade that can make Hamelin even more annoying to deal with. Hard to kill combined with The Stolen healing him up to 4 can mean a prohibitive amount of actions are required to make him stay dead and the positive twist on healing flips can be handing if you're bringing Candy or a Freikorps Librarian. It may compete for room with his more thematic upgrades but is certainly worth considering.


Tactics and Tips


Hamelin benefits from spreading Blighted around as much as possible, mostly to enemy models but also to friendly models.

Uses for Blighted

The biggest use of Blighted is increasing Bleeding Disease damage, but there are many other benefits to giving Blighted to models. This includes friendly models in many cases (except for Malifaux Rats and Rat Kings, which are immune to Blighted).
  • The Bleeding Disease attack on Hamelin, Nix, Obedient Wretch, and The Stolen does damage equal to the target's Blighted Condition.
  • A friendly model with Blighted will Summon a Malifaux Rat if killed within 6" of Hamelin or a Rat Catcher.
  • Hamelin's Black Death Trigger on his melee attack does 1 damage per the target's Blighted, up to 3.
  • Hamelin's Pipes attack can increase the distance moved by Pipes against Blighted models.
  • If Hamelin has The Plague and uses the Sick In Bed trigger against a model with Blighted 4 or higher, that model must discard two cards to Interact until the end of the game.
  • If Hamelin has Tools of the Tyrant, he can use a trigger on a Ram to heal 1 per model (friendly or enemy) within 3" with Blighted.
  • Nix can use (0) Plague Pit to prevent Interact actions by enemy models within 6" with Blighted 4 or higher.
  • Rat-Catcher's melee attack has an automatic trigger that gives +2 damage if the target has Blighted 3 or higher.
  • Rat Kings and Nix (with Hollow) can Charge models with Blighted as a (1) Action.

Sources for Blighted

  • The Blighted Condition increases on its own by +1 at the end of every Turn on every model with Blighted.
  • Enemy models that Activate within 3" of Obedient Wretch or The Stolen gain Blighted +1.
  • Hamelin's Taint Trigger on his melee attack gives Blighted +1.
  • The Upgrade The Plague gives a Trigger to Pipes that gives Blighted +1. (good for friendly)
  • If Hamelin has Tools of the Tryant, he can use a Trigger to give a model near the target Blighted +1. (good for friendly)
  • If Hamelin uses Sewer King to sacrifice a The Stolen, all enemy models within 3" of it gain Blighted +1.
  • Nix's melee attack gives Blighted +1.
  • Rat-Catcher's melee attack gives Blighted +1.
  • Malifaux Rat's melee attack gives Blighted +1/+2/+3, depending on the damage flip. (good for friendly)
  • Rat King's melee attack gives Blighted +1.
  • Rat King's melee attack gives all models within 6" of a target killed Blighted +1. (good for friendly)
  • Nix's (0) Drink Spirit gives all models within 4" Blighted +1 (except Hamelin, Nix, Obedient Wretch, Rat Catcher, and The Stolen) if they fail a difficult Wp duel. (somewhat good for for friendly)

Also, note that if Hamelin has his Upgrade The Plague, Blighted cannot be removed within 6" of Hamelin.

Summoning Rats

Hamelin constantly gains new Rats, which often combine into Rat Kings, which can then split up into Rat-Catchers and more Rats. Malifaux Rats make each other more dangerous (by raising the attack value of nearby Malifaux Rats), and can heal a Rat King, but often disappear when used.

Here are the possible sources for Summoning a new Rat:
  • An enemy model is killed within 6" of Hamelin or a Rat-Catcher.
  • A friendly model with Blighted (including The Stolen and Obedient Wretch) is killed within 6" of Hamelin or a Rat-Catcher.
  • Obedient Wretch has a Crows trigger on her ranged attack that summons a Malifaux Rat if it doesn't kill the opponent.
  • Obedient Wretch and The Stolen can turn into two Rats with (2) Inevitable Fate, which also Paralyzes nearby Living enemy models.
  • Rat-Catcher has an automatic trigger that summons a Malifaux Rat in base contact with the target.
  • A Rat King can summon a Rat Catcher and a Malifaux Rat with (1) Rat Problem.



Leading a Crew


Strategies

Reconnoiter/ Interference
Some players find that Hamelin is not especially optimal for Reconnoiter, since he specializes in controlling a single area and takes some effort to summon minions. With that said, he can still do well by moving enemy models into non-scoring zones and wasting activations with rats before moving his non-Peon models into key table quarters. Interference on the other hand is one of Hamelin's strongest strategies since he can take away the opponent's ability to score simply by walking rats over to their models.

Reckoning/ Headhunter
Generally considered a weak strategy for Hamelin because it's so easy to give away points with summoned models. He can still perform quite well in this strategy using an elite crew buffed by his The Piper upgrade, but obviously if you aren't summoning Stolen or Rats you're giving up some of his power. In Headhunter you can summon away happily because Peon's do not drop Head markers. An elite crew is still useful for taking down enemies, but you can also use Rats to guard the markers and models like Ratcatchers and Ronin ar particularly good at picking them up.

