Malifaux Rat, Outcast Peon
Malifaux Rats.jpg

"For many hours the immediate vicinity of the low framework upon which I lay, had been literally swarming with rats. They were wild, bold, ravenous; their red eyes glaring upon me as if they waited but for motionlessness on my part to make me their prey. 'To what food,' I thought, 'have they been accustomed in the well?'" - The Pit and the Pendulum, Edgar Allan Poe


The sight of a Malifaux Rat is enough to give anyone pause. Large enough to pass for a small dog, Malifaux Rats are more aggressive and territorial than their Earthside cousins. Their beady eyes betray a malevolence that is more calculating than mere animal cunning, while their sharp yellow teeth are capable of tearing through stone and mortar given time.

Though individually weak, a group of Malifaux Rats can become dangerous when they combine to form a Rat King. They are a signature model in crews led by Hamelin, though other Outcast masters can sometimes gain a use out of taking a Malifaux Rat as a cheap way to gain an extra (mostly useless) activation.


Malifaux Rats have about average mobility. Their Walk of 5 will get them where they need to go, but they are utterly incapable of charging, as they lack a Charge stat.


Malifaux Rats barely have any sort of offensive abilities at all. Their Yellow Teeth only deals a single point of damage on a severe flip, and no damage at all on weak or moderate. They do, however, hand out the Blighted Condition, which certain other models - namely Hamelin, The Stolen, Nix, and the Obedient Wretch - can use to deal damage via their Bleeding Disease attacks.

Their Swarm trigger allows them to increase their final duel total for each other nearby Malifaux Rat, but this doesn't do anything to improve their terrible damage profile. But that's okay! Malifaux Rats aren't meant to do damage anyways.

Because of their Puny ability, Malifaux Rats are unable to make disengaging strikes. They do, however, still take up space on the board, so a wall of rats can still physically block most models from moving through their bases.


Malifaux Rats can be killed without much trouble. They have a low defense and only three wounds, so it doesn't take much to kill them.

Their Plagueborn ability makes them immune to the Blighted condition, but this is just to keep the Voracious Rats ability of Hamelin and Rat Catchers from spawning new rats when a rat is killed near them rather than an actual defensive perk.

Tactics and Tips

While Malifaux Rats can be hired by any Outcast master - primarily as a cheap way to gain extra activations or to deliver Killjoy - they're primarily associated with Hamelin's crew, and it's easy to see why. Most of his models have some way to summon Malifaux Rats: Hamelin and Rat Catchers summon a rat when a Blighted or enemy model is killed near them, the Obedient Wretch and Rat Catchers both have attacks that allow them to summon rats, The Stolen and the Obedient Wretch can both sacrifice themselves to summon two rats, and Rat Kings can sacrifice themselves to summon a Rat Catcher and a rat.

Malifaux Rats can spread the Blighted condition with their bite and can sometimes get in the way of an opponent's way, but their primary use is to use their Tangled ability to summon a Rat King. This is checked each time a Malifaux Rat activates, and it there are three or more Malifaux Rats within 3" of the activated rat (including enemy rats!), all such rats are sacrificed to summon a Rat King. Note that this ability is not optional; if you get enough rats together, they'll summon a Rat King whether you want them to or not.

Because of this, Malifaux Rats are more of a byproduct of playing Hamelin's crew than anything else, though their ability to spread blight with their melee attacks and Tangle together into Rat Kings still makes them quite invaluable.

They also have a few other uses to members of Hamelin's crew beyond spreading Blight and tangling together into Rat Kings. Each Malifaux Rat in base contact with a Rat Catcher provides it with Armor +1, and a Rat King can use its Into The Swarm ability to sacrifice all nearby Malifaux Rats when it activates to heal itself.

Playing Against Malifaux Rats

In general, Malifaux Rats aren't a threat until they start swarming together to summon a Rat King (which is a threat). If you suspect that your opponent is trying to summon a Rat King, it may be worthwhile to start killing off rats in order to keep their numbers down. Attacks that drop blast templates are the weapons of choice here, as you'll often be able to catch two or more rats with each such attack.

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