Turf War/ Extraction
Hamelin is quite resilient and likes to pile on AOE de-buffs so these strageties seem fairly geared towards him. However, none of his summoned Peons can really contribute toward either strategy, so you'll have to fight to control the scoring zone. These are probably the strategies where Bleeding Disease comes into effect the most since you'll have a lot of models to blight in a close area and you really want to kill them to help you score. The Piper is good in these strategies if you're worried about condition removal and Tools of the Tyrant can help keep Hamelin alive and get even more Blight spread around.

Guard the Stash
This strategy is in some ways harder than Turf War or Extraction since you have to claim two areas but Hamelin also has the tools to move enemy models away from the markers to stop them scoring. Generally it's best to claim one maker as strongly as you can and then try to kill or move enemy models around the other or sneak your own models into scoring position at the end of the turn.

Squatter's Rights
A strong strategy for Hamelin since he can stop the markers from being claimed by sitting models on them and move enemy models away or use Rat Catchers to flip them himself.

Stake a Claim
Ama No Zako or Rusty Alyce (or both for that matter) with the Scramble upgrades are a really good pairing for Hamelin. Walk 7 with a boost from Hamelin's Obey or a Scout the Field upgrade can get them over the centre line to start placing markers from turn 1 onwards. Beyond that your best bet is to try and keep the opponent pinned back in their half of the table as much as possible, which Hamelin is generally quite good at.

Collect the Bounty
Another strategy revolving around killing, but Peons don't count which makes Hamelin happy. Try to whittle down enemy Henchmen and Enforcers or stack a lot of blight on them so you can finish them off when you need to score some bounty points. Getting points is doubly important for this strategy since only the player with the most points will scores. Survivalist is a good upgrade to make Hamelin even harder to kill for this strategy, while Sewer King and Infectious Melodies can deny the opponent points by sacrificing your own models.


Schemes

Cursed Object/Distract
Both Hamelin and Nix can ignore the condition that allows your opponent to score these schemes and Peons like the Stolen and Rats can't get it at all. Hamelin is quite good at keeping enemies engaged so they can't get rid of the conditions themselves but it's usually easier to repeatedly tag someone with Cursed Object than to keep to people Distracted. Crooligans are strong choices for these schemes because they can nip in late in the turn to score them and then disappear.

A Line in the Sand/ Breakthrough/ Plant Evidence/ Protect Territory/ Power Ritual
Rat Catchers can drop scheme markers while engaged and Rat Kings can eat them from a distance so Hamelin tends to do quite well with these schemes. He doesn't have any of the marker manipulation that makes some masters excel at but he can still get markers where he needs by the end of the game reasonably well. A Line in the Sand is generally the hardest of these schemes since it requires more markers. They're typically best announced as you can usually get a few markers down in the last turn quite easily.

Entourage
It's tough to kill Hamelin so announcing this scheme on him is often a solid choice. Take Survivalist and get Hamelin into the enemy table half on turn 1 or 2. After that they'll have to kill him or you've got 2 points in the bag and if you can get him unengaged then one activation will take him to the enemy deployment zone.

Assassinate
Hamelin isn't particularly good at accomplishing this scheme, but it is very hard to score it against him. Take Survivalist and Bring Candy along if you want to make it really hard to get rid off him.

Make them Suffer
Not a Scheme Hamelin is good at, but one he'll usually have to play around. It's very easy for a Master or Henchman to kill one the Stolen or a Rat for a point, but if you do without summoning them you're giving up a good chunk of Hamelin's power. One strategy is to take Sewer King and/or Infectious Melodies so that once the opponent reveals this scheme you can kill off your own vulnerable models to stop them getting any more points.

Spring the Trap/ Plant Explosives
Generally better in crews that have a lot of marker placing effects. A Rat Catcher can potentially pull off Plant Explosives on a clump of enemies, but getting full points for Spring the Trap will be very hard.

Vendetta
Is a bit easier if you can Obey a model for more attacks, but having one specific model kill another is always a big ask. If you're expecting a low scoring game then you you might take it on a shooting model just to get the first point fairly easily.

Take Prisoner
Something of an odd-ball scheme, but one Hamelin is reasonably good at with his combination of resilience and control of enemy models. It's best taken on something reasonably non-threatening, but not a scheme runner since they might escape and score points.

Outflank/ Bodyguard/ Frame for Murder/ Murder Protege
Hamelin doesn't have any particular advantage or disadvantage with these schemes. He can complete them, but it's usually more down to your crew composition how easy they'll be.

Building a Crew

The Stolen: Hamelin's Totem. There is rarely any good reason for Hamelin to take any other Totem, since he can summon The Stolen easily, they keep him alive, give Blighted, cast Bleeding Disease (though not well), and they synergize with the rest of his Crew. Not particularly fast or powerful, but easily gained and disposable. Keep them near Hamelin or at least a Rat Catcher.

Nix: Hamelin's most common Henchman. This doggy gives out Blighted and casts Bleeding Disease, is difficult to kill, and can protect masses of rats from blasts and pulses with his upgrade by using (0) Hollow.

Obedient Wretch: Like an amped-up version of The Stolen. Has a ranged attack that summons rats, can cast Bleeding Disease and gives out Blighted.

Malifaux Rat: Almost inevitable when you're playing Hamelin. They appear on their own in the crew, give Blighted, get better in a fight the more of them you have, and will turn into Rat King when you get enough of them. One common trick is to hire a number of them to out-activate an opponent.

Rat King: Can charge Blighted models, heal by eating up nearby Malifaux Rats, spread Blighted widely, and has a very nasty melee attack that gets a positive flip when the Rat King is healthy and can continue attacking with Overwhelm. Great at destroying enemy Scheme Markers. Can summon a Rat Catcher and a Malifaux Rat if not needed.

Rat Catcher: Gives Reactive to Rat Kings/Rats, has a nasty melee attack, and can summon many more Malifaux Rats. Gains defensive abilities when rats are in base contact, and can pull Malifaux Rats into base contact to make sure this happens. Particularly useful for completing your objectives mid to late game using their Don't Mind Me ability.

Candy: Requires the Sewer King Upgrade to Hire. Candy provides support, healing and some shenanigans while generally being annoying with her large engagement range and Manipulative.

Crooligan: Requires the Sewer King Upgrade. A fast, evasive objective-grabber that can hide friendly models from ranged attacks using The Mist. Particularly useful for schemes like Distract, as they can run up and tag enemies before teleporting away to safety.

The Guilty: A fairly sturdy objective-grabber with some decent defense and mobility tricks. It doesn't have a lot of synergy with Hamelin, but it's handy all the same, and if things go wrong you can always blame The Guilty.

Baby Kade : Requires the Sewer King Upgrade. The epitome glass cannon. He can hit really hard and precise with his knife, especially if the target is engaged with another friendly model. He also has Lure (albeit not a very accurate one), which can drag selected targets into melee or move friendly ones to safety.

Iggy: Requires the Sewer King Upgrade. Iggy is a versatile enforcer at a very low cost. He can take damage in order to keep Kade and Candy alive, debuff willpower which goes perfectly with Bleeding Disease, and he can mess with your opponents activation order.

Convict Gunslinger / Sue: Dangerous ranged attackers both, which can shore up a vulnerability in Hamelin's Crew. Using Obey to generate a lot of attacks can be very powerful. Sue also provides some area denial and other tricks.

Ashes and Dust: Provides a high-price heavy melee model. Hamelin has some synergy in that he can sacrifice Ashes and Dust with (0) Useless Toy (from the Sewer King Upgrade) to draw two cards and trigger the cycle of growth and rebirth.

Killjoy: A powerful and frightening melee attacker. Provides a tenacious threat to occupy the opponent while you get your plague on and delivering him where needed can be trivially easy with Infectious Melodies and some rats.

Hodgepodge Effigy: Can help Hamelin to regain Soulstones from killing enemy models, especially late in the game.

Ama No Zako: A self-serving, versatile, and very mobile henchwoman. Hamelin can Obey living enemy models to target Ama and then make them fail the horror duel. Ama can then go after that target for a chance to Devour it.


Playing Against Hamelin

Unlike previous versions, Hamelin is no longer the absurd powerhouse he once was.

Target The Stolen before you target Hamelin -- with non-Living models if possible. A popular upgrade for Hamelin is Survivalist, which gives him Hard to Kill. If their are Stolen around he will constantly jump back over the Hard to Kill limit, making him very hard to take down. If you decide to go after Hamelin, make you sure you can strike him down in one turn. Otherwise he will get a chance to summon new Stolen and get more chances to retaliate!

It's good to have some form of Condition removal. Johan can be helpful here if you don't have access to Ortegas.

Hamelin and Nix's Nihilist ability will keep them safe from any unwanted condition of their own choice. This makes them even immune to the conditions from Cursed Object and Distract.

Beware of Bleeding Disease! The count of the Blighted condition will raised rapidly on your models, especially if Hamelin's crew can tag one of you bigger models early. This is the main reason why you should fear the Malifaux Rat too, since they get spread the Blight competently. If one of your models have Blight +4 and up, even a humble Stolen will become a viable threat. High Willpower and condition removal are your best defences, but you might want to save a couple of high cards too.

Hamelin will gain strength from his surrounding crew, and being able to constantly determine the pace of the game through activation control. If you can keep his number of rats down, and kill the support models like Nix, Obedient Wretch, Freikorp Librarian, and Rat Catchers he will have a much harder time.

Keep a close eye on what is eyeing your scheme markers. The Rat Kings can eat scheme markers with a (0) action, granted that they are not engaged. When you prep for the end of the game, make sure that there are no Rat Kings that can roam freely. Especially since they can get to a marker 15" away.

Ownership
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